When you’re traveling in southeast Asia, you want a few important things as much as possible: ocean, great views, sea breeze, great seafood, good music, and ice cold beer. Thankfully, you can have all of those things at once at one of my favorite hang outs in Dumaguete (the up and coming small city in the central Visayan region), Hayahay.
Sitting along the seawall on the island of Negros (in the Negros Oriental region), Hayahay is a favorite nightlife and weekend spot for locals and tourists alike. It’s only about a couple of kilometers down from the main strip in Dumaguete known as The Boulevard, but if you keep traveling past the port (whether on trike, motorbike, bicycle, etc.) you’ll get to a small but blossoming entertainment district, where the new modern Marina Spatial condominiums are going up. There, you’ll find Hayahay, but it still may not be easy to spot, as the two-story structure is more like a whale’s skeleton of wooden pillars and tables, sub roofs, and a second story observation deck, all open to the elements and the sea breeze from across the street only 20 meters away.
My Review of Hayahay
In fact, the word “Hayahay” is lexicon used in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, and roughly means “comfortable, relax, refreshing, or breezy.”
During the day, it’s almost empty as people choose to hide from the sun, but every evening, you get plenty of expats and foreigners, travelers, and then, when it gets a little darker, Filipinos coming to hang out over cold beers and food.
You can sit at the central wooden bar, but even better is to stake your claim to one of the 20 or so wooden tables and benches set up. Hayahay also features a stage built onto one wall, covered with seafaring murals, and that’s where you’ll get bands several times a week, from soft rock to acoustic, pop and even metal.
There’s no cover charge and the place gets packed almost nightly, so get ready to mix and mingle, yell over the racket, share your table with others, and literally jump up and down to get service. But when you do get a waiter to come over, seize the day by ordering a bucket of beers in ice and also some food.
Hayahay has seafood every day as well as a pretty full Filipino food menu. One of my favorites is their rendition of the traditional dish sisig, which is like a spicy, sizzling scrapple of pork. But Hayahay usually has their own squid sisig, which is tastier, healthier, and just as filling since you always crack an egg or two over sisig.
In typical super confusing Filipino fashion, there are also several other businesses, kiosks, and restaurants that share the same complex, most of them under the Hayahay umbrella. You can order pizza or sushi and eat it right at your table, too.
Once you’re done with happy hour and evening drinks at Hayahay, move your party over the Café Racer next door, or a block away is the most civilized and grown-up club in Dumaguete in my opinion, Tiki Club. Have fun and enjoy your food, beer, music, ocean breeze and sea view at Hayahay!
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