Dumaguete: The City of Gentle People

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Dumaguete presents a different laid-back vibe to visitors. As such, It is dubbed as the city of gentle people.

Tracing Dumaguete’s History

In the past, Dumaguete is a battlefront for Moro pirates because of its coastal geography. The frequent Moro raids derived the name dagit, which means “to snatch.” This has, later on, evolve into Dumaguete, which is “to swoop.”

As a component city, Dumaguete is home to 131,377 locals as of 2015. It is also the site for four universities and numerous colleges. This has made the city an educational hotspot for students from adjacent provinces. The best-known Silliman University is the first Protestant university in the count. Furthermore, it is also the first American university in Asia.

How to get to Dumaguete

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Accessible by a 1-hour plane ride from Manila, the city welcomes every traveler awaiting to explore its tourism offerings. There are also other entry points from Cebu, Bacolod, and Bohol. Moreover, Dumaguete is just a short ride away from another mystical destination, that is, Siquijor.

Coming from Cebu, there are plenty of travel options. Dumaguete can be reached through-plane as the faster means. There are daily domestic flights via Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific. On the other hand, one can also opt for a bus or ferry. Proceed to Cebu’s South Bus Terminal if you wish to take the bus. Depending on your itinerary, you can catch the earliest bus at 5:30 AM. Travel time is around 6 hours.

The practical way to hop on a ferry in Liloan Port in Oslob is coming from the South Cebu side. Check out the Sibulan-bound ferry. Travel time will take around 2 hours. Upon arriving in Sibulan Port, hail a jeep or multicab for a 30-minute ride to Dumaguete.

For travelers coming from Bacolod, there is a direct bus ride to Dumaguete. It is a 6-hour trip from Bacolod South Bus Terminal. Hop on a Ceres Liner bound to Dumaguete. It is best to ride out at night time. The entry point to Dumaguete City is majestic if you manage to arrive at sunrise.

The fastest way to get to Dumaguete coming from Bohol is by plane. The Tagbilaran airport cues Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific flights going to Dumaguete. It will take you a 50-minute to your destination. Furthermore, fast crafts and ferries are also available from Tagbilaran port. Ocean Jet Ferry provides the sea logistics for two hours.

When is the best time to visit Dumaguete

Dumaguete seaside promenade

It is ideal for visiting during the summer season (March-May). That is if you’re a beach junkie. The city takes on a vibrant form from September to October. Visitors can join in local Dumaguete festivities.

The city celebrates its Sandurot Festival in September. Tourists can join in the street merrymaking through its Pasigarbo event. Dance your heart away in the beat of the drums! In mid-October, Buglasan Festival is coined to be the “Festival of festivals.”  Celebrate and immerse in local Dumaguete culture through street dancing and events that are uniquely local.

Local cultural immersion

Because of Dumaguete’s rich heritage, it will be a waste not to immerse in it. There are beautiful places in Dumaguete that trace its history and haven of many stories.

Dumaguete Cathedral and Belfry

Dumaguete historyWhile almost all Philippine provinces have a Catholic church in the middle, the same is true with Dumaguete. Standing in front of Quezon Park is an old stone Church popularly known as St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral.

Built in the 17th century, the cathedral is home to a historical belfry tower constructed in 1811. This belfry provided aid as a watchtower during the many Moro pirate attacks on the province.

Silliman University

Dumaguete Silliman University

As the first Protestant university in the Philippines, Siliman University’s history is parallel to the city’s past. The giant acacia trees stood the test of time and were the lone observer to the changing times of the university and Dumaguete as a whole.

Water adventures

Dumaguete offers several beach sites and island hopping. There are just too many spots to checkout. Ranging from water adventurous to a relaxing staycation haven, the destinations in Dumaguete are sure to capture every traveling soul.

Balinsasayao Twin Lakes

 A natural wonder to visit in Negros Orient is the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes. Situated in the mountains of Sibulan, it will take

Dumaguete Balinsasayao Twin Lakes
Photo from pna.gov.ph

a 30-minute journey from Dumaguete city. The freshwater lakes are home to an array of birds. The twin lakes also offer water activities such as freediving and kayaking.

 Chasing Waterfalls

 From hot springs to waterfalls, there’s no shortage of sites in Negros Oriental. It’s hard to miss these wonders as they are accessible from Dumaguete City.

Two of the most famous waterfalls in the province are Casaroro Falls and Pulangbato Falls. Casaroro boasts a 100 feet free fall of magnificent water volume. Pulangbato, on the other hand, is tucked deep in Barangay Malabo, Valencia. Don’t forget to check out the red rock sulfur hot spring, not far from Pulangbato.

Island hopping around Dumaguete

A must-visit part of your travel itinerary is Apo Island. The island is part of Dauin, which is around 40 minutes away from Dumaguete. Apo Island is a must-see if your goal is to commune with nature and bask in marine wonders. Probably the best highlight of your visit is swimming with the turtles, so prep your snorkels accordingly.

Situated in Bais is the Manjuyod sandbar. Taking a 1 hour and a half trip from Dumaguete, Manjuyod is straight out of a pristine beach playbook. The crystal waters and stretch of sandbar in the middle of the ocean is the best leisure one can have.

Dumaguete’s Gastro Tour

Cuisine in Dumaguete

It is recommended to go local if you are in Dumaguete. Check the budbod in the local public market. Don’t miss the silvanas and sans rival that is a famous food indulge in Dumaguete. There’s also nothing more local than eating suman (Filipino rice cake) to complete your cultural immersion.

Some of the best food hubs to see are the following:

  • Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries – San Jose St. near Siliman University
  • Teresa Resto – best for people looking for homecooked Filipino food
  • Gabby’s Bistro – casual dining with Filipino and American dishes on the menu
  • Hayahay Treehouse Bar – best for capping the night out and an open view of Dumaguete’s beachfront.

For further details regarding your trip, the Dumaguete Tourism Office is always ready to assist visitors. Check out their social media page at:

  • Instagram: dumaguete.tourism
  • Twitter: DgteTourism

You may also email them at tourismdgte@gmail.com.

Or, if you ever decide to travel to the Philippines, our small family operation organizes private custom boat tours through the Palawan area, voted the best island in the world, with its 52 pristine white sand beaches and some of the clearest waters in the world.

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Mysterious Siquijor: The Must-Visit Spots

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Siquijor may be famous for its love potions and healers, but it is slowly gaining popularity for its vivid beauty and natural gems. Mysterious and mystical, this place has called the attention of travelers because of its unique charm. Its old churches, white sand beaches, snorkeling spots, waterfalls and many more keep people glued to its own version of paradise.

History of Siquijor

In 1565, a crew of Spanish explorers named the Legazpi Expedition were surveying nearby islands in Bohol. An island that looked like glowing immediately caught their attention, hence, they called it Isla del Fuego or the Island of Fire. Upon closer look, however, the glow actually emanated from a swarm of fireflies amid the islands thick forestry. At night, these insects seem like they are setting the island on fire through their light. The explorers, led by Esteban Rodriguez, came to the island and met its ruler – King Kihod. The Spaniards thought Kihod was the name of the island so they named it Sikihod. They later changed it to Siquijor.

During the 1800s, Siquijor was under the governance of Bohol. Later on, it officially became a part of Negros Oriental. In 1971, it became an independent province.

It is now the third smallest province in the Philippines. Despite its small land area, it is home to many destinations that will keep you charmed all throughout your visit. Here are some of them:

Best spots in Siquijior

Century-old balete tree

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Photo from dumaguete.com

Some of the locals will say that the tree is enchanted by a fairy. Standing for more than 400 years, the three has been marveled at by locals and tourists as one cannot just resist its beauty and formidability. Under the tree, there is now a fish spa where tourists can enjoy having tickles on their feet while looking at the century-old balete tree. Who knows? You may really see a fairy while basking at its beauty.

Salagdoong Beach

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Photo from siquijorisland.net

One cannot completely enjoy Siquijor without visiting Salagdoong Beach. It is a favorite destination. Owned and managed by the provincial government, it is located in the town of Maria, Siquijor. It features two cliff jump sites, a long stretch of white sand and an abundant marine life, making it a perfect go-to spot for diving, snorkeling, or just chilling.

Cambugahay Falls

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Photo from siquijorisland.net

Located in the town of Lazi, Cambugahay Falls features three tiers of waterfalls, making clear and cool swimming lagoons before it goes to Lazi Bay. One of the fan favorites is the Tarzan swing, where people can swing their way to the lagoon. It’s definitely one for the books.

Lazi Convent

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Photo from siquijorisland.net

The Lazi Convent is a national landmark in the province. Built in the 1880s, it is considered one of the oldest and biggest convents in the Philippines. Having withstood the test of time, the Lazi Convent will leave you awed with its age and beauty.

Lagaan Falls

Famous for its jungle vibes, Lagaan Falls is also a must-see destination in the province. It features natural, freshwater rock pools where you can cool yourself all day long while filling your eyes with nature.

