Thanks to a seat sale by Cebu Pacific a few months back, I was able to book a roundtrip flight from Manila to Dumaguete for only P1,100. I arrived in Dumaguete on July 6 and returned to Manila on July 13. This was one of those trips that I had second thoughts of pursuing because of the incoming typhoon that time and second, I had no idea of what to do in Negros Oriental.
But after doing some research, I decided to explore the towns near Dumaguete for a few days and go to Siquijor thereafter. I was excited about going to Apo Island, and to swim with the turtles in the sanctuary there.
Upon arriving at Sibulan Airport in Dumaguete, I rode a tricycle, which they call “easy ride” for P100. I instructed the driver to go to Harold’s Mansion at the city proper, after 15 minutes or so, I was at the hostel already. I previously booked a bunk bed in a dormitory room for 4 days and 3 nights at P250 per night. It was an easy check in and I was then accompanied to the dorm room. I then took a nap since I had the first flight out of Manila and I was sleepy and tired.
The accommodation also included free breakfast which consisted of unlimited pandesal, coco jam, sticky rice and the local tsokolate. Instant coffee was also free for the entire day.
After settling down, I proceeded to the roof deck of Harold’s, where the dining area was located. Here are some photos:
I liked that there was a herbal roof garden at Harold’s and those vines that are going on top are actually green grapes.
Here are photos of the roof top garden:
I then inquired at the lobby of Harold’s about the Apo Island tour and the trekking tour around the nearby towns. I signed up for the Apo Island tour for the day after next. But there was no schedule for the trekking tour. So what I did was, I went in front of Harold’s and inquired with a tricycle driver if he can tour me around the nearby towns. We agreed to meet at around 11:00AM that morning and for P1,000, he would bring me to the Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao National Park covering the municipalites of Valencia, Sibuyan and San Jose, via habal habal.
Then off we go!
Side story: That head band I’m wearing was given by Kyle Jennerman aka “Kulas” of Becoming Filipino. He is a Canadian travel blogger and now tv host who came to the Philippines three years ago, and fell in love with our country so much, that he decided to stay. The headband symbolizes “kalipay” which means happiness in Bisaya. It is not for sale, and I am one of the lucky ones that was given a piece.
Upon reaching the entrance of the national park, we had to pay a minimal entrance fee, and had to walk the rest of the way, since it is prohibited to bring a noisy habal habal inside the forest.
After an uphill climb of less than an hour, we descended using a trail that would lead to Lake Balinsasayao.
The weather started to get gloomy and the rain started to trickle. The first lake is balinsasayao and to reach lake danao, one has to ride a “boat” for P250. Of course, I did not pass on the opportunity to see both lakes.
Upon reaching the other side, a short trek lead us to lake danao, it was more beautiful than balinsasayo, for me that is.
The trek was tiring, and I decided to call it a day and asked my “tour guide” to bring me back to Harold’s I can eat and rest.
The rain was still pouring hard while I rode the habal habal, it was such an exhilarating feeling!
We agreed, to go to another town the next day for some waterfalls chasing!
TO BE CONTINUED….