On 31August 2000 we set off from Dumaguete City for a circumnavigation of Negros on a rental motorcycle.
Lunch in Bais City at the La Planta
was delightful. This recently constructed hotel looks like a pleasant
place to stay but we had just begun our adventure. The ride along
the coast was scenic and the road was in good condition. We stopped
for the first night in San Carlos and took a room at the Aichi Hotel
... Japanese decor and no other guests but quite comfortable.
The second day we were in the midst of cane sugar country and where, until recently, the cane was hauled from the fields by steam locomotives similar to this one. Now the cane trucks are something to contend with on the roads but at least they don't seem to be dangerously overloaded.
By mid-afternoon we were in the metropolis (compared to Dumaguete) of Bacolod, the capitol of Negros Occidental. At this point we had covered roughly 300KM.
Checking into the very nice Hotel Alhambra which had reasonable prices ($23 including breakfast) we hurriedly cleaned up and took a jeepney back through town to the shopping center (Robinson's) we had passed on the way into town. The ad for the movie "Perfect Storm" was too good to resist and the Shakey's Pizza sign had the same magic lure.
On the third day we found our way into the nearby mountains to the resort at Mambucal. Perched on the side of the active volcano Mount Kanlaon the slight sulphur smell was just noticeable. The spa offered some relaxing hot water (thought by some to have magical curative powers). Again we were the only overnight guests in the place though the grounds were filled with day visitors for the weekend for picknicking and swimming in the warm water pools.
The first afternoon we were guided into the nearby area to see the 'seven waterfalls'.
We're not sure how many we saw but the trek was over some steep and rough terrain, very much to our liking.
The next (fourth) day we did a longer hike
into the Kanlaon National Forest. Again with a guide (absolutely
necessary) we hiked uphill for two hours to the last trail, now closed,
up to the volcano. An eruption in 1996 killed three trekkers and
the area is now closed to visitors but the rumor is that it will be opened
next year (2001).
And then the fun took a holiday ....
On the fifth day we found our way, with difficulty, southwest to the national highway near Bago. With relatively good road again we arrived in Sipalay by midday. An ad for a diving resort '5KM' away peaked our interest for lunch and perhaps an overnight stay. After 9KM of extremely rough, boggy road we were still in the hills with no resort in sight! We retraced our path and set off down the highway looking for whatever we could find. Following an early afternoon lunch at Hinoba-an we confidently continued on. But that's when our luck and good road didn't. Just outside of town the road became rough dirt. Some 30KM later (and 30KM from the next town, Bayawan) we took a spill. Terry dislocated his right shoulder and Sandy suffered a cut right hand. Nothing else to do but carry on so we rode to Bayawan trying to avoid the slightest bump and the resulting shooting pain. We made it to the hospital in Bayawan by late afternoon where Sandy had her hand cleaned and stitched. Terry was examined and told to come back in the morning for an X-ray. The doctor said she would take care of the motorcycle for the night and sent us to a nearby pension in the ambulance (which happened to be their day that week to have it available). The pension was basic, clean, and, again, unoccupied except for us. The morning of the sixth day Terry had an X-ray and was told to come back in the afternoon when the visiting radiologist would read the film. He showed up at 1530 and declared no broken bones. He recommended we take the film to Dumaguete and have someone there reset the dislocated shoulder (the bone was quite visibly out of the socket). Searching for the motorcycle we discovered the Chief of the Hospital was married to the doctor we had seen the previous day and he agreed to reset Terry's shoulder. After 25 hours out of the socket it didn't easily go back in but this guy was big and strong enough to do it.
After the second night in the pension we collected the motorcycle and went to the bus station. Terry was able to drive it those few blocks. After draining the gas tank a gang of five wrestled the bike into the back of the bus where, for the price of nine seats we took another bumpy ride to Siaton then onward over familiar roads to Dumaguete. While offloading the bike the porters broke off a mirror ... the worst damage (to the motorcycle) of the affair.
We turned in the motorcycle (broken mirror cost of $4.50) and checked into a nearby hotel for some hot showers, TV (the US Open was on) and two days of R&R, including an 'Internet fix'.
Back on board that vee berth seldom ever felt as good!