On my last day in Dumaguete, I was torn between going to Apo Island and exploring the nearby municipality of Valencia.
Apo Island offers free diving, something that I’d love to do, but I chose to explore Valencia. Anyway, in the past few, I went to a number of beaches, swam, and did free diving. I wanted to try something new.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to explore Apo Island, and it’s one of the reasons why I’d love to go back to Negros Island soon, but for the time being, I chose to see Casaroro falls and I didn’t regret it.
Where to stay in Dumaguete?
I was unintentionally bumped off the hostel I booked, probably because it was a last minute reservation. Thanks to Traveloka, it took care of everything. Their customer service was fast to respond and efficient. They transferred me to Island Leisure Hotel. I trusted that they would take me to a much better hotel.
And I wasn’t wrong. The moment I arrived, I was impressed. Big wooden Anitos welcomed me. The vibes were close to that of a cozy resort in Thailand, or Bali. There were elephants and Buddha statues. There were hanging chairs and swings. Surrounded by jars, lounge chairs and cozy couches with many colorful pillows was a bright red fountain in the middle of the courtyard. The owner, someone who obviously loves art and collects beautiful pieces, truly spent a lot of attention to details.
The place is like a big posh family house converted into a hotel. It has a small pool and spa, too.
The room I got was big enough to accommodate four people comfortably. It was an air-conditioned room with two single beds, one sofa bed, a flat screen TV, and a fridge. The private bath had a hot and cold shower, too. As expected, the room was tastefully designed, accented with different colors.
I remember paying less than PHP2,000 per night via Traveloka. Breakfast for two was included. Every corner of the resort is Instagramable. If you’re looking for a unique, affordable and relaxing place to stay in Dumaguete, I highly recommend this place.
How to get to Valencia from Dumaguete?
I got up early to jumpstart a wonderful day of exploration in Valencia. I didn’t do a research about the place.
My friend, Ferna, who is living in Dumaguete, told me to visit Valencia if I had extra time. Together with another friend, Diary, we rode a tricycle to the jeepney terminal bound for Valencia. I usually paid PHP10 going to anywhere in the city.
Jeepneys don’t have fixed schedules. We waited for only a few minutes until ours was full. Travel time was less than 30 minutes and we paid PHP12.
We were thinking how we could get around the municipality. Upon arriving though, tricycle drivers flocked to the jeepney to offer a tour. I didn’t know the standard rate, but I just put my haggling skills to work. I’d recommend that you travel with someone who speaks Cebuano.
A few moments later, we sealed a deal with a tricycle driver for PHP7 00 that included a tour to Tierra Alta, Pulang Bato falls, Red Rock hot spring, and Casaroro falls.
What to do in Valencia?
Visit the Greek-inspired Tierra Alta Residential Resort
Our first destination was a Greek-inspired resort built on the slopes of Palinpinon in Valencia, Negros Oriental. The main attraction is the tall, white, lighthouse that offers a 360-degree view of the town. Entrance fee is PHP50 for site seeing only. But if you will eat at the restaurant, entrance fee is waived. So what we did was grab some snacks at Tierra Café that offers Mediterranean cuisine infused with American and Asian flavors.
Their pool is open to the public. Adults pay PHP500, PHP200 of which is for food, while kids can swim for PHP350, PHP150 of which is for food. They also have a private room offered at PHP2,500 to PHP4,500 per night. I’d consider staying at Tierra Alta when I go back to Negros to relax and rejuvenate.
Be awed by the red rocks of Pulang Bato Waterfalls
What makes Pulang Bato falls unique is not the falls itself, but the red rocks around the area. I don’t remember seeing anything like those during my previous travels around the Philippines. The falls is located on the Ocoy Valley. The name came from the water that gives off a red hue because of the naturally reddish rocks found in the area. Pula is the Filipino word for red while bato, for rock. Hence, if translated, the name of the falls would be Red Rock.
Simply pay PHP50 to enter and presto, you can enjoy swimming in the refreshing cold water.
Take a dip into Red Rock Hot Spring
Not far from Pulang Bato waterfalls is Red Rock Hot Spring. Since we didn’t swim at Pulang Bato because of the cold water, we tried the hot spring. We paid PHP50 only. A relaxing moment awaits at the hot spring that also affords one a lovely view of the mountain, making the experience even more rewarding. It’s where you can do nothing but simply sit on a smooth rock, and soak your body in the balmy and crystal-clear water. It’s well-maintained. Wear dark colored clothes, as white fabric might get stained because of the sulfuric content of the water.
Discover the beauty of Casaroro falls
I had been warned that going to Casaroro was challenging. But that didn’t stop me from discovering it’s enchanting beauty.
It was our last destination during the tour around Valencia. The road was steep, which was challenging for the tricycle. We decided, then, to take a habal-habal.
Entrance fee is PHP10.
First part of the trekking was quite easy, thanks to the concrete stairs. The moment we passed the metal stairs, however, the path became more difficult to traverse, as it was bumpy, rocky, steep and slippery. But it was exciting! According to our guide, there used to be a man-made trail toward the falls, which was easier to trek, but it Typhoon Sendong destroyed it. You will see its ruins blending naturally in with nature.
There are arrow signs along the trail, so you wouldn’t get lost. I still recommend to get a guide though. There are times that you need someone to assist you on slippery and steep portions to avoid accidents. It took us almost half an hour before we reached the falls, and the effort was all worth it. It’s one of the most marvelous falls I have ever seen in my life. The place looks untouched. We had a great moment to enjoy it and the rest of the nature surrounding it. Never skip Casaroro on your list.
If you’re visiting Dumaguete, don’t skip the town of Valencia. Experience its very own eco-tourism. It’s one of the must-visit places near the city.
There are many reasons to visit Valencia, but one tops the rest: to take a break from the busy city life and enjoy nature as it is.