A sudden Bacolod weekend.

{ PHOTO HEAVY! Also, a very long post! }

Well.. I seem to have a horrible habit of not posting regularly on here anymore. But I suppose, it’s not too late to post. I don’t really expect to have a regular readership or a hefty amount of subscribers.. so if you are still here, reading this, then thank you! I’m glad you think that my haphazard style of writing is still worth your time!

June 12 here in the Philippines is Independence Day. and since it falls on a Friday this year, it automatically makes the holiday a long weekend. I had been planning to go to Bacolod for a while, because my friends Gax and Chesra had suddenly bought tickets to Bacolod a couple of months ago and I was eager to tag along. Hahaha! (Even though I knew I have classes on Saturday. Yes. The life of a law school student..) I thought of it as a last hurrah for summer.

So, here goes.

I took the 3am Ceres aircon bus to Bacolod from the Dumaguete station. Why 3am, you may ask? Mainly because the trip takes SIX HOURS: 2 hours from Dumaguete to Mabinay, 2 hours from Mabinay to Kabankalan, and 2 hours from Kabankalan to Bacolod. If you check a map of Negros Island, it’s pretty much going from the southeast (Dumaguete) to northwest (Bacolod), cutting through numerous towns and cities, plus traversing a mountain road. Yes. A mountain road full of dizzying curves and turns and unpaved portions (because they were repairing the road).. ah. My friends were set to arrive around 1030am, and I thought better early than late, right?

Also, I couldn’t fall asleep anymore so I decided to just hop on the next earliest bus I could catch. Hahaha!

Me, at 3am/ Hahaha!

Me, at 3am. Hahaha!

I managed to stay awake for a few hours as the bus sped through the coastal road, though there wasn’t much to see because it was still dark outside. I ended up looking at signs and buildings, and only then I realized how far Bais City was from Dumaguete. (The current Bais mayor is actually an aunt from my mom’s side [Jalandoni] of the family. I’ve been meaning to visit her but well.. time.) By then the sun was barely beginning to peek out from the clouds.

As the bus veered left to go up the Kabankalan-Bais mountain road, I sighed heavily as I tried to prepare myself for the dizzying ordeal. I’d say it was like sitting in a rocking crib, swaying side to side while just outside were fairly steep drops in places where there were barely any people around. Like literally, you could count the number of houses on one hand. There are also parts of the area where there’s no cellphone reception.. (this sounds like a horror story trope, can someone write about that–)

The sun was slowly rising, and I could see the sky and the surrounding hills and valleys. It’s quite a pretty sight, especially through the early morning fog. Though, of course, it did kind of look like another horror movie sight at times..

This was around 15 minutes into the mountain road. My camera can't really take too detailed photos in low light..

This was around 15 minutes into the mountain road. My camera can’t really take too detailed photos in low light..

I tried taking a photo of the view from the other side. So foggy!

I tried taking a photo of the view from the other side. So foggy!

I decided to put my phone away for the meantime and hold on for dear life enjoy the passing scenery as it became more visible. It’s nice to see how simple life can be, even when you live somewhere fairly remote like in the mountains where it’s not so easy to contact anyone or even get your daily necessities. Might be nice to just.. become disconnected and enjoy nature, I think.

There were parts when the road had leveled out, and you could see fields outside.

Or.. maybe not.

WHERE IS EVERYTHING ELSE

WHERE IS EVERYTHING ELSE

The fog. THE FOGGGGGGGGGGGG.

You can barely see anything beyond the foreground, and the sun wasn’t high enough that the light could cut through and dissipate the fog. I like to think I heard dramatic violin music while the bus sped through this scene..

WHERE AM I

WHERE AM I

It really seems like something (or someone) would come trudging out.. like zombies? GAH!

THE TREES DON'T REALLY MAKE ME FEEL ANY BETTER

THE TREES DON’T REALLY MAKE ME FEEL ANY BETTER

You could film a psychological thriller here, or an outright horror movie. Is my imagination getting the best of me?? ;A;

We reached the Mabinay terminal, and had a short stopover for bathroom breaks and the like. The entire terminal seemed to be enveloped in fog, as the sunlight hadn’t quite reached that area. It felt like a scene right out of Silent Hill. Or any other scary movie where the town just seems to be swallowed in fog!

