Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dumageuete-Siquijor, Negros Oriental - December 2013

The prior trip to Siquijor back in 2010 is but a short and abrupt day tour, being a minor part of the Dumaguete vacation. This led us to go back for reasons above Dumaguetes tricycle infested but laid back city feel and Siquijors fine beaches and tourist spots.. A visit of places we have yet to step on and re-visit of those we have.

Hotel Check in.
Hotel Palwa 
Address: [MAP] Dr. V. Locsin Street, corner Real Street, Dumaguete City 6200, Negros Oriental
Contact Info: (035) 422.8995 / 0917.771.1600 . 0922.888.4371
Landmark: CALTEX Gas station at the corner of Real and Dr. V. Locsin Street.
The overall feel of the hotel is similar to Hotel Luisa at the Plaza. One thing convenient is that the hotel is near your rides going outside the city, walking distance to some of the food spots and the Public Market, as well as a few corners away from Rizal Boulevard.
Room 202.
Modernish style Matrimonial Room with aircon, cabinets and small LCD Tv.2 pairs of useable outlets (plugs).Centralized electricity shut down upon removal of key from wall post.With Window, although minimal view at the height of the second floor.Hot Bath (not centralized heating). No bidet.With hotel pickup and transfer.No free breakfast.

Casaroro falls. (9:30AM-2:30PM)
The wife already made prior arrangements of who’ll be taking us by Habal-habal through the only means of transport up the steep roads of Valencia. We met up with Kuya Fernando after less than an hour of wait-and-travel via Jeepney from Robinsons Dumaguete to Valencia. There are lots of habal-habal drivers waiting at the Valencia terminal. You may make arrangements upon arrival.
Note: To get to the Terminal, take any tricycle. They have already migrated the terminal at the back of the Robinsons Mall but some jeeps still pick up and transfer passengers at the Old going to the New. Jeep fare is free, since they’ve just implemented this change.
If you’ll proceed directly to Robinsons, you may have to walk to the back of the Mall since tricycles are not allowed at the terminal.
Jeeps take time to fill and like most provincial rides, they have seats at the center aisle to accommodate extra passengers.

Off the jeep ride, the 30-45 minute habal-habal ride going up to Casaroro falls is almost guaranteed a smooth travel over cemented roads. There is just a minimal portion of unfinished road getting to the last stretch. A marker welcomes you afterwards along with the need to register and pay the P10/head fee.  Your driver will also serve as your guide.
The trek starts with a staircase of more than 300 steps all the way down the riverbank. There used to be a cemented pathway elevated above the stream side but most parts have long corroded. A means, mother nature knows to communicate its distraught with these foreign elements. 

Bathing directly below the Falls is prohibited, however, there is a formation down stream where you can take a dip. There are man made structures here(or what remains of it), mostly trail paths but last we've seen, there is no comfort room. If you plan to dip in the waters, you may have to dry up, change or board your ride wet. The hike to the falls takes about 40 minutes to an hour to the scenic tourist.
If you plan to stay long here, ask your driver to take you to an eatery to load up on packed lunch prior to the ride to the falls. As a form of decency and respect, buy your driver a meal as well.

We were back at 1:30PM and easily boarded a jeep in Valencia going back to Dumaguete.
Note: Interestingly, Valencia welcomes us with a laid back open grass grounds that some may fancy hanging-out in. 

City Burger.
Getting there: [MAP] Along Real Street, a corner out of Hotel Palwa, just a few steps to the right of the CALTEX Gas station. Accessible by walking either coming from Hotel Luisa or Hotel Palwa.
Your Chicken inasal with sauce. Small serving, big guys should double a meal or order extra from the menu. Pay for additional  sauce. Meal price (minimal amount) differ inside the airconditioned establishment and the open air tables. Fastfood format. Best to wash, drop your inhibitions and eat with your hands.  

2Storey Kitchen. 
Check [MAP]
A 2 storey Korean format (owned) Coffee shop. They have seats at the first floor with nice polaroid photos hanging on mini clothes lines and wall arts- scrap book enthusiasts will fancy. At the second floor, they have string-dripped partitions and a mezzanine division of a table and seat area at the lower and a low table where you'll need to go indian seat at the upper part. 5 step stairs are available at the side of each string draped partition. Further the floor of the building, is a  division exclusive for smokers. 
Latte here tastes different but one that I personally came back for another round. Their Honey Bread is also worth trying. Having tasted Cafe Bene’s version (also a commercial Korean format coffee shop),  I prefer 2Storeys version mainly because their wheat bread complements the mix better.

