Hinakpan hills-Guihulngan,Negros Oriental

hin5

Guihulngan town is approximately 120 km away north of Dumaguete and was the farthest so far I’ve traveled by a motorbike. I came up with a bunch of attractions to visit, which most of it was waterfalls 😀 but on top of my list is actually Hinakpan Hills.

Location:

Hinakpan Hills or Hinakpan Chocolate Hills is situated in Brgy Hinakpan,Guihulngan, around 30 minutes away from Guihulngan town proper by a motorbike.

Hinakpan Chocolate hills has a similar landscape in the world famous Chocolate hills found in Carmen,Province of Bohol. They share the same geological formations which composed of limestone. While hills in Bohol is undoubtedly fascinating and mystical as 1,776 hills scattered around the area, Hinakpan is also unique in its own way, 237 hills are distributed around the village in varying sizes and shape.

Because I came for a long travel and holding my body upright for a long time on the same position, it resulted to an exhausting arrival. For that reason, the best thing to do was to let someone drive me to Brgy Hinakpan. I was lucky when my schoolmate was in town when I contacted him. When I told him where we are going, funny it was when he doesn’t know where it is. So we left the town proper excited as it will be our first time.

We took Guihulngan-Isabela-Hinigaran road where we had a smooth drive. Though there were unpaved portions, most of it is already concrete cement. We drove uphill to an elevated area where the mountainous terrain provided the perfect canvas of nature’s beauty and God’s creation, truly, his majesty is great beyond our own understanding, his majesty were wider than the earth and the deepest of the depth, as we were moving I was in silence seeing mountains that I couldn’t reach, it was divine.

We continued driving passing Brgy Magsaysay to the uphill road of Brgy Masid-i. Prior to the areas of Hinakpan is actually Masid-i, and so were very much close to our destination.

hn17
Entrance of Brgy Hinakpan

A sight of different hills awaits each visitor en route at the entrance of Brgy Hinakpan, were the road runs through mystical hills. In the beautiful hilltop Baranggay of Hinakpan, each visitor will be gifted with the sight of unique hills. The isolated land-form comes in conical and distinct formations, some are in perfect cone, some have asymmetric curve, there are also in tower-shaped, there were smaller hills at the bottom, there were also round, I’ve seen pointed hill too and some others.

hinak2

hin13

hin8

We entered the village to get a closer look of the hills, we were surrounded with unexplained setting of the environment, though I’ve been to Chocolate hills in Bohol, I can only view the wonder in one location, while in Hinakpan, I’ve seen at least three viewing decks at the summit to get a different perspective of the whole area.

hin10

hin6

sam_3020

At the summit, I was blown not just the view but the fresh air too. There was a portion where I could remember an exact setting in Bohol. The sight was breathtaking,360 degrees of hills drenched with greenery, we all just stood there  then decided to just spend the rest of our time right there.

hin

hin16

hin12

hin11

hinak

Visit and discover our Negros version of chocolate hills, demystify Hinakpan today!

hin7

Honop falls-Pamplona,Negros Oriental

honop

Typical of the Pamplona town landscape, the abounding coconut palms fill the lush lands of this municipality. Some connecting river systems in the area still remain unnoticed and untouched. While everyone was pre-occupied of the yuletide season and long holidays, my weekend was spent wandering in the hinterlands of Pamplona.

En route to National highway connecting the towns of Pamplona and Santa Catalina in Negros Oriental, the connecting barangays of this town is surrounded with mountains, slopes and of steep hills. The elevated area tends to have a cooler atmosphere especially in this season and mostly characterized with misty surrounding at early mornings where roads surface are covered with fog obscuring ones visibility when driving, in fact, as we were heading our way to Brgy Honop, the fogs were visibly all around.

People in these remote areas lives on a simple way and mostly dependent on mountain farming. This mountainous portion provides a numerous secluded areas to explore of which I was curious what lies on low areas between those mountains, typically one can think of a river flowing through it.

