Bantug Lake Ranch (Negros Occidental, PH)

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. — Albert Einstein

Summer is over. That’s what I thought. After my consecutive stint in Indonesia, Singapore and Cebu (because of work related stuff), I thought my summer was over. A week after my Cebu business trip, I was sent to Bacolod. I grabbed the opportunity to see what more to Bacolod besides the many sweet eats I have been exposed to during my 1st 3 visits.

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Campuestuhan Highlands was on top of my list. I have been wanting to go there but time would not just let me. So I have made a point that I’ll see it this time (separate blog on Campuestuhan soon). Several people, I talked to mentioned about a lake found on the way to Campuestuhan. It was my first time to hear about it. It’s called Bantug Lake Ranch — dubbed as Bacolod’s newest picnic ground located in Barangay Alangilan, Bacolod City (the very same route going to Campuestuhan).

I did a quick research about the place before I decided to go and check it out. Bantug Lake Ranch is a ranch with a man-made lake. (The only man-made lakes I have seen prior to this are Burnham Lake in Baguio City and Lake 77 in Bislig City). With my yearning to spend some serene moments with nature, I took a cab and went to visit Bantug.

After a good 20-30 minutes, I was there already. I paid the entrance fee of Php50.00 and I started my photo walk within the ranch. True to what some blogs I have quickly read, the place radiates the tranquility of nature. I immediately noticed the lake surrounded by verdant flora. There were several boats and kayaks docked while a few ducks were swimming. I went around the lake to take photos.

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Near the lake is a koi pond where a number of koi fishes are. There is this walkway that is lined with yellow bell plants that look really beautiful. There were other animals like horses and birds that I saw from afar. I was contented walking around the lake area so I decided to just stay there. What I love the most were the beautifully lined lanzones (Lancium domesticum) trees. They were such a delight to the eyes.

It was indeed a relaxing morning at the ranch despite the gloomy weather then. I was able to talk to one of the ranch’s caretaker who shared that people can actually do a lot of activities within the ranch. One can try horseback riding or feed the various animals. I would have wanted to go on kayaking or boat riding (or fishing) then but I had a limited time so I guess I should come back next time. I asked if camping was allowed and I was all smiles to hear that they allow it. (Even bonfires are allowed). I was also told that the place may also serve as a venue for events like birthday parties and weddings to which they provide catering services. Interestingly, the ranch has an organic vegetable farm too.

It was indeed a short but relaxing visit at the Bantug Lake Ranch. So if you want to commune with nature and you are in Bacolod, consider including this place in your itinerary. For questions (and reservation), you may call these landline numbers (034) 213-1916 / (034) 435-5306. You may also visit their website at http://bantugranch.com/

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

You can click on this —-> Negros sights for more!

Silay City (Negros Occidental, PH)

“Identity was partly heritage, partly upbringing, but mostly the choices you make in life.” — Patricia Briggs, Cry Wolf

I personally have a soft spot for old, Spanish-inspired, grand houses. That is why I so adore Vigan City in Ilocos Sur. Little did I know that another city in the Philippines is home to impeccably well-kept-up heritage houses.

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My visit to Bacolod in the province of Negros Occidental gave me an opportunity to check out one of its neighboring city, SILAY. Some people gave the monicker “Paris of Negros” to this picturesque city because of its vident love for culture and history. According to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), there are around 30 well-preserved ancestral houses (3 of which are open to public) in the city.

So when you find yourself at this side of the Philippines, make your way to this city and saunter around. Some of the most notable establishments to visit include the following:

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Balay (Balai) Negrense: Perhaps the most iconic heritage house in the city. It is now a museum showcasing the way of life of a sugar baron (Victor Gaston) during the late 19th century. (FYI: Negros is one of the sugarcane producing provinces of the country). The mansion-like, 2-floor home, has 12 bedrooms. What makes this house extraordinary are the intricate specifics engraved in the windows and ventilation panel. It also boasts off an expansive garden.

Hofilena Heritage House. Just 2 blocks away from Balay Negrense is the earliest familial house in the city opened public viewing. This inhabited home was mounted with a historical marker as “national treasure for the present and future generations” by the NHCP.