Breakfast at the Public Market.
Go cheap but load up. The Public Market is just at the back of the building facing Hotel Palwa’s entrance. (Go to Gas Station, face left of Real Street, and go to the next corner) They have tables laid down where you can pick a store to serve you bread, coffee and bud-bod, -a suman counterpart. (Meals may not be enough to the heavy tummy packer)

Twin Lakes. (9AM-5PM)
Sibulan, San Jose. [MAP]
Easy rides are basically MultiCabs or small rear-entrance, open-window vans that take people far off the city and back. They are also your next ride going to Sibulan. They wait just at the corner of the Caltex Gas Station near Hotel Palwa. The ride may take up to 30-40minutes and waiting time to fill may be up to 15minutes.
Once you have a clear view of the sea at the right side of the road, you are nearing your drop (Lala-an). There is also a large signage conveniently placed at the left of the road side drop off.
Habal habal drivers await at the area. The 45 min ride is rough and often sun-exposed.
Notes: Ceres buses going to Manjuyod or Tanjay is also your next alternative ride going to San Jose.

Some haggle with Habal habal drivers, but consider walking the 16km ride and think if this pleases you enough to disregard the P800/head fare. Some do hike up, but this may take a while to fulfill.

Pay Environmental Fee along the way. P10 for locals, P100 I think for foreigners.
Ride ends at a Resto-View Deck where you can tummy-pack at a reasonable price (small serving though). Here starts your steep cemented road decline to the lake. If you dont plan to just sit on a picnic matt(Fees still apply) or under a rental cottage hut, arrange your tour for an hour boat ride taking you to the Twin Lakes.  Boatmen will take you across lake Balinsasayao, do a minor hike to the (burned-down) view deck (supposedly holding a view of both lakes) then go down to the second lake (Danao). The second lake is not as majestic and since the lakes are separated by forest, boating in this second body of water is not possible. Adding an additional hour allows you to go to Olayan falls across Balinsasayao. Requires minor hike as well. Enjoy the peaceful boat ride, you don't get this peace in a lake up the mountains everyday.

Notes: Cut the boat ride fair with a lone traveler. End your trip by dining at the Resto-View Deck. 

Elsa, a Sole Traveler we met, up the Twin Lakes.
Habal-habal Notes
If you are partners, it would be best that the male sits in between the driver and your companion, since the terrain going to the falls is a mix of up and down roads. This makes up for crotch-to-butt kisses experience and is uneasy enough for a guy, much more violating if your female companion is in the middle.
Wear sun protection as the trip may take about an hour of mostly un-shaded ride.
Both passengers should stay and veer towards the direction of the driver to avoid tipping off the motorcycle when ascending in rocky areas.
Avoid sudden and heavy movements in relocating your ass from the motorcycle seat.

Easy ride and Jeep Notes
You pay after boarding off. Head over at the front of the vehicle and give the fare to the driver. We can only speculate, but that's how it's done here.
Always anticipate waiting time.
Cramped up transpo rides, respect locals and don't bring your huge mountaineer backpack.
Some Food Notes: Sans Rival now has their own resto besides and beside their small cafe. 
Don Robertos bar [MAP]- Along Perdices Street near Siliman Avenue serves cold pizza at closing. But we heard their siopao is good.

Streets of Dumaguete Photos.

Stayed in Dumaguete for a few days and rendezvoused with vacationing friends before proceeding to the second half of our vacation in Siquijor. 

Port area is at the end of Rizal Boulevard near Siliman University.
Notes: Arrange your trip and know the schedules. It is always best that you visit the pier prior to buying tickets to avoid long waiting and unexpected occurrences of cancelled trip misfortunes.
There are times during the week that only a few rides cross to Siquijor. Best you know the arrival and departure as well. In our experience, it is best that you are an hour early to get good seats. Morning travels has the sun at the right side of the vessel. Bad spot is at the back, behind the ship engine, hence prep your ears for the noise and your nostrils for the black fumes.

Coral Cay Resort
Location: Solangon, San Juan, Siquijor 6227
Tel: 0919.269.1269 . 0908.896.5263
Forget Coral Cay. It is a resort for foreigners who are willing to pay steep fees, dine in overpriced meals and dip in silent-as-a lake waters. (Condition may vary depending on time of year)
We were left with no choice since the known resorts were all fully booked during our stay.  
In all fairness- Facilities are nice. Fanned huts and villas are well maintained. They even have a gym and a common area to watch Tv and play billiards. What's awesome in this side of the island is the way the sun sets at the nearby Apo Island.
Note: Mosquitos here are huge, but so are, well..., geckos. (Not just your typical ceiling lizards, geckos brudda, geckos!)

Siquijor Tour
Day Tour. Breakfast at a nearby eatery in Capilay Spring.
Capilay Spring Park.
Would be nice to dip in this Public Spring but given that this starts our day tour, we had to pass. Go to the edge of the spring and climb the coral rocks to get a view of the pool stretch.

Lily Tatong
A local who sells herbal medicinal stuff and accessories against the unknown. We bought bracelets with oil that sips out when someone is supposedly angry at you. It works when you believe it, but at P10, help Siquijors tourism out.

