Almost 30 years ago, I left Dumaguete City to discover a world I had mostly only read in books, newspapers and magazines. My world up to that point had been the island of Negros and Dumaguete City — a mid-sized town of about 100,000 located across the Tanon Strait from the island of Cebu. The “City of Gentle People” was a perfect place for a young boy to explore and grow up. Dark sand beaches lined with coconut trees was our playground. Reefs bursting with coral dot the shoreline. Mount Talinis, an extinct volcano, dominated the horizon. It was a time of adventure with friends, hiking and camping up the mountain. A fun time.