Monday, June 26, 2017

Triple Treat: Moalboal’s Underwater, Simala Church and Osmeña Peak

After that adrenaline pumping activity we had at Baidan, the six of us head north to Moalboal, Cebu. We will spend the night here and experience its wonders the next day. We booked at a Santornini-inspired contemporary resort: Pescadores Seaview Suites. Our first sight of Moalboal is to explore the greatness of Pescador Island which can be seen across from the infinity pool of the resort.


We booked the Pescadores Island tour via the resort as they present a reasonable rate as well. Since we are a group of six, we're given a medium sized boat at Php 2,000.00. Rate starts at Php 1,500.00 for a max of 5 persons.  The tour includes snorkeling in Pescador island, the Moalboal Sardines run and Pawikan chasing (coz you will literally chase them)

It's our third day and it started very early. We hop on the boat as early as six in the morning. According to the resort staff, that's the ideal time to start because we may even see a dolphin if luck is on our side. But nah, they're shy, I guess when we went there.

IMG_6569 (3)

Destination #1: Pescador Island  - Sardine Run – Pawikan Chasing

After 30 minutes we arrived at the famed island. Pescador is named because of the may fisherman that visits the place and always returns a bountiful harvest. In Spanish, Pescador means “fishermen.” The rich marine diversity of this island makes it a very popular site for divers here and worldwide.

After our boatmen found a nice spot to tie the boat to a floating buoy since dropping of anchor is not allowed because it damages the reef, we put on our gears and started to jump off the water.  The water current is strong that day so it makes it a challenge to get back to the boat.

It’s a different story when you start to see the conditions under. The water looks calm and steady, ironic! The photos I captured isn’t enough to describe the wonders of Pescador Island underwater.  It’s full of life.  The beautiful corals served as the home of thousands of fishes.  In fact, a large percentage of the country’s more than 2,500 species of fishes can be found here.

RIMG3367Even for non –divers, one can still enjoy the underwater beauty of the island because even at shallow waters you will be able to see beautiful corals and abundant fishes. It’s blue, it’s breathtaking.

The boat engine started to roar and we then transferred to the next destination. Few minutes of cruising we stopped, the boat engine died and little did I realized that we're already on our next stop,. We looked at each other with questions and at the same time anticipation. When our boatman finally spoke "Andito na po tayo!" Much to our delight, we were surrounded by a huge, huge school of sardines. Probably millions of them.  At first we didn't know what to do when all of a sudden thousands of fishes came out of the water. I think someone from the other boat throw something. And when I got the chance to finally dive into the water, the most majestic sight unfolds in front of me.  This extraordinary phenomenon is called a sardine run, and it has been one of my most ardent wish to see one.

No one knows what causes  a sardine run; the phenomenon is still poorly understood up to this day from an ecological point of view.

It was like being surrounded by a living wall. I could only do wishful thinking:  I wish I know how to free dive, I wish I can sink and stay longer under the water (yeah, probably soon)


There are literally hundreds of thousands fishes in here. I didn't recognized it at first but when you swim towards them they started to move. It felt terrifying at first because they can literally outgrow your size (as if they are transforming) The only thing that really suck is the jellyfish and they really sting as hell and very itchy. Nevertheless, that experience was truly awesome.

Compared to Pescador Island, this place is literally full of corals but less fishes. I think I was too tired from the all the swimming, I did not want t chase the Pawikan anymore. Monica and one of our guide tried their luck and chase it in the open water.

We finished that day with a refreshing swim at the resort’s infinity pool. We then started to pack our stuff to hit the road for another destination.  If you are into diving or snorkeling, then this place is definitely a must visit.


How to Get Here

For those that will be coming from Cebu, Moalboal can be reached by bus from the South Bus Terminal.  Take the bus bound for Moalboal via Barili or Badian.  The bus will drop you off at the bus stop. Once you are in Moalboal town, you can take a tricycle going to the resort.