An unknown waterfall hidden off the road somewhere in Baranggay Honop has a breath taking sight we should find out. Because it was located in the same Baranggay, we shall call it Honop falls.

How did we get there:

As I always do, asking the locals is still the best way to reach the waterfalls. From the highway, the jump off point of vehicles should be at Baranggay Hall. We asked a few residents and they pointed us to a descending slope.

Since it is undiscovered to masses, a local guide is really needed for this journey. My guide, who lives in Pamplona and whom has relatives in the area had seen the waterfalls from a far. I convinced him if we could get closer to the waterfalls and take a look from the bottom.

We followed a descending track down were the surface was really slippery due to a continuous rainfall the other night. The river stream were covered with plants, still kept unnoticed, I can’t hear any waters, not the barest sound of it. So we continue moving down until we finally we could feel the stream.

Upon reaching the river flowing, we followed it down to a dead end where the water jumps into a cliff. The trek was slow and careful as the stones were really very slippery. We found ourselves atop of the waterfalls were we could cautiously look at it but all I can see is the green foliage of the surrounding cliff. Getting more excited, we decided to descend more, literally there were no one to ask, even the last houses we saw, there were no one.

honop5

We can’t find any established path to the bottom,if there was, we don’t know so we made our own path following a cassava planted surface in a very slow pace. There is no room for a hurry this time as many times we almost fall. And so to reduce our weight, we left our bags somewhere.

honop6

As we reached the very bottom, we stopped in a few minutes to rest and figured out where to go next. All we need to do is just to follow the river up to the waterfalls. Huge boulders are on our way ahead. Stunning scenery and unspoiled environment go hand in hand this time.

15722534_1823657634579914_2039865755_n

We trek a little more as we could hear the falling waters of Honop. We pass some boulders and we saw the highlight of our trek. The water cascades over a cliff continuing its journey down. It was majestic. Its water drops on an average volume descending thunderously in the desolate silence.

honop4

honop9

honop8

Where is your sense of outdoor adventure? Venture an expedition now to the wilderness of Pamplona and discover the natural beauty of Honop falls.

The Wildlife Sanctuary-Sta.Catalina

sanc2

Forests are a source of recreation as well as the ecosystem among wildlife, dense jungle, local flora and fauna, and the subsistence of some endangered species in our country including primates, most kind of which lives in trees especially in tropical areas.

To the hinterlands of Negros island of which are overgrown with dense and virgin forests, the presence of monkeys in the region are in great threat due mainly on growing human population, and monkey hunting drives this species to near threatened status.

In connection with this, wildlife advocates are committed to give a voice for environment and animal concerns, guidance of traditional practice of the tribe, preservation and protection of our biodiversity. The Sta. Catalina Biodiversity Conservation Project was headed by the park chieftain of Brgy Kabulakan Lucas Valor, together with Sta. Catalina Bukidnon Tribe Association and was made possible through the assistance of Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE), also in cooperation with local government of Santa Catalina and Negros Island Initiatives for Rural Development (NIRD),Inc.are working hand in hand to reach a common goal of providing a healthy habitat of monkeys in our region into perpetuity.

sanc4

The Sta. Catalina wildlife sanctuary is the home of endemic trees, birds, reptiles and Philippine long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis philippensis) a subspecies of  Crab-eating macaques.

sanc6

Description:

  • Medium-sized monkey with total body length of about 17 inches to 24 inches
  • General color upper parts of body  mummy brown, the hair ringed with blackish brown; top of head tinged strongly with chestnut color,while their undersides are much lighter
  • Tail is often longer than its body (typically 40–65 cm (16–26 in)
  • Infants are born black
  • Males are taller and heavier than females (between 412 and 648 mm (1.35 and 2.13 ft) and weigh, on average, between 4.7 and 8.3 kg (10.4 and 18.3 lb)
  • Females measure only 385 to 503 mm (1.26 to 1.74 ft) and have average weights between 2.5 and 5.7 kg (5.5 and 12.6 lb)
  • Male macaques have much larger canine teeth
  • Macaques are primarily arboreal and can leap distances between trees up to five meters, using their long tails for balance
  • Both males and females have white coloration on the eyelids near the nose

sanc13

sanc10

sanc12

Currently, there are 50 monkeys in the park and are freely wandering in their natural habitat. This type of monkeys prefers to occupy forested areas near water and are found in higher densities near riverbanks which Kabulakan area is a good spot for them. The reserve area is bordered by a wide river  with mountains covered with dense trees.

It was a delight seeing them not as pet nor confined in a cage.As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by a band of monkeys leaping at the branches to branches, in a strange noise they gathered in the viewing area. One thing they were staring at me is the plastic bag I was carrying, I know they were thinking food inside.

sanc9

Feeding them is the main activity in the sanctuary, 60 to 90% of their diet are mostly on fruits and seeds and so I bought them some bananas, though they eat other fruits too and some plant matters, foods provided by humans are also being consumed but bananas are the most ideal fruit to feed.

sanc3

The group or band is lead by a dominant male which is the oldest and the biggest. There were about 20 of them in the viewing area when I visited, the rest were wandering in the wilderness. Caretakers named the leader of the group as “Governor”. He is the oldest and the bravest as I observed, like any other male in the group he has a rude behavior of which I was very cautious . As a result, I just toss the bananas so as they could not come closer. They were good catchers.

sanc7
“Governor” the leader of the band

The park is open everyday to everyone, no entrance fee is levied, donations are very welcome and of great help for this creatures. Though they are endemic in our country, this monkeys are the frontier specie in the province of Negros Oriental. Visitors may bring any fruit for them or better yet bananas are their favorite.

Saving this animals into extinction is in the hands of mankind, educating people for their conservation should be addressed to everyone specially the younger generations. Let us help in saving our biodiversity.

sanc1

How to get there:

The Wildlife Sanctuary can be reached via Pamplona town or Santa Catalina town proper. Head your way to Brgy. Kabulakan. From the national highway, visitors may walk at around 10 minutes or so to reach the area. Visitors may now easily access the sanctuary through a steel bridge connecting a nearby community to the park.

sanc11

Other things to do:

Aside from interaction with the primates, you may also visit the nearby Mantabios falls.

Cang-iping Beach-San Juan,Siquijor

cang1

Cang-iping Beach is another display of God’s countless beautiful creation and goodness. When he created our world, HE was pleased of what he saw. And I quote (Genesis 1:31-“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”)

The bustling resort accommodations in Siquijor is mostly found in San Juan town where the shoreline stretches out on white sandy beach. The island is blessed with natural attractions, beaches, caves, verdant mountains, rich in  marine biodiversity.

Before reaching Poblacion San Juan, the white sand shoreline of the town actually starts at Cang-iping followed by Paliton. Both beaches are uncrowded and a scenic stretch of white sands.

How to get there:

From Siquijor town en route to San Juan taking provincial road prior to Paliton Beach, another way to the shore will take you to Cang-iping as shown in the map above.

As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by large fishing boats anchored at the side. A few steps from the parking area, the extension of white sands welcomes me and few visitors with seaweeds washed up ashore.

cang2

The group of visitors where preoccupied of taking selfies and pointing each others camera in any angle of the beach, they were delighted seeing the area. Then each of them were saying Hi’s as the camera rolls on a record. Upon hearing their talks, they are visitors from Manila.

I went further to the other end of the beach providing a picturesque natural scenery,who wouldn’t love to be on this place? Under coconut palms, a sunny skies, listening to the breeze, rustled through the sands and the waves lapping at the shore.

14996536_177954882665180_1932723541_n

cropped-14962919_177955499331785_1069132402_n.jpg

Then my attention was directed to a sign posted. It says ” No Trespassing,Private Property”. There is a distinctive structure nearby but I wasn’t sure if its exactly connected to what I’m thinking. The exterior color resembles that of a popular resort in San Juan.

