One year of living in the Philippines has almost come to its end. My last month started with a trip to the the Southern tip of Negros with my European visitors Luise and Zhivko. For our first day we decided to discover the mountains around Valencia. From our resort in Zamboanguita, we stopped a jeepney on its way to Dumaguete. As I mentioned in one of my articles last year here, jeepneys are the cheapest way to go around cities and if you don’t have luggage, it’s also the easiest and fasted because you don’t wait for the very limited number of private buses.
After breakfast at Sans Rival with their famous silvanas in Dumaguete, we continued our self-organized day-trip by jeepney to Valencia where we looked for a consecutive transport option to bring us to our hike’s starting points to Casaroro waterfalls.
Although we had specifically asked for habal-habals (motorcycles for 1-2 passengers) in Valencia, we only got a tricycle for the three of us. Our worries were confirmed during the ascent to the first hiking site in front of Casaroro waterfalls. We had to descent several times, and were else wondering if the motor would resist all effort carrying four adults uphills, including three heavy Europeans with backpacks. We made it through the mountain range, but couldn’t fully set aside our fear and inhaled the tricycle’s emmission all day long. For any future hikes in mountaineois areas, I would definitely insist on habal-habals to reduce the load on one single motorcycle and the risk of breakdowns or worse scenarios.
At arrival at our first site, guides welcomed us to offer a tour through the rainforest along the river, which I recommend to everyone going there for the first time. As many hiking sites in the Philippines, Casaroro waterfalls are only accessible through slippery rainforest and river-crossing stones. We even used our watershoes during the hike, which shows that most of the path is not prepared or secured for hikers at all. It’s tiring to make the 335 stairs, especially on the way back, and a little adventurous to set foot on fallen-off rocks, but as always worth the effort when you arrive in front of the gushing deluge of water.
On our way to Pulangbato falls, rainy season presented itself from its most humid side. Nevertheless we stopped by the soaring sulfur gases and just waited for the heaviest rain shower to lessen until we finally entered the resort leading to Pulangbato falls.
Despite the rain, we also pulled through with our plan to bath in the Red Hot Springs with its therapeutic virtues. Although I would have preferred a warm and dry summer afternoon to board the tricycle for our final one-hour ride back to Dumaguete, it was definitely a relaxing end of our day, with softened skin and hair as a welcome treat.
All in all we really made most out of this first rainy day of vacation. One can definitely travel the Philippines after summer season. As the coming days showed us, one should just carefully choose the destinations…