THE NEGROS ORIENTAL PHILS ESCAPADE

Casaroro Falls, Olayan Falls, Balinsasayao Twin Lakes and Forest Camp Adventure

Negros Oriental is another Philippine island which is located near the southern part of Cebu. Dumaguete City, as the center of industry there, is a quite a small city and is actually smaller than that of Cebu City. It is as big as the Colon Street in Cebu but much cleaner and not as crowded. Since, we are from Mandaue City, Cebu, going to Negros Oriental via Sibulan (a province in Negros Oriental and where my husband originated) took us about 4-5 hours by bus and fastcraft. If it is your first time going to Negros Oriental by bus and fast craft boat, please bear in mind that you have to take the bus going to Bato/Liloan because if you fail to, you will be taken to the other side of southern Cebu. Once you arrive at the Liloan Port, you have to buy a ticket for the ferry boat which costs 60 pesos. But if you want to save time but not money, it will only take 45 minutes by plane from Mactan Cebu Airport to Dumaguete Airport. It will cost around 1000 pesos if you are lucky enough to avail the Cebu Pacific Air’s promos.

And now here is the list of places we visited in Negros Oriental:

  • Casaroro Falls 

This waterfalls is located in Valencia, Negros Oriental.  The last time we went there, we rode the motorcycle.  There is actually a rent-a-motorbike in Dumaguete if you do not have a car or a bike. There is no public vehicle that can go near where it is located.  It is very far from the city.  And if you are already near the location, the area is not cemented.  The road is rocky.  But upon reaching to area where the falls is located, we need to pay 10 pesos for for entrance fee.  And going to the falls is really challenging.  The last time we went there, we had to go down a on a very steep stairs.  It was a long way going down. Big rocks covered the river as we reached down.  We also had to climb rock after rock. But our price of doing that was the enchanting, amazing and very strong water falls.  But swimming was prohibited.

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And now, the long journey was over, we finally arrived in the waterfall area.

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  • Balinsasayao Twin Lakes

These lakes are located in Sibulan, Negros Oriental.  These lakes are situated side by side  separated by a hill. Going there will take about 30 minutes from the main road using a car or a motorcycle. You will pass along the mountains. The entrance fee is only 10 pesos. The place is very tranquil, peaceful and so quite.  If you want to see the other lake and views hidden by the mountains, you have to rent a boat for 250 pesos per hour.  This boat can accommodate 8 people.

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Going to the other lake, we had to use the rented boat. The picture shows the twin lake.  It’s very quite and swimming is not advisable because it’s quite eerie.

 

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After exploring the twin lake, we crossed the side of the hill back again, and had to ride the small boat to explore another side of the area.  And now we’re heading to Olayan Falls.

 

 

  • Olayan Falls

This is just located beside the Balinsasayao lake.  We had to cross the lake using the boat.

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Olayan Falls is just a small waterfalls but the water is clear and very enticing to take a swim.

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  • Forest Camp

Another tourist spot you don’t wanna miss if you are exploring Negros Oriental is the Forest Camp in Valencia.  It is actually a retreat house.  You can actually spend on night there in their rooms.  The entrance fee for walk-ins is 35 pesos.  They have cottages where you can eat and can bring your own food without corkage fee.  They have quite zipline and several natural pools lined up like stairs.  The water is bypassed from the spring. The water is cold and so clear.  This Forest Camp quite accessible compared to the spots mentioned earlier.  So, getting there is not much of a problem. The view is AWESOME!!!!!!

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OSLOB GETAWAY (10.Aug.2014)

The Butanding / Whale Shark Watching and Tumalog Falls Experience

Getting to Oslob, Cebu from Citilink near South Bus Terminal in Cebu City took us about 3-4hrs by van/V-hire.  Each one of us had to pay 180pesos for the fare. But if we hadn’t taken the V-hire, we could have travelled by an airconditioned bus, which would have cost each one around 140pesos.  Since it was Saturday at that time at around 4pm, South Bus Terminal was a bit crowded, it was so hot inside the terminal and we had our parents who had come along with us, so, we had to go to Citilink and got to travel by V-hire. As soon as we arrive there, we still had to wait for the line but much better than that of the South Bus Terminal.  And since we were impatient enough to wait, we decided to rent the V-hire, or pakyaw, as we call it in Bisaya and had paid 2500 pesos. We would have paid 2800 pesos if we did not haggle.  The 3-4-hour ride wasn’t that stressful because 9 passengers were not enough to make the V-hire so congested.