How to get there

From Manila, you can take a direct flight to Dumaguete. From the Dumaguete airport, you can hire a tricycle to the port for around P100. You can also take a jeepney to the city, then walk for a few meters to the port. At the port, you can either go by fastcraft or ferry to Siquijor.

If you’re from Cebu, you can board a bus bound for Liloan at the Cebu South Terminal. Travel time is around five hours. In Liloan, you can board a ferry bound for Sibulan. And from Sibulan port, you can ride a jeepney to Dumaguete City. You can then take a tricyle to Dumaguete port and board a fastcraft or ferry to Siquijor.

Where to Stay

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White Villas Resort

This beachfront resort features a restaurant by the beach, swimming pool, sunset bar, free kayaks, and rooms good for singles, couples and groups. They also offer motorbike rentals and island tours. (https://www.whitevillasresort.com)

Coco Grove Beach Resort

Coco Grove Beach Resort boasts of its world-class service and amenities. Surrounded by turquoise water, it gives you the opportunity to relax and refuel your mind with the beauty of nature — from its abundant marine life to its tropical gardens to its long stretch of white sand. (https://www.cocogrovebeachresort.com)

Lazi Beach Club

Lazi Beach Club has numerous rooms to choose from. There are aircon rooms and fan rooms that are perfect for those who would like to save money during the trip. Their rooms also have refrigerators, hot and cold shower, and security safes. Enjoy quality service, value for money and security during your stay here. (http://lazibeachclubresort.com)

Mandala Tribe Tree Houses

As what the name suggests, Mandala Tribe Tree Houses features airconditioned rooms that look like tree houses. With a three-star rating, it boasts of its room balconies where visitors can enjoy the spectacular view of their garden. And there’s Wi-Fi, too! (https://www.siquijorisland.net/hotels-mandala-tribe-treehouses.html)

Dolce Amore Italian Restaurant and Resort

Dolce Amore Resort has a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, a bar and garden. Its Italian menu offering is to die-for.  (https://www.facebook.com/dolceamoresiquijor)

Where to Eat in Siquijor

Sunset Restaurant

We cannot never really put it into words, but there’s always something about sunsets. It somehow calms us, makes us smile and keeps us hoping for a better tomorrow. Sunset Restaurant offers this kind of ambience. And it’s not just about their magnificent view, they also boast of a good selection of quality food. The place just screams home — definitely a paradise.

Location: Tubod, San Juan, Siquijor

Contact Number: +63 945 144 0976

Salamandas

Salamandas, located in one of the best accommodations on the island, is famous for its affordable yet superb food. The ambience is great, too. There is a wide array of options, the staff is too accommodating and the place just gives you the opportunity to relax.

Location: Coco Grove Beach Resort Tubod, San Juan, Siquijor

Contact Number: +63 917 314 1415

U.Story Guest House Bar Restaurant

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Do you want to experience a romantic meal while overlooking at a spectacular view? U.Story Guest House Bar Restaurant is tucked away in the town of San Juan. It’s peaceful so it’s the perfect place to enjoy their sumptuous food. Because of the limited number of guests that they can accommodate, it is recommended that you book a reservation before coming.

Location: Paradise Boulevard Tag-ibo, San Juan

Contact Number: +63 917 337 7151

Siquijor is definitely an island waiting to be explored. With its synergy of nature and its own mystery, it will leave you mystified, making it a destination that is surely one for the books.

Or, if you decide to check out Palawan, our small family operation organizes private custom boat tours through the Palawan area, voted the best island in the world, with its 52 pristine white sand beaches and some of the clearest waters in the world.

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Jawili Falls, Panay

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Nice falls, road trip there was half decent.
Was easy to miss though as I was driving west along the coast towards Boracay. If you get up this high, you gotta go back.

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It’s roughly here on the map:

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Several establishments at its base:

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Some info at its entrance:

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History of Barangay Jawali and the Legend of Jawili Falls

Long before the Spanish settlers came, the Moros were the vicious enemy of the Barrio people. To be safe from the constant plundering and raids of the Moros, the people lived at the foot of the hills, now called “MOBEARAN”.

