Monday, May 19, 2008

Philippine Summer Destinations, part 2 (the isolation series)

True to the dictates of the word isolation, this series spells out my choices of summer escapes where you will be sequestered away from the madding crowd. Think of a hidden mountain resort, an exclusive privately owned island or a secluded retreat in the middle of the sea. Here in these nooks in the Visayas region, there can be no choice but to totally embrace what nature gives. Sometimes, we too can be willing exiles.

the sandbar of Bais-Manjuyod, Negros Oriental

This is the Maldives, existentialist-style. Imagine a sandbar in the middle of the deep blue sea, not more than 500 meters long during low tide and reduced to nothing when the tide comes back in. Three houses on stilts provide creature comforts but not much really, which is part of the sandbar’s adventurous charm. No electricity, just car battery-operated lamps. No running tap, just a barrel of freshwater. No radio nor television, just the sound of rushing waters and of course, the company you keep.

welcome to paradise
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/400s, f/8.0, 18mm, ISO 100, -1/3EV
the sandbar of Bais-Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, the Philippines

Inampulugan Island, Guimaras

I did not know that there is still a privately owned island in the Philippines, at least not one which is more than a thousand hectares big. The island is Inampulugan. Lying 40 minutes by boat from the southern town of Guimaras, Inampulugan is renowned as an eco-tourism haven years before the term was popular. The mountainous island is forested with hardwood, bamboo and coconut and dotted with centuries-old mangroves around its coast. It has beach coves, a cave, a mini zoo, a giant turtle sanctuary, a manmade seawater lake, an authentic WWII Japanese bunker and a thriving handicraft village. Now open to the public as the Costa Aguada resort, hideaway does have a name.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/50s, f/5.0, 18mm, ISO 200, -2/3EV
a manmade seawater lake, Inampulugan Island, Sibunag, Guimaras, the Philippines

Mambukal mountain resort, Murcia, Negros Occidental

A favorite mountain getaway in Negros Occidental is Mambukal. Nestled at the foot of the active volcano Canlaon, the resort juxtaposes the coolness of the highlands against the healing heat of its famous hot sulfur springs. Thanks to its seven waterfalls, rivers, lakes, jungle trails and bat sanctuary, adventure is also never far away. Mambukal is a favorite among nature trekkers who would gladly escape the bustle of the city for the cocoon of the wilderness.

before the plunge
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/30s, f/5.6, 55mm, ISO 100
a waterfalls in Mambukal, Murcia, Negros Occidental, the Philippines

part of an ongoing series on Philippine summer destinations:
part 1 - Alegre (Cebu), Pandanon Island (Bohol), Siquijor Island
part 2 (the isolation series) - the sandbar of Bais (Negros Oriental), Inampulugan Island (Guimaras), Mambucal (Negros Occidental)
part 3 - (Pagudpud, Bantayan, Dakak)

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Anonymous said...

Hi Farl, This is vertiacordia/michael. I do not have a blogger account. Your blog is wonderful. Very well written. I like the eco-tourism movement in the Philippines. Up to about year ago i was involved with a business endeavor in the Philippines and eco-tourism was on the periphery. Well, the business went bad - long story. I love the blog very well done. You appear to travel a lot in Asia for work - sweet! Sort of - work is work.

Edita N Laurel said...

Beautiful blog and pictures! My father was born in Negros Occidental - Hinigaran. I would like to visit this place some day. Some day, soon. Thanks for the info.

Farl said...

Thanks! I hope I can find the time to blog again so that I can add more destinations.