As an Australian abroad, Zowie is constantly on the hunt for good coffee and great cafe ambience. Call her a coffee snob if you will, she won’t be offended. Whilst in search of the best coffee shop near Dumaguete, we stumbled across Baslay Highland Brew Coffee, after our trip to Baslay Hot Spring. This bamboo fortress of a coffee shop was unlike any we’ve ever been to before.
GETTING TO BASLAY HIGHLAND BREW COFFEE
Baslay Highland Brew Coffee is around 40 minutes outside of downtown Dumaguete. The best way to get there is via scooter or motorbike, which you can rent for $8 USD a day but if you’re not comfortable driving a scooter, you can rent a car for $40. Alternatively, you can get any public Ceres bus heading South from the Dumaguete terminal and get off at Dauin public market, then take a habal habal (motorcycle taxi) up to Baslay. You’ll need to negotiate a fair price since the driver will have to wait for you and take you back down to town, since there’s no public transport from the top of the mountain.
The paved road ends around 500 metres short of Baslay Highland Brew Coffee, and is a steep and rocky incline to the top. The first 100 metres or so of the unpaved road is so rough that Zowie got off and walked while Carson carefully manoeuvred the bike up to safer ground. The rest of the road is by no means smooth, but it’s manageable with two people on a scooter as long as your driver is experienced. If Zowie was driving there’s no way we would have made it unscathed. It’s a gnarly drive, but well worth it for the best coffee shop near Dumaguete.
REVIEW OF BASLAY HIGHLAND BREW COFFEE
The first thing you’ll notice is a gigantic 3 storey bamboo fort, which serves as both a lookout and a place to sit and enjoy your cuppa. The little shack where you order your coffee from is the original building, but as Baslay Highland Brew Coffee grew in popularity, so did its facilities. The new bamboo tower is a welcome addition to the farm, with incredible views overlooking the countryside all the way out to Apo Island and Mindanao in the distance.
More than just a coffee shop, Baslay Highland Brew Coffee is a plantation, where the beans are farmed, roasted and brewed on site, guaranteeing 100% organic coffee. The whole project is the initiative of the Baslay Farmers Association, so aside from enjoying pure organic coffee, you’ll also be supporting the local farming community. The coffee itself is strong and full of flavour, with Arabica and Robusta variants available for $2 a cup. The whole experience makes it the best coffee shop near Dumaguete, not just what’s in the cup.
If you’re looking for other things to do in Dauin, Baslay Hot Spring & Waterfall is an absolute must visit while you’re in the area, since it’s only 300 metres down the road from the coffee shop. Check out our guide to see how to get there and what to expect!
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WHERE TO STAY NEAR DAUIN
Most people who visit Negros Oriental are told to stay in Dumaguete, but what they really mean by that is stay around Dumaguete. True, Dumaguete City has plenty of tourist inns and budget hotels, but it’s the surrounding towns of Dauin and Zamboanguita that offer the best spots to stay. There’s not a whole lot to do in the city itself, so when you stay in the nearby municipalities there’s plenty of nature to explore whilst still being nice and close to Dumaguete City. Check out our top picks for accommodation near Dumaguete City.
LUXURY: Atmosphere Resorts & Spa, Dauin
Atmosphere Resorts & Spa in Dauin is the resort to stay at if you’ve got a big budget and fancy the finer things in life. Atmosphere has hosted its fair share of local celebrities and deep pocketed divers looking for the best beachfront luxury in Dauin.
MIDSCALE: Mike’s Dauin Dive Resort, Dauin
If you want to stay by the ocean without breaking the bank, Mike’s Dauin Dive Resort in Dauin is a comfortable midscale accommodation option perfect for diving enthusiasts. If you’ve never dived before, you can get your certification at Mike’s, and divers of all skill sets can enjoy the abundance of macro diving opportunities in and around Dauin.
BUDGET: Bongo Bongo Divers, Dauin
Bongo Bongo Divers is one of the most popular hostels in Dauin for backpackers looking for cheap accommodation in a convenient location. The rooms are simple, without any glitz and glam, but the vibe is fun and welcoming. They have a variety of room styles to choose from, ranging from couples rooms to AC or fan only dorms.
AIRBNB: Villa Amani, Zamboanguita
Villa Amani in Zamboanguita is the perfect holiday home for small families or groups of friends looking for privacy that a traditional resort or hotel can’t offer. The main house sleeps 4 with additional space for 2 in the guest house, or you can book the guest house separately if it’s just the 2 of you and you’re on a budget. The property has a swimming pool, an unbeatable view of Apo Island and kayaks to use whenever you want.
MORE NEGROS ORIENTAL GUIDES:
Swimming with Turtles, Apo Island
Baslay Hot Spring & Waterfall, Dauin
Casaroro Falls, Valencia
Pulangbato Falls, Valencia
Tottyn Falls, Valencia
Original Casaroro Falls, Valencia
Palaypay Falls, Pamplona
Hidden Beach, Siaton