Tag: Bacolod

SPA Natura

Spa Natura at Mambukal
Spa Natura at Mambukal

Michelle invited me along to Mambukal on Tuesday for a getaway with SPA Natura and The Blade two of the places Michelle works at.  What a blast we had!  The people Michelle work with are so much fun.  The entire time was spent laughing and joking around.  Though I did not understand much of what was said, it was a lot of fun being around some fantastic people.

SPA Natura – The Blade

I had the privilege to meet and be around everyone in their work environment.  Everyone works very hard throughout their work schedule.  Mamalisa the owner of SPA Natura and The Blade was the person to make the arrangements for the outing as one of the ways to say thank you for all of your hard work.  She seems like a very sweet woman.

If you have never been to Mambukal it is a must on your travel itinerary while in the Philippines.  Michelle and I went there last August while I was in Bacolod and I thought it was very amazing place, there are so many things to do and see…though we only did the hike to number three falls, and then butterfly world.  This time we had the opportunity to do and see so much more.  Michelle and I got to enjoy a chance to ride the zip line.  I shot some video of Michelle as she was descending and I don’t think I have ever seen as big a smile as I did with her on this occasion.   We also went swimming in the pool, this was so refreshing and wonderful after a long hot day of hiking and the sun.  Afterwards we went into the hot pool, that is heated from the Kanlaon

SPA Natura @ Mambukal
SPA Natura @ Mambukal

volcano that is roughly a three-day hike from Mambukal. The water was amazing and I know with the sore back I have sported was such a great help.

Massage at the SPA

The other thing I want to say is that if you are in Bacolod, or Mambukal be sure to stop by SPA Natura, The Blade or The Blade Mambukal and take sometime to enjoy the services they have to offer.  I have on many occasions and after each time, I feel so good and rejuvenated.  I don’t think you can go wrong that is for sure!!

Coffee Masters

Coffee Masters - GreenyLou
Coffee Masters – GreenyLou

Michelle and I were treated to a very cool event “Geographic Considerations for Coffee” that took place this morning at Starbucks Bacolod City.  I would be lying if I did not admit I have this thing for Starbucks, but this Starbucks is very special as there are many Coffee Masters here who love their jobs.

Every time I walk into this Starbucks there everyone says hello, not just to me, but to everyone.  You are treated to the same chorus of good-byes at the end of your stay when you are headed back on your journey.

Coffee Masters

This morning Coffee Masters – GreenyLou and Vina explained where the various coffee regions are in the

Coffee Masters - Vina
Coffee Masters – Vina

world.  They also explained about the temperatures of water, if coffee pressing how long the water needs to steep before you actually do the press.  Did you know that 4 minutes is the amount of time to wait. I can hardly wait one minute, but 4 oh my!

Also, new to me was the proper way to taste coffee.  If you have ever had a coffee with me, you know I simply drink it.  But, when comparing coffees from different regions there is actually a different scent, and also a different taste.  Also, if you slurp the coffee you can get the full flavors that are there for you to enjoy.  We had the Guatemalan roast which I found had a full body taste, and the taste of Coco, Kenya Coffee actually had an after taste of grapefruit and funning thing, I enjoyed that very much.  We also tasted Sumatra coffee from Asia Pacific, which I thought was a fantastic flavor though I am not sure I noticed any specific taste to it.

Starbucks

Coffee Masters - Learning to Press
Coffee Masters – Learning to Press

I have been to many different Starbucks all over Canada, the United States, Thailand, and now the Philippines, this is the first place I have seen that has seminars on coffee.  Of all the places, Bacolod Starbucks truly have Masters of Coffee working at their store.  Well done! I had a blast!!

Patag Silay

Patag Silay
Patag Silay

Michelle and I went to Patag Silay back in early April to go for some awesome hikes looking for some Waterfalls that are in the area and at the same time we got an interesting history lesson.  Patag Silay is very easy to get to from Bacolod City.  Take a Bata Jeepney to the North terminal a mere 50 pesos per person will get you to Silay, and then an additional 50 pesos per person will get you all the way up the mountain to Patag Silay.  We took a bus out of Silay, and we were loaded to the hilt.  People on the roof, and little wooden stools in bus so you could sit in the aisle and people loaded in doorways and hanging off the ladders.  The trip to the top of the mountain took about 1.5 hours as we stop at every little place and town on the way, but it was a cool trip.  The rice paddies are so beautiful.

