We’re straying a little from our usual waterfall and island adventures for a trip down history lane. Carson’s a bit of a history buff, particularly when it comes to World War 2, so he was really excited to find out about the Cata-al World War 2 Museum Valencia.
Much like most of the Philippines, Negros Oriental was involved in the Japanese occupation and the United States liberation during World War 2. There were battles fought all throughout Negros Oriental, so a lot of artifacts were left behind. Just about everything you see at the Cata-al World War 2 Museum Valencia was unearthed by the owner, Felix Cata-al, and his late father and ex guerrilla fighter, Porforio Cata-al. It’s impressive to say the least.
WHERE IS THE CATA-AL WORLD WAR 2 MUSEUM VALENCIA
Full disclosure, the Cata-al World War 2 Museum isn’t actually in Dumaguete. It’s in Valencia, Dumaguete just gets all the credit. It’s only around 15 minutes from Dumaguete City, and is on the main road just before you reach the town centre of Valencia. It’ll sneak up on you, so keep an eye out on the right side of the road, just a few metres after the Total gas station.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE CATA-AL WORLD WAR 2 MUSEUM VALENCIA
Talk about stuff. Felix has spent most of his life collecting World War 2 memorabilia, ever since he was a kid. He explained to us that his father was a policeman but ended up joining the guerrilla army to fight the Japanese soldiers that had taken over Negros Oriental, particularly Valencia. This is where Felix’s fascination with World War 2 came from, and he became an expert at unearthing old artifacts, from bullets and bombs to photos and jewellery.
Felix has got to be the most knowledgable World War 2 enthusiast we’ve ever met, detailing the tiniest differences between Japanese and American weapons. He’s even found the remains of Japanese soldiers and sent them back to Japan for their final burial. Felix will happily show you around the museum, but with no official entrance fee we encourage you to leave a generous tip for his time and dedication.
Some of the artifacts at the Cata-al World War 2 Museum Valencia predate World War 2, like this complete collection of ancient Filipino weapons used by the original tribes of the Philippines.
Our trip to the Cata-al World War 2 Museum Valencia was a really humbling and eye-opening experience, and we could’t believe some of the pieces Felix had on display. His whole purpose is to educate and share his passion with every single person who walks through his doors. By the end of our tour, Carson was inspired to go dig up his own bullets in the mountains of Valencia.
VISIT THE JAPANESE SHRINE IN VALENCIA
If you’re in the mood for more history, take a drive further up the mountains of Valencia to the Japanese Shrine. This massive shrine was built on the site of a bloody battle fought between the American and Filipino combined forces and the Japanese Imperial Forces. Read our complete guide to the Japanese Shrine Dumaguete here.
PIN IT FOR LATER
WHERE TO STAY NEAR DUMAGUETE
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. Read our full review of Atmosphere Resorts & Spa here.
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. Read our full review of Villa Amani here.