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.
The second level has a shorter drop, large swimming basin with an undetermined depth, then we continued.
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.
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.
Fifth and sixth has also shorter height, both has different drop forms.
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.
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.
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.
There are still more to explore in this town, something I look forward to return.
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.
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.
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
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 – 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
Bring your own hammocks
Amenities and Fun things to do:
Mountain Bike/Walk trail
Snack bar and view deck
Giant picture frame
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Observe weather condition and tidal patterns prior to your trip.
A docking fee of P100.00 is collected on any vessel in the sandbar.
Tour rates on sandbar and dolphin watching starts at P2,500.00, good for 1-5 persons.Meals not included.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Larena Triad Coffeeshop is a must dining destination for anyone looking to dine in style overlooking at the top of the hill view in the island of Siquijor.
The establishment sits on top of a hill, surrounded by countryside, the sea just over the brow. Diners enjoy the quality of a restaurant menu with the down to earth service.
Casual dining while overlooking downtown, Larena triad is also an events place and offers catering services with its own bakeshop. The restaurant has variety of dishes and snacks from salads, sandwiches, appetizers, noodles, pasta entrees, and desserts.
This has always been my last point of visit whenever I am in Siquijor. After a long journey, I think I deserve to treat myself. I used food to reward myself for all sorts of things :D. How about you?
I find the prices are reasonable because the food are wonderfully cooked and presented. For your reference, the following are some of their menus and corresponding price range:
Appetizers – P100 – P250
Sandwiches – P110 – P170
Pizza – P250 – P325
Pastas – P160 – P260
Sizzlers – P130 – P175
Salads – P140 – P250
Soups – P120 – P140
The bakery has displays of pasalubong items and accepts cake orders for your special occasions. For reservations and other inquiries you may reach them through the following:
The quaint province of Siquijor never fails to surprise visitors for its unspoiled landscapes. The beach areas are relatively untroubled and uncrowded. Now, let me add Sandugan Beach on the list for you to visit and discover.
En route to coastal villages of Larena town, the beach lies on Brgy Sandugan where it also obtained its name.
It was almost late in the morning when I departed the port of Dumaguete heading to nearby island of Siquijor. My ultimate purpose of this trip is actually to deal a property on one of my clients in response to his inquiries online who happens to be a resident in Larena Siquijor.
As for the information of everybody I am also connected on one of the Realty Property Agents in Dumaguete City. We assist people who are looking for real properties for family occupancy and investment. This projects include Bria Homes Dumaguete,Camella Homes Negros,Marina town as well as pre selling units of Primary Homes Dumaguete.
After our meeting, I noticed some signpost along the road leading to beach resorts. I always thought resorts in Siquijor have spectacular coastline which Sandugan didn’t failed me.
I followed the pathway down to a famous Kiwi Dive Resort but later diverted to another resort of Islanders Paradise. It’s a family-run resort established since 1988 with 7 cottages that can cater individuals and groups laid out near the beach area. The southern tip of the resort has an extension of white sand coastline which I took to check.
The idyllic environment and beach front has always been a favorite spot for me. Later I’ve known that this side in Larena is a perfect place to view the sunset.
With gentle waves and shallow sandy bottom, this is a good bet to take your children.
To those of you looking to snap out of corporate routine and relive a stressful week. You should check this out.
I woke up every day with a panoramic view of agricultural area and surrounding mountains. My gaze is always fixed with admiration to a mountain in great distance steadily holding its fortress. Mount Talinis has always been a constant sight wherever I go.
In observance of the lent season throughout the country, we are able to enjoy 3 days of non-working holidays starting Thursday until Saturday, thus, giving us 4 straight days (April 13,14,15,16) of rest.
While I was still finalizing up my plans for the said days, there were a lot of places I wanted to go. My initial plan was Kalanggaman Island in Leyte. Plan B was Lakawon Island in Cadiz. Couple of days before our vacation yet I was still unsure of my itineraries. Both destinations were marked as a failure.
A good friend and a colleague suggested me why not choose a nearby location to spend my vacation. Mount Talinis was his top choice, of which I was very interested. He provided me a guide for me to able to arrange the itineraries immediately.
Chris-our senior guide who is also connected with the municipal office of Valencia was kind enough when he told me that his team will be providing the most needed materials for our climb, burner for example, cooking materials, cooking ingredients, tarps, ropes and others.
Things I bring:
Snacks (Biscuits,dried mangoes,chocolates)
Canned goods (Sardines,Spam,Ready to eat beans)
Yes, you’re reading it right, Tanduay rum.hehe. Chris emphasizes to bring it. Though I insisted a beer, he said rum is the best remedy for cold nights.
Things I forgot to bring:
Mount Talinis is situated 9 km(5.6 mi) Southwest of Valencia Town and 20 km(12 mi) from Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental.The dormant volcano can be accessed via major trails of Bidiao in Dauin town and Apolong trail in Valencia of which we took, other trails may also be accessed in Timbao,Bacong and Puhagan,Valencia.
Thursday early morning (April 13), I meet Chris and the rest of our group at the starting point-Casaroro falls entrance. There were six of us. I don’t know how and why but our group will be called “Team SARIDON”.
At the starting point, Chris presented our destinations in 3Days and 2Nights. We will be spending our first night at the peak of Mount Talinis and the other night will be spent at the top of Mount Nakulon.
Our destinations in 3D2N:
Kaipohan Sulfur vents
Mount Talinis peak – Day 1 sleep over
Mount Nakulon peak – Day 2 sleep over
Nagabi Twin waterfalls
Below is a detailed timetable of our hike via Apolong,Valencia trail:
06:10 am – entrance to Casaroro falls
10:20 am – The Guardhouse
11:00 am – The Rancho camping ground
11:10 am – Kaipohan Sulfur vents
12:00 noon – Lake Yagumyum
02:00 pm – Water source; Lunch
02:30 pm – Ascend to summit of Mount Talinis
4:30 pm – Summit of Mount Talinis
5:00 pm onwards – Set up camp, Dinner, Socials
7:00 am – Wake-up call
8:00 am – Prepare for breakfast
9:00 am – Descend to Yagumyum Lake
11:00 am – Rest at Lake Yagumyum
12:00 noon – Trek to Lake Nailig
2:00 pm – Lunch at Nailig Lake
2:30 pm – Assault to Mount Nakulon
3:50 pm – Summit of Mount Nakulon
4:00 pm onwards – Set up camp, Dinner and socials
9:00 am – Wake up, Cook breakfast, pictorials
10:00 am – Ascend to Nailig Lake
12:00 noon – Kaipuhan Sulfur vents
1:00 pm – The guardhouse
1:05 pm – Nagabi Twin falls
1:20 pm – Lunch at guardhouse
2:20 pm – Back to Valencia
4:10 pm – Casaroro falls entrance
5:30 pm – Home Sweet Home
I was lucky to be part of the group as there were very few who could do that timetable. We opt to sleep over at the peak so as to avoid a crowded camping ground, true enough; our group was the sole campers in two summits.
From the entry point to the Guardhouse was already a challenge, I was struggling with a heavy load, Chris was just too fast, some parts of the trail was wet, and there were more climbers on our way causing a traffic path. But it didn’t stop me to continue the journey, at some point, there were hesitations, Chris warned me of worst trails ahead, I can read a worried reaction from him every time he sees me resting.
As soon as we reached the Guard house, I was delighted to see more climbers, there were at least three bamboo tables and long benches, groups were gathered their own way to prepare some stuff, climbers can cook in the area, there were enough firewood, decent and abundant water. I like the thought of slogans posted by different mountaineering clubs around the guardhouse, my favorite tagline, it read “The Mountains are calling, and I must go”.
When all of our things are settled we continued our hike to The Rancho, it has a large plain area for campers were some of them will be spending their first night. The first interesting spot you’ll notice en route to Mount Talinis is the Kaipuhan Sulfur Grounds, the area yields abundant Solfataras-a natural volcanic steam vent in which sulfur gases are the dominant constituent along with hot water vapour. As a result, dead trees and bleached rocks are found along the trail.
Avoiding a crowded trail, we went to a different route; our first night will be in the summit of Mount Talinis via Lake Yagumyum. It was not an easy climb, we were the only group who took that way, we were literally in the middle of the wilderness, thick forests, the trail are almost not to be found as the grasses were already growing fast.
