CHADA GID ANG NEGROS ( NEGROS IS BEAUTIFUL)

Negros is an Island in the Philippines which is the fourth largest in the country with a land area of 5,137.87 sqmi. Negros is one of the many islands that comprise the Visayas, which forms the central division of the nation ( source Wikipedia).

Negros is a beautiful island surrounded by rugged mountains, pristine beaches, beautiful underwater coral gardens that must be added to your bucket list on your next travel. Travelling and exploring the hidden gems of Negros is fun with friendly locals who are very accommodating and extremely welcoming. An added bonus, it is very cheap to travel in Negros, surely you will have a great value for your money ūüôā

I am sharing this travel experience of a friend of mine “Pobreng Lagaan¬†(The Poor Traveller)” around Negros. Check this out!

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Photo by Pobreng Lagaan. PUNCAK TAN-AWAN NEGROS ORIENTAL

This restless soul of mine was delighted after our two days of tremendous quest of some Negros’ hidden gems. Those picturesque scenarios at Puncak Tan-awan, Balinsasayao Twin Lakes, Casaroro Falls and Forest Camp are just too few to showcase the real beauty of Negros Oriental but it already convince myself to say ¬†“Chada¬†gid ang Negros Bai” ( Negros is Beautiful My Friend).

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Photo by Pobreng Lagaan. TWIN LAKE BALINSAYAO SIBULAN, NEGROS ORIENTAL

Getting around Negros was actually one of the most incredible experienced I had so far.  It was Saturday when everyone was already set for our Negros adventure except me.  Having a second thoughts I decided to go after them. It was almost 12:00 noon when I boarded the bus from Tabunoc going to Liloan Port. After four hours of travel with massive commuters from Baruganay to Show and Tabunok to Oslob) finally I arrived at my destination. From the port I bought a ticket and sailed in a fast craft  going to Sibulan. It took me 45 minutes to arrive from Oslob port to Sibulan Port. It was very relaxing to feel the gentle sway of the boat but honestly I was a bit scared. I  was anxious a feeling of fear where an emotion that evolved to keep us safe from danger. Good thing the boat did not sink haha.

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Photo by Pobreng Lagaan. CASARORO FALLS VALENCIA< NEGROS ORIENTAL
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PHOTO BY POBRENG LAGAAN. THE RESORT CAMP, VALENCIA, NEGROS ORIENTAL.

I sighed in relief when finally I arrived at the drop-off point. I flag down a habal-habal ( a motorcycle modified to seat more than two persons. It is in use in provinces in the Philippines where jeepneys and tricycles cannot stand the rough, steep terrain and narrow roads) to bring me to Puncak Tan-awan. You need to register before you can get to the Peak. They offered to drive me going to the peak since it was already late.  It would take me an hour and thirty minutes to reach the top of the peak but I opted to not to. Trekking is a healthy physical exercise that creates a wonderful experience. It provides me an opportunity to slow down and disconnect into the chaotic world. Besides it was fun and I love the stillness and calm of an empty trail. The trek to the peak was easy. It took me an hour to trek the peak but going uphill needed an extra precautions to avoid slipping. 

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When I finally reached the camp where my friends are I was extremely happy. It was a great feeling.

 

 

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INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOTS IN SILAY CITY

Silay City my hometown, is a third class city in the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. It is often referred to as the “Paris of Negros because of its rich heritage history, well-preserved arts, cultures and Spanish colonial houses.

Aside from heritage houses, Silay has so much to offer both for tourists and locals alike. There are breathtaking sights to see which is perfect to put on your instagram profile!

So here are some of  Silay City most-instagram-worthy spot. All you have to do is grab your phone or camera to capture the moment.

SILAY SPANISH COLONIAL HOUSES

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https://travelistajournal.blog/category/follow-me-to-silay-heritage-houses

Silay Spanish colonial houses located along Cinco de Noviembre Street that have been long a sightseeing attractions for tourists. 29 of these ancestral houses considered heritage treasures by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).

SILAY CITY MINI PARK IN FRONT OF CITY HALL

This is one of the underrated spot in Silay.  This spot is located right in front of Silay City Hall beside the San Diego Parish church.  Wear your OOTD and snap a picture at this iconic statues.

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 SAN DIEGO PARISH CHURCH

You don’t have to go to Rome to post for a picture of their famous churches. The San Diego Parish Church proves to have those structures comparable to Rome churches. This church is unique in Negros Occidental for being the only church in the province featuring a cupola or dome.

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 MANGROVE ECO PARK

Mangrove eco park is located in Balaring. The park consists of a long bamboo walkways that winds through a forest of Mangrove trees which the local government and residents have constructed for easier access. This is one of Silay tourist attractions.

Inside the mangrove eco park is so cool and calm, the shades will sparing you from the sun’s glare. The view is relaxing and admiring. It is a little sanctuary where you can feel serenity, tranquility, and a gateway, out into the open seas.

Mangroves play a vital role in establishing the slightest ecological imbalance. Mangroves not only help in preventing soil erosion but also act as catalyst in reclaiming land from seas.IMG_1882

BALARING THE SEAFOOD CAPITAL OF SILAY 

Balaring is a small barangay or village located kilometres away from the city proper, with panoramic sea view, stunning sunset and an array of seafood restaurants.

Each one of us loves a good sunset. Balaring is an amazing place to sit back, relax and enjoy as the sun slowly bids goodbye to the day that is just flown by.

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LANTAWAN VIEW SILAY

https://travelistajournal.blog/2017/05/21/majestic-view-of-lantawan-peak-at-lantawan-view-silay

The place is surrounded by greenery and fresh air.  The scenery is so beautiful. You felt you are being transported into a paradise realm where the Earth is still pure and fresh and nourishing. 

LANTAWAN ZIGZAG ROAD

The zigzag drive going to Lantawan view and Patag is very scenic. ¬†The landscape is very picturesque and the drive is definitely worth it. People stop here to take photos. I would say this is a dream destination for every photographers. So don’t forget to bring your camera.IMG_1929.JPG

PATAG THE SUMMER GATEWAY 

Patag is a small village that is popularly known as the last stronghold of the Japanese Imperial Forces during the second world war.  It is also known as the pre-war site of a hospital for recuperating patients suffering from tuberculosis.

Patag is know the favorite destinations of locals and tourists. Due to its altitude the cool weather has remained a perfectly good reason for people to hike to the cool mountains of Patag.

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PUNONG GARY’S PLACE

https://travelistajournal.blog/2016/11/08/punong-garys-place-blissful-little-sanctuary/

The place is not far from the centre of Silay City but secluded enough for relaxing surrounded by nature. The place is a blissful sanctuary which reminds me of Bali Indonesia. The place is absolutely lovely surrounded with big towering old trees.

So the next time you visit Silay City, check out theses places and don’t forget to bring your camera to take nice photos and post away ūüôā

HUGYAW SILAY KANSILAY FESTIVAL

Local and tourists alike flocked to the street of Silay City, Negros Occidental to witness the most grandeurs street dance competition in celebration of the city’s charter day. The Hugyaw Silay Kansilay Festival¬†is the main highlight of the week-long celebration of Silay 60th anniversary which runs from June 6 – 12, 2017. The festival was derived¬†from the story of Kansilay which also the etymology of the city’s name.

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The festival is an annual street dance competition wherein participants from 16 barangays or villages wear a colorful costumes made from indigenous materials while they performed gracefully and lively  in the tune of Asenso Silay. The streets filled with a festive atmosphere as the crowd cheer for their own bet.

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After showing the dance steps in the streets, the contingents compete in the dance show down at the Silay City plaza covered court wherein they can showcase their creativity and artistry as they swinged and moved energetically to the rhythm of the music.

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TRIVIA: KANSILAY¬†a local legend tells of how Silay got it name. It is said that in the days of the datus and rajahs, there once lived a princess named Kansilay. An attack on the settlement by pirates thwarted when princess bravely led the people in the village’s defense. The fight was furious and the princess fought like a seasoned warrior. Murals that used to grace some of the city’s building depict her as a fierce fighter wielding a huge talibong, a short native single-edged sword. The pirates¬†routed, but the cost of the princess’ life. Her paramour arrived in time to see her¬†die. In grief, the people lovingly buried her. To their surprise, a tree grew over her grave, the first Kansilay tree, a final gift from the brave princess. (source Wikipedia)

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KANSILAY

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TRIVIA: Silay became a chartered city on June 12, 1957 by virtue of Republic Act 1621.

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The increasing popularity of the Hugyaw Kansilay Festival year after year is a testimony of Silay’s strength as one key player in the tourism industry.

 

 

 

 

KAON TA LIWAT SILAY FOOD FESTIVAL

KAON TA LIWAT Food Festival is part of the week-long celebration of Silay City 60th anniversary which runs from June 6-12, 2017. The food festival was launched in November 5, 2016 during the Cinco de Noviembre Commemoration. The said food festival showcasing the local homemade cuisines and food delicacies of the town help  boost the tourism industry of Silay.

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Aside from culture, arts and heritage, FOOD is considered as one of the major pillars of the tourism industry.  Silay is not only a home for heritage houses but also a melting pot of sumptuous local cuisines and mouth-watering native delicacies.

Disclaimer: Video not mine taken from the Facebook page of Kaon Ta Food Festival

The food festival opens at 8:00 a.m. and run until night-time for two consecutive days (June 10-11, 2017) at Balay Negrense Museum ballpark displaying an array of delicacies and homemade cuisines. The said event is a good venue for family bonding and get together as well. Filipinos love to eat and food is the basis of our social life and is a huge part of Filipino culture.

Here are some of the photos that I took during the food festival this morning.

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TURON also known as lumpiyang saging is a Philippine snack made of thinly sliced bananas, dusted with brown sugar, rolled in a spring roll wrapper and fried.

 

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UKOY is the Filipino version of shrimp fritters. Small shrimps mixed in a batter and fried until crispy. This can be an appetizer, a main dish, or a mid afternoon snack.
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BUTCHE is a rice cake made from sweet rice flour that  folded into shape with a sweet paste filling and sesame seed coating.
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GULAMAN ENSALADA (SEAWEEDS SALAD)  is a type of Filipino salad that makes use of edible seaweed as its main ingredients.

Filipinos like condiments and fond of dipping on or pairing anything with our dishes. Eating oysters would not be perfect without dipping it into vinegar with chilli, ginger and garlic.

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CHICKEN INASAL is a popular dish from the city. It is not marinated or prepared like the usual chicken barbecue found in the rest of the country.

Aside from food and delicacies there are also souvenirs items being sold made by local artists of Silay like ref magnets, key chains made of lutak or clay, wire sculpture of Ian Valladarez.

KAON TA LIWAT SILAY FOOD FESTIVAL is more than just an opportunity to try the Silaynon delectable food and learn about Silaynon culture. This is an invitation for the community and visitors to come, eat and be a part of the celebration. A great opportunity to come out and support our local food business industries as well.

Whether you are a serious foodies or just curious to learn more of the heritage tour this is the event that everyone must look forward to every year and something that everyone should come out and experience.

KAON TA! (LET’S EAT)

 

MAJESTIC VIEW OF LANTAWAN PEAK AT LANTAWAN VIEW SILAY

There is no better way to explore Silay City, Negros Occidental ¬†than our winding, curvy mountains road to Patag and to the majestic view of the Lantawan Peak. ¬†The road going up to Lantawan Peak is clean and surrounded by mountains of green, tall trees and sugar cane plantations that can be seen along the side. Negros Occidental is the Philippines’ major sugar producer, contributing over half to the country’s total production.¬†

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As you approach the top you will be in awe by the beauty and simplicity of rural life. It was a quiet scenic ride all the way up to Lantawan View Silay. At the top, there is a campground and a distance away is the forest seedling of mahogany trees. The mahogany tree (Swietenia mahagoni) is a large tropical tree with a semievergreen growth habit.

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Towering Mahogany Trees
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Towering Mahogany Trees
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Camping Ground

Due to its popularity and known for its view that overlooks the Lantawan Peak, the owner decided to put up an accommodation offering a tent-style accommodations and a basic cottages.  The place has a bathroom for male and female where you can take a shower and a small store that offers small bites for snack.  They have a wide space to park your 4  or 2 wheels service as well.

