After a not-so-long-fight to Silay, we were immediately greeted by the sunny weather of Negros. Such beautiful start to a wonderful day! Our online friends Anne and Kevin, together with their baby, fetched us in the airport. They have their own car so we did not have a hard time going to different destinations in Negros Occidental. They became our hosts during our 4-day vacation there.
Top Places to Visit in Negros Occidental
More than an hour away from the airport is a popular mountain flower sanctuary. Jomax Peak is at Don Salvador Benedicto. Our host Anne made an advanced reservation at the resort before going there because they do not allow any walk-ins. It is a beautiful and peaceful mountain where you can simply watch and enjoy nature. It was sunny when we got there but sudden clumps of clouds came pouring in to kiss the mountains right in front of us. The clouds are swiftly passing giving us peeks and views of the forest from across the mountain.
Unfortunately though, it is a picnic ground where you have to bring your own food since there are no places for you to buy anything. The nearest restaurant is about 15 minutes drive. Jomax Peak is exclusively closed for the reserved visitors and we’re glad we went on a weekday so there aren’t much people there. Wyatt enjoyed the use of the pool and running around the viewing deck. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to trek to Malatan-og Falls. We can see it from far away though. We took advantage of the beautiful view of the entire scenery while we are there.
Everest Zipline is not too far from Jomax Peak. It is definitely a must try when in Don Salvador Benedicto and surely one great experience to have. It flies over rice terraces and a snake of a river winding its way through the hills. There is an age requirement here as well but I managed to convince to caretaker to let Wyatt ride the zipline because this is not his first time. It took me about half an hour of convincing him. I just signed the waiver then Wyatt and I did a tandem ride! Woohoo!! The ride took about a minute and a half. It was thrilling and the view is fantastic. And of course, my little one is so happy that he wanted to ride again. However, it’s too expensive so he didn’t get another ride.
Campuestohan Highland Resort
I've been eyeing this mountain resort for a long time because I've heard so many people talk about it. On a naturalist's perspective, it is literally sitting at the foot of a mountain. But on my son’s point-of-view is everything fun!
There are tons of stuffs to do in Campuestohan Resort and it's great that the prices for all other amenities are somewhat affordable. Anyway, we haven’t tried everything on their list of stuff to experience because it was a weekday and other rides are non-operational. Also, they have age requirement so Wyatt wasn’t able to try those. He’s somewhat disappointed because he’s looking forward to doing the zipline. He even wanted to try the rope course but he’s still young for that. You know, he’s so adventurous and not afraid of those things.
My son did love the Indian Village and was quite upset with me that I didn't book an Indian Teepee. I just can't help but laugh it out. There are tons of places to see like a plane crash site, the camping grounds, the King Kong Statue, and multiple areas for relaxation. And of course, Wyatt enjoyed the most in the swimming pool.
The restaurant food is nothing special—just average meals and snacks—but the price is good. Unlike most resort restaurants where practically everything is well over-priced, the meals here are quite affordable. Nonetheless, the resort is loaded with kiddie and family fun activities. It is definitely a place where you should bring your kids and even your picky teens.
The Ruins is not really that far from Silay Airport. I asked about it and I was so moved with a sweet love story that surpassed centuries. The Ruins, known as the Taj Mahal of Negros Island and true enough, like the Taj Mahal, was built in loving memory of one's wife—this time, a sugar baron's wife.
After a short ride, we entered a small paved road with signs pointing to the Ruins. Getting there, I expected it to be the remains of an old house or memorial but I was blown away. No wonder it was called Taj Mahal, it was in perfect condition. Although it was just the skeleton of the mansion, the features were totally intact. It’s hard to believe that it was totally set ablaze in World War II because the original wall shimmer, the concrete frame, the meticulous décor of the columns and even the initials of the couple 'MM' was engraved in the entrance.
The current owner is a direct descendant of Mariano and Maria. The Ruins has the original chimney where they turned muscovado sugar into sugar crystals. It also has a golf course nearby and a beautiful pavilion. It's overall a sweet experience to have and we're super glad that we were able to enjoy a historical place like this before ending the day.
Mambukal Mountain Resort
On our third day, we went to Mambukal Mountain Resort. It was almost an hour away from Bacolod City proper. Getting there, we were greeted with an all around nature adventure park. It was in contrast to Campuestohan Resort because it was built and designed for fun while Mambukal was built and designed to enjoy nature at its finest. There are so many activities to enjoy. We had our brunch first before going around. Food was actually more expensive and with lesser servings here than in Campuestohan Resort but better tasting. Nonetheless, we enjoyed a great meal.
Mambukal is a forest rich in animals and flowers and the bats were one of the highlights. It wasn't long until we spotted some flying out into the afternoon air. I guess we spooked them when my son started to shout and point—oops! We weren’t able to trek toward the Mambukal falls because there’s an age requirement. Same goes with the zipline. So yeah, another disappointment for my adventurous boy.
We visited the butterfly garden and it was definitely worth running for. The garden is filled with flowers and butterflies of different colors. It also has multiple cocoons and I can see a clear one with a butterfly about to erupt. They told me that it will probably come out within the next 24 hours. Wow!
We went to the sulphur pool but I didn’t take a dip. I loved the way this pool is designed compared to the ordinary swimming pool they had. I touched the water and it’s so hot. I can’t take it so we just transferred to the nearby pool. There are 2 other swimming pools, by the way. We also tried boating in the lagoon! It was a very hot day so we didn’t finish the 30 minutes time for boating.
Our vacation in Negros Occidental is such an enjoyable one. We stayed in Go Hotels which is very near Robinsons Bacolod. Four days is not enough for us so we will definitely go back. And next time, we will hike Mt. Kanlaon and other mountains there.