Patag Silay, Silay City

Silay or City of Silay is a third class city in the province of Negros Occidental with a population os approximately 120,000 people and is a part of what is known as Metro Bacolod.  Metro Bacolod is made up of Silay, Bacolod City and Talisay.  Silay is often referred to as the “Paris of Negros” due to its artists, cultural shows and large collection of perfectly preserved heritage houses.  More than thirty of these houses have been declared as historical landmarks.  Silay is the second Philippine city to have been declared a museum city next to Vigan in Ilocos Sur.

History of Patag Silay

World War II

On the slopes of Mt. Silay lies Patag Silay, the site of the Japanese military’s last stand in Western Visayas

Bamboo in Patag Silay
Bamboo in Patag Silay

during World War II.  In 1945, US military forces landed in Negros Island. The occupying forces of Nagano Detachment of the Imperial Japanese Army retreated to Silay and proceeded up Mt Silay to Patag.  There, they established a defensive position.  Military forces of the Philippine Commonwealth and soldiers of the US 40th Infantry Division proceeded up the slopes of Mt. Silay with help from Filipino soldiers of the 7th, 71st, 72nd, and 75th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and Negrosanon guerrilla fighters and defeated the Japanese defenders.  Today, the site is marked by and monument dedicated to the efforts which led to the liberation of Negros Island.

Michelle and I did a couple of big hikes in the area in order to see some of the amazing waterfalls we have heard about.  Our first trip to the valley floor from Patag Silay had us following this trail that took us right past two caves carved in the side of the mountain by the Japanese during the war.  We were upon them before we even saw them.  If this was during the war we would have already died in an ambush.  Me with my military background of course really interested in this sort of thing.  I made a mental note to watch for them on the way back up, and I actually walked right past them and did not even see them.  I can only image what the US 40th Infantry Division endured during the war.

The trip to the first waterfalls was only about 30 minutes, and it was a beautiful falls to see, though the lighting was not in favor for decent pictures, it was still well worth the trip.  The area was pretty interesting there was cool mountain air, with the heat and humidity of the area mixed in.

Our trip to the second waterfalls was a 90 minute to 2 hour trip in then the same to make it out.  This trip is not

Patag Silay Waterfalls
Patag Silay Waterfalls

for the faint of heart that is for sure.  We hired a guide which is something I would not have normally wanted to do, but in this case there is no way we have made it where we were headed and back again I know this for sure.  The trail is not what we are used to back home, it was rough, rocky and narrow with little room for a mistake.  The mistake would have been a fall to the valley floor that would have certainly ruined our day for sure.

As we approached the second falls we could tell it was going to be spectacular.  We could hear the water cascading over the ledge and slamming to the bottom of the valley.  There were areas where we had to walk in the river, so be sure to know how you want to travel.  Michelle took her shoes off, where I kept mine on to protect my feet.  You need to realize we were in some pretty dense jungle for sure.  This was a long trip, I was hot sweaty and pretty spent by the time we reached the falls.  I think me anyways was pretty close to Heat Exhaustion, we were out of liquids and we had just made it half way for the second trekk.

If you find yourself in the area, a trip to Silay City, or Patag Silay is well worth your time.

Circle Inn

To be honest I was tired of the heat, and need to find a place to stay for a couple of days that had aircon so I could get some sleep.  I was thinking of returning to the Bacolod Pension House, and though the place was ok…I wanted a little more.  So I thought I would give the Circle Inn and try, and I was very pleased with the two days I spent there.

Front Desk
Front Desk

Aircon and the Circle Inn

My main purpose behind finding a place to say was needing a couple of cool evening so I could catch up with some very much needed sleep.  I was exhausted from not sleeping in the heat, and with how hot it was during the day, I found it even more difficult to deal with the days with the loss of sleep.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the heat.  But since I am kind of land locked here in Bacolod City, and not teaching diving every day and missing being in the water every day, I find the heat of all the concrete in the city very difficult to deal with everyday.