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Dining Fly
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Camping Tent

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A Frame Cottage

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In preserving the beauty of the place, visitors and guests are not allowed to pick flowers and carving trees.

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The best part of our road trip was seeing the majestic mountains of Lantawan Peak surrounded by greenery and fresh air was truly amazing. The scenery is so beautiful, no words can describe how I felt that day. I felt I transported into a paradise realm where the Earth is still pure, fresh and nourishing. The view was just so amazing that I stood glued by the beauty of the mountains. I was totally captivated by its grandeur.

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Lantawan Peak is the northernmost peak of Mount Silay. The peak is largely uninhabited, especially its back country Southern side. Likely most of the peak of the mountain, Lantawan is largely covered by forest.  The first recorded climb of the peak done by Joseph Victor Magdato, Mark Anthony Maja and John Paul Salcedo who scaled it on October 3, 2005.

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Elevation (feet) is 3,442. Latitude: 10 49 58.44″. Longitude: 123 14’9.96″

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It was almost late in the afternoon when we headed back to the city, as we descend I saw beautiful flame trees (fire trees, Delonix regia) along the side of the road. It is a flowering tree that grows in many tropical parts of the world, like the Philippines. 

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The leaves of the tree look like Fire. It is red, yellow and orange. So beautiful to see. How the shade and the sun connect. It  makes me felt I was in a field of fire.

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The sky turned into orange, yellow, red and blue and imagine strolling through these trees with leaves the color of fire. I just wish everything just stop. It was amazing. Orange, yellow, red all different colors  really made me felt warm inside as I said goodbye to this beautiful country side of my home town.

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I am going back someday…..

FINDING HERITAGE – HACIENDA ADELA CATHOLIC TRADITIONS

This is not a docu short about rituals of faith during the Semana Santa. I and Hannah did this story about a hacienda and a beauty queen. Hacienda Adela, a sugar plantation tucked between mountains and sea in the Philippine city of Silay – also known as the “Paris of Negros” island – the region’s cultural center. It is home to sacadas (migrant workers) and dumaans (originals), who have managed to preserve centuries-old Roman Catholic traditions, including saying chants in Latin, even by those workers who have not reached secondary school. Miss Culture World Rizza Paula Lacson is seeking to discover heritage worth preserving. When the past and present, old and new meet, and intersect, heritage reveals itself – Julius Marvels.

Holy Week in the Philippines is a significant religious observance for the Roman Catholic majority and most Protestant groups. It begins on Palm Sunday and continues Maundy Thursday, when businesses in the Philippines either shut down operations until Black Sunday or have the late opening and earlier closing times. Many communities observe Spanish influenced Catholic rituals such as processions, with many having been syncretized with pre-Hispanic beliefs. This is evident practices and many superstitions associated with the occasion.

The recitation of chanting of the Passion story of Jesus -the Pabasa ng Pasyon – is one of the oldest Holy Week traditions in the Philippines. Since 17th century believers have gathered that week to pray by singing or reading a story of the Passion of Jesus of epic singing that predates’s rise in the Philippines. In some urban areas in the Philippines, Pabasa ng Pasyon is a declining traditions, but there are always people who make a panata (vow) to participate and such practice remains strong in HACIENDA ADELA in Silay City, Negros Occidental. They are the living heritage. The folks continue to practice these oral traditions so that the younger generation can still experience them in the future.

EXPERIENCE SILAY CITY CHRISTMAS VILLAGE

Experience Christmas Village in Silay City, its joyful atmosphere with thousands of glittering Christmas lights, colorful lanterns or referred as “parol” in Filipino lingo, creative Christmas decorations and manger¬†displayed all over the plaza that will truly bring you and your family into the perfect Christmas mood. A Nights of Shimmering Lights a great place to meet up with friends, stroll along with family, loved ones and take pictures.

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What is Christmas Village? 

The time of the year wherein the communities start making their Christmas lanterns, holiday decor and “Christmas arko” ( arko is a Silaynon symbol for welcome and the hope of the Silaynons for a more progressive future) being displayed in Silay City Plaza for the Yuletide Season to show their craftsmanship and creativity.

This year the participating communities and barangay who are vying for the awards¬†expected to join the theme “Masanag nga Paskwa sa Pag-asenso sang Dakbanwa” ( A Bright Christmas For A Progressive City). Lanterns, Christmas decor and arko are made of recyclable materials and Mountain Dew plastic bottles.

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Christmas Village has been a long tradition which started  as early as 1840 with the aim to beautify the plaza and bring together the community during the Yuletide season which continually grown over the years.

Exactly 7:30 P.M. on December 11, 2016 the plaza illuminated with twinkling lights followed by the “Employees Christmas Extravaganza” a show that brings together favorite Disney heroes, princess and villains. After the show was the fireworks display shining in the sky. So beautiful to watch!

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I Hope you enjoy my photos of our Christmas Village, and that  every one of you have a very Merry Christmas!

UNPLANNED ROAD TRIP – GUIMARAS ISLAND OFF WE GO…

“Go Ahead You Never Know What Could Be On The Other Side”

We did not have a plan to cross the sea and go to Guimaras. Our plan was to go back to Bacolod the following day after our long and tiring trip to GarinFarm and Iloilo City. But an unplanned road trip sometimes is the most thrilling part of adventures right? You don’t know exactly where are you going, just packed your clothes, go and get lost. It doesn’t matter where you go, it’s the experience not the destination that counts.

The last thing we knew, we already boarded a ferry heading to Guimaras Island after our breakfast in the hotel. Guimaras Island is one of the top destinations in the Philippines both by foreign and domestic tourists, especially for nature lovers and adventure seekers like me. The island of Guimaras always stands out as one of the travel destination in the Philippines because of its white sandy beaches, quaint little towns, bike trails, and off shore islets. Guimaras Island is  known as the home of the sweetest mangoes. Just a short trivia. Did you know that Guimaras mangoes earned its reputation as the sweetest mangoes in the world after being served at the White House and Buckingham Palace?

Guimaras¬†is an island province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. It’s capital is Jordan which is the gateway to Guimaras. The island is located in the Panay Gulf, between the islands of Panay and Negros.

Iloilo is the primary gateway to Guimaras. The island province is 15 minutes by motorboat or ferry ( Php14.00 per head) from Parola and Ortiz Wharf in Downtown Iloilo City.

Once we boarded and settled on the boat we took some selfie pictures. ūüôā It was a lovely smooth sailing boat ride. The views are very scenic, at a distance, I saw a large cross on top of one of the islets of Guimaras. I asked the guy setting behind me what it was. He answered “it is a church and you need to climb the steps going up to the top of the mountain and it would take you two hours to go up and another two hours to ¬†come down.” OH MY GOODNESS! I can’t imagine myself taking a trek like that.

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Smile ūüôā

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One of the islets  in Guimaras that caught  my attention is the big cross on top of the mountain.
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Inviting blue waters of Guimaras.

After 15 minutes of sailing, we finally arrived at our destination. Upon disembarking, I saw the sign “Welcome to Jordan the gateway to Guimaras”.

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Jordan Wharf the gateway to Guimaras.

At the port entrance there are tricycle drivers, jeepneys and multi-cab operators waiting for passengers. We were  approached by a local  as we disembarked from the boat and were told  we needed to go to their Tourist Information Office to register. Inside there are maps of places you can choose to go and explore. After finalising where we would like to go, I asked one of the drivers  if he could bring us to places where we wanted to see. You need to haggle the price for the transportation.

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A ride for the day to see the island of Guimaras would cost you about PHP1,500.00,  just try to haggle the price. If you do not rent the tricycle for the day, the  fare would be PHP50.00 per head one way.  Renting a tricycle one way may lead to no  tricycles available when it is time to return to the wharf.  The advantage of renting a tricycle as a group the driver would wait for you on your own convenience. I haggle the price for PHP1,000.00 and we both agreed on the price.

The adventure begins…we are on our road trip…yey!!!The road trip going to our destination is very scenic, beautiful dense trees ¬†with some opening in the trees along the road ¬†that provides lovely views of the surrounding landscapes.

