Showing posts with label Bacong. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bacong. Show all posts

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Negros Oriental: Lake Balanan, Dauin Church & Bacong Church, road trip south of Dumaguete

Late last year, I got to fly twice to Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. The first trip was a familiarization tour with Dumaguete and Cebu Pacific. The group got to experience Dumaguete and areas nearby. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and it was raining every now and then. So our trip to Apo Island did not push through due to rough seas. We instead drove south all the way to Lake Balanan in Siaton, the southernmost municipality of Negros Island, and passed by heritage churches on the way back to Dumaguete.

As we neared the lake, we were met by a road blocked by a river that overflowed. Some of the locals were saying that there was no other way to the lake. And it was a bummer if we didn't get to see it. But just as we were about to leave, someone pointed to us a trail to the lake. So we walked for a few minutes and finally made it to Lake Balanan.

Lake Balanan is actually a success story. It used to be full of informal settlers. And like in most informal communities, it was riddled with garbage. The local government organized the informal settlers, gave them a community away from the lake, and set-up a cooperative for them to manage the tourism facilities around the lake. It was a win-win-win solution since Lake Balanan looks very clean now, you don't see any informal settlers by the lake, the former informal settlers now have a place to stay plus they have livelihood from tourism.

We had lunch at one of the function halls built by the lake. Among the dishes we had was the Negros Oriental version of halang-halang which to me tasted like chicken tinola with pepper and gata (coconut milk).

From Sioton, we motored back to Dumaguete. We stopped along the National Highway at Barangay Maluay, Zamboanguita to try out the town's famous torta. Note that torta has striking differences depending on where you are. In the Visayas, it's usually bread. And various places have different recipes. In Zamboanguita, torta looks like dinner rolls, but sweeter, denser and more filling.

In Dauin, we stopped by the centuries-old Dauin Church. The exterior is well-preserved and has character but the inside seemed to be renovated. We also stopped by the Bacong Church which is a National Cultural Treasure. Dumaguete
We were hosted by Dumaguete during our stay in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. You could actually get a decent room for Php388++ a night if on sale. Airport transfers are also available for Php98 per person. You can book your stay via the website.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Negros Oriental: Strolling down Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete

I finally stepped foot in the City of Gentle People. It was said that Dr. Jose P. Rizal himself created this nickname for Dumaguete City during his brief stopover in the town on August 1, 1896 en route to Dapitan. I arrived in Dumaguete at 4 p.m. after a quick trip via fast craft from Siquijor. Right by the port were the famous buildings of Silliman University. After taking a few photos, my SSEAYP batchmate Tere Sicat arrived at the port and took me around town. We first went to the neighbring town of Bacong where another national cultural treasure could be found, the San Agustin Church.

It was about thirty minutes south of Dumaguete. On the way to Bacong, we passed by the Dumaguete belltower and several Gabldon schoolbuildings to take photos. When we got there, the first thing I noticed was the charming presidencia in front of a wide lawn, typical of many Negros towns and cities.

It was quite a while before we got in the church since we had to look for the key. But when we entered, I thought it was not that much impressive for a national cultural treasure. It had an old pipe organ and well-preserved retablos but that was it. I wonder how this church got chosen for the list of 26 but nevertheless, that was fine with me. But just to clarify, there are more than 26 national cultural treasures. Others got declared during the time of Marcos.

After Bacong, we went back to Dumaguete to stroll down the "boulevard" along the sea. You've never been to Dumaguete if you haven't strolled down the promenade beside Rizal Boulevard. It was a great view since to your left, you could see the island of Cebu, while Siquijor was to your right. It just shows how close the islands of the Visayas are to each other. It's funny though how sand along the Negros coastline was mostly gray when it's neighbors had a lot of white sand.

I really liked the lamp posts. It was good that they were able to preserve them. Along the road, you could see nice pre-war homes and even a hotel that was restored to its original grandeur.

Another must do in Dumagute is a visit to the tempurahan at the end of the boulevard. Again, it's another you-haven't-been-to- Dumaguete kind of thing which one should include in a trip.

It may be called tempura because it is shaped like the Japanese fried shrimp dish. But it tasted more like kikiam to me. You had neatly arranged carts, seats and tables lined up in clean rows and columns. Each was sold for PHP3 a piece. They also had squidballs as well as balut and penoy for sale. I really look for these places everytime I travel thanks to my friends in Singapore and Malaysia who went out of their way to let me have a taste of the best hawker food when I was there.

They told me that when they came to the Philippines, they also wanted to eat hawker food which didn't get a good response from me obviously since I didn't want to bring any of my guests to the hospital. Haha! At the moment, the only safe place for hawker food I know in Manila is UP Diliman. For some reason, I feel it's safer eating hawker food in the provinces. After that tasty snack, it was off to Teresa's house for dinner.

They prepared a lot of food. Really great! We didn't have much time to chat since I was after the last bus to Bacolod which left at 7:30 p.m. It was midnight again when I arrived in my dad's hometown.
Related Posts with Thumbnails