Archive for category Travels
It felt like it has been ages since the last time I really log into this site. I miss being here and interacting with you. My apologies for disappearing so long. The updates are slowly coming together and I hope to upload one or two in the next couple of days.
I had a wonderful vacation, one of the longest my family and I took in a while. The photo above is from one of the relaxing places we have been to. When we got home, I had a difficult time recovering from jet lag. It took weeks for my sleeping pattern to return to normal. (How come it is getting more difficult to recover from jet lag as one gets older)!
Yes, I also turned a year older weeks ago! 🙂
My little one went back to school, and I got busy doing a major spring cleaning afterwards. It was also a way to clear my head. Just like I have written before, I do it from time to time to clear the mind! I am not completely done with that, but that is for another day. For now, I am back to writing to keep me sane! 🙂
Cheers and good vibes! I hope everyone is doing well and that you are still all there, following this blog. 🙂
Hi everyone! I hope you are all doing well! It has been over a month since I last posted and it was not my intention to let it that long. My apologies! I got busy preparing for a trip that my family and I decided to take. I just want you to know that I’m still here and will resume writing as soon as I can, and that I didn’t just disappear from the face of earth! 🙂 I do missed writing very much but I am still settling in where I am at the moment after frantically preparing for the trip in less than a month. I will go back to it in the next couple of days. Cheers and good vibes always!
❤ Antigone ❤
“Manong, pwede pong paki-baba na lang po kami sa mismong bayan ng Talisay!”
This was my request to the driver of the Ceres bus we took from Bacolod’s North Terminal, Monday morning, the second day of my Negros trip with one of my best friends. We got to the terminal by taking the Mandalagan-bound jeepney along Lacson Street, Bacolod’s main road!
My friend and I really didn’t have any idea on how to go to Talisay, the nearest city north of Bacolod and before Silay City, and how to get to the places we want to see that day, the Balay ni Tana Dicang and The Ruins, two of Negros’ famous ancestral houses. We thought that the best way to do it would be to go the center of the town, ask around, and take it from there.
More than 10 minutes after we left the North Terminal, our bus stopped at a school along the highway, and the driver told us we are in Talisay! We got off and saw several tricycles parked at the curb side. We approached the first one in line, and asked the driver if he could take us to The Ruins. We agreed on a price, Php 100, to take us there, but since he was nice and there are other places we would like to see, we ended up renting his tricycle for the trip around Talisay, for Php 500.
Manong’s tricycle sits two people in the front side, and two in the backside (though it would really be a tight fit), and one can sit on the motorcycle itself behind the driver. It was okay. I have tried the habal-habal before in Bukidnon and Siargao Island, and that one, you had to hold on to dear life! With my friend on the front side, and me in the back as I wanted to take pictures along the way, we started our adventure. We went back to the direction we took on the way to Talisay from Bacolod, bore off leftward towards the direction of the sugar cane fields and a new subdivision development at the start of it, near the main road.
I have seen photos of The Ruins but I was not prepared for the view that I will see after passing through fields and fields of sugar cane for about 10 to 15 minutes. We turned left before that tall structure above and I caught a glimpse of my first Negros ancestral house! One word for it, amazing!
We paid the Php 95 each entrance fee, and just stared for a while at the beautiful sight before us. Even if the weather was a bit gloomy when we set off that morning, the first glimpse of the house was like a ray of sunshine to us!
The Ruins or the mansion built by the sugar baron Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson in loving memory of his wife, Maria Braga, maybe just a shell of its former self now, but looking at it you can still see traces of how beautiful and grand the house must have been. Still standing tall, proud and beautiful, overlooking the vast area around her, as she had done for about a century now, she is like a queen, very regal despite the ravages of war, and time!
Still in awe, we entered the house reverently through its, still, grand entrance, and started our journey to the past.
The garden of the house is also very beautiful and the grounds, extensive.
We left the place feeling happy. My friend mentioned that the place exuded positive vibes.
With our heads still full of the images of The Ruins, we boarded our tricycle again, and the driver took us back to the city for our next ancestral house, the Balay ni Tana Dicang, the house of the Alunan-Lizares family which was turned into a lifestyle museum. It was actually the first one we went to as it is nearer, but it was still closed when we arrived there. The museum is open from 10AM onwards.
