Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Canlaon City Tour

My Negros Oriental Tour: Kanlaon City
Don’t get confused, Canlaon is sometimes written as Kanlaon by people who like to Filipinize things. That is similar to Caloocan being written as Kalookan and there are many other such ‘transliterations’ if we can call it that. Let’s first do the tongue twisters again… Canlaon or Kanlaon is pronounced like ‘can-la-on’ in the speed and accent the way you would say ‘cantaloupe’, not ‘canola’. Again this is the Philippines so the ‘can’ does not sound like the English word ‘can’, its more of ‘cun’. The ‘la’ sounds more like a ‘luh’ or the ‘la’ in ‘large’ and not ‘land’, it even sounds like the ‘lu’ in luggage. The last syllable ‘on’ is pronounced so, but not in a nasal but rather guttural way with rounded lips like the ‘on’ in ‘baboon’ (just shorten the vowel hehe). Actually, anyone can pronounce the syllables ‘can’, ‘la’ and ‘on’ the way American English speakers do, for in fact that is how faggots do it when they like exaggerating their pronunciaziens! Alright, let’s go to my visit!

After a bit of roaming San Carlos, I was off to the volcano city, yes Canlaon. This is the 4th of only four localities in Negros Oriental that is not coastal. In fact Canlaon is the farthest inland and the highest too, my oh my! There are jeeps and other buses, but I learned the best way is still via my ever-reliable Ceres! Thus, I hopped on one, and front seat mind you, so I won’t have to keep craning my neck at whatever views there may be along the way. Ah that was a good choice! The 1-hour trip from San Carlos started out on the highway southwards going Dumaguete but veered right at an intersection before reaching the town of Vallehermoso. There started endless views of sugarcane fields followed by an ever ascending run towards the mountains. Whoa!

Views were magnificent as the bus chugged along the mountain roads – and those views were to the back of the vehicle! I was almost facing the seat behind me just to make sure I didn’t miss the wonderful sights! Yeah, its similar to going up Baguio via the Marcos Highway. At times I could see the Tanon strait far down – the way you would see the La union shores and south china sea when going up to Baguio. Am not sure what it is with the human mind in that it never fails to be fascinated with seeing wide landscapes especially of greens, hills, mountains, plains and the sea. Hah, this I have to proudly tell you… At first, I was the lone ridiculous tourist on that Ceres bus twisting and turning in his seat to catch the good views. But in a few minutes, most everyone were doing the same with all cellphone cameras and digicams aiming ready at anything they found wonderful. Even the conductor caught on with the virus hehe – he would point fantastic views to passengers and even provide descriptions as to what place that was!

And then we arrived. First thing that came to mind was “why is this a city?”. Yeah really, I wondered and still wonder. To think that this was formally declared a city way back before many of us who read this were born. That’s in 1967 although congress had already passed the bill as early as 1961. What makes a city really? Well, I don’t care, I just know that Canlaon is a cool rural place up in the mountains. It is still far from the volcano btw, which is about 10kms more up the clouds, so that that volcano is mostly just a haze viewed from this city – when clouds are not being avaricious, that is! Hey, there are pine trees too! And yes, my boardshorts and a white tee for a getup did not belong up there hehe! Especially when you ride habal-habal. It chills!

Probably owing to the vastness of this place, the best way to roam around the city is via the habal-habal, and there are a lot of them everywhere. Ah there are a few tricycles! Yep, they’d probably roll backwards at the many uphill streets. No no no, I don’t even want to imagine, much less try bicycling around this city with very few evenly flat grounds! Though not as much as Baguio, everything here inclines – even at the church. Oh yeah the church that was undergoing some facelift during my visit. And there was a mass service for another dead dude so I did not go enter. Imagine this, you climb up steps from the street to the floor level of the church. And I was wondering how they brought that coffin up to the church and how they’d bring it down to the hearse later hehe. Then when you circle around, the street behind this church is about the level of the altar’s roof hehe. And that’s going to the city hall.

Oh yes the city hall! That green-on-green building sits atop a foresty hill. It is at least level as a building should be, but the wide concrete in front of it (for flag ceremonies, etc) slopes to different directions. And the way out of the compound is a steep downhill run you’d probably even be warned trying to skateboard or bike the area! Btw, while the city hall sits high up, there are no vistas from there as everything around is foliage of either big trees or bigger trees! Am not complaining hehe, in fact its so cool a place – a city hall in a forest! Imagine yourself going to office everyday with nothing but trees, birds, plants, butterflies and vines for any window view. Isn’t that priceless? I envy the workers in that city hall!

I went down to their tourism office that sits amidst the vast park and children’s play area. As expected, I listened to a barrage of tours and nice places to see ALL outside of the city center - meaning a carefully planned trip to the mountains. Waterfalls, caves, ridges, water slides, waterfalls and waterfalls - many of them. And yes, I itched for my friends to be right where I was so we could go visit all of those. But as for the time being, I couldn’t dare go to those places alone, even if with a guide. Ayaw! So after hearing all about those great spots and after receiving a heap of brochures from the ever enthusiastic tourism folks, I said I’ll just roam around the city like their park outside hehe.

Canlaon’s park may not be as grand as anywhere in Baguio but it is a cool place for children to play just the same. Even at noon! Yeah, I snapped most pictures from 12:43 to 12:46PM and children were still having a ball at the park. Aside from the sun playing hide-and-seek with the clouds, this city is real cool children don’t feel the heat of the sun. Aw the children, I learned something without even asking them. Canlaon City is not that touristy yet compared to other destinations in this country. How did I kow? People look at me longer than needed, children followed or watched me as to what I was doing. At times they would look at me, look at what it was that I took a picture of, and wonder what on earth I was doing! That’s exactly the case when kids watched me accord extra attention on the obelisk that they see and pass by everyday.

Obelisk? Yes, that tall white concrete post that stands quite conspicuous on one side of the circular play park. I got curious what it was for and I went near to read the marker. Reading it, children followed and stood behind me trying to also look at what I was ogling at. As if it was the first time they have seen that marker hehe! The big marble slab (what is it called? an epitaph, a lapida?) attached to the concrete post tells about Isidro Bautista. Yes, Isidro Maglaya Bautista, Sr., who was from Caba town in La Union, a civil engineer who pioneered settling in the area and has caused the promulgation of Canlaon as a town becoming its first mayor and subsequently its inauguration as a city with him still at the helm. Hmm, he probably had close ties with Ferdinand Marcos (also an Ilocano) who signed the proclamation of Canlaon as a city, only about 19 years from its becoming a town!

Elsewhere, with an eager habal-habal driver, we made a joyride just going around places from end to end of this city. I went to their public market, another public-market-looking building that is some kind of a “bagsakan” for produce from nearby farms. Ah farms farms farms are all over. Verdant views everywhere. We even went to the hospital that seems too far off the city because the view of the volcano is better from there; he St. Joseph College; their city jail and back to the Ceres bus terminal just in front of another school! This is a nice place to come back to. Oh, there is a Ceres bus that pass this way going to Bacolod crossing through the mountain ranges around the volcano!

Ah, let’s go back down to the coastal towns before I get hook on occidental!

If you want to read the chronology of all stories on this tour, click the following:
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35
36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65


  1. Thank you for posting.

    I miss my hometown.

  2. yEZ... i mZiT tOO!!

  3. i Luv cAnLaOn ciTy!!!