Destination #2: A Visit to the Beautiful Simala Shrine

After having breakfast, we left Moalboal at around 10 o’clock in the morning and headed to Simala Church – it’s a Sunday  We took the faster route but literally took the road less travelled as we passed by unknown roads (no public vehicles passing). I was just driving but there are lots of things coming to my mind.  What if the car breaks down, who’s going to rescue us?  After several twists and turns, we finally reached the Miraculous Shrine of Simala.

Monastery of the Holy Eucharist, popularly known as Simala Shrine or Simala Church, is a castle-like church located in Marian Hills of upper Lindogon, Simala, Sibonga, Cebu. Simala Shrine was built in 1998 by the Marian Monks from Pampanga, after the occurrence of several miraculous events, including that of Mama Mary's shedding of tears. Because of the said miracles, Simala Shrine became so popular that devotees and believers flock the shrine, hoping and believing that their prayer requests would be granted. The shrine's castle-like and picturesque structure makes it even more popular, drawing local and foreign tourists, alike.


This was my second time visiting this place, the first one was last May 2015 when the castle structure is still under construction.  While some view the shrine as an ostentatious representation of a simple and humble life, its awe-inspiring structure and architecture is part of the draw.  It has towers and spirals that can rival churches found in Europe and structures and minarets of Western Asia


More than just taking pictures, people from all walks of life visit Simala Church to pray and raise their intercessions to Mama Mary. The interiors of the church will give you solemnity and divine atmosphere.  It will also provide you an insight of the people’s level of devotion to the Miraculous Virgin Mother through the many letters from people whose lives have changed, wishes have been granted, and prayers that have yet to be answered. Truly an otherworldly experience for many.


The church improved a lot since the last time I visited. 


Not exactly a believer? Visiting the Shrine would still prove worthy of your time and effort. It will give you a different experience–one that is pleasing to your senses. Besides, if you haven’t been to the Simala Shrine, then you haven’t experienced all of the south side of Cebu yet.

How to Get Here

Getting there by private vehicle is the most convenient option, like ours.

But didn’t they say that part of an adventure is taking public transportation? The good news is the commute is short and steep. Take a bus going to Sibonga at the Cebu South Bus Terminal. Just tell the driver you want to get off at the Simala Church.  From the drop-off point, take a habal-habal or motorcycle ride to reach the Simala Church. Be ready for a steep climb.

Alternatively, you can take a V-Hire from the GT Express Terminal. Some vans take you to the church itself.

The entire trip can lasts 3 hours or less.


Destination #3: Reaching the Top of Osmeña Peak

We started traversing the road down south from Sibonga to Dalaguete. It was past two o’clock in the afternoon when we started hitting the road. Little did I realized that the road leading to Osmeña Peak is very steep. We had to return back to Dalaguete to check the tires as it felt a little bumpy while we are reaching higher altitude. After checking, we decide to stop over for a quick lunch. This is it, no more turning, back.  After how many hopes and wishes, finally I have conquered Cebu’s highest peak – Osmeña Peak. Hurray!


Back then, whenever I see posts of people going on hikes  and treks, I would usually say, “When will I be able to reach its top?” And I am just happy that I finally made it. I, originally wanted to witness the sunset but with the kind of road I will be conquering, nah, no more sunset dreams.


I’ve read that the trail is fairly easy and with regular pace, you will be able to reach it in 30 minutes.  But hell yeah, for someone who haven’t trekked for few months, it made me catch my breath.


Before you can start the official climb, you need to register first.  You also have the option to hire a guide for a fee. I highly recommend you get a guide even if the trail is visible as this help the locals.

Even if the trail is easy, I would say it will still require you to rest once in a while because of the uphill climb.  One needs to be careful as well to avoid slipping.


Osmeña Peak is standing tall at 1,013 meters above seal level. Though not as high as the other mountains I’ve been to, the view still amazing from the top. We were blessed with a clear blue sky and a beautiful setting sun. Giving us a clear view of Badian, Tañon Strait and the province of Negros Oriental.


We stayed at the peak for half an hour and took as many photos as we can. There are lots of hikers as well when we went there making it a challenge to get a decent photo.