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Bernardino Ysabel Jalandoni Museum. Found along the national road is a pink-painted establishment. Hence, this museum is also called the Pink House. It features a large collection of books, antique furniture and glasswares, and even dolls.

Note that these heritage houses/museums are open from Tuesdays to Sundays and closed on Mondays and holidays.

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If you are looking for a place to eat in the city, a must place to go is El Ideal. Considered the oldest bakeshop in the city, El Ideal is an olden place that is entirely functional for it remains to offer sumptuous goodies and other local delicacies. One of the must try is their Guapple Pie.

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San Diego Pro-cathedral. Another place worth visiting is the city’s center of Catholic faith. It is known to be the only church with a dome in the entire Negros Occidental. Also, it is the only pro-cathedral in the Philippines outside Metro Manila. A pro-cathedral is a parish church that is temporarily serving as the cathedral or co-cathedral of a diocese, or has the same function in a Catholic missionary jurisdiction that is not yet entitled to a proper cathedral, such as an apostolic prefecture or apostolic administration.

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How to Get to Silay City:

From Manila, there are daily flights to Bacolod where you’ll arrive at the Bacolod-Silay Airport, located exactly in Silay City. One can either ride a van or tricycle from the airport to the city center.

The best way to explore the city is by walking around.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

More of Mesmerizing Negros here.

The Ruins (Talisay City, Negros Occidental, PH)

Ruins, for me are the beginning. With the debris, you can construct new ideas. They are symbols of a beginning. — Anselm Kiefer

Unembellished and just literally a skeleton of an ancestral house, this Italianate architectural vestige is a sight to behold all-day and night long.

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The Ruins, as it is simply called, is a relic of a once imposing mansion owned by Don Mariano Lacson in the City of Talisay, Negros Occidental. Today, it is one of the most iconic landmarks in the province attracting a lot of tourists.

 

Everything within The Ruins compound is picturesque. Being there emanates a romantic feeling, whether you visit during broad daylight, during sundown or at nighttime. What makes it more impressive and interesting, are the stories within the neo-Romanesque columns of this home.

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So if you happen to be in Negros Occidental, visit the grandeur that is The Ruins.

 

***I am fortunate to have visited ths place 3 times. I told myself not to make a simple write-up about this place unless I have seen its magnificence during the nighttime. And so, during my last visit, I made sure I went there at night, and boy! It didn’t disappoint at all.

 

More of The Ruins at http://theruins.com.ph/

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust’…

More of Negros here.

Let’s Eat: Calea (Bacolod City, PH)

Happiness is life served up with a scoop of acceptance, a topping of tolerance and sprinkles of hope, although chocolate sprinkles also work. ~Robert Brault

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Aside from being called as the City of Smiles and the land of the Masskara festival, whenever you say Bacolod City, food like Chicken Inasala, Napoleones and Calea come to mind. Some woud even tell you that you really haven’t been to Bacolod, if you haven’t been to Calea.

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Calea is perhaps Bacolod’s most popular bakeshop. Not only it is a household name for Bacolod locals, but almost every visitor of the city would ask where Calea is. So why is this cake shop famous? Simple. The sinful sweets they offer are just difficult to resist. That is why both locals and tourists flock their way to this shop, in order to have a taste of its saccharine goodness. 0f z1

So, if you happen to be in the City of Smiles, Calea Pastries and Coffee is one place you should not miss. Upon entering their blue-hued door, one would immediately notice the glass display counter filled with an array of cakes and pastries. It really was a delight to the sight with my taste buds starting drool. The freezers near the back have more cakes to choose from (mainly ice cream cakes of various flavors). It was really overwhelming that makes choosing which cake to try, difficult.

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Moreover, the prices are outrageously affordable for such munificent, salivating goodies. It made me wish there is a Calea Cafe in Manila or in Baguio.

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Calea Pastries and Coffee

Lourdes – C Bldg.,(across L’Fisher Hotel)

Lacson St. Bacolod City, Negros Occidental

(034) 433-8664

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan”derlust…

More places to eat in Negros Occidental by clicking this.