After crossing the border from Mabinay to Kabankalan (from Negros Oriental to Negros Occidental), the road began to descend. I even remember peering over the edge of the road.. AND SEEING A LARGE TRUCK THAT HAD FALLEN AND TURNED TURTLE. It wasn’t a recent fall, though – it had vines crawling on top of it and even grass that had begun to poke out from its crevices. Still fairly unsettling to see, though!

More people had boarded the bus, mainly students who were on their way to the Kabankalan proper for what seemed like an Independence Day parade or celebration. Their melodic talking (Hiligaynon, or Ilonggo, has a very melodic up-and-down intonation that is pleasant to the ears. Even the males’ speaking voices are like this!) sort of lulled me to sleep, and by the time I woke up we were out of the mountains.

Hurrah, the sun!

Hurrah, the sun!

In Kabankalan City proper.

The students got out a bit after I took this photo~

We reached the Ceres Bus Terminal in Kabankalan for another rest stop and bathroom break stopover. I didn’t feel like going to the toilet so instead I took a gratuitous photo of myself..

My IG caption?

My IG caption? “touristy af”

Guess what's growing on these fields!

Guess what’s growing on these fields!

I managed to stay awake again for the next few towns, but eventually fell asleep since I had barely any rest (my mountain nap was only for a good 30 minutes or so). I woke up at Valladolid, which is a couple of towns away from Bacolod.

As soon as I arrived in Bacolod at around 930am and stepped down from the bus, I was pretty much a lost child. It was like my Cebu experience – I hadn’t been in the city for so long that I have no idea where I am nor where I should go. I wandered onto a jeep and paid P10, just to be safe. And then..

..I got down at a Jollibee. A Jollibee! It was a very welcome sight, and so I ate breakfast there and got my bearings while I Google Maps’d where Business Inn (where my friends had booked their stay) was. I kept in constant contact with Chesra via text, and I told her I would just wait at the hotel. So after breakfast, I took a taxicab to the hotel and waited at the lobby for a good hour before they arrived.

The room we stayed in had 2 single beds, and then we just asked for an extra mattress and set of beddings. I stayed on the mattress since I pretty much just tagged along, and I was perfectly fine with being near the floor anyway.

After putting our things down and having a short moment of rest, we went out for lunch with Op and Pio. Op is Chesra’s officemate (or should I say Louise hohoho) and from Bacolod, so it was really good timing that he was in town for the weekend as well! We had lunch at Bob’s and we had a very delicious meal! After that and a good deal of conversation, we went back to the hotel and then rested a bit before our next foray: visiting The Ruins at Talisay!

A selca with my two very awesome, and very generous friends.

A selca with my two very awesome, and very generous friends.

We had agreed on taking a taxi to the site, but we still made sure to ask the hotel front desk how we could get back onto the main road.

There was a rainbow! Can you see it?

There was a rainbow! Can you see it?

It had started to rain a bit as we left, but it went away for a while to our relief.

The last time I was in Bacolod was over five years ago, as a stopover on a Dumaguete-Manila landtrip with my dad. While my dad slept in the hotel, my older cousin Manang Rica took me to The Ruins as well.  But I remember it with unpaved, muddy roads leading in through tall grass. I guess the Bacolod authorities got the idea to pave the roads and make a proper way to The Ruins!

Tadaaaaaah!

Tadaaaaaah!

The fountain beside the mansion.

The fountain beside the mansion.

Tourists! Hehe.

Tourists! Hehe.

My photos definitely don't do it justice. It's a beautiful place.

My photos definitely don’t do it justice. It’s a beautiful place.