How to Get Here

From Cebu South Bus Terminal, take a Liloan or Bato bound bus and tell the conductor to drop you in Dalaguete. Tell the conductor that you are going to Osmeña Peak. The journey will take about 2 hours, depending on the traffic. Upon arrival in Dalaguete, take a habal-habal from the high-way to the foot of Osmeña Peak.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Badian Canyoneering and Kawasan Falls: A Perfect Combo for Extreme Adventurers

One of the most exciting activity I had in my entire life: Canyoneering in Badian. The thought of doing those crazy jumps was enough to keep me thrilled and hesitant at the same time. But I guess, the adventurer in me pushed myself to the limits and ultimately conquered my greatest fear: Cliff Jumping.

The Smile of Victory! Thank you, Lord!
I should say that I already considered this experience as an extreme adventure. The activity includes amazing combination of adrenaline-pumping and death defying activities like jumping from a cliff and relaxing activity like swimming and a little trekking.

We arrived in Badian exactly 8 in the morning. As instructed, the guides met us at 7-11 store in Badian, We did a short briefing, signing of the waivers, and get suited for the activity.  We were given vests and helmets to keep us protected.  From our guide's house, we were transported to the registration and jump off area.
All smiles, En Route the Registration Area
There are two types of canyoneering you can do here. The upstream and the downstream. Of course, the upstream are for the more physically fit and advanced people. In our case, we did the downstream which was just fitted for beginners like us.  Typical canyoneering will run for three to fours hours, depending on your speed. Based on local tourism rules, the earliest you can do canyoneering is 6 AM and the latest would be 3PM.

The Struggle is real
It was a bit of a struggle when we started trekking from the registration area to the start of the canyoneering itself. The road is muddy and slippery. Every step needs to be well taken cared of, otherwise you'll slide down.  We did almost an hour walking until we reached the river.

Descending to start the Canyoneering
We were filled with excitement the moment we heard the gushing sound of the water plus the shouting of  the people jumping, "This is it, no more turning back." 


The opening salvo of the canyoneering is a required jump from an approximately 15-20 feet falls.  This is a must as there's no other way to enter the canyon but through this.

From our group, Cholo was the first jumper by default since he already had an experience doing canyoneering in the past. Second to jump was Ace. It took her a few minutes before she finally decided to jump. Peer pressure? I guess it helped a lot.  I remembered even shouting at Cholo to call Ace and motivate her to jump :)  Our guide told me when I was about to take my turn, "Ma'am pag sinabi pong talon, talon na agad. Huwag nang patagalin, kasi mas lalo kayong kakabahan. (Ma'am if I say, jump, go ahead and jump. You'll be more scared if you prolong it.) I took that word literally and when it's my turn to jump at the count of three, I found myself flying for few seconds followed by a big splash. It was a splash of Victory!  Whew!!! That feeling was awesome! I was finally able to conquer my fear.

There were few more slides, and heart stopping jumps that followed though not as high as the first one.  The activity can make you really tired and hungry.  I even remembered asking our guide,"Are we there yet?" (referring to the finish line, hehehe!)The excitement of jumping off a waterfall was best captured by the video

Indeed, it was an exhilarating experience. For me, it's a test of courage and willpower. The first fall may not look high, but trust me, it is higher than you think. Once you're up there, you'll start to ask yourself, "What am I doing?" I'm guilty of that statement. hehehe!

The canyoneering experience may look easy but it was still quite a challenge. One has to be very careful as some rocks were slippery and some parts of the river were concealed by sediments.  Not all parts of course involve swimming, sliding and jumping, others will require you to even crawl.


As we continue with our canyoneering, I can't help but be amazed by some of the rock formations and stalactites hanging up. There were also various spots with small waterfalls and some pools to relax and just float.
Relax and Float

After an approximately three hours of canyoneering, we reached the final place in the canyon. It's a sight to behold, FOOOOD! Finally! I've been waiting for this. We took our lunch and a have a short break here. I just ate pork barbeque and hotdog plus puso (rice wrapped in coconut leaves)
This high rock platform where foods were sold is much higher than it appeared. At approximate height of 30 feet or more, a perfect spot for high diving. Monica didn't hesitate and challenge herself to step on the ledge, screamed her lungs out, and went all out.  She's such a brave girl :) Amazing!

