Hometown sceneries triggered a lot of memories. The zigzag road between Siaton and Zamboanguita, more particularly, made me recall the embarrassing ones.
I had motion sickness when I was a kid. The moment I got on a bus, my olfactory system is heightened and become more sensitive. I could smell even an imperceptible amount of diesel, asphalt, and exhaust. I would try to suppress the queasiness by thinking of happy stuff and by controlled breathing, but that zigzag road messed up everything. It was where I normally start to throw up.
The winding road is also an indicator that the bus is approaching Siaton, Negros Oriental, my hometown.
Not too far from the curves is the entrance of Zoo Paradise World. It was one of Father Tropa’s Zoo. Seeing it made me reminiscence the first ever field trip I joined. I was in grade one back then, but the vivid cutscenes of the event rolled around my peripheral sight like phantasms.
As the bus continued to move towards our barangay, I recalled the highlights of my childhood memories, such as the boy scout camping events that I participated, the quiz bees that I failed to win, my high school crushes that I silently stalk, proud moments that I celebrated, as well as the mortifying situations that I got involved with.
I left my hometown after I graduated high school. I moved to my uncle in Pasay, and then enrolled at Adamson University in Manila. Since life was pretty difficult back then, my home visits were normally 2 to 3 years apart. And whenever I came home, I spent most of my time catching up instead of touring around.
When I transferred to Cebu, I finally got a chance to explore my hometown. I was surprised to see that there’s more to it than just shorelines, mountains, and sugarcane fields.
There are fascinating beach fronts, mystical waterfalls, enchanted lakes, and stunning cliff-side views.
Antulang Cliffside Resort
Antulang Beach Resort is simply a paradise. The rustic reception matched with elusive isolation and fascinating cliff-side vantage added a high dose of exclusivity and comfort to your staycation.
The plumeria blossoms on its poolside gardens exude an inviting scent. You’ll definitely stay once you set your foot within the resort premises.
An infinity pool seats beside the al fresco restaurant on edge of the cliff, commanding a view of endless sea. It creates a stunning backdrop for your photos, specially during the blue hour. It faces the sunrise too.
If you are game for exciting trekking activities, try the cliff-side stairways and pathways that traverse the entire stretch of the property. You will be rewarded with a kilometer-long, white strip if you brave it.
The cabana or garden view cottage is more than enough for your stay, however, if you need more amenities such as your own pool or jacuzzi, you can book a pool villa.
To get to Antulang, take flight or ferry to Dumaguete. From Dumaguete Bus Terminal, hop on a bus to Bayawan, Siaton, or Hinubaan, and then alight at Antulang junction (also called crossing Antulang). Travel time is 40 minutes to 1 hour.
From Antulang junction, hire a motorcycle taxi (or habal-habal) to the resort. The fare is 100 pesos per person. Since there are no other public transport to and from the resort, you may negotiate with your habal-habal rider for the pick up.
If you are coming from Apo Island, return to Malatapay, and then hop on a bus to Bayawan, Siaton, or Hinubaan.
By the way, we visited on an off-peak season and got a great deal from Agoda.
Tambobo Bay serves as fishing boat asylum during the storm season. Since Siaton faces the Sulu Sea, the waves could be menacing when there are typhoons in the area. Large fishing boats are brought to Tambobo bay to protect them from the surge.
The bay also serves as a harbor of most Negros yachts. You may wonder why there is no Yacht club in Dumaguete. Well, the yachts are all parked in Tambobo Bay.
Lush greens made from mangroves, bamboo, and local shrubs wrap the banks of Tambobo Bay.
To enjoy Tambobo Bay, book a sunset cruise from Antulang Beach Resort.
Lake Balanan was created when a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Siaton in 1925. Sandulot mountain collapsed, and then blocked the streams and rivers. It created a natural dam, and as time passed, the water level raised, which then created the lake.
Getting to Balanan is like taking an off-the-beaten track. Navigating through countryside road to lake is an adventure in itself.
Floating cottages are available for rent. You can use a bamboo pole to steer it to the deeper part of the lake, and then enjoy diving and swimming.
If you are not confident on swimming on the lake, there is a pool for yah!
To get to Balanan, take a bus to Bayawan, Siaton, or Hinubaan. Get off at Siaton, and then walk toward Siaton Park (in front of the Municipal Hall) where habal-habal to Balanan are waiting. I paid 150 peso for the two-way trip.
Some habal-habal riders will not wait, so make sure that the you both agreed the fare before taking a ride. For the return trip, there is a habal-habal station near the entrance of Balanan Lake compound.
From Balanan, continue your adventure in Giligaon. Return to Siaton town proper, and then board a bus to Bayawan. Alight at Giligaon Market, look for a local guide, and then start your trek to the stunning waterfalls of Giligaon.
You will pass through farms, cross gentle streams, and overcome gigantic boulders to get to the falls. After more than an hour of trekking and bouldering, you will be rewarded with the amazing cascades of Giligaon Falls.
Take note that the main cascade is located way inward. You have to climb steep rocks to see it. Bring enough patience and hydration.
From Giligaon, take a trike or any public transport for Bonawon, and then alight at Bonawon-Catipon junction. Hire a habal-habal to Catipon, and then trek down to Bobong Falls. For first timers, you must be accompanied by a local guide. The falls is not even known to some residents.
You may end up visiting the disappointing Pasalan Falls.
Turtle Island is a spit that is connected to the main island with a tambolo. The land-tied island features a long white-sand strip, shallow waters, and stunning underwater wonders. It is also a host to a variety of mangroves and beach trees that provide shelter to the beach goers.
It also serves a nesting ground of local sea turtles, where it obviously got its name, so be mindful when you pay a visit.
The area is claimed by both the Municipalities of Siaton and Zamboanguita, that’s why there are entry closures every now and then. Currently, we are crossing fingers for its resolution so that it can be managed, cleaned, and opened for the public to appreciate.
To get to Turtle Island, follow the same route to Antulang Beach Resort, and then tell the rider to bring you to Turtle Island.
After your Siaton adventure, you may check the following attractions, which are less than 3 hours away: