Walking along a forest trail barefeet was not exactly my idea of a chill Monday. It was something that I was not prepared to do but I had to after I took on the challenge to hike to get a better view of a majestic waterfall. After 30 minutes of slowly trekking and couple of ouches, I was finally enjoying the cold mist from the cascade of one of the tallest falls I have explored. This was what I came for - to discover the rustic beauty of Don Salvador Benedicto in Negros Occidental.
Don Salvador Benedicto is one of the municipalities in the province that sits along the northern mountain ranges of Negros Occidental. Its location gives it a nice cool weather that it was dubbed as the province's "Little Baguio". Its verdant forest cover and amazing natural beauty is its prime tourist draw, not to mention, that it is also the reason why the municipality is part of the Northern Negros Natural Park.
Exploring DSB, as it more commonly referred to, is an adventure in itself. Just like the municipality's vibe, you simply got to rough it out to enjoy the adventures that go with it.
DSB View Deck
Just along the main highway of DSB is a viewdeck that gives you a panoramic view of its own version of rice terraces against the rugged backdrop of its mountain ranges. It is not hard to miss as most bus drivers are aware of this tourist spot and, with a lion standing guard, you would know that you are in the right place.
The Don Salvador Benedicto Viewdeck gives you a sweeping view of the mountainous terrain of the municipality. The viewdeck, with its "I love DSB", is a perfect spot to start the rugged adventure. The view of the mountains and the feel of its cool wind was a relaxing break from the humdrum of city life. Don't just take pictures but take in the beauty of the view.
You can also catch a glimpse of DSB's own version of rice terraces from the viewdeck. Farmers have adjusted to its rugged terrain by employing the method of utilizing terraces in agriculture. This did only provide livelihood for locals but has also become an attraction in itself.
If Baguio is popular for its Lion Head, DSB has a full lion guarding its entrance. The statue of the lion was installed by a local branch of a socio-civic group and is now an attraction in itself.
Pine Tree Views
Imagine yourself in the middle of a field, enjoying the cool mountain breeze, and surrounded by pine trees. Relaxing, right?
That was how I felt in the middle of towering pine trees on a privately owned strip of land along the highway. The pine cover has become an attraction because the spot is naturally photogenic that it is a " of the road for that dramatic IG shot or you can stand in the middle of the tree cover for that nature shot. Better yet, you can stand in the middle of trees, close your eyes and inhale the energy that nature can give you.
The strip is privately owned and it is often open to the public except when the owner has to entertain guests. You can also check out the stalls on the opposite side of the road that peddles local produce and souvenirs. A must try are the sweet pineapple harvest of the locals.
At the heart of DSB's local tourism is the majestic beauty of Malatan-og Falls. The simple beauty of the falls captivates you as it sits in the midst of the forested area of the municipality.
Malatan-og Falls is comfortably nestled within the Northern Negros Natural Park. It can be viewed from a viewdeck that sits along a ridge across its location. From this vantage point, the falls can easily be spotted with its white cascade in the middle of the verdant greens of the park.
It takes about 30 minutes of hiking through its forest cover to get an upclose view of the falls. The trails start off with a steep downhill hike, a river crossing, and finally with a trail that snakes besides its downstream flow. You got to wear the right footwear. My hike turned out to be longer when I had to walk barefoot from the river crossing.
The view from the base of the waterfalls was just amazing. The sound of the its thunderous cascade and the view of its mist floating from its base made the whole hike worth doing. Malatan-og Falls is probably one of the tallest waterfall that I have explored. It is an attraction that stands out for its simplicity.
We spent another 45 minutes just to breathe in the natural beauty of the place. The cold water running over my tired feet was enough to soothe it from the walking barefoot. I immersed myself from the sound of cascading waters. The sound was relaxing and assuring. Nature really has a way of re-charging our tired body and soul.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
A nice hot serving of Kansi at Mountain View Resort was the perfect way to cap-off our adventures and misadventures at Don Salvador Benedicto. The view of the mountains from its restaurant was a fitting send-off after a day of exploring the trails of DSB. It was a great experience roughing it out and enjoying the rugged views of the municipality. It gave Negros Occidental a different face while getting energized by earthing.
Different destinations exude a different character that provide a different experience. Off-beat destinations around major tourist spots provide a fresh take on the usual trips. It is a great way to break the monotony of the "usual" travels. Don Salvador Benedicto is no different. Its rustic appeal, matched by its rugged adventures, make it one destination that amuses you while energizing you - the nature's way.
Merry Christmas, everyone!!!
Getting There: All major airlines in the Philippines have daily flights to Bacolod City from Manila and key cities of the country.
You can proceed to the Bacolod City South Terminal and take a bus to San Carlos via DSB. You can start your exploration at the DSB Viewdeck and you can go around via tricycle or habal-habal.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.