After half an hour of lunch break, we continue with the activity. The restart began by jumping over a short but fast flowing, cascading waterfalls and swimming in a cool lagoon again. I didn't want to stop because it started to get colder if I am not moving.

One Happy Kiddo!
The experience was awesome and I definitely had the time of my life as we let the current drift us to the end of the canyon and resume the trekking.


The final part of this extreme adventure was the Kawasan Falls which took us almost an hour to reach crossing boulders and wooded areas to  Level 3.  Here, a more daring and death defying jump is offered to fearless souls.  Monica lined herself up and jump while the five of us content ourselves floating on the deep and cool lagoon with gorgeous small waterfall.

Enjoying the Cold Water


After a few minutes of swimming at this part of the river, we went ahead for the second tier of the waterfalls. The station 2 offered another diving spot which was approximately 35-40 feet high. Another fearless jump from Monica.

The level 2 waterfall doesn't appear that high but you should see it for yourself and judge. There were bamboo rafts as well that you can use to go near the falls.  It's a bit crowded so we didn't stay that long.

Smile Lang

This is the last destination of our trip, the Kawasan Falls Level 1.  This is the largest of the three falls and the most crowded, of course! Bamboo rafts are available for rent to get near and under the waterfalls. It comes with a price, but for us, it's already included in the package. 
We are about to Start our Water Massage
Another great experience going under the waterfalls after that tiring day to get a full body massage. The strong water flowing down will serve as your massagers to relieve all the fatigue and pain you've had from jumping, sliding and long walks.

Waaaaah! Waaaah!


GET YOURSELF A GUIDE:  (this is mandatory). There are agencies offering tours for Canyoneering and we highly recommend Raymund Sande Cebu Adventures. We have very nice, caring and fun to be with guides.  The trek, slides and jumps were made possible because of the support and motivation we received from them.  Rate is Php 1,500/person which includes guide fees, transportation, helmets, vests, entrance fees, lunch and even our Bamboo Rafting at Kawasan Falls.
(L-R)Idol, Kevin, Ace, Mon, Me, Cho, Che, Belle 

For more information, you may reach Kuya Raymund via Facebook: Raymund Gaudiano Sande
Contact Numbers: Raymund - 09151392249 or Ivy - 09972148381 / 09326079016

WHAT TO WEAR:  A durable clothing is necessary. One that will not easily tear when you slide. Long sleeve rashguard will be a big help to protect your arms from scratches.  It is also very important to use the right footwear: Trekking Sandals, Aqua Shoes or Rubber Shoes (no slippers) one that will not easily slide off your feet, soles that can hold you when it's slippery, and most especially something that can easily drain the water.

SNACKS AND WATER: Just eat right, enough to have energy for trekking and jumping.  Don't forget to bring water and power bars if you can.

ACTION CAMERA: This is very important (wink) You might want to bring your waterproof camera with you. Just a tip, attached a floater in your camera. Our guide just used an empty pet bottle for the camera of my friend.  Better if you have some hand strap for your camera to make sure that you won’t lose it while you are in action.

Nice things to remember: Treat your guide for lunch. Give a tip.


Badian is a Municipality of the Province of Cebu. Nearest Airport is Cebu and Dumaguete.

For those that will be coming from Cebu, Badian can be reached by bus from the South Bus Terminal. Take the bus bound for Bato via Barili and not Oslob as this will not pass by Badian.

In our case, since we came from Dumaguete, we load our van to the ferry bound for Santander (Sibulan - Liloan)  you can also use Tampi - Bato port.  Then drove our way to Badian for roughly 2 hrs. For those who will be taking public transport from Dumaguete, there are buses going to Cebu City via Bato Port.  Once you get to Bato Terminal, just ask around which bus can bring you to Badian.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Apo Island: A Daytrip to Negros Oriental's Underwater Treasures

Apo Island is one of the destination that's been long overdue on my list. It's been on the radar for the past couple of years.  With its diverse coral and charming sea turtles, the island is a premier destination for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. 


When you take a plunge into its clear waters, you will immediately be rewarded with beautiful patchwork of corals brimming with charming sea creatures, a clown fish would be one. You can also find some unicorn fish, red toothed triggerfish, and the most sought after of them all, the pawikans.


I finally had the chance to visit this beautiful island, thanks to my other adventurer friends for making this happen.

Swimming with these charming sea creatures is by far one of my most memorable underwater experience this year.  I may not be a great swimmer but I was still able to get close to these marine animals.  Truth is, you don't really have to go far to see them, you can catch sight of them even of the shallow parts of the shore.


I was struggling getting a decent picture with them as our guide doesn't know how to capture it with great timing. Most of our photos if not under the water shots without the sea turtle, our legs! hahahha!
It was my first time to swim with them, and definitely, one for the books.

How to get to Apo Island

For those who will be coming with a private vehicle. You can head to Malapatay Port, just follow the signage along the highway it will lead you to the jump off area to the island.
For those who will be using public transport, you need to travel to Dumaguete City - the Capital of Negros Oriental.

Once you get to Dumaguete City, hop on a bus bound for Bayawan City (ensure that it will pass through the Municipality of Zamboanguita) or you can tell the driver/conductor to drop you off at Malapatay Market. It should take less than an hour from the Dumaguete City.

Take a short walk to the shore and you will find the information center. You need to rent an outrigger boat that will take you to the island for at least Php 2,000 (max of 4 passengers) and additional 250 per pax in excess. For solo travelers, you may want to join other groups to cut costs. The rate is already round trip for a day tour. If you will stay overnight, you need to add 200/pax on top of the posted rates.

Before the boat leaves, make sure you had all your stuff and gadgets sealed on waterproof containers. You can get drenched by the sea water while heading to the island. Travel time is less than an hour depending on sea condition.

For those who are on a day tour, be at the jump off early for you to enjoy and make the most of  your time in the island. They are not allowing guests to go back to the mainland past 3 in the afternoon.

There are wash area available to freshen up once you get back to the mainland for 10 pesos per person.

For those with private cars, parking fee is 50.00

100 per person - Environmental Fee (Non Resident of Negros Oriental)
300 - For you to get a pleasant and unforgettable encounter with the sea turtles, this is a must.  Rate is good for a maximum of 4 persons.
100 - Each Gear (Snorkeling Gears, Life Vest, Shoes)

There are a lot of eatery in the island but it is highly recommended to bring your own food as the prices for the meals were outrageously expensive. You have to spend around 180 to 250 PHP for a lunch meal in their restaurants. With the same proportions and taste, I can eat a meal for 50 to 60 PHP in any eatery or carinderia almost anywhere in the Philippines.

The Long Winding Trip Down South

We recently had a road trip down south to the "City of Gentle People" crossing another day to the southern part of Cebu to experience Canyoneering in Badian and see the underwater world of Moalboal.

We left Bacolod at around 4 in the morning. Packed with our weekend bags and adventurer souls, the six of us head down to Dumaguete City. Me, being behind the wheels prayed for our lives. I've been driving for quite sometime but never had experienced the road leading to Dumaguete City. I know, it's winding but, I just murmured to myself, "I can do this!"  My greatest fear is not in driving the crazy and uphill roads of Bais and Mabinay, but in making sure that I can load this car to the Ferry safely (nyahahaha!) Everyone who have seen my driving skills would attest that my weakest point is how to drive the car backwards (lol!). There's one rule in the ferry, NOSE OUT! This is yet another test to my driving ability, hahahaha!

We followed the Mabinay route, as this is the shortest route from Bacolod to Dumaguete crossing through the mountains from the north-western part to the south-eastern part of the Negros Island:

⌘ Bacolod City (capital of Negros Occidental)
⏩ Bago City
⏩ Valladolid
⏩ San Enrique
⏩ Pontevedra
⏩ Hinigaran
⏩ Binalbagan
⏩ Himamaylan City
⏩ Kabankalan City
⏩ Mabinay
⏩ Bais City
⏩ Tanjay City
⏩ Amlan
⏩ San Jose
⏩ Sibulan
⌘ Dumaguete City (capital of Negros Oriental)
⏩ Bacong
⏩ Dauin
⏩ Malapatay Port

The cities and municipalities from Bacolod to Kabankalan belong to the province of Negros Occidental, while those from Mabinay until Dumaguete are part of Negros Oriental.

Travel time is about 2 hours from Bacolod to Kabankalan, and 3 hours from Kabankalan to Dumaguete, a total travel time of approximately 5 hours if you’re driving your own vehicle and may take longer than that if using a public transport.

Tip: You can have a stopover in Kabankalan City at the Petron Gasoline Station to gas up and check your vehicle before proceeding with the long trip. They have a convenience store and there’s a Jollibee branch across the street as well.

In our case, we did not do our stop over in Kabankalan as we are still full, but upon reaching Bais City, my legs needs some stretching. So we decided to have a quick stop over/ breakfast at Jollibee, Bais City.
After almost 5 hours of road travel from Bacolod with our trusty van, we arrived in Dumaguete, fondly known as the "City of Gentle People." Yet we need few more to reach Malapatay Port, our jump off to Apo Island.
Yes, we survived that long drive and delivered us all safely to the port.
Route cebyHere’s our 4-day jam packed Itinerary to Negros Oriental and Southern Cebu
Day 1 – Swim with the Sea Turtles in Apo Island
Day 2 – Canyoneering in Badian and Kawasan Falls
Day 3 – Snorkeling, Sardines Run and Pawikan Hunt in Moalboal
          – Simala Church
          – Hike to Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete
Day 4 – Casaroro Falls
          –  Pulang Bato Falls with Sulfur Mountain and River
          – Tierra Alta

Monday, June 12, 2017

Guihulngan's Pride : Hinakpan Hills and Kansalakan River

The City of Guihulngan is a component city of Negros Occidental, a two-hour ride from San Carlos City.  I didn't even realize that there's more to see in Guihulngan not until this trip. It has rivers, waterfalls, caves, hills etc. Just a perfect nature getaway.

There are several versions how the city derived its name. According to old tales, it was attributed to a river flowing directly to the town proper from the main spring in Sitio Anahaw, Brgy Nagsaha, hence the name "Guinpadulngan" which means the point to where the river flows to an end.

The second version is associated with the gruesome incident in the 19th Century when the Philippines was a colony of Spain. Men, women and children were said to be captured, beheaded and thrown into the sea, now know as Tañon Strait, by the Moros.  Since that time, the place has been called "Guihulugan" which means, "Place where a thing was dropped". But in Spanish writing, "U" and  "N" are similar, which is why it became commonly written and known as GUIHULNGAN.

Our target for this trip is Hinakpan Hills. Upon reaching Guihulngan City, we took a 'habal-habal' ride going to Brgy Hinakpan, where the Hills are located.  The cool and much fresher air while going up is the first we have experienced while getting close to the so called "Chocolate Hills of Negros."

Belle and Rain enjoying the ride :)

It was on crazy ride going to Hinakpan Hills from the city proper. The road is winding and steep (as in really steep). There’s one easy route though if you are coming from Bacolod City, you can take the Isabela road as this will connect you to Guihulngan. I guess, the ride is part of the adventure. It makes it more thrilling when you hear the motorcycle struggle its way up (hehehe!)


The view of the different sized hills, rice terraces and vegetable field is simply a feast to the eyes. Geologic forces casts all 200+ limestone peaks in unique sizes and shapes. The name Hinakpan Hills and that of Brgy Hinakpan originated from the abundant hardwood trees called "takpan" in that area.