Century Old Tree (Donation)
Bring bread, feed the fishes in the spring under this 400 year old tree. They dont dig your dead foot skin, foot spa'ing here got old.
With the permission of the caretaker, and assistance of the children in the area, climb the accessible parts of the tree through the back.

High Point, Crocodile Hills
A view of a land formation shaped like a crocodile.

St. Isidore De Labrador church & Lazi Convent

Cambugayah Falls.
Multiple layers of short falls where cold waters entice tourists to freshen up before heading to their next point in Siquijors map.

Lunch at Noy-Noys Eatery in Lazi.
Wide selection of cheap lutong bahay meals.
Santa Maria Church.

Black Magic Mary

Salagdoong Beach (Entrance fee+parking)
Alternatively, you can also have lunch at their resto here. 

Rocky and sharp. Always recommended to secure a foot wear bathing these waters.

Old Cang-isok House
Mid-1800 Old makes Cang-isok house the oldest house in Siquijor.
Siquijor Bread
A road side bakery humbly baking Pan de Coco bread (Bukayo). Featured by Byahe ni Drew. Nibble some for merienda. Mangrove view here is also nice.
Guiwanon Spring Park (Entrance fee)
Huts on stilts for rent. We considered staying here, but there is not much to do here and not much beach to enjoy. There are springs below the stilts somewhere.

Our Guide brought us at an Un-developed resort where we owned the beach until after sunset.

We missed visiting Apo Island and were more saddened to hear that the visit of a previous typhoon made ruins to the corals in its marine sanctuary. Hoping this info is an exaggeration more than false and that people give nature time to heal this affected area.

Link to previous Dumaguete Vacation.

Itinerary, Contacts, References and Expenses breakdown as logged by teh wife.
December 5, 2013 - Thursday

4 AM

Wake up time
455 AM – 520 AM
Php 250.00
Taxi going Terminal 3
556 AM
Php 270.00
Food and coffee at Cinnabon
720 AM – 830 AM

Travel time to Dumaguete
843 AM – 856 AM

To Hotel Palwa via free shuttle service

Php 2,997.00
4D / 3N stay

Php 30.00
Mineral water in Orillan Caltex
936 AM
Php 18.00
Tricycle to Terminal
945 AM – 955 AM

Waiting time Valencia Terminal in Robinsons
955 AM – 1017 AM
Php 24.00
Jeepney fare to Valencia proper
1019 AM – 1059 AM

Travel time to Casaroro drop off + buy lunch

Php 216.00

Php 20.00
Registration for 2 pax
1102 AM – 1132 AM

Trek to falls
1246 PM – 115 PM

Back to Jump off
125 PM – 148 PM

Back to Plaza Valencia

Php 350.00
Service for Habal-habal c/o Kuya Fernando

Php 24.00
Jeepney fare back to Dumaguete
210 PM

Arrived in Dumaguete

Php 17.00
Mineral water
230 PM

Back to hotel, rest
726 PM
Php 181.00
Dinner at City Burger

Php 107.00
Omega and Facial wash
810 PM – 9 PM

Rizal boulevard
912 PM – 1030 PM
Php 285.00
Coffee at 2 Story Kitchen

Php 71.00
11 PM

Back to hotel, rest
Php 4,860.00

Casaroro Falls (Valencia)
Getting There:
Take jeep to Valencia from Dumaguete city proper (near Hotel Palwa)
Take Motorbike ride from Valencia to drop-off point of Casaroro Falls, P150 per person roundtrip
Fare: Php 100 (jeep/2way) + Php 300 (habal-habal)
Travel Time:
30 - 45 minutes from Dumaguete to Valencia town proper 
30 - 45 minutes from Valencia town proper to Casaroro Falls - 
Contact Person: Fernando (0999 4560396) for habal-habal service.

December 6, 2013 - Friday

630 AM

Wake up time
730 AM
Php 18.00
Tricycle going Dumaguete Public Market

Php 60.00
Breakfast at Stall #18 – Budbod and coffee

Php 18.00
Tricycle to Jollibee

Php 217.00
Packed lunch – chicken and burger

Php 37.00
Mineral water and C2
817 AM

Back to hotel, get stuff for Twin Lake
856 AM – 913 AM

Waiting time – easy ride to San Jose
915 AM – 945 AM
Php 30.00
Jeep to San Jose
950 AM – 1028 AM

Travel time to Twin Lake via Habal habal

Php 20.00
Registration fee
1035 AM

Lake area
1107 AM – 107 PM

Boat going to the other side of the lake and falls

Php 350.00
Boat rental

Php 800.00
Habal habal fee
130 PM
Pph 95.00
Late lunch
315 PM – 350 PM

Back to jump off
354 PM – 426 PM
Php 30.00
Jeepney back to Dumaguete
443 PM
Php 69.00
Halo halo in Mang Inasal
505 PM

Back to hotel, rest

Php 18.00
Tricycle going to Don Roberto’s
930 PM
Php 280.00
Dinner at Don Roberto’s bar - Pizza
1028 PM
Php 285.00
Coffee at 2 Story Kitchen
1152 PM

Back to hotel, rest
Php 2,327.00

Twin Lakes (Sibulan, San Jose)
Getting There:
In Dumaguete, hail a tricycle to the Caltex Gasoline Station near HOtel Palwa and the public market. "Easy rides" (local term for multicab) bound for San Jose can be found here. This will pass by Sibulan.

