Saturday, December 4, 2010

A strip of Paradise–Carbin Reef Marine Sanctuary

Located in the Northern Part of Negros Occidental, The Garden City of the North, better know to many as Sagay City is the Carbin Reef Marine Sanctuary.

Carbin Reef is a huge, tongue-shaped, white sandbar 15km northeast of Old Sagay and is bounded on the North by Asuncion Pass and the Visayan Sea. It is centered on the 32,000-hectare Sagay Marine Reserve.


My friends and I were given the chance to explore this virgin paradise one sunny day. Since there’s no accommodation on the island itself, we stayed in a city owned dormitel and then spent one day in the island, splashing and swimming under the sun.


The sanctuary was established sometime in 1999 and is abundant with variety of underwater species and amazing coral formations.  You can also enjoy snorkeling around the sanctuary where you will enjoy seeing school of fishes in their different sizes and forms, truly a wealth of natural beauty.

There are no food stalls in the area so better bring your food when you get to the island.  From Sagay city, you need to take a 15-20 minute boat ride depending on sea condition. 

Truly a paradise beyond compare.


How to get here:

From Bacolod City Proper, take a Northbound Jeepney that will take you to Sagay City. There are several modes of transportation you can choose from,  you can ride Public Buses or you can drive all the way to Sagay City. Two hours to get to Sagay City Proper.

Once you arrive in the city proper, take a tricycle to the old wharf and tell the driver you will go to Carbin Reef.

From the wharf, 15-20 minutes boat ride but you have to rent the boat for your entire stay. It will just wait there on the corner until your done and it will take you back to the wharf before sundown.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Valley Resort

Hinobaan, Negros Occidental

Indeed, a long trip going to Hinoba-an is all worth the sacrifice when you get to see the magnificent scenery of the white sand beach and the islands surrounding it.

City life can be stressful and taxing and one good way to release this complete (and most of the time, traumatic) exhaustion is by taking a breather and that means going out of town.

Happy Valley Resort in Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental may be the answer to your back pains and already over fatigued body.
A trip going to Hinoba-an is a trip going to a uniquely laid back place yet it is a place with a very interesting work of nature. One will pass through a high altitude before getting to Hinoba-an. Mountain ranges can be seen when one is driving on his way to Hinoba-an. Green Trees are on each side of the road. But more so, upon reaching Hinoba-an, coconut trees become very prominent to they eyes of every passers-by. These trees and other rainforest trees welcome visitors, giving a cool, calming and soothing feeling when you get to the Happy Valley Resort.

Happy Valley Resort is a cozy place with a large space for tourists and guests. It has an atmosphere where one can really unwind and rest. The resort is best for family or friends who want to take a break from long day's work. It is also best for honeymooners because the place can be a romantic place for its quiet, solemn and calm ambiance.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Nature Enthusiasts Haven - Patag

Nestled at the foothills of Mt. Mandalagan and Mt. Marapara is a small village of Patag.  Situated at a cool elevation of nearly a couple of thousand feet above the sea. Patag is the last frontier of the Japanese Army that surrendered in Negros Island. A Historical Hospital is also in the site. The area is flat among the other hilly surrounding area, thus the Illonggo word "Patag".
We had a chance to explore this place and experience oneness with nature.  The area is surrounded by luscious  trees and and several waterfalls that makes the place very cool and a great escape from the busy life in the city.  Patag boats a variety of flora and fauna and  a host of  other natural attractions  and a home  of the Philippine spotted deer (sad to say, we were not able to see one). This area is also starting point going to a waterfalls called "Pulang Tubig" because the water coming down seems to be seen as red in color. The reality was that the stones and rocks it falls unto are red or orange in color.
I cant help but notice this spectacular view as we went all the way up.  When mountains meets the sky :) We stayed at Ladlad Resort.  It was raining when we arrived, but it did not hinder us to just isolate ourselves on the room. We still manage to have fun even if its freezing cold.  Some youth organization held their outing/team building during that time so it’s a FUN experience after all. They had their Ms Gay, showed talent and do their ramp modeling with modified costume from anything that they can find around the area. It was a blast, we ended laughing all the time.
The next day we prepared for a short trek to the waterfalls.  It was a fun trek because we actually don't know where the falls is located. One of us have been there to Patag but just once and cant remember totally the way on how to get to the falls. But we are all determined to get there, and we succeeded after 2 hrs of trek.  We pass by green meadows, hills and a lot of beautiful views that will make you forget that you are tired of walking. Scarred but happy :) I will go back and make sure that I’ll reach Pulang Tubig. 8 Hours of Trek I guess will be worth it.
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Discovering the Mystical Island of Siquijor

Siquijor is the magical and mystical island of the Philippines used to be part of Negros Oriental and it was at that time called Island of Fire.

Siquijor is said to have magic potions, shamans, sorcerers and witches - and a lot of Filipinos will not stay overnight on this island because of this superstition. For me it just makes the trip more exiting and we enjoyed our stay in Siquijor.

Siquijor is only about an hours boatride from Dumaguete City, so it is easy to include Siquijor as a day trip from Dumaguete. But since this really our major destination for this trip we made sure that everything is in place. We have reservations at Dondeezco Beach Club and Resort, which is located in Dumanhog and one of the famous resorts of the Island.

We left Bacolod City at around 2 in the morning as it well take us 6 hours of bus ride to Dumaguete. We arrived in Dumaguete just in time for Breakfast so we stopped by a Chinese Restaurant that offers an early morning breakfast combo meal. We headed to Delta Fastcraft terminal for our departure to this exciting island.

We arrived after an hour boat ride and a shuttle service from the resort came to pick us up; and they will be the one to serve as our tour shuttle as well. While waiting for the check in time, we feasted ourselves to the welcome drinks served by the resort staffs. After settling our things and fixing ourselves, we headed for our land tour.

First stop was the Century Old Balete along the road, we pull over and took a pictures of this gigantic tree. We then headed to Cambugahay Falls - rumored to be the single enchanted waterform in the province, the Cambugahay Waterfalls indeed look charmed. This multi tiered waterfall is a soothing and refreshing retreat – the water is clear and calm and fit for bathing. The surrounding trees provide a picturesque backdrop, coupled with the intermittent bird sounds and the constant gurgling of the water makes the Cambugahay Waterfalls a definite must see. The easiest way to get there is by renting a motorbike or a multicab and by foot towards the actual vicinity. The path going to the waterfall is somewhat steep and the rocks could be slippery but once the waterfalls come into view, the stunning vista makes you forget about everything else. It is indeed a cool respite to any traveller’s weary spirit.

We then moved to the next destination which was The St. Isidore Labradore Parish Church and Convent - From San Juan, the town of Lazi, home to the famous parish church and convent, is a good fifteen kilometers drive. It is in this southern tip of Siquijor Island that the commanding parish church and convent buildings stand ground amidst stately acacia trees. Known as the biggest convent in the whole of Asia


We then headed to Salagdoong Beach resort. Along the road, we cant help ourselves but to drop by this Luxurious Beach Resort: The Danish Lagoon. Captivating. Mesmerizing. Enthralling. Three words that do not even come close to describing the ultimate haven found in the island of Siquijor. Though we were not able to stay here (as this is made perfect for couples), I am just glad that were able to check out this tropical paradise. Of course part of courtesy to the tour, we ordered drinks from their restaurant. We got the chance to rove the place and check the rooms and amenities. Each room was perfectly designed and each villa has its own private veranda where you can view the sea and horizon. What amazed me was the hanging bed Smile. We then went all the way down to check the beach and take pictures.


Off we went to our next stop which is the Salagdoong Beach Resort. It’s a partially owned by the Government, thus making this place a little less expensive.

Salagdoong Beach Resort is located in a cove and that a view of the shore is seen from the resort makes the guest stay very peaceful and relaxing. We had snacks at the restaurant. We ordered Pizza, and the most unforgettable part of this tour specific to the Salagdoong Pizza, I can only say their Hot Sauce is indeed “Supah Hot”, that was the most spicy hot sauce I've ever tasted in my whole life (and will never do that again).

We had dinner at Siquijor Triad, it was an awesome view of the City during the night. We assured ourselves to go back during daytime to check how it looks like. We were never disappointed because it was a perfect view of the whole Siquijor Island on top.


Next day, we planned to go to Coco Grove and will have lunch and at the same time explore the beach. Coco Grove is a famous diving spot in Siquijor and hailed as the most luxurious beach in the island. We spent our time go on swimming and Kayaking. We were so indulged into the amazing view and the perfect summer feeling that we almost lost track of time. We were supposed to go home exactly 3 PM to get our stuffs and go straight directly to the port. But we ended up catching our trip and worst, we didn’t make it. So we stayed another night in Siquijor unplanned.





Although we missed the trip and mess up our entire itinerary, we didn’t allow this circumstance to affect our vacation. We still manage to smile despite the challenges. Since this was an unplanned and unbudgeted additional stay, we were forced to transfer to a cheaper resort. What's funny was that, we just went on the next resort crossing the shorelines Smile It was a funny yet memorable experience.

Two Thumbs up to Siquijor and its Enchanting yet Captivating Island.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mag Aso Falls

Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental

The Mag-aso Falls Mountain Resort in Brgy. Oringao, Kabankalan City.Among the major attractions of the Mag-aso resort are its mini-falls and the 75-foot main falls that drop into a clear pool. Mag-aso Falls releases smoke like shower of mist as it cascades down the natural pool with its turquoise green water. Its is not fully develop yet, there is no entrance fee for now and only few people who come from time to time to go swimming near the falls.The resort now has a viewing deck, concrete steps and a Japanese bridge.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Southern Negros Tour

A journey towards discovering your own hometown.
The original plan is to hold the team building in an inland resort somewhere near Magallon. Everything has been set and planned and the folks are getting ready for this team activity. We left Bacolod early in the morning to arrive at the resort early, rest and to start having fun. To our dismay, it wasn’t the place that we are expecting. Just imagine yourself driving in a very isolated place around 4 in the morning. Creepy isn’t it? That’s what I felt during the time we entered the resorts premise. What’s more spine-chilling was the resort staff that greeted us. It adds to my already chilled muscles because what welcomed us was a very old man carrying a luggage on his back (just imagine Quasimodo in Hunchback of Notre Dame). We informed the guy that we had reservations for the place and he said no one is in yet to accommodate us. With everything said and done, he opened the gate and got in, we explored the place and decided to just change the plans because we could not stand what happened and what’s going to happen if we will persist. So we drove all the way back to the town proper, refill the tanks of our cars, sat down and discussed what to do. The team decided to go all the way, we planned this long time ago18659_1330584458299_1041612830_1040993_3663220_a and we will never allow anybody to just spoil whatever we have.
And the best part came in; we decided to take a Southern Negros Tour instead. Everybody was so enthusiastic with the outcome of that on the spot meeting. So we drove all the way to the Southern Part of Negros Occidental passing through the east. From La Castellana, we passed by several towns and cities.
First stop during the sunrise at Isabela, Negros Occidental. We just pulled over, do little stretching and continue the journey. Then w18659_1330584418298_1041612830_1040992_2039073_ne passed by Binalbagan, my high school hometown, the home of the Biggest Sugarcane Mill way back 1960s – BISCOM. Next stop over, the rising city of the south, my beloved hometown, Kabankalan City. We had our breakfast at Jollibee and had our tanks refilled for the next chapter of our journey. It was a long drive before we finally reached our destination but we had so much fun during the ride.
Along the road, the coastal sea line of Cauayan Negros Occidental, this is considered as the longest highway because of its shape. There was a viewing deck along the road where we pulled over and of course took a shot of this picturesque moment. Next, was the famous Municiplaity of Ilog, the seafood capital of the South, we tried to take an alternative route to check if we can buy their famous “Talaba18659_1330584498300_1041612830_1040994_8269420_n” but we didn’t get the chance to do so. We move forward to our final destination which was Sipalay. It’s known for its white sand beaches and diving resorts. We headed to Campo Manes Resort. This resort is partly owned by the local government of Sipalay so it’s a bit cheaper compared to the commercial ones. You just have to prepare yourselves though because during daytime, the resort doesn’t have electricity, a generator powers up around 7 in the evening and shuts off exactly 6 am but of course you have to pay for that. When we arrive the first thing we did was to do our Marketing and cook our foods, we feasted with a lot of fresh seafood. We then prepared some team bonding activities. We had drinking moments along the shore, we discovered each and everyone’s heartaches and aspirations, the challenges that we are going through, that made us got closer to each other.
The next day, we woke up early and prepared ourselves for our Island Hopping activity. This is going to be so much 17861_1334544317293_1041612830_1050262_5922767_nfun. I am a beach lover and activities that goes along with it, name it, I love it.
We started touring the island by boat and rove around it, we discovered coral reefs and enjoyed each destinations.
The next day after breakfast we packed our things and prepared to go home. We dropped by Perico Restaurant in Kabankalan City to eat. While talking about the Sipalay experience, I just mentioned that there is an Inland Mountain Resort also that we can visit as it will not really take us long to arrive there.  So, we then decided to drop off Mag-Aso Falls just to seize this journey.  We then found ourselves driving towards the rocky path to the newly discovered Resort.  After taking invading the place and splashing on the cool water, we then drove all the way back to Kabankalan City and had our dinner at the City’s fancy Resort: Zaycoland Resort
We ended this tour with a BIG SMILE for what we have discovered on the Southern Part of Negros Occidental. 
A next Team Outing is Coming Up!!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Campomanes Bay

Sipalay Negros Occidental
Sipalay has various natural fascinations that one can see & experience. The 3-hour land trip to the city is truly rewarding as you start exploring the bounties that abound the place. The bay is excellent not only for diving but for jet skiing, kayaking, and all sorts of water sports. It has an existing port that caters to medium-sized sea craft. The enclosed shape of the bay and islets in its opening provide calm waters even in harsh weather conditions. Entrance to the bay is a wide expanse of coral garden with various species of corals and fish.