We paid the Php 100 entrance fee for adults (Php 20 for kids) and we started touring the beautiful bahay na bato built in the latter part of the 19th century for Don Efigenio Lizares and Doña Enrica Alunan.
Being in this house, I really felt like I entered a time machine and arrived in Spanish-era Philippines.
The house looks unchanged through the passage of time. When you reach the top of the stairs, you’ll have the feeling that the lady of the house in her finest clothes will come forward, and welcome you to her magnificent home (similar to a scene in the classic movie ‘Oro, Plata, Mata’).
Of all the Philippine ancestral houses that I have been to, so far, this is the grandest and the most preserved one I have toured!
It was a wonderful experience walking around the magnificent home and getting glimpses of how the family had lived in their very interesting times.
We asked our driver to take us also to the Talisay Church, as aside from ancestral houses, I also make it a point to visit beautiful, old churches in the places that I have been to!
Our last stop was a restaurant so we can have lunch before we travel back to Bacolod. Our driver brought us to this place. We thanked him as we parted ways. It was a wonderful, and indeed, a very different experience touring Talisay in his tricycle!
These much delicious food, and drinks, cost us only around Php 500. We were even unable to finish everything! Too much for our tummies!
We crossed the street, and flagged a Bacolod-bound jeepney. As Talisay receded from our sight, the experience of having stepped back in time, lingered.
• Please find below scanned copies of the leaflets I got on both houses for additional information about these beautiful places. You can also click on this link for Balay ni Tana Dicang and this link for The Ruins.
• If you would like to know more about Philippine ancestral houses, you can get this book. It is a bit pricey at Php 1,500, but worth it. I bought the book at National Bookstore. Balay ni Tana Dicang was among the heritage houses featured in this beautiful book. It also has a list of Heritage House-Museums you can visit, at the back pages, with brief descriptions, opening hours, addresses, and phone numbers!
• For the Bacolod side of my trip, please click on this link. Next travel post, the ancestral houses of Silay City, Negros Occidental!
It all started over coffee, one afternoon. I told one of my best friends that one day, I would like to go to Negros Occidental and see for myself the beautiful ancestral houses there. I told her that, in particular, Silay City is on my bucket list of places that I would like to see in my lifetime. Since I have been to Vigan three years before, Silay is my next goal.
She sipped her coffee, smiled at me and then she said, “Tara!” I looked at her, quite surprised as normally, being a mom like me, she needed to arrange things at home before we can go somewhere, even for our ‘coffee and movie dates’. I asked her again to be doubly sure that she would like to go with me and that we will do it now, instead of in the future. She said yes! And so we planned our trip, the first out-of-town one we took together.
I got in touch with one of my old friends who is now based in Negros Occidental, as well as a former colleague who is from Bacolod City. My friend gave me a list of places I can check out when I asked him for a recommendation on accommodations. My friend and I would like to stay within our budget, so a simple, clean one will suffice. We only need the place for sleeping and to park our things. However, I have another requirement – that it should have a TV as I don’t like to miss an episode of On the Wings of Love, even while on vacation!
He also suggested we base ourselves in Bacolod as the places I want to see are not that far from the city. That way, he said, we can travel around, and at the same time explore Bacolod. His idea is actually brilliant and it saved us from packing and unpacking and moving from one place to another. That way, we also got to explore more places, like he said. I chose the cheapest on his list, if I remember correctly, and the most accessible from Bacolod’s main street. I also read the reviews, looked at photos online, and the place seemed okay.
We took the first flight out of Manila via Philippine Airlines towards the end of September as it was cheaper than the other schedules. By taking that flight, my friend and I had our first ‘Everyday I Love You’ moment, as Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano were on the same flight! We wondered if they have a show in Bacolod since it was around the start of the Masskara Festival season. Our question on where they were going was answered two days after, when we made it to Silay. We saw Enrique getting out of the pick-up they used in the movie near the church there! He and Liza were in the area for the location shoot of their movie!
We landed at the Bacolod-Silay International Airport more than an hour after we left Manila. I was told by the pension house where we will be staying that there are shuttles from the airport going to hotels and inns in Bacolod at Php 150 per person. However, my friend and I opted to take a taxi as it would just cost Php 100 extra each on our part. We have one luggage each, plus our carry-on bags. The taxi costs Php 500. The guys manning the taxi line were very nice and as promised, and after passing through a bit of only sugarcane fields and not much houses, we arrived in Bacolod, and at Pleasant Travellers Pension House after 30 minutes or less, I think.
