Selinog Island, Dapitan City, Zamboanga Del Norte

Escape the crowd of tourists to this idyllic island you probably never heard of, Selinog Island.

While the secret is out about popular destinations,there are still remote and peaceful islands in our archipelago that offers a rare tranquility. Selinog is not part of Negros Provinces but this deserves to be introduced, knowing that for sure most of you doesn’t know this exist or probably you’ve been seeing it already but didn’t get a chance to step on its shore. You see, Dumaguete is your gateway to many destinations in Central Visayas and areas in Mindanao.

Roro Vessels travel from Dumaguete City to the following areas:

  • Siquijor Port,Siquijor Province
  • Larena Port,Siquijor Province
  • Cebu City, Cebu Province
  • Tagbilaran, Bohol Province
  • Dapitan City, Zamboanga Del Norte
  • Dipolog City, Zamboanga Del Norte
  • Zamboanga City
  • Manila

By Plane Daily flights are now available from Dumaguete to the following areas:

  • Manila
  • Cebu
  • Cagayan De Oro
  • Davao

With the development of technologies through the years, we are now able to view places within our island, within our country and anywhere in the globe. It enables us to search the exact locations through navigational system providing location and time information in all weather conditions anywhere via Satellite.

While navigating Google map in Negros and nearby islands there was this tiny islands visually very interesting to me. I’ve seen this islands en route Dumaguete to Dapitan City basically located somewhere in Dapitan bay and where neighboring islands of Siquijor and Apo island.

Viewed from afar, this two islands resembles the attributes of Balicasag island in Bohol, it’s a flat coralline island filled with palms trees surrounded with white coastline. Selinog and Aliguay islands are actually under the jurisdiction of Dapitan City in the province of Zamboanga Del Norte.

Information on this islands are quite limited so before going make sure to plan your trip ahead. I understand it’s impossible to reach this two on a day trip, and so we will visit them one at a time. Now, let’s put Selinog island on a limelight.

Initial plan:

Our initial plan was to form a group so as to lessen the expenses on our transport to the island. There were 10 people who confirmed, 8 of them are from Zamboanga Del Norte province and two from Bacolod City. The transport will only include Bangka transfers from Dapitan City to Selinog island and vice versa.

A day before our scheduled trip, while finalizing all the arrangement, things went unclear when the people involved refuse to respond my messages, and the Bangka owner also confirms, 8 of our group backs out, worst the two from Bacolod made also adjustments as one of them is ill. In the same manner, felt unhopeful, I was the only person left in the group.

But with eagerness, with things ready on my part, I was willing to grab the transport package with or without them. I was able to close a deal at 1,500 pesos transport.

An hour before I leave my workplace, in a surprise, the two from Bacolod City confirms that they are on their way to Dumaguete to accompany me. Je Em, an English teacher in Bacolod will be joined by his Vietnamese student Kelvin whom all set for our DIY experience.

How did we get there (DIY):

From Dumaguete City, we boarded a ferry(FastCat) bound to Dapitan City at about 4 hours. Je Em, having no dull moments with him, constantly establish conversation with us made sure that we are alright.

Early morning, we arrive at the “Shrine City of the Philippines”. From Pulawan port we proceed immediately to the coast of Brgy Bagting. The fishport area transformed into a busy market trade among local fishermen including the residents of Selinog. This is where our negotiation happens. We approached some anchored fishing boats in the shore. The first vessel was already a good deal as they offered 1,000 for us, but Je Em was cheerful enough to look for another. The second boat offered 900 which we could have ended. But the owner informed us that we have to stand by for at least two hours while he waits for his companion. Can’t wait that long, we went to the third Bangka, Je Em persistently haggled for the last deal, 600 pesos for us.

Tip:

Look for local residents and join the group bound to Selinog, fare price ranges for as low as 50 to 200 pesos. Travel duration is 2 hours. The same scenario goes on your way back.

The Island

While on a voyage, a pod of dolphins greeted us with a warm welcome, spinning in the air, they are a usual sight around the island. Selinog or Silinog lies at 12.9 kilometers off mainland Dapitan City, Zamboanga Del Norte. The island was declared a marine reserve by the local government of Dapitan and is teeming with rich underwater marine ecosystem. It has a land area of 78 hectares surrounded by 70 hectares of coral reefs and white sandy areas.

There is no resort in the island,no restaurants and cafeterias. Staying overnight is highly recommended and experience an island life in Selinog. You may opt to camp and set up tent in the beachfront, or sleep on its sands or look for a local Homestay at 100 pesos per pax. There is no electricity in the island, fresh water for drinking is a problem, phone receptions are available at the beachfront. 100 pesos is levied for a table at the beach. As much as possible bring your own food. Marine sanctuary is a must see when you visit Selinog, in the same way, bring your own life vest and snorkeling gears. Swim at your own risk.

As we draw closer to the island, we already had a sight of the stretch of a  beachy paradise, the waters were insanely crystal blue. As we arrive, our first assignment was to look for a Homestay.  Thankfully, the islands chieftain who was with us in the vessel offered their home to be our shelter. We couldn’t asked for more with her, as she provided us the things we needed. When finally settled, we utilized the remaining hours on exploring the small island.

As dusk falls rapidly, we gathered at the beachfront were it turns a hangout with other visitors. I can’t forget that captive setting of the sun until the moments turned to night. Not only that, sunrise can also be observe in the island. This is just a total package for anyone who’s looking for that intact slice of paradise and experience a slow pace of life.

