Monday, December 17, 2012

Exploring Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental!

Philippine Travel

Last summer 2012, I toured in Visayas. I went to Boracay, Guimaras, Antique, Iloilo, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental.

What caught my attention among the places that I went to is Negros

Reminiscing back when I was in my high school days, all that I can recall about Negros is that has acres and acres of sugarcanes planted in haciendas. And true enough, I was not disappointed to see vast lands of sugarcane plantation when I reached Negros.

Unexpectedly, my perception about Negros  changed drastically! I now consider Negros as one of the best places in the Philippines for tourists (topping the list however are Batanes and El Nido).

Among the two provinces in Negros, I prefer Negros Oriental.And this travel blog will explain/show why I love Negros so much!

Day 1

From Guimaras, I boarded a ferry boat to Pulupandan, Negros Occidental. Originally, I wanted to go to Negros via the Iloilo route but due to time constraint, I decided to use the Pulupandan route. I was on day 5 of my Visayas tour.

Well, If you love adventure, you will get the extra adventure that you need when you ride the boat for this route. The waves are just so strong that you have the feeling that the boat will tilt to its other side and capsized at any point in time.

Please do not get me wrong, I love sea travel. But I think this one of my most unforgettable experiences in riding a ferryboat.  Imagine, it was summer then, what more on a rainy season. 

It started when I was boarding the boat, I almost fell from the gangplank because of the long, shaking and narrow bridge you have to tiptoe while boarding the boat. Bad omen for me!

During the trip, I was praying while the boat was traversing the waves. The waves were so strong that the waters were practically entering and sipping inside the boat and you can hear a big thud whenever the waves were hitting us! 

After 2 hours, we arrived safely!

Touchdown Negros Occidental!

Finally. land at last!

In Pulupandan port, I immediately boarded a tricycle and went to the national highway. From there, I boarded a bus en route to Dumaguete.

The fare to Mabinay is around P200.00

While inside the bus, the jitters of the sea travel were still lingering in my mind.

I decided to alight in Mabinay. Instead of directly going to Dumaguete. I have to see the Mabinay caves.

I alighted in town of Mabinay and checked in at Relax Inn.

Contact nos. - 0906-260-2548; 0920-6493121; 0932-431-7799; 0935-943-8136

Non- aircon - P240
Aircon P500 for 2 pax
Aircon P800 for 4 pax 

There were no available aircon rooms that night and I decided to have the non-airocn and paid only P240 for the day's stay.

I slept soundly that night.

Day 2 

The following morning, I arranged my itinerary. First in the list was the Mabinay Spring.

The Mabinay Spring is just a stone's throw from where I was staying or a 3 minutes walk.

Contact Nos. of Tourism Office - (035) 422-0675 / 225-1825

They have a tourism office inside the resort. Unfortunately, the office and the resort were both closed that day since the spring was undergoing renovation. Good thing the staff of Relax Inn knows the person-in-charge inside Mabinay Spring and they gave me access.

Eventhough, the spring was closed that day, I still appreciated the touch of nature and the beauty of the resort. 

After the Mabinay Spring visit, I hired a habal-habal (motorcycle) tour to the Mabinay caves.

I paid P500.00 for the half-day transport. 

From my hotel up to the site, it took me 30 minutes before reaching the registration area.

Mabinay Caves

Contact nos - 0917-789-2445 / 0918-796-4298 / 0916-679-2344
Crystal Cave - (157 ms)
Panligawan (143 ms)
Pandalihan (282 ms)
Cayaso (2,222 ms) difficult/extreme spelunkers
Baliw (769 ms) difficult / extreme spelunkers
Mambajo (670 ms) rapelling / medium difficult
Odloman (8,870 ms)  difficult / extreme spelunkers

Entrance - P50.00/cave
Cave guides - P400.00/maximum of 5 pax
Safety helmet - P10.00
Head lamp - P10.00  

Mabinay is known for as "Cave Town of Negros Oriental." It has hundreds of caves underneath the town. 

And as an avid fan of spelunking, the thrill of seeing the caves here is simply irresistable. 

The first cave that day was the Crystal Cave!

There are numerous formations of stalactites and stalagmites. And this is the reason why it is called the "Crystal Cave!"

After an hour in the first cave, we trekked to the other two caves. The trail can be made in just 25 minutes.

The two caves are named Pandalihan and Panligawan caves.

The second cave is the Pandalihan Cave.