Lake Yagumyum was named after an abundant flowering plant in the lakeshore called Yagumyum. Surrounding the lake are tall mountains of which Chris pointed where we will be ascending. 2 o’clock in the afternoon, we arrived at the last water source in Mount Talinis, taking advantage of the water, we cooked our lunch, refilled our empty bottles and started to consume a bottle of Rum.
I was already in tipsy manner when we arrived at the summit(1,700 + MASL) of Mount Talinis, as soon as we arrived; we settled our tents, our cook immediately prepared our dinner while some of us were waiting for clearing spot overlooking a magnificent lowland views. Though we failed to see the clearest view, the experience at the peak was unforgettable. Countless times I was just looking at this topmost point from afar thinking one day I’ll be able to conquer its height. At that moment in the summit, nothing explains the feeling of being proud of myself.
Next day I woke up loving the smell of a pungent spices cooked by our companion, it was damn cold morning but the smell lingers all around, the weather seems not changing as the surroundings were still covered with fog, as a result, all I hear the whole night and even daytime are the rain like drops of dew from the trees surface.
Leaving the place with no trace of occupancy we make sure that the area is free from garbage. The next minutes we found ourselves traversing the misty forests taking the same route descending to Lake Yagumyum.
Day 2, our destinations are Lake Nailig and a sleep over at Mount Nakulon. For the information of everybody. The highest peak in Cuernos de Negros is not Mount Talinis but Mount Nakulon (the two horns). Mt. Talinis (1700 +) is the peak nears Lake Yagumyum (Northern part of the lake). Mt. Nakulon (1860 MASL) is the one neared Lake Nailig (South-East part of the lake). Nailig, on the other hand, comes from the Visayan word “Ilig” which means “swept away”. Nailig pertains to the movement of lake water being swept away by wind. Nakulon is named after the word “Kulon” which is a Visayan word for “Palayok” or pot. The peak is called “Nakulon” because it looks like an inverted pot or palayok with its rounded bottom turned on top. It looks like an inverted pot from a distance because of two large and century-old Maribuhok trees, with their branches spreading the thick curling needle-hair-like leaves forming like a dome – majestically standing on the highest point of almost spongy ground covered by its sprawling roots and curling leaves(Mt. Talinis Trail Assessment Report).
At Lake Nailig, we were greeted with plenty campers but we positioned ourselves to cook our lunch in a crowd less area close to the lake, we like it that way.
The assault to Mount Nakulon lasted in less than two hours. We expect a congested trail this time, the summit of Mount Nakulon has one of the breathtaking sites in the area. Each visitor will be rewarded with excellent views of Nailig and Nabilog Lake. In all directions, it is surrounded with isolated mountain scenes and evergreen trees. Camping at night at the summit, all we could do is to prepare our shelter and meal; we entertained ourselves by playing cards, the undisturbed environment was accompanied by weird sounds of monkeys, frogs, birds, crickets and other unfamiliar noise.
Day 3 would be the day to leave a pristine paradise. I can’t wait to go home, take a bath and change clothes, share my experience and upload the best images I took. Going back, the path was easy but boggy tracks made others difficult to walk, somehow we manage to arrive the Guardhouse earlier at the time we expected.
The tour wouldn’t be complete of course without visiting the twin waterfalls of Nagabi. From the Guardhouse we just followed the coolest water I’ve been in less than 5 minutes. You shouldn’t miss this spectacular waterfall en route to Mount Talinis, usually this destination is the last point to visit while heading back.
To sum it all, my first and major hike to Mount Talinis was a triumph over the summit. I felt love on my first hike. I could still imagine the struggles I went through in the entire trip. It was the most treacherous holiday I ever had, but a truly memorable experience. I should engage more on hiking activities, there are still more to discover, from the lowest point to the highest.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Visit and discover our Negros version of chocolate hills, demystify Hinakpan today!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Where is your sense of outdoor adventure? Venture an expedition now to the wilderness of Pamplona and discover the natural beauty of Honop falls.
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.
The Sta. Catalina wildlife sanctuary is the home of endemic trees, birds, reptiles and Philippine long-tailed macaque (Macacafascicularis philippensis) a subspecies of Crab-eating macaques.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Other things to do:
Aside from interaction with the primates, you may also visit the nearby Mantabios falls.