Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bacolod: Eltoro Zoo, The Hidden Animal Sanctuary of Negros

Eltoro Zoo De La Castellana

This hidden zoo in La Castellana City, Negros Occidental was unique discovery that one of my friends stumbled upon. When we visited the site, we were surprised with the diversity of animals in the zoo. It was the first time I have ever heard of tigers and lions in Negros Occidental. Read more about this zoo on my blog post below.


So apparently there's this hidden zoo in Negros Occidental... and this hidden zoo just so happens to have Lions and Tigers (and Bears. Oh my. Just kidding, no bears!). The moment I heard the word lions and tigers, my interest was piqued. I had never heard of a public establishment in our humble little island that has played host to any king of the jungle (tigers) or lords of the savanna (lions). (Well, of course I've heard the rumor that a mayor of a small town here in Negros keeps a pet tiger on his farm. Perhaps to devour his enemies? *nervous laughter*)

Bacolod: Don Salvador Benedicto

Don Salvador Benedicto or simply 'DSB' as it is known to the locals, is a mountain municipality an hour to the east of Bacolod City. Known for its higher altitude to the flat fields of Bacolod, DSB is fondly compared to be the 'Baguio of Bacolod' because of its colder climate and sprinkling of pine-like trees. 


Posted on February 2, 2014



When someone says the word 'Negros', people automatically think of flat landscapes full of sugarcane that stretch out widely in every direction. What most people don't know is that Negros is also home to some beautiful mountain ranges that each offer a different view from the cane fields and flat lands below them.

I set out to explore the mountain ranges near Bacolod in hopes of escaping the heat in the city as well as finding a unique view of the Negrense life way above sea level.

The mountain you see pictured above and below is called Don Salvador Benedicto, located around 45 km East of Bacolod City, this little town up the mountain is a one hour drive from the city proper and is dubbed the 'Summer Capital of Negros' because of it's chilly weather. In the past, the road up this mountain was in disrepair and in some states, still under construction. Now that the provincial government has made vast improvements to the road, motorists can enjoy a easy drive up the mountain. This has led to the development of residential lots and subdivisions (of where there are now 2 located up this quiet town).



I was surprised myself when I visited the area and saw modern looking high-end houses calmly perched on hills overlooking Bacolod. According to this article, a hectare of land in Don Salvador Benedicto ('DSB' as it is called by the locals) has increased from Php 500,000 per hectare to a staggering Php 5,000,000 per hectare! (source: http://archives.visayandailystar.com/2012/February/10/topstory6.htm)

This beautiful mountain is definitely something to watch out for in the future. Mountain house with roaring fire place anyone?



Posted on February 23, 2014


I usually spend my Sundays out on some random photo trip in the fields or the mountains alone. It doesn't matter where I end up as long as I get to flex my photo muscles. This trip I had a few Sundays ago was a little bit different. Some of my friends decided to tag along and chase the sunset in the mountains of Don Salvador Benedicto in Negros Occidental.





Anyway, coming from an hour's drive up the mountain, my friends and I found the perfect sunset viewing deck on a hill over looking the winding roads and beautiful mountain side houses. We promptly sat down and broke out some snacks & drinks and leaned back in anticipation of nature's light show.

After a little while, we were surprised when three young boys aged 7 to 9 crept up from behind us and stared at us with curiosity. (I bet they were wondering why five grown men were making such a ruckus over a vibrant sunset they were probably used to seeing everyday) Apparently these kids (2 of which you can see in the middle of the picture) were on their way home to the mountain next to us which was quite a far way of for these tiny guys to be heading to. Anyway, we invited our new friends to join us and share our chips as we all watched the sun set over the mountains. A Sunday well spent if you ask me.




Updated on January 1, 2015

Went up with my brothers on new years day to chase the first sunset of the year. 'Twas a glorious afternoon for a sunset.




Updated on January 6, 2016

Went up the mountain with my brother and a friend to celebrate my brothers last day in Bacolod before he heads back to the big city for work.

Update: our favorite spot from where to watch the sunset from is now gone. Some enterprising and sketchy individuals built a bar on the spot in a record amount of time. Funny since the news articles say that the bar was built without a land title and without a permit to operate. Anyway, we pulled over to the side of the bar and descended the mountain a little to park the car and grab a few beers.






Directions:



Photographer's Notes:


  • The road to DSB is winding and uphill, but cemented. You can take a normal sedan up there but I would recommend you take a sturdier car like a pick up.
  • If you are waiting for the sunset, note that it will be a dark one hour journey down to Bacolod after the sun has set because there are no street lights along the roads of DSB.
  • It can get a bit chilly at night at DSB so best to bring a jacket.