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Beautiful scenery on the road
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Lush green forests

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Our first stop is their little plaza or the smallest plaza ever recorded in Guinness Book of World Records. Their little plaza is just a few minutes from the port. The modest statue of Doctor Jose Rizal, our national hero is standing at the center of their plaza surrounded by circular porches.

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Photo not mine. Taken from the internet. We just stopped bye here.
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Photo not mine. Taken from the internet.

Our second stop is the  San Lorenzo Guimaras WindMills. The trip going to the WindMills was quite long, passing lush green towering trees and large mango plantations. The scenery is quite impressive and the road is well maintained. I was impressed at how progressive the little towns of Guimaras is in maintaining their roads.

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The San Lorenzo WindMills, measuring at 80 meters tall and 40 meters wide on the other hand, rise like a skyscraper towering over everything. Each wind turbine blade is capable of generating 2 megawatts of electricity giving a total of 54 megawatts, more than enough to cater 13-megawatts power supply needed for the province. The remaining energy is used to power the neighbouring provinces РIloilo and Negros Oriental.

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Approaching San Lorenzo WindMills

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After taking pictures in San Lorenzo WindMills we headed to Our Lady of the Philippines Trappist Monastery. This is a peaceful and sacred enclave in Guimaras run by the monks of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance. These monks follow the rule of St. Benedict and are best known for extreme austerity or strictness that characterises their discipline.

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On our way to Our Lady of the Philippines Trappist Monastery
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Water Buffalo cooling of in the river.
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Cow under the tree.

The Trappist Monastery in Guimaras was founded in 1972 and is the only men’s monastery in the Philippines.

The monks earn a living by selling souvenir items and food  such as jellies, jams, candies and playa (is a muscovado-filled unleavened flatbread from the Philippines especially common in Negros Occidental where it originated. It is made by filling dough with a mixture of muscovado and glucose syrup) and more which are sold in their small shop within the monastery grounds. When buying their products you are helping them earn and sustain their living.

It was already noon and our hungry tummies started singing, our driver brought us to the Raymen Beach Resort where we had our lunch. Entrance Fee is Php20.00 per head. As soon as we paid  the entrance fee we headed to their restaurant. It took us so long to call the attention of the waiters before we can order our food. The place was packed of people. The food is good enough to satisfy our angry belly he he.

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Raymen Beach Resort, located in Alubihod Beach, is one of the popular resorts in Guimaras  both for locals and tourists. It has a short white sandy beach surrounded by the inviting blue waters, pristine off-shore islets of Nueva Valencia, Guimaras. This is an excellent jump-off point for Guimaras island hopping tours.

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Our last stop is their  Guimaras Provincial  Capitol before heading back to the wharf in Jordan Guimaras where we posed on their iconic GUIMARAS  touristy spot. I guess you really have to stop here for a picture.

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A souvenir photo with our nice, friendly,, entertaining and smiley  tricycle driver as we bid goodbye to him.

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at the Jordan Wharf before heading back to Iloilo City.
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On our way back to Iloilo City.
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Goodbye Guimaras!

Till the next trip…we will see you again!!!

OUR JOURNEY TO HEAVEN – GARIN FARM

” My home is in heaven. I’m just passing through this world.”

Billy Graham

It was almost noon time when we arrived in GarinFarm, our journey to heaven. Garin Farm is a slice of heaven on earth. I’ve heard a lot of comments and read lots of reviews about this place, so that I wanted to see it with my own eyes.

GarinFarm is a 14 hectare inland resort located in the town of San Joaquin Iloilo. There are no buses in the town of San Joaquin. Buses passing daily in this area are those coming from and going to the province of Antique and of Iloilo. A number of tricycles operate within the municipality. The most common mode of transportation in the poblacion is trisikad ( The cycle rickshaw is a small-scale local means of transport; it is also known by a variety of other names such as bike, pedicabs, cyclo or trishaw).

