October 11, 2011

Mag-aso Falls, Barangay Oringao, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental,Philippines

THE PLACE: Mag-aso Water Falls is one of the best find-escape in the Sugarland to those backpackers who really loves nature tripping. Its smoke like shower of mist as it cascade down the 75-meter high cliff of twin falls, as most of the people describe it in different blog sites, tourist brochures, travel magazines and the like. 
It was just on a saturday night when I really decided to finally explore the much talked about water falls in Kabankalan City-Negros. Heavy rain on sunday dawn did not even give me a second thought of postponing my weekend nature getaway. Along my travel buddies-camera-tripod-sandal-and my ever loyal backpack, no choice ahaha), we off to Bacolod City. It was indeed a very rewarding trip despite the whole day rain-shower that eventually complements to my entire adventure. I’ve discovered not just twin falls but various falls that captivated me to stay longer than what was initially planned. 
HOW TO GET HERE: Mag-aso Falls is located in Barangay Origao, Kabankalan City, a first class component city of the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. It is located at the southern part of the island and it is about two hours travel from Bacolod City via Vallacar Transit (Ceres Tours). From South Terminal in Bacolod City, you can take a ride to Kabankalan City via Dumaguete-Mabinay route for P120 for air-conditioned bus and P90 for non aircon. 

Just inform the ticketing officer to stop you at Barangay Oringao old public market in Kabankalan. Take note that the bus will have a stopover at Kabankalan Bus Terminal for 15 minutes but that is not your destination yet. From the old public market in Barangay Oringao, you can find a road leading to Mag-aso Falls where you can take a motorcycle for P25 per person, estimated travel time is 15 minutes from the highway. If you are traveling alone like me, you can charter the whole motorcycle for P200 two-way already with the driver as your guide. 

An entrance fee of P25 with official receipt since Mag-aso Falls Picnic Camp is being developed and maintained by the city government. If you wish to explore Dumaguete City, you can take again the Vallacar Transit via Mabinay for 3 hours from Barangay Oringao for P140 or opt to back track to Kabankalan for a city tour for P20. 
Ops..I almost forgot this, the city was awarded as the cleanest city in the island. Try to visit their “ala malacanang palace” City Hall. 

Accommodation: There are accommodations within the camp if you wish to stay overnight for more or less P500 a night.

Food & Beverage:  It is advisable that you have to buy everything you need at the stop over in Kabankalan City since they do not  have much food and drinks available at the mountain. 

·   Safety Tips on exploring waterfalls and river trekking activities:
When exploring waterfalls and do river trekking going to the falls, you really need to feel the situation on actual setting. You need to check if it is raining hard up in the mountain, since anytime soon the water level will go up and it is very dangerous to be near at the river bank.  

A must see videos below:

October 07, 2011

Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental, Philippines

The Place: Little Sagada in [Mt. Province] Negros Occidental is the perfect description that I can think about this beautiful place. Considered as the summer capital of Negros Island and blessed with cold weather and beautiful natural scenery. The town of Don Salvador Benedicto is a 42 km from Bacolod City. It is located at the center of the mountains of northern Negros Occidental which you can view Mt. Canlaon from a far.

Breathtaking mountain view right under the pine trees.

The Catch: Viewing Deck or Lantawan as the local say it in bisaya, is overlooking the Malatan-og waterfalls, A perfect cigarette like falls that most traveler can see it from the bus window upon passing by this part of the  winding road. Few minutes away, you can see the beautiful Pine trees lined up along the well-maintained highway, manicured path walk, rice terraces from a far hills, the fascinating mountain view, the cold breeze and the quietness of the place where you can only hear the sound of nature which offer deep serenity as you enjoy the fresh air and the beauty of nature that this place can offer.It is truly wonderful.

Viewing Deck or Lantawan
Down the hill going to Malatan-og Falls-a 30 minutes trek
Up-close & personal encounter with the fascinating Malatan-og Falls
Full length of the wonderful Malatan-og Falls

Food: You can find a lot of clean “Lutong bahay” and fresh fruits around the place.

Accommodation: Are available for P500 to 600 pesos a night if you wish to stay overnight and experience the cold and windy night with nature and of course with someone else.

A Marlboro Country site, view from the highway

Rich flora around Malatan-og Falls

Flowers are growing free & wild around the place

One of winding road view

Lined up pine trees along the 1.7km well-maintained highway

How to get here: The town is approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour drive from Bacolod City south terminal which, you can take Ceres Bus going through the center of the town. They have regular trip every 45 minutes interval with a fare approximately at P64.00 more or less one way for fully air-conditioned accommodation. If you travel from Cebu City, you can take the first trip at 5:00 in the morning at the North Bus Terminal via Toledo City. Expected arrival to the destination is at 10 am. You can take a ferry boat but it takes you more or less two hours going to San Carlos City. Fastest option is to take instead a fast craft-fully air-conditioned that will leave at 7:00 am for 45 minutes travel. From San Carlos City port, take a tricycle to the terminal where you can take a ride in a Ceres Bus again going to the destination. Fare is about P70.00 Cebu to Toledo, P200 fast craft plus P10 pesos terminal fee (note: same fare with the ferry that will take you for 2 hours) and P60 from San Carlos City terminal to Don Benedicto Town. Upon arrival, go straight to their new built Tourism Center, fronting the Pulis Station. Courtesy call to the very hospitable, young and beautiful (ahem) Tourism Officer in town which you can register, get information, ask for a local guide for a minimal fee of P100 to 200 pesos. Take note that you can deposit your extra baggage at the center for your convenience and feel light as you enjoy roaming around the hill.  

For more photos: