My recent trip to Bacolod wasn’t all football. On match day (yes, I know, I shouldn’t have done this but Ton Gatmaitan was insistent), we took a sidetrip to Don Salvador Benedicto. The area is the summer capital of Negros Occidental because it’s located up in the cool, pristine, and unspoiled mountains.
When I say we, it’s the team from GroupM (my office) and the party of Dickie and Cathy Rivilla. There were three vans in our party. That’s how many vehicles it took us to transport us to Don Salvador Benedicto which is about an hour’s drive from Bacolod City.
Truthfully, I was half-excited and half-dismayed. On one hand, I should have been in L’Fisher hunting down leads for stories to write. On the other hand, the real story for the day was the match and I had done my pre-work. So I could go. Besides, I knew it would be fun.
Ton, an old buddy from Ateneo, co-owns a farm here in the mountains. And as soon as we left the city environs and the landscape dramatically began to change, a wave of excitement began to envelope me. I’m a sucker for out of town/nature trips. It is as I always say, good for one’s soul.
Stressed out from the past few days of covering the Philippine Men’s National Football Team, it was a welcome and literal change of scenery.
If we weren’t on a tight schedule (we planned to be in Panaad Stadium by 2 or 3pm to beat the traffic), it would have been fun to go down and take pictures. The moment we turned into the town of Murcia, a quiet semi-industrial/agricultural area north of the city, I knew it was worth the sidetrip.
Lush scenery. Rolling hills. Clear, open, and beautiful sky country. I could live in a place like this. Well, as long as it’s got the best internet connection. Or maybe for a week. Hahaha. But it is quite lovely.
Ton had bragged that he’d prepare a feast for all of us and the man delivered on all counts. The farmhouse was Spartan in its appearance and furnishing. But then again, it’s not bad at all. I could sleep on a hammock! We were served a scrumptious lunch of inihaw na baboy, fresh veggies, fish, and homemade chicken inasal that we washed down with Coca Cola (the first time in years I drank that soda coz I stopped drinking them). Then you take it that gorgeous beautiful mountain-view from the outdoor table! Prior to lunch, we went to three lookout stations overlooking the valley (I called them make out stations coz it’s perfect for making out hahahaha). I so wanted to do an Echo and the Bunnymen shot. Did I succeed?
We stayed for about two hours before we had to go back down. Honestly, I wished we had stayed for a bit more. Maybe even the night. This is a place where one should go when you don’t have anything to attend to later in the day or maybe for the duration of one’s stay. It’s kind of like chicken soup for the soul.
I guess that’s a perfect excuse to go back now.
Lazy boy without a care in the world.
Going to "make out station #1". Bwahahaha.