by Rey Gulmatico-Agudana
The island of Negros have a lot to offer to weekend bakasyunistas,
travelers, and mountaineering buffs alike. It is a misnomer to
island as one that is filled with rows and rows of fields of
sugarcane as far
as eyes can see. It is true that sugar is the backbone of the
economy and had been the source of the glory and tears of rich
and despondent sacadas. But in the hinterland and its coastal
theres a lot of places in Negros that is yet to be discovered
by the average
man, the common tao. Visited and appeciated.
Come, let us go and visit these places
Patag, Silay -- swim in the Pulang Tubig, hike
around the area, trek to the
Tinagong Dagat and Sulfatara, appreciate being back to nature.
Patag is 2 hours away from Bacolod City. To get there, one may
jeepney from bacolod City to Silay City. Ask the driver to drop
you off at
the paradahan (terminal) of Patag. Take a jeepney to Patag that
you straight to Patag hospital. You may sleep at the hospital
pitch tent around the vicinity. Meet and register with the persons
of the hospital for rules while relaxing in Patag. You may contact
office of the mayor in Silay City for proper inquiries, guidance
requirements in going to Patag. In Patag, guides are readily
extend any assistance possible.
Patag hospital (which actually is an old, abandoned Japanese
in WW2) has rooms where you can sleep. There are no beds, just
a wide floor
to humlad (latag) your banig, sleeping bag, or folding bed. There
toilets. Dont expect anything elegant other than a shower,
a faucet, sink
and a toilet bowl, including the roof above. Power of fluorescent
the evening may be requested upon arrival in the day for a minimum
P150 per group of 10. Price is negotiable for those travelling
less than 10.
Lights are turned off at 10 PM. The nearest sari-sari store is
half kilometer away in the nearby barangay.
Rate for the guides is a minimum P150 a day. No tours are allowed
the area without a guide for reason of safety. Children may tag
swimming in the Pulang Tubig falls provided there is an adult
supervising. The hike to the falls is not strenuous although
it takes more
or less an hour to reach your destination. Patag is ideal for
and bird watching, too. It is home to several endangered species
fauna) indigenous only to Negros (specifically Mount Silay wher
Patag and its
glory lies). These are the bleeding heart pigeon, the Visayan
warty pig, the
Negros pine and the Visayan spotted deer.
The jeepneys to and from Patag hospital are scheduled. Better
with the drivers regarding your time of departure from each venue.
when bringing private vehicles, remind your driver especially
those who are
not familiar with the road to Patag to take extra precaution.
exteremely dangerous for high speed driving. Fare from Bacolod
to Silay is
P5 and Silay to Patag is P15.
Tinagong Dagat -- located up the mountains of Mount Mandalagan.
point is in the Patag hospital. Trekking to Tinagong Dagat is
strenuous. Prior physical preparations are required. If your
climbing alone, take into consideration that the trek is 8-10
low temperature and high altitude. Proper mountaineering equipment
Tinagong Dagat is covered by moss like grass during dry months
virtually turned into a swampy lake during the rainy season.
mountaineers prefer to climb during the rainy season to really
photograph and experience for themselves what is Tinagong
Dagat. If one is
lucky, one might see the elusive and endangered Visayan Spotted
not, then just be contented to see, photograph, and measure the
its hooves in the soft ground.
Taking a guide is necessary, and endorsed by local mountaineers.
signs are poor and not adequately marked.
Sulfatara -- deviates from the Tinagong Dagat trail by
the fork in the Negros
Pine. Sulfatara derived its name from two words -- Sulfa (sulphur)
(tara, diwata, friendly sprite). The trail going to Sulfatara
marked and requires 10-12 hours of strenuous trekking and climbing.
again is necessary and is a must. Minimum fee is P150 a day.
mountaineering equipment prior physical preparations is required.
On the way back, dont miss to ride the skyline. The skyline
a thick piece of steel cable across 2 steep ridges, once used
to haul logs
across. This is not for the weak of heart as what only brings
across is a trusted pulley and carabao ropes serving as a harnesses.
this is not a Swiss cable ride! Usually manned by Tatay Boni,
bring 3-4 climbers across each trip, backpacks and all. Take
note not to
look down to the gulley below as the drop is a good 20-30 storeys
Mambucal Summer Resort -- originally built by the colonizing
the 1920s. A place for R and R, akin to what they built
Mambucal is about 1 hour drive away from the City of Bacolod.
Its been in
a state of disarray and neglect in the early 1990s but
is now being rebuilt
under new management. It boasts of 3 pools for swimming and a
pool fronting the 15 room hotel. You can rent one hotel room
or one of the
surrounding cottages for a fee. Mountaineers prefer to pitch
tent around the
Greek styled bath houses. There are sulphur spring emissions,
as well as
friendly carinderias that sell foods, and is a tambayan for guides.
You can choose to hike to the falls. For first timers, it is
good to hire
a guide. The first falls is approximately 15-20 minutes hike
is not encouraged and it is outlawed. One can also choose to
trekking the rocky river uphill for about 1 hour, past a number
houses, to reach the seventh falls.
To go to Mambucal, ride a jeepney in Libertad Public market.
The fare is
P20. It stops over the town of Murcia, the Barangays Minoyan
Miguel. Entrance fee in the gate is P5 per person and P10 for
In the back of the hotel is a road going to the Don Bosco Retreat
originally built by Father Uras. This is primarily a Retreat
visitors can stop by and marvel at the place. The Retreat House
can not be
used as a board and lodging house. If one considers of going
back to nature
and God under the guise of a retreat, then, a 2 day retreat for
reflection is encouraged. One can contact the office of the Agustinian
Fathers in the Colegio de San Agustin - Bacolod
(CSA-B) in North drive, Bacolod City.
Buenos Aires -- is a new resort in the slopes of Mount
Kanlaon. Owned by
Edward Matti, former Negros Occidental Board member, its
a 1 and ½ hour
drive from the City of Bacolod. There is no round trip going
to and from
the resort so it is preferabble to bring your own jeep or rent
one. The road
is well paved. If you choose to still, try the Public Utility
a jeepney ride in Libertad Public Market, to Barrio Maao. The
fare is P20.
In Barrio Maao, commander a tricycle to bring you to Baranggay
where the resort is located.
There is a hotel, cottages and sheds. Overnight stay is pegged
at P500 a
night. There is also an eatery/restaurant serving Filipino foods.
resort also boasts of 3 pools (kiddie pool included) and a shallow
where one can wade and feel its soothing current. The Kipot twin
also located nearby.
Guintubdan -- is about 10 kilometers from Buenos Aires.
In the past,
barangay Guintubdan is the jump off point for local mountaineers
way to the crater of Mount Kanlaon using the Guintubdan trail.
place was developed and was named Rafael Salas Park (named after
Negros Statesman). It is not yet established on how the place
there are 1-2 falls surrounding the area.
There are 2 ways to go to Guintubdan. One is by using the road
Aires (Ma-ao way), and the other is using the road from La Carlota
Carlota is about 40 kilometers from Bacolod City. In all, the
from Bacolod City to Guintubdan is about 1 and ½ to 2
hours using the La
Carlota and Ara-al Road.
For serious climbers who want to climb Mount Kanlaon via the
trail, you can hire local guides and porters from Barangay Guintubdan.
trek is moderately strenuous compared to the Mambucal Trail which
2-3 days before reaching the Pagatpat clearing. The Guintubdan
require 8-10 hours of continuous climbing and trekking, past
Camps 1, 2 and
3. Water source is scarce.
There is Margaja Valley or the old Kanlaon Crater, that
is usually dry
but some portions can be filled with water after a really heavy
Temperatures drop deep in the night and proper physical condition
as well as
proper mountainering equipments are needed. You can ascend the
either by using the Eastern or Western saddle. The eastern saddle
used by those who use the Masulog trail that leds to Kanlaon
City in Negros
Oriental. The ascent is steep and slippery, so it is suggested
your packs in the valley or in Pagatpat.
The crater is filled with herbolarios and surhanos during the
as they believe that it is the time to renew their spiritual
they make animal sacrifices of chicken and goat. There is also
belief not to disturb the restless spirits/guardians of Kanlaon
SUTAs), by not throwing any stones or debris in the crater, or
simply by not
creating a lot of noise and boisterous laughter. Doing so are
cause the volcano to behave strangely and at times, erupt.
