that rare long weekend trip, part 2

Driving to Cambugahay Falls from the Cantabon Caves, you’d have the opportunity to pass through the Bandilaan National Park, a forest reserve under the jurisdiction of DENR. It’s just a tiny patch of green on the island map; you’d be able to drive through it in a matter of minutes. The area is said to contain the best remaining forest of Siquijor, and indeed the amount of roadside greenery noticeably increases as you enter the bounds of the reserve.

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A steel viewing platform has been constructed at the peak of Mt. Bandilaan, easily accessible from the road through a short uphill walk (my thigh muscles, still recovering from the 2-hour journey through Cantabon, were beginning to complain at this point). The view from the platform, alas, was partially obstructed by nearby greenery which actually rose above the structure, so you don’t get a full 360-degree view (Boo for the foresight of the builders but hurrah for the greenery. Of course, we weren’t about to demand that trees be cut down at the national park just so we could have an unobstructed view). One can still look out though, and spend a few minutes meditatively studying the sea in the horizon.

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Past the Bandilaan National Park one descends upon a series of rolling hills with decidedly lesser vegetation. We encountered a group of bikers at this point, very friendly ones who actually stopped to turn and wave when they saw me trying to take pictures as our vehicle sped along.

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The friendly bikers were probably tourists, but still, at this point let me address a common impression on Siquijor. The place is not teeming with witches or manggagaways or what-have-you, the people we came across were quite friendly, we didn’t have any qualms making eye contact with anybody, and at no point did we feel that an entire village is conspiring to hex us or make a sacrifice of us of whatever. Doing a bit of Google research while writing this account I came upon a blog post relating how their group was too spooked by the surroundings and the people that when they were taken by their guides to the entrance of Cantabon cave they refused to go in, imagining that some of the locals might have been trying to cast spells or lure them to a different cave. I was very sorry to read that, because as I saw in the accompanying picture the cave was indeed Cantabon, and they missed a great opportunity to explore it because they were too overcome by their preconceived but misguided fears. The locals whom they viewed with such suspicion were actually quite kind. When we were hunting for water to wash our muddy feet after the caving we puttered around some community faucet trying to make sense of the hoses and flurry of pails scattered around, and a woman came out of her house to give us a tabo so we could scoop water out of the pails. The only mildly discomfiting phase was when we were trying to haggle the rate of our guided tour, but that’s a common occurrence when traveling, when you always have this nagging feeling that people are trying to rip you off. I left the haggling to my Bisaya-speaking companions, who managed to get a hundred pesos knocked off from the original quote of 700 pesos.

Whew. So there. And we’re not even at Cambugahay Falls yet. So let me take you now to Cambugahay Falls, but I would still be talking about the friendliness of the people. It was at Cambugahay Falls that I most felt the sympathy of the residents. Why? Because, well, I made a fool out of myself clambering up one of the falls wanting to jump off, only I couldn’t make the jump and had to spend long minutes sitting on the edge of the falls fretfully looking down and wondering what was I doing there in the first place. And during all that time, I had a small audience of sympathetic locals who were kindly (okay, laughingly, but in a kind way, mind you) encouraging me to make the jump. There was this manong who seemed especially interested, and after executing a couple of head-first dives down the waterfalls, sat down to watch the proceedings, smiling and making motions on how I should position my body so I don’t hit the water at full speed. My friends, not to mention a few daredevil kids, have made at least a couple of jumps each, and Don was trying to say the most encouraging things which I would not listen to, and I was still there. It took me many minutes before I was able to jump, and it was only the thought of turning around and doing a walk of shame in front of all those people that forced me to finally gather courage and do the most ungainly waterfall jump you’re likely to see in a long time.

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Yes, the falls weren’t even that high to begin with.

My only regret about Siquijor was that we were not able to fully explore the place, but I guess that gives us a reason to come back.