Awesome Creation
View from the Top

Solo Backpacker? :)
Upon reaching this point, concrete stairs will serve as your trail going up. This is a pilgrimage place for Catholics as the path leading to the top have stations of the cross. The name itself will speak for itself "Monte Calvario" :)


Next stop is Kansalakan River.  It is known to be enchanted due to mysterious loss of lives. Even though with this long mysterious history, this place still look so inviting.  This is open for public with no entrance fee. Locals, Brgy. officials and tourism officers help maintain this place.


The water is so cool and refreshing and really tempting to get a dip, but I remembered the stories I've heard. I just pose and smile, I think this is enough for me.

This ends our Western Negros Weekend trip. It was a sweaty and tiring day but with all nature's' glory served to us that day, it's just worth it.


How to get here:

From San Carlos City, hop on another bus bound for Dumaguete City and tell the driver to drop you off at Guihulngan. Fare is Php 75.
From Guihulngan Market,  ask around for Habal Habal rides going to Hinakpan Hills/Kansalakan River. Roundtrip Fare is 500/motorcycle, max of 2 passengers.
Both attractions does not have entrance fees but you can always give donations to help the local government maintain the place.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Stunning View from Mayana Peak

A perfect stepping stone to those beginners who wants to experience hiking and see the scenic beauty of Negros Occidental. Let's all head up north, to San Carlos City.  Me and my other 3 travel mates found ourselves in Bacolod South Bus Terminal at around 5 in the morning. From here, we will catch a bus bound for San Carlos City. The jump off point for Mayana Peak.

We were on the road for about two hours, served with typical countryside scene, coconut trees, some houses by the highway and green rice paddies.  Upon getting to Sitio Punod, of course, habal habal drivers came and approached us if we wanted to go to Mayana Peak. First order of the day, have breakfast.  There’s a nearby restaurant (I forgot the name) few minutes walk from the habal habal terminal.
Me and Raine waiting for Breakfast (Credit to: Che Cho)
Entrance to the Restaurant (Credits to Che Cho)
Fully loaded breakfast has been served and off we go to our main destination – Mayana Peak.  It was indeed a bumpy road going up since it was a slippery kind of Sunday. One reason while the 'habal habal' ride is a bit expensive. They posted 100 for dry season, then 150 during rainy season. I guess the price is reasonable enough, knowing how crazy the road was going up there.  After some 20-30 minutes ride, we reached registration area.
A pose with my Habal Habal Driver
Listed our names there and after that, they provided a tour guide. There’s no entrance fee and tour guide fee so it’s all up to you how much you will give.  Our guide was a teenage girl, she served as our photographer as well.
The Jump Off Area
Rain, Belle and I with our Guide (Karen ba?) Credits to Che Cho
The trail is easy, but for someone who hasn't been into hiking lately, it made me catch my breath. Tsk, time to lose some pounds, girl!  There are three big stones at the top where you can have your photo ops. I content myself with just one, I just have to enjoy the beautiful scenery served in front of me.
That short 10 – 15 minutes to the view point of Mayana Peak became a struggle for me, yeah, I know, I need to lose weight (hehehe!)  But as they say, sacrifices will always be paid off.  This is my reward, a stunning 360′ view of Negros Island.

Happy Hikers Here: Che,Me,Belle and Rain

How to get here?

From any point in Negros Island, ride a bus bound for San Carlos City. Fare is between Php 100 – 150 depending on where you ride from. Estimated travel time is 1 – 2 hours.

If you are coming from the north part of Negros e.g., Cadiz City or Sagay City, stop by at the San Carlos Terminal and transfer to another bus going to Don Salvador. Fare should be less than P50 and travel time would take about 20 – 30 minutes. Tell the driver to be dropped off at Sitio Punod. Otherwise, if you are coming from Bacolod (like our case) head to Bacolod South Terminal and catch a bus bound for San Carlos. Tell the driver to drop you off at Sitio Punod or better yet say Mayana Peak. They already know it :)

When you arrive at Sitio Punod, you are given the choice to walk all the way to the Mayana Peak or ride a motorcycle, locally known as “habal-habal” to the peak. Fare is about Php100 - 150 back and forth and would take about 15 – 20 minutes of bumpy ride.