Kanlaon, Negros Oriental

 

This was our last stop of our Negros trip before going home to Iloilo.


Our planned was to do a "short" hike to the mountain, and see what this small city can offer.

Since we came from Bais City and we left in the afternoon, we decided to stop by Guihulgan City. Negros is such a productive island, being able to produce-- sugarcane for the whole country, that big towns have been turned into cities over the years.

Guihulgan City is our middle point before going to Kanlaon City so we spent a night at its most well known and organized guesthouse, Monterial Homes.

When we arrived there, the city was celebrating its "foundation" day, which is like their fiesta. Basically, they have sports and entertainment activities from morning til night.

What I love most about this trip is that, we've met a lot of people who have been our "angels" also known as showing us to our way, who have personally taught me to be humbled. On this trip, we were spontaneously going with what we could find for a place to stay.

There was a policeman who helped us to get to Monterial Homes after seeing us, in our lost-and-wandering-state in the street. He offered to drive us there with his own car and asked the front desk if they have any available rooms, because if they don't have, he will have to drive us to another one-- just to make sure we have a place to stay that (rainy) night. Ahhh, the Filipino hospitality and kindness to its truest form! I love it!

Good thing, we were able to eat first before taking the arduous task. So when you're in Negros, eat the famous-- Chicken Inasal with puso (rice wrapped in banana leaves)!


The very next morning, we were off to take a bus going to our final destination-- Kanlaon City, hoping to hike this...

Unfortunately, the weather and the West monsoon were a party-popper to our plans. So we ended up staying in F&C Homes for two days and eat whatever mouth-watering foods they have.

We did went for a walk and see for ourselves how big or small this city is. We went to its Tourism Officer first, but due to the torrential rain that was coming our way, they advised us that it'll be dangerous to go to any of the places they would usually recommend. The number one reason is, you can only take a habal-habal, a scooter with a local driver, but the roads are very muddy and not advisable for these trips.


We would have went to see...these places of interest, as suggested in their website: http://www.godumaguete.com/canlaon-city-negros-oriental.html


Mount Kanlaon

The most imposing landmark in the island of Negros and one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. At 2,415 meters above sea level Mt Kanlaon has the highest peak in Central Philippines. Experienced climbers consider this a "major climb, with a difficulty level of 7/9, and trail class 2-4"

One of the attractions of Mt. Kanlaon is the Sudlon waterfalls and Margaha Valley, the volcano’s former crater, which is located just below the base of the present-day active crater.

Makawiliwili Ridge

Also known as the “Saddle in the Sky”, the ridge is located between two mountain peaks almost 8000 feet above sea level, and frequently used by scientists and climbers as vantage point in observing the two craters of Kanlaon Volcano.

Mayon Zigzag

A portion of the highway from the junction of Barangay Bagawines where the road ascends in a zigzag, affording a changing panoramic view of the blue waters of Tañon Strait and the island of Cebu, and hugging the foothill dwellings of farmers like toy houses surrounded by cornfields. The climb ends in Barangay Tagbino of Canlaon City.

Adudusan Natural Water Slide

One of Canlaon’s numerous falls has carved a natural water slide that is popular among trekkers.

Inyawan Enchanted Falls

Flows 100 feet off Inyawan River at the edge of a forest. Cold and clear waters cascade downstream to join Masaulog River; accessible by road.

Quipot Falls

Bottle-shaped cascade about 100 feet; largest of three neighboring waterfalls fed by Binalbagan, Malaiba and Linothangan tributaries. Deep basin ideal for swimming and boating.

Oldest Tree

Reportedly the oldest tree in the Philippines, this huge balete tree is estimated to be more than a thousand years old. llluminated by thousands of fireflies at night, it has been called the "Wonder Tree" and is definitely a sight to behold.

Camp Mapot and Mountain Park

A verdant plateau situated 5,000 feet above sea level, first developed as a health camp, with pine trees, streams and hillside springs, rare flora and fauna, and with temperature and scenery reminiscent of Baguio’s City. Camp Mapot is a part of the Mt. Kanlaon National Park, a favorite of nature trekkers.


Sadly we were not able to see all that, but I was happy to see women (of all ages) gathered around in the plaza, everyday, for an afternoon zumba! It's really about time that physical exercises should be highlighted in one's lifestyle. ;)

After two rainy days, we decided that it's time to go back home. The rain won't stop for us. :( But I think, Frenchie was relieved to be going back home. hehe

We took the RORO boat again on our way back to Dumangas, Iloilo. Thankfully, the storm have stopped and not too many passengers on the boat.


For our expenses:

Bus from Bais City to La Libertad– Php 75 (each)

Bus from La Libertad to Guihulgan– Php 20 (each)

Monterial Homes (one night)– Php 1,000

Bus from Guihulgan to Canlaon City– Php 78 (each)

F&C Homes – Php 750/night (including breakfast)

Bus from Canlaon City to Bacolod City -- Php 108 (each)


Did you ever have a trip that didn't go as planned? What did you do instead?

Bais City, Negros Oriental

 

Where to go for dolphin watching in the Philippines?


Bais city’s attraction is the cute and lovable sea creatures that is slowly putting the city to a good travel spot. You are not allowed to swim with the dolphins. And that's a good thing.

When we arrived in the city after a long bus ride from Malatapay, we went directly to their tourism department, as suggested in our travel guides.