Upon arriving in San Jose St. Poblacion, Oslob, we were greeted by Minong, the assistant of the owner of New Village Lodge, where we would spend our night there.  I had to specify the name because he was so accommodating and so nice not to.   We had already booked this lodge earlier through Agoda for a very affordable price.  It only costs 800pesos for a fan room.  It is very ideal for backpackers. It can accommodate 8 people.  Here’s a snapshot of the room. (Please don’t mind the faces. Haha)

accommodationIt looks as though it can be ransacked any time but safety was never an issue for us because the owner’s house is just beside this lodge. However, it is advisable for travellers to contact the owner beforehand for them to confirm if the room is available.  Because in our case, we booked two fan rooms where each can accommodate 4 people. However, when we contacted the owner, only one fan room was available. Fortunately, this room can accommodate 8 people.  The owner explained that Agoda was not updating their room availability on time.  The owner was also very accommodating and friendly.  He can also give you a ride using his Sportage which can carry 7 people (maximum) and the rest of us (that’s me and my husband) had to ride the motorcycle. He just asked 250 pesos for each passenger which cost us 2250 pesos for 9 people.

On the next day, on a sunny Sunday, thank God for that, we woke up 4:30am, prepared our things for the day’s exciting event, and took our breakfast.  At around 5:45pm, we departed for Butanding / Whale Shark watching.  It took us 10-15 minutes to get there.  Whale Shark Watching starts 6am and ends at 12nn every day.  My advice for travelers is for them to be there early like 6am coz it will be too crowded and too hot at around 9am onwards. The fee for the whale shark watching inclusive of the boat and the life vest is quite affordable. It only costs 300pesos if you just want to watch the butandings on the boat. But if you want to swim with them, you need to pay 500pesos and you will be given a snorkel.  If you want to capture the moments with the butandings, you can rent an underwater camera for 500 pesos.  One underwater camera is enough for 4 people in one boat.  The image files you have will be given to you later and if you want to burn the files in a cd, you need to pay 80 pesos. Before the exciting 30-min whale shark watching you will have to attend an orientation that you should not wear sunscreen/sunblock when you want to swim with the whale shark, that you need to rinse if you had already applied sunblock and that you also need to be 4 meters away from the butandings which was impossible for us because they kept swimming towards us .

orientationdos and dontsAnd after listening to the facilitators, it was now time to play with the whale sharks. Wohoo!

getting there-better

After the orientation, we went directly to the boat/bangka.  Two assistants who worked there accompanied us.

on the bangka

By the time we reached to the feeding site (though it is technically not feeding because fishermen only gave the butandings hipon/small shrimps just to lure them), one of the assistants would help those who didn’t know how to swim very well just like me and the other one would take photos of you with the butanding underwater. You should make the most out of it.  After all, it’s unlimited.

with the life vest

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After that moment with the gentle giants and a rest of about 20 minutes, it was now time for Tumalog Falls, a side trip that you should never miss.  15 minutes ride away from the butandings’ site is the cold waters from the Tumalog Falls.  After we arrived, we had to pay 20 pesos each for the entrance fee.  But we had to walk on a steep road for about 5 minutes from the entrance before dipping into the water and before we can witness the beautiful site of the falls.  But if you are too lazy to walk, you can ride a motorbike (habal-habal in Cebuano) for 50 pesos to and fro.  Now, it’s time for the Tumalog Falls experience.  The residents there were so friendly that they would help have our pictures taken.

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That’s all for now folks.  Hope to share with you another exciting adventure next time.

 

 

Pure Heart

20.08.14

Pure Heart

Last Sunday (17.08.14), I and my husband went to church in Cheras and it was our first time there. Who could have thought that the sermon would turn out to be a good one. It did not focused on religion but instead on personal betterment, on spirituality and on personal relationship with God.

He discussed one of the beatitudes in the Bible. His discussion was mainly on the passage in Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” I totally agree with the pastor about not comparing ourselves with others when it comes to anything especially about integrity because if we do, we become frustrated. Instead, focus on God alone. In that, we will be humbled. We should also strive to be more like God who is Holy. And for me this is so difficult because I am a sinner.

The preaching also emphasized on spending sometime alone, to be with God and to meditate.

What exactly does it mean to have a pure heart? In my point of view, having a pure heart means not thinking bad about others, not comparing yourself to others, not thinking you’re better than others, doing good things to others out of nothing and you do it because it feels good afterwards, doing something without deceiving others, not speaking bad about others and not wanting to hurt others. It is mainly how you deal with your neighbors. And we can acquire these by focusing on pleasing God and not men. Pleasing men often confuses us what to do and often leads us to sin such as greed, pride, envy, etc. It will also make you feel less and you will feel angry with yourself.

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