GarinFarm is a perfect place for family, friends or people who love nature, outdoor activities and educational travel in matters like farming and agriculture. This is a great place to relax, retreat and meditate as well while bringing yourself closer to nature and to our almighty creator.
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Upon entering the gates, you can smell the smells of the farm life. Along the way you can see ducks, chickens, goats, rabbits and water buffalos as you walk through the pavement of their hanging gardens. The uphill walk inside GarinFarm leading to the heart of the place where the pavilion is located was a bit tiring but fun. Walk, smile, and think of happy thoughts as we continue our journey to heaven. As we all know, entering the gate of heaven will not be easy. ūüôā

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Hanging Gardens

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After the long walk, your eyes will be in awe by the breathtaking view of the place. There is a wide swimming pool for adults and children and a large artificial lagoon for kayaking, fishing, horse-back riding, all terrain bikes, ziplines and a lot more.

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Photo not mine. Taken from the internet.

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One of the main attraction of the GarinFarm is their Pilgrimage site located at the heart of the farm. It has a huge stone fa√ßade leading to the 456 steps towards the Divine Mercy Cross. Going up to the Divine Mercy Cross would be a great way to lose some calories and fats. ¬†As I climb the steps my legs are a bit shaky but keep on telling myself go Tess go..You can do it. It was hot and the angry sun started to cause my skin to feel hot as if it was burning. I almost wanted to give up. But there’s no reason to give up. Our hardest time often lead to the greatest moments of our life.¬†I should try to take the most of it. As we reached the top I was sweating but with a big smile on my face. Hurray! Finally we made it! I made it!

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A breathtaking view at the top

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As you climb take time to stop and meditate on different scenes of ¬†Christ’s life.

Reaching the top was a very satisfying moment for us, as we finally reached the inspiring Divine Mercy Cross and seeing  the big image of the Divine Mercy was a great relief.

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From here you need to enter the meditation tunnel leading to the gate of heaven.

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As we step inside the meditation tunnel you have this feeling of being drawn into darkness. It was total darkness. We can not hardly see each other, I need to grab the hand of my friend as she leads me towards the end of the tunnel until reaching a realm of radiant white light.

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Towards the end of the tunnel.

As the light appears and the tunnel takes you toward the light and into heaven. HEAVEN ON EARTH! The place is so bright that we could hardly open our eyes. I had to shield my eyes from it until my eyes adjusted to the brightness. The light filled me with rapture of love, peace and joy, it was so intense and so beautiful.

There are angels blowing their trumpets who stand beyond the gate of heaven as you can see the Throne of Light and Glory. The heaven is so beautiful, my heart felt very peaceful.

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Our trip to GarinFarm was truly a memorable one. A beautiful, idyllic slice of HEAVEN!

Direction:

From Iloilo International Airport:

  • Take the Shuttle Bus going to SM City, Iloilo
  • From SM City, Iloilo, take the SM Manduriao jeepney and take a stop at the nearby intersection under the overpass and ride the Oton bound jeep going to the jeepney terminal located in Mohon, Oton.
  • In Mohon Oton Terminal, there will be several San Joaquin jeepneys ready to take you to GarinFarm for PHP60.00.

From Iloilo City Proper:

  • Take the San Joaquin bound jeepney from Super terminal, Iloilo City.
  • You ¬†can also take buses going to Anini-y or Dao Antique in Molo Terminal. Tell the bus driver conductor to drop you off in San Joaquin

From San Joaquin Town Proper:

  • Take a tricycle ride and tell the driver to take you to GarinFarm, Brgy. Huna. Brgy. Huna is a 2-minute ride from San Joaquin town proper.

For Private Transportation:

  • San Joaquin is the last town in the southern part of Iloilo
  • Driving ¬†along Iloilo-Antique National Road would get you in San Joaquin in about an hour
  • There will be signage and billboards directions along the highway going to GarinFarm to guide you.

TIPS IN VISITING GARIN FARM SAN JOAQUIN:

  • Bring umbrellas, hats, ¬†sunblock, shades and other protection you can against the sun. However, I suggest better to go there as early as possible before noon time. Noon time would be so hot. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while climbing the stairs going to the Divine Mercy Cross.
  • Bring extra budget if you plan to try their leisure activities. The entrance fee is not consumable.
  • Enjoy the scenery

ENTRANCE FEE:

  • PHP150.00 per person excluding children 1-year-old
  • Senior citizen discount; applicable to cardholders only. Strictly no outside food and drinks allowed.) Food and drinks available in the pavilion.

