The prevalence of limestone rock and extensive karst phenomena secures Mabinay’s claim to being the Cave Town of Negros Oriental. According to the locals, there are over 400 caves honeycombing Mabinay’s lower regions. In 1989-1990, the Belgian-Dutch-Philippine Club undertook an expedition and identified 45. Among these:
BULWANG – 159 meters long, with icicle-like dripstone. The Provincial Government has installed a walkway into the cave, and amenities at the approach such as a visitors’ reception building and dining hall.
Odloman – at 8,870 meters, went on record as the second longest cave system in the Philippines. Accessed by rappelling through a hole in the ceiling or by swimming 20 meters across an underground river, Odloman has large galleries, many narrow corridors, active streams and more than enough difficult obstacles to lure extreme cavers.
Cayaso – with a subterranean river flowing through its main chamber, measures 2,222 meters long to rank 9th longest cave in the country.
Other caves of note:
Baliw – 769 meters long, with white concretions called “white forest.”
Mambajo – 670 meters long (right), has a chimney access and a subterranean river flowing towards a siphon to emerge in Mambajo 2.
Kabugan – 373 meters, with a large opening called the “sunny walk” midway towards a bat-colonized area. (On the other side of the valley is Tokko, a shallow cave only 20 meters deep, believed to be part of the Kabugan system.).
Panligawan and Pandalihan – popular among amateur cavers, comparatively shallow at 143 and 282 meters, respectively. The dome-shaped Panligawan has a skylight, and wide and flat ground ideal for in-cave camping.
Mabinay is an interior highland town 87 kilometers northwest of Dumaguete City, through which a “short cut” highway exits to neighboring Negros Occidental. It is predominantly agricultural, with sugar as the main product. A side-trip to take is Mabinay Spring which feeds a lake set amid lush vegetation in the heart of the poblacion, ideal for picnics and swimming.
Poblacion Mabinay is about an hour and a half north of Dumaguete City by all types of vehicles.
Described as one of the most successful dolphin-and-whale watching operations in the country, the cruise takes off from Port Capiñahan every 8:00 AM and traverses the Bay towards Tañon Strait, the narrow channel between Negros and Cebu islands, acknowledged to have one of the biggest concentrations of cetaceans in the world.
Out of twenty-four cetaceans sighted in Philippine waters, eleven species are found in the Bais Bay – Tañon Strait area. Among these are dolphins and the pygmy sperm whale Kogia simos. The Bais City government operates two Dolphinboats. Five privately-owned pumpboats are also available. The cruise averages six hours. It may include side trips to Talabong Island and the White Sand Bar.
Talabong Island is located in South Bais Bay. It has an area of 217.59 hectares, heavily vegetated with 85% mangroves and 15% associated mangrove species, which provides an ideal habitat for significant fish and shellfish species, various marine life, birds and wildlife.
Bais City is 45 kilometers (approximately one hour travel time by all type vehicles) north of Dumaguete City.
A 7-kilometer-long strip of white sand beach in the middle of North Bais Bay. Ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The area is submerged at high tide. Four cottages are available for guests. Manjuyod is 58.2 kilometers from Dumaguete City.
Travel to the White Sand Bar from Dumaguete is approximately 1:5 hours.
Valencia’s elevation at 715 feet above sea level endows it with a cool climate. Trekkers access Casaroro Falls via three hundred concrete steps which descend into a scenic site surrounded by steep rock walls where a single column of sparkling water plunges almost a hundred feet into a chilly swimming caldera. The Municipal Government has erected picnic sheds for the visitors who frequent the area.
Casaroro Falls is located in Apolong, Valencia approximately 30 minutes by 4-wheel drive or motorbike from Dumaguete City.
Photos of Casaroro Falls
An expansive mountain resort developed around Balanan Lake, a humerus-shaped body of water, 25 hectares in surface area, 285 ms above sea level, oriented along a northwest-southeast direction (right). The lake encases a kilometer-long waterway ideal for water sports. Among the prominent features of the resort is a 4-kilometer circumferential pathway for trekking, a variety of pools for swimming, passenger bancas for boating, waterfalls for great photo-ops.
Balanan has an old forest of almost a hundred balete trees, atop one of which is a treehouse. An 8-room hillside hotel, Balodge provides air-conditioned comforts with a view of the lake. Other amenities include a thatched dining pavilion and a staffhouse. Balanan Lake Development Authority will implement regular rates beginning May 19. Entrance is free every Tuesday.
Balanan located in Sandulot, Siaton is 60 kilometers from Dumaguete City, or approximately 1.5 hours travel time.
Apo Island is a 72-hectare, 200-meter high volcanic island about 5 kilometers off the municipality of Dauin. Five pocket beaches of white pebbles, two mangrove lagoons, and a lighthouse. The Apo Island Protected Landscape and Seascape comprises 691.45 hectares (72 terrestrial, the remaining is the marine area surrounding the island). An average total coral cover of 63.1% and a magnificent variety of corals and marine life led to Apo Island’s being acclaimed as one of the world’s Ten Best Divesites. Coconut Point is referred to as the best divesite in southern Visayas. In “Clown-fish City” the colorful Amphiprion melanopus inhabit anemones that have colonized seven large coral heads. This underwater splendor is replicated in the Schedd Aquarium of Chicago.
Apo Island is approximately 45 minutes by motorized outrigger (pumpboat) from Dauin.