It has huge caverns, where stalactites and stalagmites abound. The cave is accessible on foot and has a ceiling on the opposite end.

The view from the ceiling where the rays of the sun are penetrating is simply spectacular. 

I stayed for thirty minutes and marveled.

Then, we proceeded to the last cave which was part of the package tour with guide for P300.00.

The last cave is the Panligawan Cave.

It's name was derived from the word "ligaw" which means courtship.

Then, after the three caves, we went to the second biggest cave system in the Philippines with 8,870 meters in length, the Odloman Cave. The longest is the PPUR.

From the registration area, the ride was good for fifteen minutes.

This is the jump-off point.

My guide that day - 

My tour driver - 

After 1 hour of walking, we reached the cave's mouth. Unfortunately, we were not able to bring the proper equipment and we failed to rappel down to the cave's entrance.

Reaching the site was good enough. I felt closer to it. I had to go back to this cave!

After four hours of trekking and spelunking, we went back to my hotel.

I passed by numerous transloading station for sugarcanes. Indeed, I am in Negros!

I checked out of the inn and went to the bus station. While waiting for the bus, I noticed the delicacies being sold in the station. They also have "suman" and "puto."

From Mabinay, I boarded a bus and went to Dumaguete. The ride to Dumaguete is good for 1.5 hours.

While onboard the bus, I passed by the Siliman University campus.

The Church and Belfry Tower

I alighted at the Ceres bus station and waited for the Bus to Dauin to see the Apo Island. Again, I saw a different form of "suman (rice delicacy)."

It was already 5pm when we reached Zamboanguita. I was told that the pier to Apo Island is not in Dauin but in Zamboanguita.

It took me one hour using the habal-habal (0906-140-9103) to locate a hotel.

At first, I was hesitant to Thalatta Beach and Dive REsort

I ended up paying P3,100 for the room and P1,790 for the other amenities such as food and spa.

Normally, as a backpacker, I prefer cheaper hotels but due to necessity, I decided to avail it. I had no choice.

Thalatta Beach Resort

Address: Real St, Zamboanguita 6218
Phone:(035) 426 1087 / 0917-314-1748
035-426 1039 / 0920-668-7393

I enjoyed my stay in this resort! The pay was worth every penny.

Day 3 

The following morning, I went to the Malatapay Tabo Market, the site of the pier.

The road towards the pier.

I registered first at the Clearing Outpost of Coast Guard and hired a boat for P1,700.
Contact No - (035) 425-2073

Pumpboat from Malatapay to Apo Island
P1,700 - 5 pax
P2,700 - 8 pax

We are set to go!

After 45 minutes  of travel, we reached Apo Island.

Entrance - P100.00
Diving within the sanctuary- P300.00
Diving outside the sanctuary - P200.00
Snorkeling - P50.00
Camping - P50.00

The view is fantastic!

From the beach, you can see the  the rock formations and landscapes of the island.

Apo Island is included as one of the best diving sites in the world. 

I immediately  went the marine sanctuary.  

It is the home of more than two-thirds of the world's known coral species.  Because of the vastness of its marine resources, Apo Island has been declared as a marine sanctuary since 1982.

Unfortunately, it was closed due to the devastating effects of the last typhoon which hit Negros. It is recuperating from the aftermath of the typhoon.

I went back to the boat. And while walking, I noticed that there are several inns and homestays available in the island.

Apo Island is also known as the "Marine Turtle Sanctuary."

This is one the reasons why there are still numerous foreign and local tourists in the area.

I asked the boatman to do a little bit of island hopping and I paid an extra P200 for the tour and after 2 hours in Apo Island, we went back to the pier in Zamboanguita.

I reached the pier at around 10 am and I decided to go to another tourist spot.

I hired a habal-habal for P400.00 and after 45 minutes of travel we reached the Antulang Beach Resort.

I paid the entrance fee and walked around the resort.

Manila Sales  Office - (02) 567-5598 / 0917-700-2461

Dumaguete Booking Office - (035) 422-2600,  225-8899 / 0920-947-6368 / 0917-300-0112

This is another reason why it's more fun in Negros Oriental!

One cannot help but simply be amazed at the breathtaking sceneries in the resort. 

I strolled in the beach.

I walked at the pools.

And sat at the seaside view of the resort!

After 2 hours inside the resort, I went back to the hotel and checked out.

I went back to Dumaguete. At the Ceres bus terminal, I boarded a bus to Canlaon.

It was already six pm when I reached Canlaon. The trip was 3-4 hours. 

