Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mambukal Resort

I first heard of the Mambukal Resort on the TV program Sports Unlimited. Since then, this mountain resort in Murcia, Negros Occidental has been on my must-visit list. Finally, thanks to my work, I found myself in Mambukal early this year. You see, we were scouting for a venue for our team building activity and Mambukal Resort was the "IT" place for us.

Day 1
We took the earliest flight to the Silay-Bacolod Airport. Nick (of Talisay City government) fetched our group at the airport and brought us straight to Mambukal Resort. It was a long ride. We passed through the major thoroughfares of Bacolod, caught a glimpse of the grand Bacolod City Hall (it reminded me of the White House) and feasted our eyes on the vast sugarcane plantations. It was very rural with all the greens and the view of the mountain. After over an hour, we were entering the quiet town of Murcia but the resort was still far from the town center. Conspicuous signs leading to Mambukal abound so you won't definitely get lost. We passed by a military camp, more and more sugarcanes and more and more greens before we reached our final destination.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cebu Trivia Night Turns ONE

Exactly a year ago, Wednesday nights in Cebu have changed. Thanks to Jewel Jalandoni, Leica Cruz and Alexis Yap, collectively known as the Trivia Girls, being a geek is fun and cool.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Iloilo Once More

My travels have brought me in and out of Iloilo, usually a day or two. Most of the time, these were quick stopovers to my next destination. But my longest stay was during my first visit to this city in 1994. I was a high school sophomore on my first school trip outside of the Eastern Visayas region attending a week-long leadership conference at the Punta Villa resort in Arevalo.

Last weekend, I found myself again in Iloilo to visit my friend TSC who will now be working in their Iloilo branch. (Segue: TSC, you've been on three islands for the past three years. At least now you're home.) With me was my friend and now co-worker JPM who was stepping on Iloilo soil for the first time.

We took the Weesam fast craft from Bacolod to Iloilo (Economy ticket was at Php 350.00). After an hour of slightly choppy ride, we disembarked and took a cab to the Sacred Heart Subdivision in Mandurriao. When I looked at the taxi meter, it was already calibrated to the Php 40.00 flag down rate. What would normally cost under Php 100.00, the taxi ride was now almost Php 170.00. While inside the cab, we chatted with the driver and we were proud and happy because we managed a conversation in Hiligaynon.

We stashed our belongings at TSC's place and then headed off to Mangay's at the Boardwalk for lunch. While waiting for our order, we enjoyed the strong breeze from the river (Mangay's was a few steps from the river). Nanay Bec (TSC's mom) and JPM were in GTKY mode while Tina and I updated each other with the goings-on in our lives picking up from where we left off the last time we talked on the phone.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Lagawan's Sleeve

Look what I scored in Iloilo. A 13-inch laptop can fit into this sleeve which has colorful letter prints of six cities and one island paradise in the Philippines. It’s not sleek but it is a cute must-have for techie travel bugs. And I got this for under Php 350.00 at the department store of SM City Iloilo.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Ruins in Talisay City

Right in the middle of a vast sugarcane plantation stands a stately structure which has seen grander days but has been reduced to what is now called The Ruins.

The Ruins is what is left of the mansion owned by Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson. It was built after the death of his wife Maria Braga. It became the home to the unmarried children of Don Anoy. The posts and walls were made of A-grade concrete giving a marble-like feel to the structure. And the initials of the couple served as designs on the posts. Thick hard wood measuring 1 x 20.5 meters long were utilized as floors. And talking about green architecture, the canal-like gutters transported the rainwater to the steel pipes and the collected water was utilized in the washing of clothes. 

The Lacsons

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Silay City

This entry is long overdue. It was supposed to be posted three months ago but then I got caught up with a lot of things in between, including another visit to this city.

Deemed as the Paris of the Philippines, Silay was once considered the center of the culture and the arts in this side of the country. It also boasts of having the most number of ancestral houses, forty-three (43) to date, according to the guide of the Jalandoni Ancestral House.

I had the opportunity of visiting Silay twice, first in October 2010 and the next trip came three months later. The first time in Silay, my mom and I took a van (Php 50.00 per pax) from the airport to Balay Negrense. We were entertained by Ms. Myrna, one of the tour guides of the ancestral house of Don Victor Fernandez Gaston and Ms. Maida Jison, the museum director. From our conversation with these two ladies, we learned that the house was built at the turn of the century. In the 70's, the house was abandoned by the family, slowly going to waste. In the 90's, a group of Negrenses decided to save this piece of gem from further dilapidation and restore it to its grandeous beauty. Now, this has come to be known as the House of the Negrenses. Some of the pieces on display are by the Gaston family, the others owned by locals and are now being taken cared of by the museum.

Facade of Balay Negrense

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