Thursday, April 9, 2009
Destination : WESTERN & CENTRAL VISAYAS
Given a chance to be away for at least 3 consecutive holidays from work, rest assured I would spend my free time "AWAY" from the crowded and polluted Metro Manila.
This time I decided to traverse Western Visayas to Central Visayas. Looking at my map, Silay City by plane would be an excellent start. It is where the new Silay-Bacolod Airport is located and would be my first time to take a look inside this airport.
I took the earliest flight to Bacolod via PAL. Arrived there after an hour, and was so amazed the new Silay-Bacolod Airport is located in the middle of a vast sugar cane plantation. From the airport, a van would take you to the city proper for P50.00.
What to do in Silay City at 8:00 am? A walk along Rizal Avenue will lead you to their heritage buildings and ancestral houses, the most famous of which is the Balay Negrense. The three hour tour was a great learning experience. Silay City was the "Paris of the Philippines" before WWII. By looking at the edifices and facades of these old structures, I wondered about how this city could have looked like in those era? I believe this is where the original "Burgis" people came from.
My next stop is Bacolod City - the capital of Negros Occidental. Just a little less than an hour to reach by jeepney from Silay City. A visit to the Tourism Office helped me locate a nice hotel to stay, bathe, eat, and entertain for only ONE day and night.
Of course, my visit to Bacolod won't be complete without taking photos of the plaza and the gazebo, the City Hall, the Provincial Capitol, and other famous landmarks like SM City Bacolod(? - ha ha ha), and the Manukan Country.
From Bacolod was a long 8-hour trip by bus to Dumaguete City - the capital city of Negros Oriental. I missed the 8:00 am AIRCON bus but I thought I would be more comfortable to take the 9:00 am DELUXE bus instead (sounds better than AIRCON bus, isn't it?). To my surprise, DELUXE means ORDINARY - NO AIRCON! Ok, so I expect people of the ordinary kind to be seated beside me, maybe smoking along the way or sweating, or minding the rooster - yes! they bring along their pets inside the bus! Didn't wanted to miss anything, took this bus with an expectation of exhausting and strenuous 8-hour journey.
I arrived in Dumaguete City a little past five pm, drained, smelly, perspiring! Walked past Silliman University, I immediately located the nearest hotel from the Rizal Boulevard, checked-in and at last - the much needed shower! Took at least 2 hours of sleep. It was one hell of a trip!
That night in Dumaguete I was able to taste the famous 'tempura' frying along Rizal Boulevard. It was SOOO good I lost count of how much I have consumed. A piece costs P3.00. That made it even more delicious. ha ha ha. Of course my stay here won't be complete without exploring the rest of the boulevard and its nightlife activities.
Got up early to take the 6:00 am ferry to Siquijor - the island known for existence of withcraft technology - so to speak. Even before I went there I was able to contact and arrange a tour guide - Ceasar.
It only took me 45 minutes to reach Siquijor via fastcraft (OceanJet). Ceasar, my tour guide easily recognized me and approached me as I walk past many well-wishers in the port and immediately went with the tour riding a tricycle. That 6-hour guided tour made me realize how awesome the island of Siquijor is. Noticeably quiet and serene, there were only a few jeepneys and buses plying in the main road. The island is evidently safe with military presence in every tourist locations. The air is cool even on a bright sunny day, and the view - picturesque and spectacular. Mysterious as the island may seem, one will undoubtedly get hypnotized as its secrets unfold right before your very eyes - the white sand beaches, caves, waterfalls and virgin forests.
From the Port of Siquijor, I took the 4:00 pm ferry back to Dumaguete. Along the way I was thinking if I would go to Tagbilaran and from there take the last available flight back to Manila - quite feasible. Excitedly, I went directly to the ticketing office to buy ticket to Tagbilaran City - in Bohol. Probably everyone would think I am nuts for what I did! Who would ever think of a travel agenda like that and who else could possibly do that besides me anyway?
That night in Dumaguete, I fell asleep so soundedly!
I bought a 6:00 am ticket on a fastcraft to Tagbiliran - the capital city of Bohol. From Dumaguete port, I called two good Boholano friends of mine, whom I haven't seen for about a couple of years. Arriving in Tagbilaran port after an hour and a half, I saw them waiting with their habal-habal. Not wanting to waste any of our time, we immediately went to nearby coffee shop at the city central for the much awaited chat. They even took me with them around the city - which I am already familiar with. But still, Tagbiliran remains to be one of the best places to go for a vacation.
We had lunch and still managed to share some bottles of beer before my flight at 4:00 pm back to Manila. Once again, another travel accomplishment.