The Circle Inn was chosen on a simple Google Search and a list of about 10 hotels came up.  When I checked out the website on my phone, that room cost was listed for the deluxe room as PhP1480, and of course Expedia had it listed as less expensive,  which was not true, since Expedia listed the room before taxes and once you added those in it was the same price that was being offered through the hotel itself.  I find it interesting how misleading the cheap websites are, and I know now in Canada, its against the law when you do not advertise the real price.  Just a thought.

Part of Town

Pool
Pool

I have just recently ventured into the part of town where the Circle Inn is located.  It took me a few minutes to work out the Jeepneys needed in order to get downtown which by the way Shopping La Salle Libertad will do it, and it was very easy to make it to Lacson street so I could do my daily coffee at Starbucks.  I would certainly decide to stay at the Circle Inn again since the rooms were very clean, the Front Desk staff polite and very helpful.  The Restaurant on site had good food and not too badly priced compared to other places I have stayed.  The pool though cool, very clean and refreshing.  There are rooms that open directly onto the pool which would have been very very cool, though all of those were booked.

Circle Inn

If you are in town, and in need of a place to stay, I would select this hotel in a heart beat.  I really have nothing negative to say about the place.

Have a Great day!!

 

Bacolod City

Jeepney
Jeepney

Over the past two months or so I have been working on my first Time-lapse video and I decided I wanted to do one of Bacolod City, on Negros Occidental.  Bacolod City is a pretty busy place.  Not any where as busy as Manila or as large but it’s busy compared to what I know back in Vancouver BC, Canada.  Though I find it interesting how friendly everyone is here in Bacolod City.  I am one who will say good morning to strangers on the street as I walk it always amazes me how everyone here that I speak too will speak back, no matter what language barrier there is, young and old, woman or male, if you attempt to speak they will respond, or even vice versa.  In the morning when I walk to the Jeepney many will say Good Morning Joe to me, I love
it.

Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines from Ken Dunlop on Vimeo.

Having lived in Vancouver BC the past three years, I slowly stopped speaking to people on the street, as most people look at you as if you are a leper, scowl on their face, they will clutch their bag that much tighter because obviously you are going to attack them.  I was always left with my mouth hanging open at peoples cold responses.  I have to laugh, so many post on Facebook about the warm temperatures so early in the winter though the city especially Vancouver is easily one of the coldest places on earth. The scenery is beautiful but the people have a lot left to be desired.  I was always told it was because it was a big city, but why is it only in Vancouver that I find this to be the case.  I have been to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh, Toronto, Halifax, and Montreal but it is nothing as crazy and cold as Vancouver.

So here is a Time-lapse Video shot in Bacolod City, see the hustle and bustle of this place, the number of people on the streets, in the stores and coffee shops.  Bacolod City the city of smiles!!

Buenos Aires

Drying Rice
Drying Rice

On Monday, Michelle and I traveled to mountains above Buenos Aires, to see what was described as beautiful waterfalls.  I have been wanting to shoot as many waterfalls pictures as possible so bang I am in.  We travelled on a bus to Mao Mao, and then grabbed a tricycle for the afternoon which Michelle was able to talk down to PhP700, which is bargin.  The driver we had was a really nice guy, so much so, I took his name and number and I plan on using him again very soon.

Buenos Aires is a beautiful resort area right on the river which is cascading down from the mountains. Though, other than stopping there for lunch, I never really had an opportunity to see as I was far more keen on traveling up the mountain.  The area was breath taking, very clean and everyone seemed very helpful and friendly.  Some of the road is rocky and gravel and other areas is paved, it depends on where you are planning on heading.  We turned back earlier than I had planned, but I had a mishap when I slide into the river with camera and all, which ended up being a pretty expensive day trip, but I was able to save some pictures.

Rice Fields in the Mountains
Rice Fields in the Mountains

I forget the name of the one village we travelled through, but I was very impressed with a bunch of signs that had been placed on the side of the road, asking locals as well as tourists to help preserve the planet, to recycle, don’t smoke, save nature, it was very refreshing to see.  I plan on returning again to the Buenos Aires area to explore more of the countryside, more waterfalls, and villages as well as nature.  If you are in the area and have a day, I would definitely recommend you going to the Buenos Aires area, it’s about 1 hour or so from Bacolod City.