Take a Ceres Bus bound for “Tanjay” or “Manjuyod”. 

Fare: Easy Ride to Sibulan - P15 / P10 Entrance(Environmental fee) / P800 Habal habal (2pax max)

Travel Time:
30 - 45 minutes from Dumaguete to Sibulan
45 minutes from Sibulan to Twin Lakes

December 7, 2013 - Saturday

930 AM

Wake up time
1030 AM
Php 270.00
Brunch at Qyosko 24

Php 18.00
Tricycle to Dumaguete port

Php 18.00
Tricycle back to Hotel
1237 PM

Back to hotel, rest
5 PM

Exploring the area – from Market to Rizal boulevard

Php 112.00
Syringe – Mercury Drug
607 PM
Php 410.00
Dinner at Sans Rival
645 PM
Php 481.10
Grocery at Robinsons Supermarket
735 PM
Php 18.00
Tricycle back to hotel
820 PM
Php 357.00
Coffee at Rene’s Coffee Café
1105 PM

Back to hotel, rest
Php 1,684.10

December 8, 2013 - Sunday

6 AM

Wake up time
7 AM
Php 18.00
Tricycle to Dumaguete port

Php 270.00
Ticket and terminal fee going Siquijor

Php 18.00
Tricycle going to Dunkin Donuts
8 AM
Php 190.00
Breakfast at Dunkin Donuts
930 AM

Check out at Hotel Palwa
945 AM
Php 20.00
Tricycle to Sans Rival
1030 AM
Php 353.00
Brunch at Sans Rival
1145 AM

Boarding time
120 PM

Arrived in Siquijor
205 PM

Arrived in Coral Cay

Php 220.00
Merienda – Pancit Canton in Coral Cay
7 PM
Php 500.00
9 PM
Php 500.00
Dinner at Coral Cay

Php 600.00
Siquijor tour

Php 175.00
Pick up and drop off service
1045 PM

Php 2,864.00

List of Ferry / Shipping schedule:
Location: Dumaguete port
Rate:  Php 200 one way per pax + Php 15 terminal fee

December 9, 2013 - Monday

630 AM

Wake up time
810 AM

Coffee near Capilay
820 AM – 6 PM

Tour in Siquijor c/o Kuya Ariel

Php 20.00
Donation in Balete

Php 35.00
Ice tea

Php 60.00
1 PM
Php 130.00
Lunch at Lazi Market

Php 30.00
Tinapay famous from Drew’s

Php 35.00
Ref magnet
6 PM
Php 535.00
Dinner at Back Packers

Php 544.00
Contribution for liquors etc.
8 PM

230 AM

Php 1,389.00

Tour: Kuya Ariel – 09122443665 / 09261607205
Rate: Easy ride, entire day = Php 1,850, contribution Php 300.00 per pax

Kuya Joam, our contact referred Ariel instead as he had an accident that required metal support to be lodged in his arm.

December 10, 2013 – Tuesday

6 AM

Wake up time
725 AM – 745 AM

To Siquijor Port

Php 280.00
Ticket back to Dumaguete
754 AM

Waiting time
810 AM – 915 AM

Travel time back to Dumaguete port
935 AM
Php 50.00
Tricycle to City Burger

Php 290.00
Lunch at City Burger
1121 AM
Php 170.00
Stay in 2 Story Café

Php 1,000.00
Sans Rival pasalubong
1230 PM
Php 30.00
Tricycle going Robinson

Php 241.00
Bongbongs pasalubong
145 PM
Php 265.00
Meriende at Sans Rival
250 PM – 308 PM
Php 60.00
Tricycle to Airport (total fare Php 150)

Php 150.00
Terminal fee
520 PM – 630 PM

Travel time to Manila
7 PM
Php 300.00
Dinner at Chubby China
806 PM – 926 PM

Waiting time for taxi
926 PM – 945 PM
Php 300.00
Taxi fare back to Pasig
Php 3,136.00

Overall expenses:
Php 4,860
Php 2,327
Php 1,684.10
Php 2,864
Php 1,389
Php 3,136
Php 16,260
Php 1,222.08