Here at My Philippine Dreams, we take a great deal of pride in delivering to our loyal subscribers only the very best in international misadventure. You may have heard of our trip to Mabinay about a month ago and how it had quite possibly been our greatest misadventure to date. No? Well, take my word for it – anything and everything that quite possibly could have gone wrong, went wrong. The only thing that would have made it any worse is if a satellite had fallen on my head. Trust me, by the time it was over, I kept casting my tear-filled eyes to the heavens in fervent hope….
Mabinay lies about 80 kilometers north of Dumaguete. It’s about midway between the east and west coast of Negros Oriental and is accessed via a pretty rough road that runs between Bais (where we went dolphin watching) and Bayawan. The drive up to Mabinay is a true delight – extremely scenic runs up into the green mountains, where every switchback provides a stunning view of the verdant countryside. Mabinay’s is renowned for it’s extensive network of caves and I also heard that it has a pretty nice cold spring and some very nice waterfalls around it.
Intrigued, the Philippines Dream Team decided to mount up and do some exploring. It had been a while since we had taken a road trip, and a lull in the rainy weather (it is rainy season, after all) afforded us the chance to finally check it out. Like I said, the ride up was amazing. We stopped along the way to take photos and video and really enjoyed the climb up into the mountains. At one point, we were so high up that we entered a temperate forest, exchanging the usual tropical vegetation for deciduous hard woods. I could have even sworn I saw a few oak trees along the way. We descended a bit and entered Mabinay. There are no real maps of the area available and Google Maps doesn’t work well up there, so we pretty much just motored around getting a lay for the land. There are a few smaller towns before Mabinay that we actually thought were Mabinay, but we asked around and finally found our way. I had noted that most of the hotels up around there were closed, but our friend Larry (over at www.pinayvisa.com) had told us that Highland Resort was still open. He also told us that it was run down and had seen better days, but Michell and I are (somewhat) adventurous, so we took it in stride. Surprisingly, there was actually a sign to the resort, and we followed a long, winding access road to the main building.
My first impressions of the place were pretty grim – it was run down and overgrown in areas and a few of the once-scenic ponds had collapsed and were basically just big muddy holes in the ground. The clerk on duty told us that a brown out (no power) had started at 8 AM that morning. We found that amusing as we had left Dumaguete that morning to get away from an 9 hour scheduled brown out there. Chuckling cluelessly, Michell negotiated 1000 pesos for a 1500 peso air conditioned bungalow and we moved our stuff in. The cabin was OK but a little shabby. Michell also noticed that the sheets were very dusty as if no one had used the cabin in some time. The resort was also pretty quiet – there was another car there, but it looked like some local Filipinos just wandering around. There was also no water (I figured the electric water pump wasn’t working), so – at the clerk’s suggestion – I took a bath in the resort’s pool.
After a short walk around the place (which I will put up on our You Tube channel next), we jumped back on the motorcycle and headed off to find the cold springs, caves and waterfalls. It’s funny when you watch the first video in our Mabinay Misadventure. The part with us sitting in front of the camera at the resort is especially hilarious once you find out what unfolds over the course of the next 24 hours….. Stay tuned!!!