Monday, October 27, 2014

Bacolod: The Sunsets at Barangay Balaring

The Sunsets at Barangay Balaring

Conveniently located near the city of Bacolod, the sea side barangay of Balaring in Silay offers photographers one of the best vantage points to view the setting sun for people who don't want to stray too far from the city. Aside from sunsets, this little barangay offers a variety of seafood restaurants which are perched on stilts beside the seashore. 

Yes, that's me taking a self-lighted, self-portrait, or as I like to call them, "Lightfie's" lol
One of my recent haunts whenever I'm chasing sunsets is Barangay Balaring in Silay City. I first found out about this sea side barangay when I was still in highschool. It was the summer before I left for college and a few of my buddies and I decided to do some exploring. We had heard about this relatively untouched barangay by the sea that was a mere 25 minutes away from Bacolod. We had no notion of what it looked like or how the road conditions were going there, but what we had heard was that they had a sea side restaurant (sort of a karinderia) that served the best porkchops that side of Negros (Yes, ironic that a seaside restaurant be famed for it's grilled pork rather than its fresh seafood.)

So it was with this image of succulent pork bits and beer in mind that we set off to find the place. Back then, the roads going to Brgy. Balaring were bumpy, rough and without street lights. We made it to Balaring though and we found a lone dingy restaurant on stilts creaking ever so precariously beside the shore. (It's aptly called the 'Floating Restaurant')

A few (or rather a lot of) bites of pork and some trepid sips of beer later, we watched a majestic sunset crest the horizon. More than the grilled pork and the spirits (which were alright, if you don't factor the sanitation into the question), what I realized was special about Balaring was the sunset. You had an almost unimpeded view of the sun setting over Western Visayas. Aside from the spectrum of colors thrown into the sky with the dipping sun, you had the mixture of a small fishing village with restaurants on stilts, fishing pens in plain sight and bangkas rising and falling with the tide. It struck me as a very serene scene which I stored in my 'places-to-come-back-to' file.

Cut to a few (or shall we say a lot) of years later, and I had the chance of visiting Brgy. Balaring again when I came back to Bacolod to take on the family business. I was pleasantly surprised during my trip there because what were once dusty bumpy roads were now full cemented with street lights in some select locations. What was once a tiny shack on stilts now stood a formidable sea side eatery (which was still precariously tilted to its side) and a number of other establishments all touting their famed pork chops (and a few advertising talaba and other seafood.) The houses of the barangay leading to the place had also doubled as had the population that came to watch the sunsets.  

What didn't change though was the sunset. It was still as pure and as ethereal as I remember. Especially with the amount of colors that played in the sky as the last vestiges of light faded from the horizon. 

The shoreline of Brgy. Balaring during low tide. Note the now formidable eatery in the background. I am not so sure if pork chop is still on the menu. 

Baragay Balaring is home to a little fishing community that makes for nice subjects for visiting photographers. 

Brgy Balaring is home to a sprawling barangay that hugs most of the sea line. There are lots of people passing to and fro on the paved coastal road and thankfully street lights have recently been installed. People are generally friendly though and its very normal to see children playing along the road and people taking a dip in the sea. 

Another magical sunset at Barangay Balaring. 

Another view of the seaside restaurant called the "Floating Restaurant" that served really good pork chop. (I'm not sure if they still do.)
The Floating Restaurant is practically one of the only restaurants in the area that has it's own huts jutting out into the sea with lots of space to spare. Other neighboring restos are cramped together and give off a feeling on being cramped. 

Stars, Sunsets, Pick up trucks and beer. These are Bacolod weekends. 

How to Get There:

Brgy. Balaring is around a 25-30 minute drive from Bacolod. Head North from Bacolod and pass Talisay and Silay. Once you reach the Dona Teresita Jalandoni Hospital in Silay, turn left and continue straight until you come to a fork in the road. Take a right and that should lead you straight to Brgy. Balaring.

Photographer's Notes:

  • If you are bringing a car, you can park it on the side of the coastal road and begin to take pictures from the road. Note that the road is elevated from the shore line. There are stairs leading down to the shore but the shore can be muddy and rocky during low tide. Get ready to get muddy and get wet.
  • People are generally friendly but since this is a pretty populated area, it pays to stay safe and be vigilant. Be careful when exiting the place at night since there is only one exit route and the street lamps are only present in select locations. But so far (as of this writing) there has been no instance of crime around the area (at least none to my knowledge.)
  • If you are bringing a tripod, don't forget to rinse off the tripod's legs with fresh water after the shoot so as not to promote the growth of rust since your tripod will be in salt water.
  • The shore isn't as 'virgin' or as clean as you would expect. There are bits and pieces of trash lying around, but it isn't that dirty.  

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