The next morning, we explored more of the other parts of the island and just layed the rest of our hours in the beach while looking for boat back to Dapitan City. It was already mid morning when we are able to negotiate someone back. In connection with it, there is an alternative way on getting to and from Selinog island.

 

Option 2:

There are organized boat tours that shuttles Dapitan City in Brgy Bagting or via Brgy Banbanan. Fare starts from 1,500 good for 5 people. Travel duration through Brgy Banbanan to Selinog is around 1 hour.

Our way back to Dapitan was via Brgy Banbanan which the boat organizer was kind enough also to fetch us back together with the other group. Adding up on our itinerary, he guided us to Banbanan cave and pool in their community, hoping to promote the attraction and introduce the hidden gems in their area, not to mention their are sheltered white sandy beaches in Brgy Banbanan worth the time to visit.

To sum it up, Selinog island  truly left a place in my heart. Living the island life,its idyllic spit of sand curves gently into its clearest waters. Where mass tourism has not spoiled the sense of paradise in the island, Selinog is sorrounded by pristine tropical landscape and white sandy coasts, bathed by crystal crystal clear and vibrant turquiose waters.

 

Expenses:

  • Ferry fare – P450.00 – Economy/Head
  • Tricycle ( Pulawan port to Brgy Bagting) – P10.00/Head
  • Boat transfer ( Dapitan to Selinog ) – P 200.00/Head
  • Homestay – P100.00/Head
  • Boat transfer ( Selinog to Brgy Banbanan ) – P100.00
  • Habal Habal ( Brgy Banbanan to Dapitan City ) – P25.00
  • Meals (2 Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner) – P300.00

*Suggested time to visit: During summer

 

 

 

 

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Pagsalsalan falls/Maaslum twin falls-Ayungon,Negros Oriental

Discover the striking elegance of natural twin waterfalls in Ayungon Town, Province of Negros Oriental.

The rural atmosphere en route to Ayungon is another alternative for someone who’s looking for laid-back settlement. The countryside has scenic views of expansive rice fields, coconut and pineapple plantations, sugarcane, bananas and some others. Located at about 82 km north of Dumaguete City, this small town has a total land area of 265.1 sq km of which the people are mainly engage in agriculture, whereas the life in coastal areas revolves on fishing as a major activity.

The geographic areas outside the town proper has pretty rolling scenes of plantations, mountains, and some of the remaining forests of the province extending to the boundaries of Bindoy, Mabinay and Tayasan.

With its remote location and some insurgencies on critical areas in the mountains, some destinations in the hinterlands doesn’t draws that much attention for a visit. Nevertheless, EnrouteNegros is optimistic on discovering distant natural attractions and sharing you the hidden gems of the community.

Pagsalsalan falls or Maaslum twin waterfalls is situated about 8kms from Ayungon national highway. That is just an estimate of 25 minute drive from town proper to Brgy Maaslum. Driving our own vehicle, it enables us to see a glimpse of the lives and environment of the villages. The road accessibility to central Maaslum has established road due to operations of a mining firm. From a distance before arriving to the mining site, we observe a discouraging scene of a sloping mountain.

Photos by Madelane Banjao Anfone
Photos from Madelane Banjao Anfone
Photos by Madelane Banjao Anfone

The Goodyield Resources Development, Inc. (GRDI), a firm engaged in exploitation of mineral resources mainly on silica sand and quartz of which it produces cement, copper smelting, and fiber cement board plants. The mineral resources will be transported to its private port situated in Tampocon, Ayungon, Negros Oriental.

January 2019, it was reported of an issuance of a closure order by its town mayor after its failure to comply the requirements for a business permit.(https://visayas.politics.com.ph/negros-oriental-firm-to-sue-mining-firm-for-operating-without-permit/).

Just a few meters from the quarry site is a river that flows along the barangay down to the next villages and exits to Ayungon town. The river stream if followed will lead us to the twin waterfalls. Jump off area for vehicles is basically near the site then hike begins.

From the jump off area, we make use of our time exploring around, there were security guards along the premises of the quarry site with some heavy equipment. Seeing the devastation, we could imagine the adverse effects of the environment, soil erosion, surface water contamination, destroyed landscapes and agricultural land, leakage of chemicals are just examples we foresee if this operations will continue. The mountain over the site were expansively depleted. On the other hand, we explored more on the other side where we followed a trail and eventually found ourselves moving on a river trek.

The good side of the picture has greens on all sides, there were trees, a river stream with sulfur content and a trail to somewhere. We had a peaceful walk to a sloping trail up until we don’t see the terrible side. At the end of the trail is an adjoining river streams and a vision of an elevated waterfall. Now we can truly appreciate the raw beauty of nature on this side. We went closer to it as the natural pool is hiding beneath the large portions of a rocky cliff. That was a good view of a deep basin from our vantage point.

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Its twin falls on the other hand is just situated in a nearby gorge. That was a dramatic drop of the second waterfalls. It flows on another lofty hill spreading its waters as it goes down a shallow and craggy basin.

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Nature provides us with many wonderful things, from mesmerizing sights, to our consumption and even shelter. All of these are necessary to sustain our life in this planet. But with the advancement of economic activities and the spread of human footprints, our environment deteriorates. But we can do something with it, each one of us has the responsibility of the change. May we never forget one of our purpose in life, we live to protect and sustain our nature. Most importantly, we make sure that we leave a lasting legacy of protecting our environment, better for our generation and to the next. Let us help one another on conserving our nature.