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Way of the Cross, Mt Bandilaan National Park

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Cambugahay Falls

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St. Isidore Labradore Church

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Coral Cay Resort

that rare long weekend trip, part 1

that rare long weekend trip, part3


14 thoughts on “that rare long weekend trip, part 2

  1. Don June 29, 2007 at 2:52 pm Reply

    Kung wala sigurong lilim dun sa lugar na inuupuan ko habang hinihintay kitang tumalon sa falls, siguro nasunog ang balat ko dahil sa araw, hehe 🙂

    Kainis! Isang beses ka lang tumalon pero ang ganda ng picture ng pagtalon mo! Samantalang ako… hmph! 😛


  2. noreen June 30, 2007 at 4:07 am Reply

    huy, ang saya naman ng buhay mo. puro lakwatsa ka lang. pero kulang pa daw sabi ng lakbayan. hehehe


  3. rina June 30, 2007 at 6:19 am Reply

    don: haynaku ang kulit-kulit mo nga no sinabi nang hindi pa ready e! 🙂

    noreen: isang weekend lang yan no, di naman laging byahe. oh yeah, there’s this boracay company outing pa pala that i didn’t blog about, he he.

    pero grabe, sa undas na ang susunod na long weekend! baka dun na ulit yung sunod na byahe ko if ever. tara! 🙂


  4. Mika July 2, 2007 at 8:00 am Reply

    Rina, yung placing ng arms mo nung tumalon ka sa mini-falls, parehas nung placing nung arms mo nung nag-attempt kang mag-skimboard. Am I right or am I right? Pansinin mo. Hehe.


  5. rina July 2, 2007 at 8:06 am Reply

    mika: mas mukha namang alam ko yung ginagawa ko dun sa skimboard. this waterfall shot, mukha syang matrix-carrie-ann-moss-gone-wild pose, mwahaha


  6. noreen July 9, 2007 at 8:13 am Reply

    oist, di ako maka-comment dun sa bago mong blog entry kaya dito na lang…

    natuwa naman ako sa nanay mo. ano naman gagawin niya sa myna bird, gagawing pet? may trivia ako nalaman dati, pero nakalimutan ko na exactly. (walang silbing info). pero parang, something to do with suicide. totoo bang nagpapakamatay ang myna kapag may kasama silang ibang ibon sa cage? or nagpapakamatay sila kapag wala silang kasama? basta either of the two lang un. nakuwento dati ni direk joey during one of our meetings.


  7. rina July 9, 2007 at 9:32 am Reply

    yikes, thanks for that heads up. pwede na ulit mag-comment ngayon 🙂

    i’m not aware of that suicide syndrome sa myna. ang alam ko sa tarsiers, pag hinuli mo daw yan di talaga magtatagal ang buhay kasi hindi sila sanay na captive sila. so yung mga “cute” tarsiers that tour operators and restaurant owners use to entertain tourists in loboc river, living on borrowed time na. haay, kawawa naman.


  8. River August 9, 2007 at 4:43 am Reply

    Am from Siquijor. You, too?


  9. rina August 9, 2007 at 5:23 am Reply

    nope, river, i’m makati-based, just took a trip for the weekend and as you can see, had a really good time 🙂 maybe you can point other interesting areas i can visit when i come back 🙂


  10. Tomas August 11, 2007 at 10:28 am Reply

    Could anyone give me the physical address of Mount Bandilaan. I’m very, very appreciated.

    Thanks you.



  11. rina August 11, 2007 at 11:17 am Reply

    i think the park straddles the towns of Siquijor and Lazi, near the center of the island. it’s quite easy to hire a vehicle to take you there, or get a map from your resort


  12. Solrac December 16, 2007 at 2:47 am Reply

    Hey Rina you’re the one who jump from that mini water falls right? grabe!!! pinatawa mo ko ng husto. You know as I read your blog i did’nt scroll down the page, so it makes me wonder how high is the water fall then when I scroll down and saw the pic of you I just burst w/ very loud laugh really!! it’s a very good one.


  13. Solrac December 16, 2007 at 2:52 am Reply

    and hey the place is very nice. and isa ako sa mga bata laging tinatakot sa mga aswang and was told that they where all originated in Siquijor, mali pala yon thanks for the info.


  14. rina December 16, 2007 at 3:02 am Reply

    solrac (carlos?) yes that’s me, nakakatawa nga sya, pero takot na takot ako noon, he he. i was like, why do i put myself in these situations, why? i suspect i’d do it again though 🙂

    go visit Siquijor, you’d enjoy it 🙂


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