I’ve hit most of the gyms in Dumaguete and reviewed a lot of them, too. For serious weightlifters, I think your best option is P & E Gym.
Located right across the street from Freedom Park, P & E can be easily missed. There is one sign near the street, but the finding the actual gym is a little harder. It turns out you have to walk through an alley/parking lot area a little bit to get to the entrance, and then enter a relatively unmarked commercial building and walk up a couple of flights of stairs to get there.
Details on the P & E Gym
But for people who take their weight lifting and workouts seriously, I think they’ll find a home at P & E once they get there. First off, you have to understand what the other gyms in the area have to offer – or what they lack. There are no western-standard nice health clubs in Dumaguete like you’d find in the US, but 4C Fitness in the Portal East building comes closest. Although they emulate western gyms in look, you’ll find that it gets way too crowded around the equipment and on the gym floor unless you go in the morning. In fact, they just moved to that new location because it’s nicer, but they also lost square footage! There are plenty of local weight lifting gyms scattered around, but they often have inadequate equipment, are dirty as hell, so hot it’s insufferable, or don’t even have heavy weight or equipment from this century.
But while P & E isn’t fancy by any means, it is well thought out, professional, and you can tell that the vibe is to serve serious weight lifters. You’ll find all of the equipment you need and even some harder to find machines like back isolation rowers, etc. They also have dumbells that add up to some serious iron, cable fly machines, wide benches, pull up bars, etc. and plenty of uniform plates so you don’t have to go searching. Like I mentioned, the place isn’t ultra modern, but they also do maintain the equipment diligently and keep it as clean.
The staff is also helpful and professional, which is contrary to the completely unorganized and rag tag staffing at most gyms. They greet you warmly, ask what it is you want to do there that day or how long you’re in town, and even make fantastic recovery drinks and shakes (try the avocado shake!).
You can also sign up for personal training or martial arts/boxing classes where they’ll hold pads for you. In all, it’s really affordable, too – basically, you pay about $1.00 USD for a day pass, and there are no worries about memberships or contracts, so it’s really simple.
I think it’s worth mentioning again that the vibe is good there. Unlike most gyms here where there are two or three serious weightlifters, and they walk around like alpha dogs throwing attitude at every other guy – especially new and foreign guys – there have been nearly a dozen seriously good athletes and weightlifters working out every time I’ve been in there, and they’re all friendly, encouraging, and helpful.
I think for serious gym goers, and ‘lifters, P & E is worth hunting down when you’re in Dumaguete!