Confirming my thought from a batch mate in college who lives close to Paliton Beach, she says, part of Cang-iping is actually owned by Coco Grove Resort. I was right. Paliton, Cang-iping and Cambusyo Beach were actually her grandparents property, and that, she is one of the successor.

I hope the silhouette of this area continue to exist if it’ll be developed into a future accommodation. When visiting Siquijor, make your way to Cang-iping before it gets too crowded, or how about spending the rest of the afternoon here as this is a perfect spot to watch the sunset.

cropped-14937917_177956179331717_326021405_n.jpg

cang-ip

cang

Minalulan Beach-Maria,Siquijor

min2

I always contemplate of living someday on a beach. I thought of how is waking up early in the morning on a beautiful beach just a few steps on my bed.  Fortunately, to the residents of Brgy Minalulan don’t have to dream of that.

Brgy Minalulan is a coastal area of Maria town in the province of Siquijor. Being a coastal area, fishing is a sustaining livelihood here and is mainly dependent on the abundance of marine environment along Maria bay.

Manifested on their long beach, I’ve seen a great number of fishing boats. Most of the settlements in the village are put right next the shore which is one of the longest beach in the island next to San Juan shoreline. The beach has a long stretch of white sand, and incredibly, I was the only visitor ambling on its sands.

min1

It was with great pleasure seeing two kids enjoying their playground, the beach, the white sands, the sun and the waves. Aside from the backdrop view of the sea, a noticeable structure part of the scenery serving as a navigational aid is the Minalulan lighthouse.

min9

min8

min7

min6

How to get there:

As you can see on Googles embed map above. From the main town of Maria as the starting point. There are three routes you can take to get you to Minalulan.

  1. Maria town proper via Brgy Liloan
  2. Maria town proper via Brgy Saguing
  3. Maria town proper or Lazi town via Brgy Simacolong

The long beach of Minalulan can be accessed to anyone, free and open to the public, no resort accommodations. Explore  Siquijor beaches, explore the town of Maria, discover Brgy Minalulan today and wiggle your feet to another uncrowded beach of Minalulan.

min5

min4

min3

Lapac Beach-Maria,Siquijor

lap3

Uncrowded white beach? Siquijor has a lot of them. This posts will take you to the finest beach I’ve visited in the province, less the swarms of tourists, less the crowd, minus the resorts, free of other visitors, no developments. Fun in the sun meets tropical tranquility, stroll on a stretch of white sand, add the beautiful ocean view and azure sea, plus serenity and solitude equals Lapac beach.

Lapac beach is another secret beach located en route to the coastal areas of Liloan in Maria town. This town has a number of hidden beaches, but discovering them before the masses do can be challenging. So I’m counting myself as the lucky ones that are able to step on its shore.

lap2

The state-protected woods of Liloan forest overlays the beach of Lapac, Bacong and some other unknown beaches. From Brgy Liloan I took the same route to Bacong Beach but before reaching the forest, another established route to the left I took to an unfamiliar direction to the other side of the forest.

A few meters I noticed there were no houses around, nowhere to ask, just road, bushes, shrubs and trees there were, plenty. I continue driving on the very end until I finally saw a house come into view. I approached a woman inside, greeted her and ask:

“Is there any beach around?”

“Lapac” she replied

“How do I get in there?”

She pointed her finger on the motorbikes. “From those motorbikes, follow that way and walk down to the bottom. There you’ll find the beach area”.

 At once, I walked through the forest then to a descending trail. Soon the descent grew steeper and I began to be exhausted. I rested halfway and drunk all the water I got.

lap7

As I draw near the shore, there were voices I’ve heard. They were chanting. They were happy.

Upon seeing Lapac beach, it was jaw dropping, extremely surprising. I couldn’t believe it exist. A surreal mix of reality and imagination of an untouched paradise. An illustration of a remarkable view on a postcard.

lap4

lap8

Being the solitary tourist, I sauntered on the white shore from end to the opposite end. The local fishermen were looking at me but they didn’t bother. I couldn’t help but to appreciate more in this island. It felt like every visit I make is an endless discovery. Every visit is a new journey.

lap1

On my journeys, I’ve learned to enjoy now being alone. The less people I see, the better. And so I rest on the sands, just staring at the clouds. Enjoyed the scenery and listened to the silence.

