Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sights And More, San Carlos to Bacolod

My Negros Oriental Tour: San Carlos City to Bacolod City, NegOcc
Exciting trip! Goodbye San Carlos and there I was on the way to Bacolod. The trip is on good roads going westward approaching the mountains. I think that posh residential village called South Villa was that one I could see from the city hall days ago. Hmm, nice big houses. Must be one affluent side of the city. Oh yes, there was signage that we were about to cross C1 (circumferential road 1) and it connects to the city hall. Ah, that only means this part of the city is just really near the new city hall complex. Nice place!

Onwards, I saw a memorial park and clicked a shot as there were so many fresh flowers and this was definitely not an “all souls’ day”, to the extent that I went into thinking those were all fresh(new) entrants to the cemetery hehe. The conductor saw me ogling at it and remarked something like it won some award. Ack! Even memorial parks now have contests? Whatever hehe! He clarified those were not new graves, people here just often bring those flowers to their dead especially during weekends. Interesting!

Hey I was like on the way to Canlaon again! The good roads were climbing up mountains… exhilarating views… the sea and the island of Cebu as a haze behind us… wow! But there was more! Roads cut into mountains could be seen from another mountain we were on. The road down in the valleys could be seen from up where we were, the road up the mountain tops could be seen from down where we were… OMG, too many breathtaking views my neck needed a good massage due to the twisting and turning just to catch a glimpse of them all! There was the mini-Chocolate Hills! Ah the bus was too fast, though I still caught glimpses.

Did I start something or is it just always like this? The bus was just about half full, so I could go transfer to other seats for a better vantage of whatever. There was a time I’d go left side, right side, aft or front – all to get a clear view of the hills, mountains, rivers, brooks, plains, plantation, etc. And when I checked, most of my co-passengers were doing the same! There was in fact less talking as the most prominent sound I could hear was an ohh, an ahh or a wow! That as the bus twisted and turned amidst sharp curves and steep inclines. Wow!

Back at my second row window seat, I happened to have glanced at a woman across. She was smiling and seemed contentedly happy at what many of us were doing to catch the views. She just sat there mostly looking front but would do occasional glances at us who kept moving around the bus. I think she knew or familiar with/to both driver and conductor as at times they’d be conversing. And most of their topics were in sync with what the rest of us were all too gaga about – the views! Her language and decorum told me something… she was either a teacher or a teacher hehe! I just know how to spot them! There was some mention about a father giant and a baby giant when she spoke to another passenger… so I listened in and learned about a legend.

Wowowow! After more than half a decade, I learn the other half (or the continuation) of a legend I heard about the chocolate hills! This one for the books as I have yet to see a book mentioning it. Ready? Here we go…

A long time ago, there was a family of giants that lived in the Philippine islands. One day, mama and daughter giant went up north to continue their art lessons for little girl giant to learn how to carve mountains. (The result: Banaue Rice Terraces). Papa and baby boy giant were left to play and they like throwing lumps of earth (sand balls) at each other. Father giant was in Panay while Baby giant was in Cebu. As they played, the sand balls they threw at each other accumulated and became what we now call the chocolate hills… listen up, here’s the twist…

Father giant was strong and precise such that many of the sand balls he threw to his son's side went beyond boy giant so as not to hit him. Thus, most of those sand balls accumulated on the island of Bohol, that is now called the Chocolate Hills. Baby giant was not yet that strong such that his smaller sand balls fell short of the target. Instead of landing on Panay where his father was, his balls could only reach Negros. And those ‘little’ sand balls from baby boy giant accumulated in the area of Don Salvador Benedicto that is now called the “mini-Chocolate Hills”!

Wow! I like the story. I could imagine it being illustrated on books for first graders. It somehow relates to one of the legends about the chocolate hills I heard on Bohol itself some half a decade ago. Do you remember the legend I mentioned over at this article? One of the three legends is about two fighting giants who threw lumps at each other. Ah this legend I just heard from the dear teacher is milder and believable - because we see the 'results' of the thrown sand balls on both sides of the 'throwing event'! I love this!

Alright, back to the views! The wonderful sights are not only over at the mountains of Don Salvador Benedicto. Breathtaking views take you all the way down to the plains approaching the town of Murcia. Fields and fields of sugarcane plantations back-dropped by the mountains that we’ve just passed. Wow! I think Mt. Kanlaon was one of those I could see in the distance at back-left of the bus. But the other side (I don’t know what mountain or hill) was just as fantastic a sight.

I was not wrong having opted for this crazy detour after all, right?!

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


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  2. Excelllent blog. I have been there way back year 2000. I love this place.... Thanks for sharing...

  3. Nice blog! Just to add, the mountain to your right (with Mt Canlaon to the left) while you were on the bus would be Mt. Canlandog. Would also be nice to add a note that San Carlos City is part of Negros Occidental. Some confuse it as part of Oriental.. though technically it faces the "east/orient". :-) Keep it up.

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