Tag: Negros Occidential

Mag-aso Falls

Mag-aso Falls
Mag-aso Falls

Michelle and I sent the the week after Easter touring through Mag-aso Falls near the city of Kabankalan.  We boarded the Ceres bus from Bacolod City.  The trip took maybe two hours with a couple of stops at various cities en route, we decided to take the Deluxe or Aircon bus and for the few extra Peso’s it cost its well worth it, as we do not stop every couple of minutes like the Milk run does.  There is nothing wrong with the Milk run, but it takes a lot of extra time that will take away from your time of exploring the Falls.

Dumaguete vs Kabankalan

Once we arrived at our destination and we were trying to hire a ride to Mag-aso Falls, all of the tricycle guys told us it was cheaper if we had taken the Dumaguete Bus from Bacolod as it would pass by the road we would travel up in order to get to Mag-aso Falls.  To little too late I suppose, after Michelle discussed prices with the Tricycle guy, we got the price down to 350 pesos for the 1.5 hour trip.  Well interesting as it turns out, Michelle and I had to walk most of the way once we reached the Mountain road as the guy could not get up the steep hills.  Not worry, no reduction in prices as we had already set the price.  Steep hike but enjoyable never the less.  On the return from Mag-aso falls our plan was to get dropped off at the Dumaguete stop, but the price was the same as it would have been if we went the full way into the Kabankalan bus station.  So no real savings either way.

Mag-aso Falls Resort

Mag-aso Falls
Mag-aso Falls

The resort was well off the beaten track for sure.  The cost of the cottage we stayed in was 1000 pesos per night and it was well worth the money.  It gave us more time to explore the area.  The resort was very nicely laid out, busy with plenty of visitors and lots to see.  First thing we did one we got there, was un pack and then headed down the stairs to the valley floor, and then followed the trail to the falls.  This is an easy descent, the stairs were well, and there are railings, the path is laid out well also, though when it gets wet the rocks are pretty slippery.  If you are not sure of foot, care needs to be taken.  I was using my Tripod as a walking stick to steady myself especially with the knee issues I have.

The falls are simply beautiful to view, there are many stalactites forming in various areas of the falls.  Spectacular to see, though I wish I could have gotten closer in order to see them and photograph them closer.  The water is cool, but nice to enjoy, and with all the limestone you can see the lime on the bottom of the various calm pools in the area.  It was nice seeing all the people playing and enjoying the water, as well the brave souls that climbed their way high up the cliff sides to jump into the deeper areas of the collecting pool at the bottom of the falls.

Mag-aso Falls is well worth visiting, I would even suggest you spend the night there, seeing the stars were beautiful, there are only two cottages so reservations in advance are a must.  If you have any questions by all means let me know.

Photo Credit: A Special Thanks to Ken Dunlop Photography.

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!!

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.

 

 

The Lagoon

The Lagoon, Bacolod City
The Lagoon, Bacolod City

The Lagoon here in Bacolod City is easily one of the busiest places in the whole city.  I was there the other day at 7:30 am, and there were people jogging around the lagoon, kids playing on the swings, and some skateboarders.  The Lagoon, is a beautiful area, though I would not call it peaceful, it is still a must see.  I shot a couple of night/sunset images of the area, which is well worth the time.

I am working on a Hyper/timelapse video on the City and The Lagoon will definitely be a part of the video.  If you are there for the afternoon, you are well within walking distances of the 7-11, Chowking, Jollybee and the McDonalds, plus the locals with various food carts.  Hope to see you down there.