The history behind this place, billed as the “Taj Mahal of Negros”, is that in the 1900s a wealthy sugar baron named Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson built this beautiful house for his Portuguese wife, Maria Braga. The house was filled with lavish decor and furniture, mostly imported – Maria’s father was a captain of a ship that travelled from Europe to Asia (and vice-versa), and often brought in these furniture for them. One of their daughters even tended to the garden grounds, filled with imported lilies. One of their sons even supervised construction, making sure that the pouring of A-grade concrete mix was followed precisely. The view from the belvedere was nothing short of amazing – the Lacsons had an unprecedented view of the Negros sunset, over all the sugarcane plantation that belonged to them. It was like looking over their little kingdom.

But it met a sad fate in the early part of World War II – guerrilla fighters burned the mansion down to prevent it from being used as a headquarters by the Japanese. It took two full days for the fire to burn the roof and the two-inch wooden floors, leaving the concrete skeleton behind as a testament to its construction and history.

Today, it still stands tall, towering over sugarcane plantations to the amazement of both locals and tourists alike. The site is also popular for being a popular wedding destination – maybe someday I could even be married here!

That's the belvedere over us.

That’s the belvedere over us.

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The three of us even made our way up the staircase to the second floor – a fairly dizzying ordeal as there isn’t exactly a second floor – you have to carefully traverse a concrete beam to get to the edge of the balcony area. I didn’t take photos of that for obvious reasons– haha. A tarp covers what is left of the floor, and luckily there is still a bar to hold on to while carefully crossing to the balcony area.

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The view of the fountain from the second floor.

The view of the fountain from the second floor.

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The mansion also looks amazing at dusk. It had started to rain, so we rushed to the covered cafe area to rest and to have some water. Our friends, Kai and Rafa, had also followed to the site so we all hung out there for a while. Needless to say, the rain dispersed the people and gave us some amazing photos of the facade!

Ah...

Ah…

This angle is surprisingly pretty!

This angle is surprisingly pretty!

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We left The Ruins together, on one pedicab/tricycle – two in front, two in the back, and one backriding next to the driver. No photos because it was cramped and difficult to take a photo, hahaha!

It was dinnertime already, so we took a jeep to Nana’s Rose for a chicken inasal dinner. You have not lived until you have eaten BACOLOD chicken inasal, with atsuete (annatto) oil mixed into your rice for good measure. It was delicious!

For dessert, we went to Calea Cakes & Pastries, which fortunately was a short walk from where we had dinner. The variety to choose from is nothing short of.. daunting. But then again, the place is known for its cakes – it’s very much recommended by so many people, both locals and tourists alike!

HELLO CAKE

HELLO CAKE

HELLO MORE CAKE

HELLO MORE CAKE

It took us a little while to choose what we wanted! Gax and I even chose two slices each just so we could try from each other’s plates!

Blueberry cheesecake, mud pie, coffee crisp,

Blueberry cheesecake, mud pie, coffee crisp, s’mores pie, white chocolate cream cake, French cheesecake, and lemon merengue pie. Sounds like a good day in Calea!

By the end of the night, we were stuffed.

A good kind of stuffed, though!