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Prayer Mountain and Pinikpikan Peak-Malaunay,Valencia Negros Oriental

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A foggy adjacent mountain Brgy viewed from Sitio Salantikon,Brgy Malaunay

If you don’t find me in my office desk, I am probably on a beach, if you don’t find me on the beach, I am likely running a marathon event, If I’m not on a running event, I am at the mountains. I am that person who works regularly on a corporate sphere and frequently wander on weekends or engaging into strenuous run. This has been my usual routine to keep myself busy, Work-Home-Run-Wander (repeat).

The municipality of Valencia, being mostly has elevated areas and the closest respite destination from Dumaguete is my usual landing place on unplanned day trips. Unwilling to drive long away from the city this week, two mountain summits I aim to reach en route to Brgy Malaunay.

Short on climbing skills? Enroutenegros is bringing you to this beginner level mountains almost anyone can climb.

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1.Prayer Mountain-Sitio Salantikon

This mountain peak was discovered to have a solemn location by a religious group where they do some devotion early morning. It has an easy trail of about 3 to 5 minutes from the jump off area. No wonder the simple path to summit became a favorite of weekend hikers and rookie climbers alike. The first part of the trail before ascending is just like a walk in the park. Rest assured visitors will be rewarded with spectacular mountain views.

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Entrance fee: 0.00000000000

Parking fee: Any amount

 

2.Pinikpikan Peak-Sitio Balantian

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This neighboring summit is about 5 minute drive from the Prayer Mountain situated in Sitio Balantian. Though not as much known to many compared to Prayer Mountain, the topmost area offers the same spectacular views. The hike though takes longer and more challenging than the other one. Although some parts of the trail are steep, they are not considered very difficult. Your efforts will be rewarded with a jaw-dropping view of the surrounding. Aside from Pinikpikan, the Balantian swamp is also somewhere a good spot to hang out. This is a perfect place to spend a day in the mountains together with your family or friends. Visitors may opt to camp in the area.

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Entrance: 0.000000000000

 

In Negros, rookie-friendly peaks are everywhere. Let’s start slow and low, with these beginner level mountain summits can give you a taste of what climbing expert-level mountain feels. If you are reasonably fit, you don’t necessarily need to have years of mountain climbing experience to summit some of Negros mountains.With the rise of exploring places, people are now more engage on outdoor activities, whether it’s a picnic, a bike ride, an overnight camping or hike in the mountains, let us not forget the outdoor ethics on promoting the conservation of our environment. LEAVE NO TRACE!

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The Opposing Waters of Lubas and Pulangtubig Falls

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Banica River is one of the major sources of domestic water in Dumaguete City, which the fountainhead originates in the mountains of Valencia town, one of its tributaries flows through the famous Casaroro falls. Do you know that aside from that most photographed waterfalls, the upper and lower parts of it has also some series of waterfalls which snakes through the Cuernos de Negros ranges?

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Believe it or not, there are at least 11 fascinating waterfalls connecting that river. From the top, the twin falls of Nagabi is around 6 kms of uphill climb from Casaroro entry point, 5 and 3 kms away to the titan falls of Lubas and Pulangtubig, 2 kms away down to the Original Casaroro, 2 kms away further up to Dolley and Tabunan falls, 4 kms away to Andoy falls, and 1 km to Totyn falls and Lulunggan falls.

That’s a lot of exciting destinations to check right. But for now, let’s get to know more of the towering falls of Lubas and Pulangtubig. These two keep lingering my mind since that first major climb I had en route to Mount Talinis. Viewed from the trail, the portion of the waterfalls were already compelling. The sound of its water drops echoing every corner in the jungle. The dense woodland and undergrowth has been a complex territory for visitors.

Prior to this trip, there were at least four attempts I did finding for that trail going down. Failed to those times and as much as I love to wander alone this is definitely a chance to look for local guide together with easy going companions. As much as I don’t want others to undergo mishap or difficulty on a trip, but the world is just full of friends, who shares equally the same passion and discovering new adventures to create a meaningful stories. We wander as one to promote the beauty of our province and spread awareness on responsible traveling.

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Left to right: Archie, Klydie, Myself

We agreed to assemble early morning one weekend aiming also to finish early. Joel, our certified and local guide in Valencia will lead us through the whole itinerary. Along with me are two dauntless wanderers, Klydie from Bayawan City and Archie from Bais City whom will also be first timers to those waterfalls.

Our starting point is at Casaroro falls entance. We started out smooth, following an established trail via Apolong to Mount Talinis. Eventually, before an overlooking area of the lowlands, we changed our direction as we followed Joel to an unnoticed track. Condition now shifted to a slow paced movement. Slowly but very careful, ground was wet and slippery. The gradual descent requires full concentration and without rush, we leave plenty time to get down but on a reasonable pace. Suddenly we figured out that we have no idea where we actually were.

We couldn’t familiarize the route as literally there were no trail, we were just following Joel whom were also cutting down the shrubs along the way. We just constantly hear the melodies created by the river but we couldn’t see it clearly from a distance since the slope is full of trees. With the help of our guide who cuts out unnecessary obstruction to the view finally we are able to see a short glance of an isolated waterfall. Its water flows down from a different tributary, as we draw closer down the river, the three of us felt a sign of relief.