Polo island-Maria,Siquijor

polo1

Undoubtedly, Salagdoong Beach Resort in Maria is one of the top tourist destinations in the province of Siquijor. Tourists flock to this beautiful beach with unbelievably turquoise water, magnificent views and white sandy beach but the majority miss out on a nearby gem completely untouched.

Have you heard of Polo Island in same town? This posts will take you to a remote area, a stretch of beach and a nearby small island of which I haven’t heard before. I thought I’ve known Siquijor very well as I’ve been there eleven times already but to my surprise as I look closely to a detailed map there is more attractions in Siquijor that is not much visited.

Part of the fun of my visits to any destination is uncovering those unique and hidden gems that are often found off-the-beaten path. The wild beach and Polo Island is camouflaged with Molave trees particularly in Salagdoong Forest Reserve.

As for the information of everybody, Salagdoong Forest is a man made molave plantation covering an area of 202.15 hectares of which is considered the biggest in our country and in Southeast Asia.

How to get there:

polo

polo3

En route to Salagdoong Beach Resort, your guiding landmark is shown in the above image. The road to the right is going to the resort while on the left is an unknown route which I took. The way was not as bad as I thought; it was a bit rocky but was a bearable drive. I was driving amidst the forest without knowing where I am heading and was not sure if I took the right way. But when I saw another motorbike of which I am sure they were fishermen then I continued all the way to the coast.

Upon arrival I saw the rest of the fishermen gathered in the shaded area where the wives were preparing for their lunch together with their children. It was fun to watch their families taking their lunch together with a vibe of music they played setting up huge speakers on a tricycle.

I was alone but never lonely. Nothing beats the sight of its water and dazzling beauty. The untouched areas along Maria Bay is the perfect place to explore for those that love to get off-the-beaten path.

pol8

polo4

polo7

polo5

polo2

The stretch of the beach consist mainly on all white coral stones making it very unique. The state of tide during that time is at its lowest so more of the beach can be seen. People can go offshore up to the small island but I prefer stay ashore this time. The beach was all by myself. Finally, to end this posts, I’ll take a selfie :D. Cheers!

 polo9

 

Kawasan Falls-Lazi,Siquijor

kawa111

A newly discovered waterfall and cave in Siquijor proves that we should never stop exploring. Kawasan Falls is situated in Lazi town en route to Brgy. Cangclaran, just a nearby attraction to one of the most visited Cambugahay waterfalls.

An intersection route will take you to Brgy. Cangclaran and Cambugahay where a visible sign is placed as a guiding sign towards Kawasan, then drove uphill for less than 5 minutes.

kawa2

As soon as I reached Brgy. Cangclaran, I was welcomed by the residents and a local guide. Because I don’t know where it was, I approached a young man to lead my way. 10 pesos was levied for each visitor for the parking fee.

As I’ve seen in their log book, I was one of the few visitors. The only way to access the new waterfall is to descend into a hill with newly established track of around 200 steps.

kawa3

Upon reaching the bottom, immediately  the waters of Kawasan greeted me with a hue of color blue sharing a similar attribute to that of Cambugahay. The location is concealed chiefly of trees and wild plants.

The stillness of the environment is accompanied with bird sounds and the flowing waters. There were no other visitors that time except myself and four other local guides. The entrance to the cave is located beneath the waterfall, which I opted not to go inside, for safety reasons, there were no gears provided, the distance of the cave has not been mapped and so I find it more dangerous.

kawa7

kawa4

kawa5

It was just a quick side trip and I am always grateful every time I see a waterfall, whether of towering height and small. When visiting Siquijor, don’t miss on discovering the hidden falls of Kawasan.

kawa6

Bacong Beach-Maria,Siquijor

bacong1

It was high tide when I visited Kagusuan beach for the third time, thus some seaweeds were carried along the shore but still one of the gorgeous beach I’ve seen in the island. There were few fishermen at the end of the beach preparing for a catch. One of the fisherman approach me while I was taking photos, as we were talking, he recommended another lovely beach in their area which he says a much longer drive.