According to the city tourism officer, in order to see the dolphins we needed to sign up for their boat tour. But since we arrived on a Friday and we wanted to see the dolphins the very next day, we were unfortunate to be on a waiting list, as it was expected to be full with weekenders!

But the tourism officer was so gracious and helpful that he suggested us another way on how to see the dolphins and even led us to a cozy, Air BnB-style-home near the beach.


This was our breathtaking view from the beach at sunrise…


So without second thoughts, we stayed in this place and they arranged a small boat for us to see the dolphins. It was Php 3,000 to rent the whole thing. Luckily, two Swedish girls popped up, who coincidentally came from Apo Island as well who were also interested to see the dolphins. If you do the Math, we were to split the fee between our twosomes. ;) They were sisters by the way.

That night, Frenchie and I decided to at least see the center of the city and have dinner there. Well, lo and behold...Bais City has food stalls every night! You can choose from a wide selection of grilled foods. I love it!

I love the ambiance and the friendly people. (To eat at the food stalls was suggested by ladyboys who invited us to join them for some karaoke that Friday night!) A local also started talking and giving us advise that we need to swim/go to the sand bar, which was in fact part of the package of our boat getaway for the next day!

We had a very nice and homey accommodation. And if there is anything I love in every of our travel, it’s really the small (and big) interactions we had with the local people. We were treated to a nice breakfast and happy cheers. The very special trait of our Filipino hospitality!

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After breakfast, we heard the roaring sound of our boat and we were literally picked up in front of our room because it was high tide! Very awesome!


Our whole day was spent in watching the happy dolphins swim


As we swim in the clearest and most beautiful sand bar beach…

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And walked along the mangroves…

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Our short but worthy stay in Bais City was truly magnificent!

And off we went on to Kanlaon City hoping to hike to only volcano in Negros!


 For our expenses:

Bus from Malatapay to Dumaguete-- Php 25 (each)

Bus from Dumaguete to Bais City-- Php 50 (each)

Tricycle ride to the house-hostel from Tourism office-- Php 50 (whole tricycle)

Boat to Dolphin sightseeing and Sandbar-- Php 1,500 (half of the whole boat rent fee)

One night of stay at the local's house-- Php 1,000 (including breakfast)

Dinner and other expenses-- Php 300


Have you seen lovely dolphins? How was your experience?

Apo Island, Negros Oriental

 

Where to swim with the turtles in the Philippines?


This is by far, our favorite island destination in the coconut republic!

We especially love the nice people and the quiet ambiance, and ohhh the beautiful, pristine beach!

When we planned this backpacking trip, Frenchie especially said his demands-- that he wanted to go to places that are less touristy. He doesn't like the crowd. That's all. ;)

Apo Island was suggested to us by my family relative, Anna who went there on an impulsive travel planning and left the island after one month of staying!

With that in mind, we were sure ready for an unexpected time of our lives!

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We were also flexible of our time, so we can stay longer or shorter-- either way. And Apo Island was the best place to take a breather. Really!

We didn't book anything, we just simply went there and asked around. When we arrived, we saw this sign, and being totally exhausted from a long trip, we decided to stay there for a night...

We were the only guests there and we were frequently visited by these birds who made this hostel their home too!

The island people live a very modest life. Poverty is very visible but each and every person wakes up to make a living, so to speak. Most of the men are fishermen or diving instructors. The women make a living by renting some diving gears to tourists or minding a sari-sari store. Since the whole island lives in a scheduled generator-- all lights out at 9PM sharp, they share one TV screen!

Frenchie and I decided to explore the island after recharging from exhaustion. There were only three big resorts in Apo Island-- Liberty Lodge, Mario's Homestay, and the more private and pricey one, Apo Island Beach ResortWe went to ask around if they still have an available room for us. They said, they have and we were really lucky and grateful that we did the survey first and not booking anything online because we were able to get a "friendly" price. We paid for Php 550.00 for our (huge!) room in Liberty Lodge...

With an outside view like this...

There's so much beauty and nature in Apo Island. You can take a hike to the Lighthouse...

Or to the Apo Island Viewing Deck...

Or simply swim (and snorkel) with the turtles. Oh yes, we did! And yes, you can!

Or enjoy the romantic and lovely scenery of the whole island!

And of course, share a drink or two of beers with a local guide! If you're too nice, he'll even play a song for you with his Axl-like-voice!

If we only had a choice too, we would have wanted to stay a tiny bit longer!


#frenchieatpinay tips

1. We were lucky enough to go there on off season, but if you're going on a busy time, book ahead of your reservation. Both Liberty's and Mario's Places have very friendly and welcoming staffs. We love them!

2. For food variety, you can easily approach a local in the village and ask them to prepare a meal for you. They usually offer the fresh-picked-fish-of-the-day. Oh so good!

3. Rent your goggles and other swimming gears at the village association. This is their means of livelihood, so I encouraged you to support them while you're there. You can see the renting prices by the board. But if you plan on staying longer than a week, it's best to bring your own gears. ;)

4. Take a hike or a walk each day. Such a good place to do your morning run/swim! This is the warmest place we've been to, I mean with the people. They are so nice and helpful.

5.Oh lastly, a mosquito killer (with no scent) was our life saver on this trip. I bought a box at the sari-sari store! It was the first time Frenchie has ever saw such one. Oh, only in the Philippines (I guess!)

 

APO ISLAND is one of the best in the Philippines, come and experience it!