From the entrance you can walk going up to the pavilion and explore the agricultural products along the way ( just bring your umbrella). For those who can’t afford to walk under the heat of the sun, you can take a ride in the Golf Cart (3 pax/ride): Entrance to Pavilion is PHP60.00; Pavilion to Cross: PHP90.00.

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES:

  • Executive Conference Room (15-20 pax): PHP2,500.00
  • Hilltop Swimming Pool – PHP80.00
  • Hilltop Horseback Riding – PHP60.00
  • Biplane (300 meters -2 rounds): Sitting -PHP250.00 and Superman PHP350.00
  • Hilltop Boating: (Single Kayak -PHP40.00; Double Kayak – PHP90.00; Pedal Boat-PHP90.00; Rubber Boat – PHP120.00)
  • Hilltop Fishing: PHP30.00/kilo
  • Billiard: PHP60.00/hour
  • Restaurant
  • Canteen
  • WiFi Access
  • Laundry Service
  • 24-Hour Security
  • 24-Hour Electricity

ROOM RATES:

  • Hilltop Family Room: PHP3,500.00
  • Hilltop Twin Room: PHP2,500.00
  • Hilltop Single Room: PHP 1,500.00

***Extra Bed: PHP350.00 with breakfast; PHP250.00 without breakfast. Available for Family and Twin Rooms only and limited to 2 extra beds.

*** Check-in guests have complementary breakfast and a free use of the hilltop pool.

For inquiries and reservations please contact Garin Farm San Joaquin

  • Telephone Number: + 63 033 314 75 55
  • Mobile Number: + 63 916 667 6851

or visit their Facebook Page: Facebook.com/GarinFarmInlandResort

Website: http://www.garinfarm.com

THE HIDDEN BEAUTY OF BACONG, NEGROS ORIENTAL

Bacong is a small town in the province of Negros Oriental, 10 minutes ride south from the City of Dumaguete. The town founded in 1801 by the revolutionary Filipino hero Pantaleon Villegas, better known as Leon Kilat. Leon Kilat monument stands in the little park and became the landmark of Bacong. The town’s name comes from the local dialect word “Bacon”, which means stand up.

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Photo not mine. Taken from the internet

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Only in Bacong can you find an old church known as the church of San Augustine with the tallest belfry in all of Negros Oriental and is one of 26 colonial churches within the country selected for restoration by the National Commission for Culture and Arts. It has the oldest altar with gold-bearing and painted friezes and a pipe organ from Zaragoza, Spain, installed in 1898 shortly before the revolution against Spain broke out in Negros Oriental. The only pipe organ of similar provenance is Bohol.

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Photo not mine. Taken from the internet
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Photo not mine. Taken from the internet.

Lots of expats live in Bacong including me and my partner and it became our adopted home after my partner decided to retire from his work in Australia as a Geologist. My partner did a lot of research and reading about Bacong and he  fell in love with this little town.  My partner loves the country side of living while I am a city girl and have always enjoyed diversity of the city, so there was a big adjustment and transition on my side.

Bacong¬†became popular destinations and retirement haven for expats. It’s tranquil small-town life by the sea. It is known for its beaches. Here you can find an array of beautiful resorts and cottages along the coastline. There are plenty of apartments, houses fully furnished ¬†that you can rent for long or short-term which is very affordable.

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The town is accessible by jeepneys, tricycles and private vehicles.  The best way to tour around Bacong is by foot or tricycle because it is such a small town and most of the sights are only a few minutes away from each other.

After nine months of living in Bacong we decided to move to my hometown Silay City, Negros Occidental where life is highly urbanised . It keeps a breast with development yet still keep up the laid back lifestyle. For the time being we are enjoying our life here in Silay City.

Living in a small town like Bacong was one of my best experience. My partner and I enjoyed our time there and one day we will be¬†going to visit. We miss our friends that makes the town what it is ” A great place to live”.