The check in at the pension house is at 1PM so we had to wait. We were unable to check-in early as our room was not yet available. The staff showed us to the area where we can rest and wait. We left our things there to eat breakfast. First, we checked their canteen, but the food there didn’t appeal much to our stomachs at that time. We decided to venture out to Lacson Street, Bacolod’s main street, even if was raining a bit. Luckily, a taxi dropped off some people at the pension house when we were about to brave the drizzle. The first place we checked out, base on my Lonely Planet guide-book and my map, was undergoing renovations, so we walked a bit more, and found this very nice coffee shop at the L’ Fisher Hotel complex. We thought it would be on the expensive side, it being in a hotel complex, but it’s not. They offer nice and very filling breakfast meals, breads and mouth-watering cakes and pastries, and nice coffee too!
We went back to the pension house after breakfast and waited until we managed to check in past 12nn.
Our room is at the second floor, at the back part of the inn. It was okay, big enough for my friend and me, with two single beds, a bedside table, a closet, a dresser, a bathroom with hot and cold shower, and of course a TV! The place is clean and cost Php 780 per night (the one without a TV is around Php 200 cheaper). The blankets were thin (those white ones, and it got very cold at night, even if we adjusted the air conditioning). We requested for extra blankets (and pillows since there was only one each) at an extra, but minimal cost. I also wore socks to bed. Problem solved!
Bacolod’s streets are laid out in a grid form, along Lacson Street, so it is easier to find your way around. Our inn is at 13th street, parallel to Lacson. We usually just walk to Lacson and travel from there. All jeepneys and taxis pass through this street. My Bacolod colleague told me that Lacson is also their national highway. Indeed, you can access the North Terminal going to say, Talisay, Silay, through Lacson.
In between traveling to Silay and Talisay, we managed to explore quite a number of places Bacolod in the four and half days we have stayed there. Here are some of the activities we did, and you can do, while in the City of Smiles:
Food trip/coffee time moments along Lacson Street. Aside from the usual chains of restaurants you can find in Metro Manila and other urban centers, there are quite a number of local restaurants, and cafes along this busy main street. Here are some of the places we have been to:
- Ann Co Cakes
4. C’s at L’ Fisher Hotel
5. Starbucks (for the Bacolod mug)!
• Walk around Negros Occidental Capitol Park and Lagoon!
• Visit the Negros Museum.
• Have another coffee time at the Negros Museum Cafe.
• Explore Downtown Bacolod!
• Dine at Aida’s Chicken at Manokan Country
• Shop for souvenirs and pasalubong at the Negros Showroom along Lacson Street. The place has a lot of beautiful and very nice local products. Aside from these two, I also bought a beautiful abaca bangles which is now a favorite accessory!
• Go to Panaad Park and Sports Complex. Our Negros Museum guide told us that a real train that was used in the transporting sugar canes in the old days can be found in this place, so off we go, especially after we decided not to go to Victorias Milling on this trip. I was also curious about this place as I remember that a Philippine Azkals game was played at the Panaad Stadium. Panaad is far, if we will measure the distance from where we have been, which was the Negros Museum.
• Mall fix at The District. Getting out of Panaad commuting became a bit of a challenge as we were not familiar with the jeepney routes, and the area itself, anymore. Not much taxis either in that area. Luckily, we found this very nice taxi driver after a while. We asked him to take us to The District in the neighboring Talisay for our mall fix. He was also the one who took us back to the airport the following day for Php 500. We ate lunch there, had coffee, and then just went around.
• The Art District in Mandalagan. We managed to reach it after getting lost. We missed the stop to Mandalagan. There was not much activity in the area when we went there in the afternoon. Maybe, it is best to go there in the evening as I noticed there are several places where you can sit out and drink. After braving a dark stairway, we found the Gallery Orange and the current exhibit there.
Next, and that is after I have written the update to my fan fiction, my trips to Talisay and Silay! 🙂
Note: Sorry, this one is very long post. I put more information and photos, more than I would normally do, (including rates, prices of stuffs, fees, and also some links for more information) for those of you who would like to go there as well, and also for people who will end up in this blog, looking for information, like I do, before going to a place. I hope you will find this post useful!