At around late November of last year, 2012, I undertook a trip that brought me to 11 cities and municipalities in 4 provinces within the Western Visayas region (and a bit of MIMAROPA). This was the most number of places I’ve visited in a single vacation, and was in many ways a great learning experience for me.
I originally intended for this to be a completely solo trip within Negros Occidental (primarily Bacolod and some nearby municipalities) that would help distract myself from some personal stuff I was undergoing at that time. But since my HLGG friends also had travel plans in a distant but very accessible part of Western Visayas (Boracay), I decided to meet up with them at the tail end of my vacation. I figured I needed some holiday cheer and Christmas was nearing after all.
So to summarize:
I flew in from Manila to Bacolod, which became my homebase in Negros Occidental. The busy first day brought me to the cities of Silay and Talisay for a heritage tour of Spanish-era Philippine architecture. The second day, I took a bus and visited the popular Mambukal Resort at the foothills of Mt. Kanlaon and explored its 7 waterfalls and famous hot springs.
A bout of food poisoning almost rendered me bedridden for the third day, but I summoned every strength I had to be able to visit the province’s summer capital of Don Salvador Benedicto. I actually consider this abbreviated day trip to be the highlight of my time spent in Negros Occidental. My last day in the province was spent just doing a walking tour of Bacolod City.
The second leg of my trip started on the sixth day when I took an early ferry from Bacolod to Iloilo City. From there I found my way to the Tagbac terminal where I hopped on a bus going to Kalibo. In Kalibo, I met up with HLGG friends Glenn and Ryan and spent the night at Glenn’s family home in the municipality of Tangalan.
We left for Boracay the next morning to meet up with the rest of our HLGG friends in Station 3. The eighth day was when we took a short but intense boat ride to the neighboring Carabao Island, which was – to me – a much better destination than Boracay. Finally, on the last day, we took a longer boat ride going to the Tablas mainland in Romblon to reach the town of Odiongan, and from there catch a night ferry going to Batangas.
I kept records of my expenses during the first leg of my trip but I somehow lost track and forgot to update them during the second leg. I’m hoping that I’d still be able to recall most of the interesting things that happened to me during this long trip. It wasn’t a smooth ride. But if it were, then it would have been boring. This trip was just what I needed at that point in my life and I’m glad I undertook it the way I did.