I checked in at F & C and paid P700/day or a total of P1,400 for 2 days.

Contact no - 035-414-0019

Entering the hotel, I began liking the hotel already. The staff was accommodating and courteous. 

I love the room!

And I love the food they serve!

Day 4 

The following morning, I prepared my itinerary.

First stop that day, The Tourism Office.

Contact no. - 0909-144-7587

Before going to the first tourist spot, we went to the church as part of my rituals in traveling. Again, I prayed for two things - my health and safety. 

Then, we went to the first in the itinerary - Padusdusan Falls.

It took us almost thirty minutes using a habal-habal to reach the site. My guide/driver that day was named "Sadam" (0935-114-2457). I paid Sadam P600 for the half day tour. We trekked for ten minutes.

Padusdusan Falls

I removed my slippers while walking at the rocks of the falls. It was slippery eventhough it did not rain that day.

We continued walking and it took us another fifteen minutes to reach the other falls.

The second falls

Great view!

On the way to the other spot, I noticed the rice terraces.

The rice terraces in Canlaon is also majestic!

Another reason why I love Negros Oriental!

It is only in Canlaon where you enjoy the mountain, the falls, rice terraces, landscapes and vegetation.

Then, we went to the next stop - Sudlong Falls!

This is the road going to to Sudlong Falls. Slippery and muddy.

I had to alight several times in order for us to safely pass the muddy and slippery road.

I even saw this man using the bamboo poles just to cross the muddy road.

Then, we started the trek to the falls. The trek is twenty minutes.

I can almost see the falls.

We are getting nearer.

Finally! Sudlong Falls!

I took brief respite and enjoyed the moment.

The last stop for the day was a 400 year old Balete tree.

This is the road to the Balete Tree.

The rural view is just pleasing to my eyes.

After 20 minutes, we reached the site.

It's huge!!

The 400 year old Balete tree -

Let us have a closer look at the tree.

Going back to the hotel, it rained that morning! I enjoyed the morning shower. But more importantly, I enjoyed Negros!!!

We reached the hotel and I paid my guide and told him to fetch me for my trip to Bacolod.

I enjoyed the food for the last time! The price of the food is cheap but the taste is world-class.

Before leaving the hotel, I went out for a brief walk. Enjoying Canlaon for the last time. I promised myself, "I will be back!"

I went back to the bus station and boarded a bus going to Bacolod.

Negros Occidental

After 2 hours, we reached Bacolod. My first stop in Bacolod was the Sebastian Church.

The only picture I have inside the church and I roamed the city afterwards.

Then, I went to Robinsons's Supermarket!

For my pasalubong, the name is BongBong!

There are so many choices available and I quickly picked. My number one pick - Piyaya.

A box of goodies!

My last stop for the day  is in Talisay.

I rented a tricycle for P100 and went to my last tourist spot for that day. It was already past 3 pm.

The Ruins! The Taj Mahal of Negros!

There is cafe inside the ruins.

Again, the Ruins! =)

After the Ruins, I went to Silay City.

I checked in at Winbelle's Pension Houz and paid P1,300 for one day.

Contact no - 034-495-5898

Again, I slept soundly that night. The following morning I prepared my last itinerary for my trip in Visayas.

Day 5

The first in the itinerary -

Hofilena Ancestral House

Silay City is known for its heritage houses. It's like the Vigan in Visayas.

Contact No. - (034)-495-4561 (by appointment only)

The sala

The dining room

With the owner

Then, Balay Negrense

Open Tuesday to Sunday (10 am - 5 pm)

The facade

The sala

The staircase

The kitchen

And lastly, Jalandoni Museum.

Open Tuesday to Sunday (9 am  - 5 pm)
Contact no. (034)-495-5093

Museum hours

The sala

The dining room

The staircase

The bedroom

I finished the three heritage houses in 3 hours.

That afternoon, I took my flight back to Manila and concluded my Visayas Tour.

It's More Fun in Visayas!!! =)

Tricycles -
Land transport -

Related article -
Tricycles -

Camiguin -
Guimaras -



  1. Best blog so far na nakita ko. Very informative.

  2. i love this blog it is well done would love to do all the things in the blog but i have heath issues unforgently

  3. Nice blog. Keep it up :)

  4. Thank you so much for posting this. I am planning to take a trip to dumaguete. Your post is detailed and is very helpful. I will be following your route. Thank you so much. Good luck on your next trips and please do not stop posting because you are so helpful. More power to you.