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From an arduous descent, I couldn’t help but to immerse my hands and face to its cold waters. From that standpoint, we witness a natural occurrence of the connecting river. Huge amount of clear water on our right unites to a reddish colored water from the left and finally flows as one down to Casaroro, then to Banica and eventually to the ocean.

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the opposing water scheme

We walked along the colored waters up to its source. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Pulangtubig falls. Derived from its appearance, Pula meaning Red and Tubig as water, though it doesn’t really look red, but the rocks were turned into somewhat red. Puzzled how it turns that color, probably the source has an abundant sediments and is carried away with the current or probably a sulfuric stream upstream causing the rocks to turn red. It resembles that characteristic of PulangBato falls.

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Pulangtubig falls from a distance
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Joel cutting down ferns
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Klydie, dwarfed by Pulangtubig falls
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That is how the basin of Pulangtubig looks like

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Left to Right: Klydie, Archie, Me

Just a short river hike from Pulangtubig, we stopped by to a shorter waterfalls. They call this as Andoy falls. Joel told us that this is the area where they usually catch freshwater eels. With the changing weather in the mountains from fair to gloomy, all of us don’t want to get stocked out there when water rises. Thinking of that struggle we went earlier, we were hopeful for an easier way around which we did, the ascend on our way back has a trail and was a lot more easier. Finally we rested some time back at the trail. Joel emphasize this time that the second waterfalls will be tough, and that we must be prepared for some climbing session.

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Klydie at Andoy falls

Right after our rest, we immediately went to a critical route, we were knee-shaking standing on moist water pipes, underneath is a dangerous ravine we couldn’t afford to fall. This is way much difficult compared to the first. We were really very careful with the unstable footing, there were grounds that it looked firm but once you step were actually just dried leaves. Next we have to deal are thorny plants, a lot of instances we don’t notice it, some of them are unavoidable, worst we stepped on it and touched it. The steep ground was really tough to descend. Joel were always there to help especially with undergrowth interferences, but most of the time, plant roots or tiny shrubs are the only thing we hold onto in order not to fall. Clearly we are struggling on some parts that we have to creep in inches.

The last part of the trek down was the most dangerous as I could remember, we were climbing on lateral part of a rock cliff clinging to that tiny roots along with it. A mistake will surely land on the rocks, but it comes along a clearer view of the entire waterfall. We took a little time to rest and look on its raw beauty in the middle of the jungle, completely separated from the touch of humankind. Mighty water drops on a captivating basin. The natural pool is insanely cool. The rocks were naturally formed into a holding basin deep enough for its coldest waters.

 

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Canada? no its in Valencia,Negros Oriental 😀
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Lubas Falls

Not done yet, We opted to ascend more down to the bottom. Again, Joel with his help were always ready for necessary stuff needed, using a rope tied on a tree manages us to easily go down to the river flow. The view and intensity here totally blows me away.

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Klydie staring up the mighty drop accompanied with mist

 

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This has been an exceptional day for us, it was tiring but totally fulfilling,  we are one in a few people and locals who has been to this spot.  We may never see future plans of coming back but the experience will be remembered over and over again.

 

Tips:

  1. Check the weather
  2. Make sure you have a guide
  3. Be prepared for some climbing session
  4. No shouting in the mountains
  5. Pack essential things like food, extra clothes, and water
  6. LEAVE NO TRACE

 

 

 

Matin-aw falls-Malaunay,Valencia,Negros Oriental

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It was just a simple day trip that weekend but it turns into a full-day affair when I randomly came across a hidden waterfalls en route to the hinterlands of Malaunay Valencia Negros Oriental.

I was supposed to attend a whole day general assembly event as I was one of the chosen members to represent an annual meeting. Aiming to avoid a busy street, the long lines and the crowd just like last year, I woke up early and proceeded to the event. The registration of the assembly starts at 6 am and I was already in the area, it was well organized and smooth.

The event always starts with a mass then the main program follows. I was seated on a higher deck of the arena to get a clearer view and comfort. A few minutes of just sitting and looking for familiar faces, I feel like I was bored. In an instant, I found myself driving away from the court to somewhere. I was thinking to probably go home and do my household chores. On my way home, my sight was directed to the mountains of Valencia town. Seeing a clear weather, I decided to detour heading to Palinpinon.

The cool environment pushed me to continue driving the next barangays of Caidiocan and Malaunay. This is one of my unplanned trips, never made an arrangement, just go with the flow, and follow where my feet would bring. But what I usually do when going to unfamiliar place is searching for pictures online, saved those photos and ask the local community.

The foremost thing I wanted to check in Malaunay is an astounding waterfalls not much visited. No idea of where it is I stopped to nearest gymnasium of Malaunay, asked the locals but none of them knows. How could they don’t know? They should know better than me. Though it wasn’t the first time that locals doesn’t know what I’m referring to, many times it happens. The quest continues as I moved up, I ended up with a warning on one of the people not to go there, it could mean a great danger. In spite what he had said, my enthusiasm prevails and that it continues me to move forward.

At the end of a paved road, before entering Sitio Balantian I saw some parked vehicles, there were also houses along the road so I asked one of them and showed the waterfalls. Being at the right place for jump off area, a woman directed me to a descending route with a few houses along the way. Some meters away, the trail becomes confusing, the signs of the path loses further down the bushes. Analyzing the area, I shall allow my intuition to guide me this time following a sound of a river flow on its foothills. When wandering to new places, it is always recommended to look for a local guide, it will save you more time rather than finding your own way.