We hung around at L’Fisher’s roofdeck for a while, until sleepiness hit me and I suggested we go back to the hotel. Rafa and Kai even hung around the room for a while, and soon after they left we called it a night and went to get a good night’s rest.

~~~

The next day.. would be spent eating even more, hahaha! Chesra’s sister actually had a list of must-haves for Bacolod.

We woke up around 930am, but we rolled around in bed and enjoyed a bit too much.. so our brunch plans became lunch plans and we ended up having lunch at Bar 21! Gax and Ches both had bowls of batchoy (which the place is known for), but I had a hankering for rice so I opted for.. ADOBO FLAKES!

homina homina homina ADOBO FLAAAAAKES

homina homina homina ADOBO FLAAAAAKES

Kai followed shortly and ordered batchoy as well! Then after lunch, we decided to check out Calea’s competitor, Felicia’s.

WE HAVE BEEN CONVERTED. I REPEAT, WE HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT AND HAVE BEEN CONVERTED. ALL HAIL FELICIA’S.

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Swiss chocolate cake, sans rival, cookies & cream, blueberry and mocha macarons, double chocolate cheesecake. YEEEEEEEEES.

Swiss chocolate cake, sans rival, cookies & cream, blueberry and mocha macarons, double chocolate cheesecake. YEEEEEEEEES.

We absolutely loved it there. The cakes, though not as wide a variety as Calea’s, are delicious. They are not too sweet, and does not give you taste fatigue (or, umay). They pair great with a hot drink and they are quite affordable at P80-P100  (depending on the kind) a slice.

Later that day we went KTV with friends! We also tried the extra large shawarma that our friends were raving to us about. How large is extra large? Well, at P150 per serving, this is what it looks like:

THAT IS A LOT

THAT IS A LOT

OF SHAWARMA

OF SHAWARMA

FOR ONE PERSON

FOR ONE PERSON

I WAS FULL AFTER I FINISHED THIS

I WAS FULL AFTER I FINISHED THIS

We had a great time, singing so many songs and literally being rowdy over weird things! I got to meet more Bacolod friends and I’m really happy to have met and spent time with them! Drinks and singing and good food are always a good mix!

After KTV, it was just the three of us, plus Banand Kai, who went back to the hotel for a few more drinks (we bought some from a gas station – who knew alcohol was cheaper in BCD??) and then after they left we called it a night again.

~~~

Sunday was hectic – after breakfast, we went to Pendy’s to buy pasalubong (at least, they did), and then they quickly rushed to the airport for their flight back home.

We had this for breakfast at Business Inn - their kansi steak!

We had this for breakfast at Business Inn – their kansi steak!

I, on the other hand, stayed behind and waited for Ban and Kai so we could have lunch together before I would catch the 2pm bus back to Dumaguete!

We had lunch at Sharyn’s Kansi House – another famous Bacolod foodspot! Kansi  is Bacolod’s version of bulalo – think of it as a mix of sinigang, with its slight sourness, and bulalo, the rich, beefy soup sure to warm tummies on a cold or rainy day. And that day was definitely a rainy day!

After kansi, we went to..

..FELICIAAAAAAAAA’S!!!!!!!

Mango cheesecake, double chocolate cheesecake, carrot cake, another double chocolate cheesecake, and my brewed coffee.

Mango cheesecake, double chocolate cheesecake, carrot cake, another double chocolate cheesecake, and my brewed coffee.

It feels like I had cake every day. And I did!

CAKE PARTYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!

:Q~~~~~~~

:Q~~~~~~~

Felicia’s Double Chocolate Cheesecake is my favorite! It tastes like the tsokolate that Mama used to make, with tablea and fresh milk. It’s not too sweet, and it has that nostalgic taste to it. I love it. I wish I could have brought a box home!

One last mirror photo before I leave!

One last mirror photo before I leave!

Ban and Kai were nice enough to bring me to the bus terminal. The timing was perfect – when I boarded the bus, not 10 minutes had passed and we were already leaving the terminal. I guess I was cutting it pretty close!

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Thank you, Bacolod!

Thank you, Bacolod!

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Valladolid

Valladolid

More sugarcane!

More sugarcane!

Bye bye, Negros Occidental~

Bye bye, Negros Occidental~

I wish I could have stayed longer!

Although hopefully, next time, we’d have more friends come and then we can all go to the Mambukal Hot Springs as initially planned.. :p

__________

Is there anywhere within your region/state/area that you wish you could go to, or any other places in your country that you’ve been meaning to visit? Leave me a line in the comments! 🙂

xx Marianne

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One thought on “A sudden Bacolod weekend.

  1. estoualexis says:

    Okay, first of all, I’ll wipe off the drool from my face from seeing that Felicia’s choco cheese cake photo! Hahaha!

    I’m glad you had fun in Bacolod. Yeah, I was kind of expecting lots of food photos since the city is known for its food. Kind of makes me wish I could jet off to Bacolod too. One day?

    And you’re right about Ilonggo being sing-songy. I should know. I have a kanto/kagahod Ilonggo mode. Hahaha!

    Like

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