Fatalities (mountaineers who died in Mount Kanlaon) is high.
includes Allison Villaruel of CPU-Ilo-Ilo, in 1992, and the Belgian
English climbers who were in the craters mouth when it spewed
ash in 1996.
Calibago -- is a parch of dry land in the banks of Bago
River. It can be
reached by car or tricycle, about 30 minutess from the town of
is a rough road that branch off from the highway leading to Mambucal.
Calibago was newly developed . Bago River is a good place to
bathe and to
hold a weekend excursion. Bringing your own mode of transportation
needed. The climate can be extremely hot in the riverbank, so
do not forget
those wide umbrellas and sun screens you have at home. Bring
your own food
Bago River is also a good place to raft and kayak. The
current is strong,
and there are small rapids, for beginners and novice rafters.
Bring your own
raft, paddles and safety equipment. Bringing your kids is frowned
safety reasons. Do not raft, kayak or visit Calibago during the
as Bago River is unpredictable and can swell up in a matter of
Lacawon is an island beach resort in the tip of Northern Negros.
drive from Bacolod to Cadiz City for an approximate 1 hour (64
km.). You can
catch a bus going to Cadiz City in the North Terminal in Lopez
Bacolod City. Instruct the conductor to drop you off Caduhaan
and catch a
tricycle plying to and from the sea shore. In there, catch a
30 minute ride
to the Lacawon using a pump boat. A number of sheds are built
island. Over-all, the trip can cost the traveler a ceiling high
Bring your own food and beverage. Swimming, tanning and snorkeling
island is recommended but jet skis are frowned upon as this disrespects
serenity of the place.
Balicao-cao Mountain Resort -- is owned by the City of
Kabankalan. It is in
the slopes of Mount Balicao-cao and lies in a watershed area.
In the past,
this spring was the source of water for the town of Kabankalan.
bakasyunista can go to the City Hall of Kabankalan and ask for
guidelines. It is a must to bring your own mode of transportation.
It is a
rough 20 minute ride past Barangay Orong. Balicao-cao is still
construction but already boasts of one clean pool and the balmy
the place. Entrance fee is P10 and P20 for each vehicle. One
can swim in
the pool for P10 per person. Sheds can be rented for P100 a day
Cottages are pegged at P500-P600 for an overnight stay. The resort
minimally powered by fluorescent lamps at night, its power from
solar energy taken during the day. One also need to bring his/her
and beverage. It can be extremely warm and balmy in Balicao-cao.
The resort was developed by the City of Kabankalan with help
Provincial government and one Japanese organization.
Bacolod City, being the portal city and jump off point to reach
aforementioned resorts and island, must not be forgotten. The
Negros saw the heydays, boom and decline of the sugar industry
up to the
present. It is not rare for the visitor to be basked with Ilonggo
Numerous hotels and pension houses are abound as Bacolod City
vie as a
premier Convention City of the Philippines. Respected hotels
travelers, bakasyunistas and businessmen alike. Theres LFisher
Convention Plaza, Sugarland Hotel, Sea Breeze and Garden Hotel.
pension houses also vie for attention. Pearl Manor Pension House
Aquino drive (near the Riverside Medical Center) is recommended.
Ilonggo and Visayan Cuisine is also at its best in the City of
The following eateries are highly recommended -- Aboys
Kamayan, Etcetera and
Hut Foods in Goldenfields Commercial Complex, The Filipino Grill
beside the Pearl Manor Pension House, Patio in 11th street, Remings
and Sons in front of the Bacolod public plaza.
Try the following delicacies: pangat, sisig, broiled blue marlin
and alimusan and an
array of different fish tinolas. For that delectable taste of
Chicken House in Lacson Street and the Manokan Country in the
area where inasal na manok is at its best. For those
who fancy Cansi or
Bulalo, Sharyns Cansi House in Narra Street is recommended.
Late night sea
food afficionados find delight in the Pala-Pala stretch beside
Provincial Capitol Building. Fresh fish and sea foods are being
banyeras, direct from the mansuryahans
that ply the Visayan Sea.
Before leaving Bacolod City, do not forget to drop by The Negros
the former Provincial Capitol Building where one can be filled
glorious history of Negros. A showcase of Negros products can
also be seen
and bought in the Negros Showroom in Lacson and 10th street.
In all, enjoy and be engulfed in the beauty that the culture
of Negros, offers.