Halfway on my descent was a clearer sight of Okoy river. Upon reaching the river channel, the easiest way is to follow its flow up to its source. Careful moves should always be observed in this kind of environment, safety should always be on top priority when wandering to unfamiliar destinations. With its huge and sharp rocks, and strong current, one mistake will put ones life in jeopardy.

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Along the river are numerous natural pools, further up on a winding way sits a certain scenario of Matin-aw falls, it has two levels of powerful water currents dropping to a firm rock partitions. The first level is uniquely divided into half down to an extensive basin. To the right is another river tributary, though less in volume, still a picturesque setting of nature adjoining to the waters of Okoy river.

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The upper portion of Matin-aw also displays an immense volume of water, but reaching the top demands a rock climbing ability. Concealed by the surrounding cliffs the waters were extremely cold. Fortunate enough, the sheer cliffs were home of wild monkeys leaping from branches to other branches. This is one of the many pristine destinations in Valencia, just a nearby town from Dumaguete City. As always, we have to be reminded of the number one policy when visiting any place, “Leave No trace”.

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There are many things I’ve realize or learn when alone in nature, I enjoy solitude, I’ll never truly feel lonely, disconnect to the busy routine finding that inner peace. Lonely? nahhhhhh im just hanging out with my soul. This is the kind of rest day I always wanted. What about you, have you tried going places with no fixed plans? or have you followed your heart in case of doubt?

Wander and look for that spot where you could find peace amidst the face of discord and stress.

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Silab, Amlan, Negros Oriental

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Nature’s greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Recently I explored one of the most difficult road driving trails en route to the hinterlands of Silab, Amlan in Negros Oriental but difficult roads have always been a manifestation to a beautiful destination.

Nature has combined this unique natural topography with extensive vegetation and sleepy mountains in this town. The wet road surface and forest terrain conditions on rainy season make access more difficult. I have no idea where I am heading to, and I have no contact person in the area making this a challenging trip.

From a quick visit to Amlan Zoo, my mind was shifted to that huge river, running along Brgy Tambojangin. There could be waterfalls up on those mountains I am staring. From the animal park, an elevated road will lead to the next Brgy of Silab.

Brgy Silab being an agricultural area, the surrounding lands is utilize on usual crops, wide fields of sugarcane, there were few rice plantations, coconuts, bananas, among others, while I noticed most of the crops grown uplands were pineapple, cabbage, corns, variety of vegetables, pepper and some others.

Though developments are now slowly seen specifically on road projects on the remote areas of Silab, mountainous areas still remain unassisted. Sitio Pasalan, the farthest village in the Brgy will hopefully be more accessible in the coming years by the government through farm to market roads.

The road accessibility in Pasalan is actually associated with its power facility. Yes, there is a Powerplant in Amlan. The AHPP  is a 0.8 MW Powerplant facility constructed last 1958 and was ordered for commissioning in the year 1962. The high discharge rate of the river are believed to be springs of underground outlets of Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao in Sibulan. The connecting tributaries has several interesting waterfalls I aimed to see.

As mandated, the National Power Corporation (Napocor) first manages this part of Amlan water resources for power generation designed to operate as a base-load plant supplying power to the town of Amlan and nearby villages. It was on year 2009, that Amlan Hydro-electric Power Plant formally turned over to ICS Renewables by The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) for privatization. With the huge amount of water volume, that part of Pasalan is suited for the facility, hiding behind steep slopes are numerous waterfalls, one of which is Pasalan falls.

How did I get there:

From the central Brgy of Cantalina, road condition up to the Powerplant is undeniably unfavorable for vehicles. Nevertheless, I took the courage to drive up to where I could draw close to my destination. Slowly driving up are scenic views on both sides of the road. There were literally no one to ask, there were also few simple cabins along but no one is around, except to that last hut I approach.

It was a timely stop, a person comes out to that shelter as he also saw me coming. Jonard and his family owns the little hut, he narrated that he grew up in the area and had lived in that house for a year before moving to the central Cantalina village. That hour, he was with his older brother whom also helps him frequently cultivating their farmlands. Taking the opportunity to talk with them, Jonard was the right person to ask about Pasalan falls. He volunteered to guide me as well as interesting spots to see. Growing up in the area, the rivers are their playground whereas also serves the second source of their food. The river beds were home of abundant fishes, crabs and freshwater shrimps. I couldn’t ask for more, they were one of the most accommodating locals I’ve met.

From their hut, he drove me along terrible road, this is what I’m talking about, I could have stuck on those pond-like filled with muds or get lost as the worst. I’m amazed how Jonard handles the condition, not to mention, his previous work as a habal-habal driver gives him an edge to drive easily.

Pasalan Dam

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Our first stop, Pasalan Dam and water reservoir situated just on top of Pasalan falls. We managed to arrive at around 30 minutes from their hut to the jump off point for vehicles, we walk through a thick forests I never thought this town has. Jonard told me that the area were once a den of rebel groups, moreover, gunshots were a usual sounds they hear but now seems to be the opposite of what has been a chaotic environment they are living. Around 10 minutes we arrive to this barrier constructed to hold back water and raise its level forming a reservoir used to generate electricity in the Powerplant. The reservoir sits in the middle of a forest, the flowing waters were extremely very cold probably were ground springs from the twin lakes. To the corner is an outpost guarded by a person on duty whom mostly are relatives of Jonard. The area has some errie vibe, in fact, the person on duty tells experiences of strange sounds of a woman, he even sees unnatural sightings within the forests.

