About liquiddruid

Trying out a lot of things before I get too old for them.

FYI: I am no longer endorsing Travel Factor

For the past 4 years, I have always endorsed Travel Factor (TF) both in this blog and in other media.  This endorsement has been spontaneous and unsolicited because I have always found them to be competent and reliable tour providers.  Plus, they’re generally fun to be with.  I am now no longer of this opinion.

Please be informed that all past endorsements of TF made in this blog are revoked as of today, November 10, 2014.  I will also be removing all TF tags prior to this in order for anyone Google-searching for any information on TF not to be misled by any past mention here.

I am under no illusions that this will make a dent in TF’s client-drawing capabilities.  I just do not want this blog to have any part in it anymore.

Prelude to my biggest journey

So I’m getting hitched.  Yaaay!  I suppose my “About Me” page has to be modified soon to reflect my new status as a happily engaged man.  Nothing much to say about the proposal itself.  I just thought I’d pop the question in the most beautiful place in the country that I’ve ever been to.  It was a private and intimate affair.  Luckily, the weather cooperated and the timing was right.  (There was a bit of comedy involved, but that only made things more memorable.)

For the travelers out there, you will certainly recognize where that photo was taken.  Yes, I proposed in that exact same spot.  :)

Just Bacolod

I owed Bacolod.  For the past 3 days, I’ve been using it as a jump-off point to get to somewhere else, and so on my last day, I decided to do a bit of staycationing (of a sort) and just roam around the city to see whatever interesting stuff I could find wherever my two feet would take me. Continue reading

A day trip to Don Salvador Benedicto

In the highlands of Negros Occidental, there is a small landlocked municipality that, by virtue of its location, is gifted with cool breezes and with a significantly lower temperature than the surrounding lowlands.  This is Don Salvador Benedicto, named after a former vice governor of the province, who distinguished himself during World War II.  The municipality is one of the youngest in the province carved out of 2 older ones, and was formerly a hotspot for armed conflict between government forces and communist rebels.  This is all in the past as peace and local governance has stabilized the place and it has since been designated as Negros Occidental’s summer capital. Continue reading

Enjoying the GoPro bandwagon

(Photo courtesy of Ann Umaña.)

Sometime late last year, Ann purchased a GoPro camera with its matching extendable, hand-held monopod. Since then, we’ve been using it more often than any of our other cameras because the GoPro can literally be brought everywhere and a photo (or rather, selfie) can be taken at almost any angle imaginable.  In this photo, we were using it to take photos of ourselves at Camp John Hay’s TreeTop Adventure.  I hold the monopod and camera, while Ann snaps away using the remote control.

Exploring Mambukal’s 7 falls

Mambukal Resort in the neighboring municipality of Murcia is probably the most popular day trip destination for those who live in Bacolod.  It’s actually quite old, dating back to 1927, when it first opened its gates to the public.  Originally designed by Kokichi Paul Ishiwata – a Christian Japanese – the resort is now ran by the provincial government.  Because it’s located in at the foothills of Mt. Kanlaon, the area is dotted by hot sulfur springs and waterfalls. Continue reading

“The Ruins” in Talisay, and a detour to Bacolod

“Talisay” is the name of a type of tree, and is also a pretty common place-name in the Philippines.  As far as i know, there are 2 cities and 2 municipalities that are known by this name in Negros Occidental, Cebu, Batangas and Camarines Norte, respectively.  What sets apart the Talisay of Negros Occidental is undoubtedly the remains of the building formerly known as the Mariano Ledesma Lacson Mansion, now referred to as “The Ruins”.  Talisay is adjacent to both Silay and Bacolod and I planned to spend the afternoon viewing The Ruins. Continue reading

The heritage district of Silay

When one flies to Bacolod City, one doesn’t really land in any airport within Bacolod.  Like most airports named after major cities, they’re usually actually located in a neighboring city or municipality where there’s much more open space.  This is the case with the “Dumaguete Airport” located in Sibulan, the former “Manila International Airport” located in Parañaque, the “Iloilo Airport” located in Cabatuan, and of course, the Bacolod Airport, which is located in the city of Silay. Continue reading

Year-end climb: Mt. Kinabalu

Photo courtesy of Ann Umaña

Last December 1 & 2, 2013, my girlfriend, Ann, and I climbed Mt. Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. Although reputed to be the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, it’s actually just the highest in archipelagic Southeast Asia because Myanmar in the Asian mainland occupies a portion of the Himalayas, which has peaks much higher than Mt. Kinabalu.

We were supposed to climb another mountain back here in the Philippines (Mt. Bulusan) as our year-end climb, but Mt. Kinabalu got us both physically and mentally exhausted that we agreed to not climb mountains anytime soon after. As usual, expect me to blog about this about a year from now as it’s now officially placed in the blog backlog.