They call it Bacong beach, located in the same town en route to Brgy.Liloan. Bewildered of how it looks like, I shall allow my intuition to guide me today as I felt an exhilaration of a hidden paradise. The wind blows wherever it wishes, the trees where swaying of its direction, then we were lead to a dense forest. On a sunny drive at noon, it was so nice to have abundant tall shade trees canopies our way through Liloan forest, some bare roots of aged trees had crept over the track amidst the woodland covered with dried fallen leaves.

bacong7

The beach and the forest are bordered by a vertical cliff and of surrounding vegetation. The end of the cliff serves as a parking space for visitors where I left mine and some other four motorbikes. Standing on top of the cliff, my eyes were met with the vast ocean. Upon hearing the sea waves, instantly I went down to the bottom.

bacong8

In a few distance, I saw some local fishermen gathered around the coast, some were hoovering their meal while others are preparing their fishing boat, at the end of the stretch are teenagers reveled the clear waters of the area.

bacong5

The lovely beach is completely virgin, both ends of the stretch have spectacular rock formations, waters are magnificently clear were it was irresistibly I took a dip, though I didn’t went that far, colorful fishes are visible near the coast. The beach face and the wrack line consist mainly on coral rocks and stone deposits while white sands stay at the berm section.

bacong6

bacong4

bacong3

This is one of the many virgin beaches in the province you shouldn’t miss too, start planning your tropical getaway now, pack your picnic and head off to discover the untouched beauty of Maria town, get off-the-beaten track and enjoy a tranquil experience in Bacong beach.

bacong2

 

Talostos falls-Sta.Catalina,Negros Oriental

My first attempt to this secluded waterfall last June was a failure. I am almost a few meters down to Talostos waterfall, unfortunately; time didn’t permit me to proceed. I arrived on a native hut on top of the cliff at around mid-afternoon through Brgy. Amio. While it’s true that Talostos is located in Brgy. Amio, a local resident recommended me to take the other way which she says a much nearer hike en route to Brgy. Mansagumayon.

The water of Talostos drops down at 50 feet and is therefore considered as the tallest waterfall in the town of Sta. Catalina. It was a timely visit as the water jumps on its greatest volume. The cascading waters follows an oblique direction resting on a sheer cliff surrounded by dense vegetation specially coconuts.

talostos4

How did I get there:

As suggested by a local, I went directly to Brgy Mansagumayon. The residents along the road warned me regarding the route as it is unpaved and rugged.There were just a few people I saw along the route and they were very kind, though their directions were a bit confusing as their were multiple intersections.

The first kilometer can be accessed by a motorbike, but the rest will take arduously on foot. There were no one to ask that time so I just followed a track of seriously in rough condition until I reached onto a steep cliff overlooking a river stream. To the other side I could see where exactly I was the last time I visited the area. Basically I was standing on the exact location where a local was pointing of where I should take.

I continued following a sloping area down to the bottom, though I don’t see any waterfall, the noise ahead was a resounding excitement.

talostos3

talostos1

Unmistakably, that was Talostos falls. It was completely undisturbed. Dwarfed by its height, I was standing behind a beautiful scenery and a gorgeous backdrop.

Tips:

  1. Bring enough water and snack
  2. Bring also with you an insect repellent
  3. Dispose garbage properly
  4. Be cautious in stepping the rocks, they are very slippery
  5. Don’t leave personal belongings unattended
  6. Swim on your own risk, there is no lifeguard assigned
  7. Currently there are no scheduled buses plying from Sta.Catalina to Pamplona, I suggest you drive your own vehicle or hire a habal-habal

kljg