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Kang-ontol/Kan-ontol falls

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Visitors wanting to explore Pasalan falls will have to enter the Amlan Hydro-electric Powerplant premises, the property is gated and is mostly open to the public providing the purpose of your visit. Jonard being well known by many including the staff of the facility makes us to access immediately. The Powerplant system is situated at the bottom, both sides of the facility has river systems of which plays an important role in generating electricity. How does electricity works on flowing water? The impoundment facility, typically has large hydropower system uses a dam to store river water in a reservoir. Water released from the reservoir flows through a turbine, spinning it, which in turn activates a generator to produce electricity. The water may be released either to meet changing electricity needs or to maintain a constant reservoir level. From the building, we hike through huge boulders, but before Pasalan falls, there is another waterfall hiding on a cliff rock, who wouldn’t notice a resounding drop, we had to stop. Kang-ontol falls has such a mighty sight.  Further up is the highlight of our significant trip.

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Pasalan falls

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This is what I am very excited, there were just a few people I know who had climb up to that portion. True enough, double extra large boulders are obstructing the way. We climb, we have to crawl, and penetrate a limited size cavity just to reach the bottom part of the waterfalls. Just a few meters of Pasalan, the basin is stirred by waves caused by mighty drops of large amount of water. Both sides of the picture has towering canyons. Part of the whole waterfall is visible, attempting to view the entire height of the falls seems impossible. Fortunately, seeing it in real makes me appreciate more on our province. There is more to explore and discover.

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After a fulfilling day, Jonard ended the tour with a quick visit to their backyard and farmland. Further side of a hill, something sweetens my day with an expansive land of pineapples. Another thing to be thankful with him, he let me pick pineapples I want and bring it home. What a rewarding day, wish I could bring many but I can only carry two. Later he told me that the fruits will be sold to the provincial market. Not just that, they also supply variety of vegetables in the trade.

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Libas falls-Brgy Fatima,Pamplona

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There’s a great big world to explore, there are beautiful places around our islands that are off the radar, and the best way to discover these unknown places is through locals. This particular river cascades into fabulous and unique displays of falling water as they wind over the undulating landscape en route to Brgy Fatima, Pamplona town, Negros Oriental. Adventure awaits, not just one but several levels from 1-8 in Libas waterfalls.

The single photo I saw on Facebook while searching for a waterfall destination in our province was actually a beginning of a much bigger scenario. The photo consists of a cascading waterfall, a group of local women and a dog at the bottom of it, dwarfed by its height. The view definitely draws my attention.

The photo where tagged somewhere in Brgy Fatima, a highland village in Pamplona town Negros Oriental. Being a mountainous area, farming is a common livelihood here. The base of its mountain ranges flows the connecting rivers in Santa Catalina or Tanjay City and nearby towns. It’s the home of some unknown waterfalls and caves not much explored by people due to isolation.

How did I get there:

Jun, who was my usual contact in Pamplona town denied my request to accompany me to go there, he stressed out that the road is his main concern as it is the worst I could imagine. While he has relatives in the area, he recommended a local guide whom also works as a Habal-Habal driver.

 Ariel, his relative agreed on my itinerary as soon as I called him, he will be my guide and driver. We decided to meet in Pamplona town proper and discuss on the plans and costs. Below was our itinerary:

  •  8:30 am – meet up with Ariel at Pamplona town proper
  • 9:30 am – arrival at Brgy Fatima, Pamplona/jump off point of vehicles
  • 9:40 am – descend to river stream
  • 10:00 am – arrival Libas falls-1st level
  • 11:00 am – 7th level to 8th level
  • 12:00 noon – back at vehicle jump off point

I showed the waterfall image to Ariel to confirm if he knows the exact location. He then confirm, growing up in the area, it was their playground during their early age. There were five of us in the motorbike including a 2 year old boy and his father, me at the end of the row and another local, like a usual Habal-habal scenario, the motorbike has a lot of stuffs on board, there were chickens, sacks, plastics and among others.

It was an hour ride from the town proper to Brgy Fatima. While heading our way to it, then I understood what Jun had told me about his concern. The road is not favorable at all, it was seriously unpleasant, the ride was intense and a mix of agitation knowing that we had a young boy in between. Nevertheless, we arrived all well and safe.

From vehicles jump off point we descended to a hill down to the river stream at around thirty minutes, we followed the waters easily and arrived to Libas waterfalls at 10 in the morning, the view was exactly the same in the picture. Seeing it for real is truly impressive, the water pours down dispersing on some tiny steep rocky slope on a great height. It was a satisfying view after a difficult trip. But what I didn’t know is that there are still a number of waterfalls on top. The two locals asked me if I am ready for an adventure, we will literally climb up through its waterfalls up to the topmost level. Absolutely, YES I answered.

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The second level has a shorter drop, large swimming basin with an undetermined depth, then we continued.

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The third level, has a curtain fall form, what makes this chase exciting is the unique formations of its levels. Like this one, as you can see, the water drops soft firmly to its rocks, a different sight to the previous.

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Fourth level is another unique waterfall, the water drops to greater height down to a 15 feet deep of swimming basin, would you dare to jump? I will, if someone jumps first, but not for now, probably next time.

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Fifth and sixth has also shorter height, both has different drop forms.

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Seventh stop, the tallest of them all, this is were we bathe underneath its drop. The greatest feeling when the water gives you a back massage :D. The push to its summit involved some exhilarating climb.

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The eight level was our last destination but the chase is not yet over as there are still a few more further, though I haven’t seen it all, the eight levels were far the most remarkable experience I had. Scrambling up over steep rocks is not new to me but this is the longest waterfall chase I had to date in one day.

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This is definitely a new outdoor leisure to do in town. I’ve met new people and became friends to share the same interests. Rounding it up, I ended my day seeing how usually people lived in simplicity  in the hinterlands and Sunday is mostly a recreation time among locals in the Brgy, they gathered in one location, some women are selling food stuffs, the men were in variety of gamblers, and a particular location were turned into a cockpit.

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There are still more to explore in this town, something I look forward to return.

 

 

 

Kamp Aninipot-Brgy.Tacdog,Siquijor

Location: Tacdog,Siquijor,Siquijor

Discover the jewels of Siquijor province from gorgeous beaches, lush green hinterlands and irresistible relaxed pace. Venture deep in its mountain views and coastal scenery or probably set up your camp site in upper ground immersing oneself to nature’s beauty and silence.

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Experience a little home base en route to Brgy. Tacdog Siquijor, just around 2 kilometers away from Siquijor seaport, Kamp Aninipot is your next getaway destination. Let’s check out its amenities and accommodation.

Kamp Aninipot is a family-friendly campground in Siquijor dedicated primarily to camping and camping related activities like mountain biking, bush and trail walking. The campground was named in honor of those lighting bug-Aninipot (fireflies) that caught the attention of the visitors as they set foot in the island.

A day tour to their area completes my Christmas break in the province. With an affordable entrance fee at P10.00, anyone can enjoy the magnificent overlooking views in town. Upon arrival, I was welcomed with its unique huts reminding me of the fantasy movie series The Hobbit. I can imagine a magical stay in the campground, waking up in the morning to the picture perfect scenery and think of that moment that you are not dreaming but in fact reality.

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Hobbit Huts overnight rates:

  • P550.00/night (includes sleeping mattress and 2 sleeping bags)
  • Good for two but can sleep up to four
  • Individual fire pit perfect for chilly evenings or for roasting marshmallows
  • Maximum of 4 guests – add P50.00 per person
  • For families: up to 3 children, under 10 years old sleep free
  • Bring your own linens
  • Sleeping bags available for rent
  • No pets are allowed

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Camping is the simplest way to relax on your holiday options, a chance to bond with loved ones and sleep out under the stars. Here are the rates:

Tent Camping:

  • Tent camping – P 250.00/night (includes tent and 2 sleeping bags)
  • No water /electric hookups
  • Bring your own air mattress or sleeping mat
  • Tent site only – P 50.00 for 3-4 person tent.
  • Large size tent (8 persons) – P460.00/tent
  • Extra-large tent (more than 8 people) – P920.00/tent

 

Hammock spot:

  • P45.00/night
  • Bring your own hammocks

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Amenities and Fun things to do:

  • Mountain Bike/Walk trail
  • Bonfire/camfire
  • Toilet/Shower
  • Grill station
  • Snack bar and view deck
  • Giant picture frame
  • Flying bike

I just framed myself by its giant frame situated at the upper hall and took an awesome flying bike picture, the center view is Siquijor port, overlooking ancient trees, the ocean, and nearby islands. Sunset should be breathtaking in this spot.

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Available for rent:

  1. 2-3 person tents – P50.00/night
  2. Sleeping bags – P30.00/night
  3. Mountain bikes – P20.00/hour

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Reach them through:

 

 

 

Bais Dolphin watching and Manjuyod sandbar

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Before it gained as the “Maldives of the Philippines”, the Manjuyod sandbar or Sumapao Shoal has already rising in popularity way back then; it is one of the main attractions here in Negros Oriental and is always included on the list of amazing sandbars in our country.

Who wouldn’t be marveled by its 7 kms of pristine white sand in the middle of the ocean? The white sand bar completely appears on a low tide so it is best to observe the tidal patterns before booking a tour.

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We got up as early as 3 a.m. so as catch a Dolphin watching activity. I always recommend to tourists to go when the boats are less crowded and the water is the most calm – Morning or Noon. Having calm water allows a better visibility.

Boat operators in Bais City and Manjuyod town usually offers packages in Tanon Strait specifically on Dolphin watching, to sandbar, other tours also include floating restaurant or fish cages. Tour includes land transfers from Bais City public market to Cannibol wharf or Campuyo Highway to Campuyo wharf, boat transfers either of those wharf to Tanon Strait and vice versa.

As soon as we arrived at Bais bus stop, we were welcomed by our boat organizer. We went first to the nearest city market to buy some food supplies for our breakfast. The motorized bangka is equipped with grilling tools, trash can, a toilet, canopy, and life jackets. While, the boat crew will also be bringing the necessary utensils for the food, such as spoon, fork, knife, charcoal, plates, glasses, saucers, water. The rest of the supplies will be provided by the guest especially on drinking water.

When we got on-board, everyone was excited for the good time awaiting us. We sailed the narrow channel in less than ten minutes and proceeded immediately to the Dolphin area. Because they are in the wild, the boat crew have to look for them. We were thankful for the fair weather, it’s the same old sun, but it’s still beautiful each and every time it rises.

While sailing in the deep blue sea, silence commences. Everyone was quite as we gaze into the vast ocean looking for a sign of their presence. And without warning, in a distance the boat captain pointed his finger in the surface where there was disturbance.