There lived Inggot, his sister Jawili and their aged dying father. One day on his dying breath, the father gave the family heirloom, which was a small purse, to Jawili for safekeeping: “Keep this purse and never open it!”. Inggot, the gambler and black sheep of the family, secretly entertained thoughts of sudden wealth and riches, that surely there must be something precious inside the purse, for why must it be hidden and kept with utmost care? Without much thinking, he grabbed the purse and ran towards the mountain, Jawili crying after him. Deep in the forest, Inggot carefully opened the purse just as Jawili caught up with him. Suddenly there was a flash of lightning and thunder. The rocks began to part and trees fell down. There was another blinding flash of lightning and thunder and both Jawili and Inggot were turned into rocks, while from the eyes of Jawili flowed streams of tears. Time has now enlarged the rocks and streams and the water that was the tears of Jawili never ceased flowing. The early Spanish settlers who heard of this legend named the beautiful spot “JAWILI FALLS”, while the barangay is now named JAWILI.

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History of Tangalan

Before the Spanish coloniser came to the Philippines, particularly to the province of Capiz (before Aklan Province was separated from Capiz), Tangalan had its own significant political, economic and social life.

The descendants of Datu Bangkaya in Barangay Afga, a seaside barangay facing the sea of Sibuyan, established Tangalan in the early part of the 16th century. Because of the continuous raids and furious behaviour of the Moro pirates, the natives of the said barangay transferred their place to another inland location at Sitio Nagub-an of Barnagay Tagas.

Upon the establishment of the Spanish government in the country, Tangalan was already organised, comprising Barangays Balasia (now Dapdap), Todog, Pudiot, Tagas, Panayakan, Afga, Jawili, Dumatad, Vivo, Tamokoe and Rivera (Rivera is now Barangay of Ibajay), with the seat of the municipal government in the present location at the Poblacion of Tangalan.

Tangalan was said to get its name from the two incidents during the Spanish Period. It has been told that when the Spanish sailboat, manned and piloted by a Tagalog, broke its rudder and was brought ashore for repair, the native asked the captain of the boat, what was the cause of their being ashore, and the captain answered “natanggatan”, meaning displaced, referring to the detached rudder of the boat. Another incident happened when a Spanish officer passed by the shore and found trees growing with distinctive foliage nearby and asked the natives, who answered “Tanggal”, the name of the tree in the local dialect. The name of the town was coined from these two incidents.

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There are decent stairs to climb up along the left hand side of the falls.

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Continuing west along the shore towards Boracay, there were some nice views as well.

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View from at the end of the pier going to Boracay. Found a nice place with a coke sign where you can drink beers while waiting for your ferry.

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Or, if you decide to check out Palawan, our small family operation organizes private custom boat tours through the Palawan area, voted the best island in the world, with its 52 pristine white sand beaches and some of the clearest waters in the world.

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Igpasungaw Waterfalls in Sebaste

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Thought I’d check out these falls so drove up to Sebaste, but with my trike at 40km/hr I just flew past this little town. Apparently I blinked at the wrong moment. Drove back and found lodging at the Petron gas station for 1000p/night, and some fancy resort with no one there (but a phone number) on the other side of town past the bridge for 1,500p/night.

Decided to cruise around town at the slowest speed possible and stumbled upon a bloke with tel. no. 0912 804 7310 who directed me to this nice little shack:

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for only 400p/night for simple fan room. Across the street you can swim in the pool for free, same establishment:

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Here’s a map of the town:

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This Inland Resort is the star just under Galido Street. I was recommended to eat at Kusinas and was quite happy. You can get beers to take home for the regular grocery store price too. Nice atmosphere and everyone in town seems to go there.

Across the street from Petron, a bit further out of town, is the only bar I could find, a girly typical cheesy karaoke bar, but they didn’t seem so friendly to me.

On the main drag (orange highway 501) there is a mechanic who replaced my ballbearings with quality Japanese ones at a 20 minute operation for only 250p. Inexpensive town with few tourists I guess. Just down the main drag from that is the veggie shop, usually open only mornings.

Booked a few nights and off it was to explore the falls:


Took a while to figure out the new app, but managed to record from the falls back to the Inland Resort, where I was staying.

Here’s the stats:

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Below pics start from the resort, ending at the falls.

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The path can be difficult to follow in some places, so suggest a tourguide, which you can arrange through the number above, or just ask anyone.

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At 250p, a good deal. But they apparently implemented a new system whereby you are supposed to pay in addition a 50p environmental fee. When they tried to collect (after the tour was over) I told them they can basically blow me and I am not paying any environmental fee because I saw occasional garbage along the path. Apparently they think charge first, do the job later. Hopefully this will be sorted by the time you get there.

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Lots of minifalls along the way.

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Some secret passages which could be hard to find without a guide.

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If you ‘d like to combine this with a more extensive tour package:

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Travel Tour Packages to Hinulugan Waterfalls

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Was a bit of a chore getting here, my Filipino friend asking locals all along the way. Should suffice to just ask the name with a question mark and they will point you the way, or use your maps.me, as it is on there (not on google maps). Took about 50 minutes on motorbike with sidecar, as a lot of the way was unpaved and a bit rocky. Would probably be a lot faster without the sidecar. Near the end we had to take off the sidecar because the road was really rough and my friend even had to get off the bike a few times to walk stretches. Looks like about an hour hike if you cant get your vehicle up the last part. Paid a local 150p (he said the amount is up to me) to show us the way. Noticed some other waterfalls advertised on a big sign on our way up there, about halfway from the main road/highway.

Just the drive up was fun too, here my friend taking a picture of a bathing ox. Very common site in this warm climate.

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At the falls.

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A bridge to the other side, from where I took the panoramic shot shown at the top of this page.

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No one else around, so of course having a beautiful mermaid around is a lovely treat, just like at Kataw Falls closer to the highway, where there is a nice restaurant and some caves to explore.

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Travel Tour Packages to Kataw Waterfalls

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A nice romantic trip into nature from Pilar. Combines well with a local restaurant.

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Endless rolling hills of sugarcane.

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Parking spot next to the local school in the mountains, from where it is about a 15 minute easy walk to the waterfalls.

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My boring, matter-of-fact documentary style pic above, below a pic by my beautiful mermaid. Click on below pic for her Instagram account.

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The actual fall. Not much, but the journey there was nice. There were some tables there and three boys hanging out.
We were hoping for some privacy, so I ventured further down the river and found a lovely spot.

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Travel Tour Packages to Mambukal Resort Waterfalls

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mambukal-resort-waterfalls-mapOnly a one hour ferry ride from Iloilo, 250p each way, as opposed to the 4-5 hour bus ride from Dumaguete. Then you can take a 70p local bus taking another hour to the falls. If you are late to catch the fastcraft back to Iloilo, there is another slow ferry from Dumangas, but then you’ll need to catch a tricycle taxi from there to get you the rest of the way.

Once you get to the falls there is an entrance fee of 50p, with the option to hire a local guide, donation voluntary.

A van can also be rented for around 3,500p/day total, cutting down the trips by half.

The cost of our guide is 1000p for the day, plus his transport costs and entrance fees, plus a $20 advance payment processing fee. You can combine with other tours, as will be explained in the booking process.

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About the waterfalls

There are actually seven and getting to the top one can be quite the workout. We only made it to the third one because it was rainy and slippery that day (the steps are stone), and my friend was too tired, but I’ll make it back there on my own later.

Here is a video of the second falls where we played some traditional Filipino song:

Here is a picture of what the steps look like:

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In some sections along the trail they have ladders which can take you up into the trees, where there is a hanging walkway so that you could see what the forest looks like up top:

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The falls make their way up an active volcano:

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Back at the bottom, the resort (government owned, so you are free to wander) is also a nice stroll, and even has a hotspring.

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About Mambukal Resort

At 1,200 metres above sea level, Mambukal Resort serves as a gateway to the vast and verdant Mt. Kanlaon National Park. It is one of the most popular mountain resorts in the country. The resort’s hotspring is referred to as the Warm Sulfur Dipping Pool and costs around 50p to get in. The hotspring is surrounded by big trees to give you a cozy jungle feel:

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The jungle feeling is further enhanced by the perpetual sound of birds chirping and large bats flying up above:

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But don’t worry about them, because they are fruit bats.

You can also rent kayaks and canoes of various sizes to cruise around the boating lagoon:

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Then there is the butterfly garden:

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There are many live ones too:

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For a bit of adrenaline, you can also check out the zipline, taking you on a cruise through the jungle:

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There is also a climbing wall:

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For those on a budget, there is also a camping area (you can bring your own or rent theirs):

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The camping area:

iloilo-city-to-bacolod-mambukal-resort-waterfalls-camping-area

You can also go for a private bath at the Ishiwata Bath House. Built in 1927 by Japanese architect Kokichi Ishiwata, the Roman-and-Greek inspired bathhouse is one of the oldest structures in the resort, which was actually built around the bathhouse.

iloilo-city-to-bacolod-mambukal-resort-waterfalls-bath-house

There are five bath cubicles through which naturally heated sulfur water flows.

Picnic cottages speckle the resort grounds:

iloilo-city-to-bacolod-mambukal-resort-waterfalls-picnic-cottages

Since it is government owned, their prices are quite reasonable:

iloilo-city-to-bacolod-mambukal-resort-waterfalls-prices

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