Sunday, June 14, 2015

2015 So Far - May

It's an incredibly late post, as usual.

Work has been extra crazy. I'm writing this post from a hotel room in Gurgaon - if that's any indication. I'll be in India for the next couple of weeks - and it's been very interesting thus far - and I'll write about that in the coming days.

For now, just a quick write-up of how the past month has been.

And the highlight of that would be Bacolod. This would be a jumble of photos - I can't remember the specific order of what happened when thanks to my procrastination.

It's my second trip here in recent times, although there's a lot of things we've yet to see from this city. There have been a few places worth some revisits though, like the ever-pretty Mambukal Resort.

The lagoon has always been my favorite place here. It's incredibly serene and really lends credence to the fact that the resort is high up the same mountain range as Mount Kanlaon.

I guess the highlight of our Mambukal stay was our trek through the Seven Falls, an hour-long mountain trail that passes through the namesake falls.

It's a fairly easy trail - thanks to the dry weather - although a bunch of British kids overtook us on the way there. That's entirely my fault, though.

There were a couple of houses way up the mountain before the seventh fall.

The photos don't do it justice, unfortunately. The houses were chockful of vibrant flowers, and it was a welcome sight after going through the beaten trail.

The last waterfall was amazing. They encouraged people to take a dip. Because it was the highest accessible waterfall (as there's secretly an eighth one that was an hour's trek away), the water was really cool and provided some much needed respite from the summer heat.

On the way down, we rode on some motorbikes through the rough road leading back to the resort. That was probably the most dangerous thing I've done in a while since we didn't have helmets and relied on the bikers to navigate through the rocky and steep path.

Once we got back to Bacolod, the first authentic meal we had was at Aida's in Manokan Country. I don't really eat inasal (Bacolod grilled chicken) outside Bacolod. It's just not the same without the chicken oil, garlic, fresh oysters and the obligatory liter of Coke.

If it's anything worth mentioning, it's the fact that Manokan Country is in danger of being demolished thanks to interests of the nearby mall. It's pretty sad that an established part of the Bacolod experience get puts in a position like that as it is due to the city's modernization.

We headed for the Pope John Paul II Tower nearby, as it offered a fantastic view of the Bacolod skyline on one side and the sea on the other.

Bacolod is an excellent place for food trips. Breakfast at Bob's can never go wrong.

A visit to Calea is a definite must as their cakes can stand toe-to-toe with the best that Manila has to offer (and they're even better than most establishments in the capital).

Sofia's Cakes, located at the High Strip near the capitol, has the prettiest cakes. The shop is very small, but it's very cozy.

There's a couple more places we've visited for the first time. Balay Negrense is one of the many ancestral homes in Silay, and is a tourist spot as it has been converted into a museum that highlights colonial life during the Spanish era.

The Ruins, located in Talisay, is a sugarcane mogul's former mansion. It was burnt to the ground during the height of the Japanese occupation to prevent it from being used as a garrison, and its foundations stand to this day as a reminder of those times.

We also visited Campuestohan, another highland resort that's built like a theme park.

Their main sttractions were a bunch of life-sized statues from all over pop culture. The largest was King Kong, which was easily two or three storeys high.

There were also quaint hobbit houses which doubled as the resort's accomodations.

Lastly, we had coffee at a Korean place called Tom N' Tom's - a testament to the growing diversity of the Visayan city.

All being said, I think it's worth visiting Bacolod every few years as it has changed quite a bit since the last time we were there - and that was less than five years ago.

We're all probably going to see a lot more of Banks - that silly panda posing everywhere - in future posts. Hopefully he makes this funnier or something.


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