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Dolphins live in social groups of five to several hundred. They often hunt for prey together surrounding a school of fish and trapping them. These marine mammals are well known for their agility and playful behavior. We were surrounded with a pod of high flying spotted dolphins, the most common sightings in the strait. These species usually leaps out of the water and follow boats in synchronized movement with one another. This behavior as a common practice is called a spy-hop (rising vertically out of the water to view their surroundings).

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We were amazed by the sighting; countless dolphins were spy-hopping on us, not for food but to play :-D. With no other boat that time, the watching activity was all by ourselves. My companions were very glad seeing them up close in their natural habitat. While seeing some other boats arriving and had enough encounter, we decided to move to our next destination.

It was a timely arrival as we are able to catch a portion of the sandbar. The water is already rising up quickly when we dock. With no time to waste, one of my companions assembled his drone apparatus to take an aerial shot at the sandbar. https://www.facebook.com/molavetravel/videos/395734344132115/

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We spent the whole morning in the sandbar and witnessed the changing of tides until the whole sandbar is submerged with water. While some of us where basking in the water, our boat crew were also helping us out in cooking our meals. Local fishermen are also selling sea foods in the area, such as sea urchins, crabs, shells among others.

Stress free cruise we had as we saw our table all set for our breakfast. It was like a luxury experience. Breakfast afloat, great food and amazing water views at Manjuyod sandbar.

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There are five cottages in the sandbar, three of it can cater guests for overnight. Each cottages can be rented at P6,000 pesos per night and can accommodate a maximum of 20 people. You may contact Manjuyod Tourism Office (Ms. Leah-09056800055) for your reservations or Bais Tourism Office at 035-402-8338.

Reminders:

  1. Observe weather condition and tidal patterns prior to your trip.
  2. A docking fee of P100.00 is collected on any vessel in the sandbar.
  3. Tour rates on sandbar and dolphin watching starts at P2,500.00, good for 1-5 persons.Meals not included.

 

Chasing waterfalls:Valencia,Negros Oriental

Take adventure to new heights in the majestic mountainous district of Valencia town in Negros Oriental. Stunning scenery and rushing waters make this area a natural paradise. With lots of spectacular deep river valleys, Valencia is endlessly exciting to explore.

Having a 65% of mountainous area, this town in Negros Oriental is a perfect spot for adventure seekers including me. EnrouteNegros is bringing you closer to nature and discovering you the less unknown attractions, you may have heard some of this waterfalls but there are still a lot more to see in this town.

1.Casaroro/Kalamason falls

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No doubt the most popular waterfalls in the province of Negros Oriental. The locals popularly call it Kalamason falls, but eventually labeled it now as Casaroro. The single column of sparkling water plunges almost a hundred feet directly into the swimming basin making it a great spot to bathe in its cold water.

2.Pulangbato/Mag-abo twin falls

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Another distinctive waterfall in the province of Negros Oriental and Valencia town-Pulangbato falls or Malabo falls derived from the word itself, “Pula” means red and “Bato” as for rock, the rocks underneath the stream appeared to be red in color due to its sulfuric water contents.

3.Caidiocan falls

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Waterfalls in Brgy.Caidiocan are the most accessible in the whole town. It may not be as tall and stunning compared to the others but its water flows softly just waiting to be noticed.

4.Manlangko falls

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Manlangko falls-Level 3

Manlangko falls is actually a series of waterfalls consisting of at least six levels. The hidden waterfalls were tucked in the wilderness of Sitio Salantikon. Completely untouched and undisturbed, getting there requires a careful movement.

5.Balantian falls

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Balantian falls-4th level
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Balantian falls-level 5

I found Balantian river and its series of waterfalls when I visited the Balantian swamp. While walking around the swamp, the gushing river was loud enough as if calling for visitors. Following a difficult trail and climbing up huge boulders, the topmost waterfall was a total surprise.

6.Okoy river/Malaunay falls

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The massive waters of Okoy river is actually a summary of some unknown streams in Malaunay area, Caidiocan, Brgy Dungga and Brgy. Malabo. Following a very secluded trail leads me to this impressive waterfalls.

7.Apolong river and falls

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While completing an Ultramarathon event in Valencia town, we passed by to this particular river somewhere in Apolong. The next Sunday I had a quick visit to its stream up to its water source. The long walk along boulders rewarded me with connecting waters and unexploited nature.

8.Original Casaroro falls

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The Original Casaroro falls is located just beneath the new Casaroro falls. Unlike the new Casaroro, getting there is a challenge, there were no signs to the waterfalls, trail isn’t paved compared to the other, following its water adds another exciting adventure. Like the new Casaroro falls, the water also drops in great height. This waterfalls comes with a mini cave adding a unique feature to its environment.

9.Dungga river and falls

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The foothills of Brgy Dungga reveals relatively unknown number of waterfalls and countless river pools. The thick forests is the home of secluded waterscapes I’ve never seen before in the web.

10.Nagabi Twin falls

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A mount Talinis tour wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the twin waterfalls of Nagabi. Situated just a few distance from the Guard House, its coolest waters were our last destination on our way home. Seeing it in actual filled me with awe and wonder.

11.Pulangtubig/Tabunan falls

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photo by Marvie Waro (https://www.facebook.com/marvie.waro)

Another less unknown waterfall in Valencia is Pulangtubig falls. Worth the hike when someone sees its beauty. That view is just unfading.

The process of discovery never stops. My list never ends here as there are still a lot to check.