Negros Occidental

Talisay’s neighboring city is the beautiful city of Silay. Everywhere you look here, you’ll see ancestral houses. There are 31 of them on record. The grand Balay Negrense (Victor Gaston Ancestral Home), which was built in1898, has a beautiful garden and 12 spacious rooms with intricately patterned windows. The well-preserved 19th-century Bernardino Jalandoni Ancestral House is also open to the public. Then there’s the charming Hofileña Ancestral House, which displays artwork, an antique collection and other family memorabilia.

Stop to grab a bite at El Ideal Bakery, which is considered to be the birthplace of many Silay delicacies. When it was established in 1935, El Ideal was meant to provide snacks for gamblers. Apparently they had a sweet tooth. Pay a visit to the Cinco de Noviembre Revolution Marker that’s across the Farmacia Locsin. This marks the area where Negrenses planned their successful revolution against the Spaniards. San Diego Pro-cathedral (so named because it is dedicated to the Franciscan saint San Diego de Alcala) is the only one of its kind outside Manila. It was built in the 1920s and features Romanesque-inspired architecture.

Negros Occidental isn’t all about the past. The province also boasts of gorgeous tropical islands and dive sites. You need to visit the marine sanctuary and the sandbar that disappears during high tide off the coast of Sagay. Life around here is simple, but it’s beautiful. Carbin Reef has powdery white sand, turquoise waters and iridescent marine life.

Explore another island. Lakawon Island is white sand beach fringed by coconut trees and a handful of modest cottages.

Sipalay also has its share of beautiful tropical beaches. Punta Ballo has dive resorts and luxury resorts. Idyllic Sugar Beach has golden brown sand. Campomanes Bay has wreck sites that divers will love.

Full of mangroves, limestone forest caves, sea grass beds and placid lagoons, Danjugan Island in Cauayan is a stunning slice of nature. It’s also an ecologically-conscious place, as it’s managed by the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation Inc (PRRCFI). The snorkeling and diving here is amazing.

Lat-asan in Brgy.Matlag in Sipalay is a tranquil cove that’s good for swimming and boating. Nearby you’ll find Tinagong Dagat, a quiet lake ideal for swimming, fishing, and picnics. Malinab Lagoon is another good spot for swimming and fishing.

The province’s natural attractions aren’t limited to water. Trek scenic Patag Valley, and get up close to Mount Silay and Mount Marapara.  The more hardy can hike through Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park for the waterfalls, wilderness and other breathtaking sights.

Caving is also a thing to do around here. Explore the stunning Sipalay City cave formations of Matlag Cave, and the underground river of Mamara Cave.

Negros Occidental’s Choco Hills can be seen at the Eco-translink Highway in Don Salvador Benedicto. The Codcod Rice Terraces of San Carlos were carved out from the mountains by local farmers, who also happen to have a local cooperative that processes fresh carabao milk under the brand Highland Squeeze.