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Saturday, February 23, 2013


Wednesday, February 20, 2013



Manjuyod Sandbar (Negros Oriental)

Best Off-the-Radar Islands for Couples

Manjuyod Sandbar (Negros Oriental) – Whisk your partner away to a postcard-perfect island that emerges when the tide is low. The three cottages on stilt in the middle of the paradisaical sea may be devoid of luxury trappings but it is an impeccable setting if you want to share intimate moments with your other half. Make your dreamy escape more dramatic by indulging on a thrilling dolphin watching activity in Bais.

Department of tourism: Negros Oriental

Department of tourism thru the It's more fun in the Philippines website considered Negros Oriental as one of the top tourist destinations in the country.

Start your adventure in its capital Dumaguete, which is known as “The City of Gentle People.” It’s easy to see why — this is a serene university town filled with genteel locals, and its atmosphere conducive to artistic and scholarly pursuits.

Silliman University is the most prominent among Dumaguete’s universities and colleges. Established in 1901, it is the oldest American-founded university in Asia.

Stroll around the campus and visit the Silliman Anthropological Museum, which contains artifacts that date back 2,000 years and an ethnographic compendium of the different indigenous groups of the Philippines.

Other popular landmarks within the city are the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral and the Dumaguete Belfry, both built in 1811. The belfry formerly served as a watchtower that alerted locals of marauding pirates. And no visit to Dumaguete would be complete without spending time on Rizal Boulevard, a beachfront promenade along the city’s commercial district. Thanks to its restaurants, tempurahan (hawker-style stalls) and various watering holes, the area is an excellent place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee or a lively evening with friends.

To see Dumaguete transformed, time your stay to coincide with one of the city’s festivals. Not to be missed are the Sandurot Festival, a celebration of Dumaguete’s multicultural roots, and the Buglasan Festival of Festivals, which includes a bevy of cultural events and competitions showcasing the entire province of Negros Oriental.

Dumaguete is also a great jump-off point for exploring other attractions within the province. The Negros Oriental Arts and Heritage Stonecraft (NOAH) in Bacong features stone-crafting factories and a souvenir shop that sells original handicrafts.

Less than an hour away from Dumaguete is Bais City. Visit any time between March and October and cruise the Tañon Strait for dolphin and whale-watching.

Make a pit stop at the Manjuyod White Sand Bar, a stretch of powdery white sand that fully emerges during low tide. Bais City is also home to the Central Azucarera de Bais – the first sugar mill in the Philippines, established in 1918. Early machines, tools, and even the Baldwin Locomotive that was used to transport the sugarcane remain on display.

Don’t leave without exploring the waters of the world-famous Apo Island, located just off the southeastern tip of Negros Island. This dazzling marine reserve is home to some 650 species of fish and 400 species of corals, and boasts spectacular drop-offs and sea walls. With 15 dive sites, it is among the best underwater experiences the Philippines has to offer.


Best Off-the-Radar Islands for Couples

Best Off-the-Radar Islands for Couples

Islands are possibly made for romance. The mere mention of destinations for honeymoon or anniversary conjures images of tropical island clichés.
Lucky you because in an archipelago made up of 7,107 islands, your options are boundless! Whether you are seeking for a luxurious romantic escape or low-key vacation, you will most likely find it in the Philippines.
Boracay is passé; surprise your other half with a new yet equally enchanting destination. I've picked some of the country's lovely islands devoid of mass tourism to help you plan your romance-filled holiday:

Apulit Island (Taytay, Palawan)
Manjuyod Sandbar (Negros Oriental)
Apo Reef (Occidental Mindoro)

Tre Aqua Fish Spa

Tre Aqua Fish Spa, now open
@Robinsons Place Dumaguete


To end violence against women and girls, the Negros Oriental V-Day group joins its 15th anniversary celebration on February 14, 2013 through the One Billion Rising. Initiated by famed Vagina Monologue playwright Eve Ensler, the One Billion Rising hopes to bring together ONE BILLION women and those who love to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP AND DEMAND an end to this violence. V-Day wants the world to join in collective strength our numbers, our solidarity across borders of advocates against violence.

Island Leisure Hotel

Island Leisure Hotel

Red Table Cocktails
Join us on Thursday as we launch our cocktail line.
February 28, 2013. Special P300.00 price. Launch night only.

Islands Leisure Boutique Hotel and Wellness Spa
Enjoy 50% discounts on our Published Room Rates and Spa Services.
For more details, please contact our sales team at:
Cebu Sales Office: 032.418.5068 / Manila Sales Office: 02.994.92.91 / Dumaguete Sales Office: 035.522.0645 / Mobile +63.917.424.6558

Tambobo Bay

By Irma Faith B. Pal • Sun, Mar 11, 2012

In the southern tip of Negros Oriental lies a bay that one traveler’s guidebook simply describes as "a place with many sailboats”.

Indeed, Tambobo Bay in the municipality of Siaton is such a place, but it is definitely more than that. It counts not only a community of Filipino fishers among its residents, but an increasing number of foreign travelers who have chosen to live in their boats while moored in the bay’s still waters.

There were about 30 cruisers moored in the bay when MetroPost visited Tambobo Bay last weekend. "There could be more, especially during amihan (north wind) season,” said Michael Prader, a retired artist from Austria, and one of the foreigners who have opted to live on the bay.

"The foreigners here in Tambobo are different from those you find in other places in the Philippines,” Prader said. "The foreigners here are not tourists but travelers -- they take time to adjust to a different culture. ”

Tourists, he explained, are short-time visitors who just like to relax in a different climate and take advantage of the comforts they might not have back in their home country.

For Prader, 60, coming to Tambobo Bay 10 years ago was a serendipitous discovery. He was hopping from Thailand to Malaysia and other countries in Asia looking for a simpler life, when someone told him that in the Philippines, "even people in the villages speak English”.

So he came to the Philippines, and talked to as many people about the possibility of living in one of the islands, until someone at Apo Island, part of the town of Dauin, also in Negros Oriental told him about Tambobo Bay.

As he didn’t have a boat that time, Prader went over to Tambobo from Dumaguete City, and instantly fell in love with the place. He immediately arranged to rent a bamboo house, and started building his dream boat.

Prader is now building a second boat, assisted by local carpenters.

One of these carpenters is Nemesio Avellano from Valencia, Negros Oriental, who has since opted to live in barangay Bonbonon in Siaton, repairing interesting boats with various foreigners since the 1980s.

Avellano said that even while he specialized in building houses, the "yachties,” as they are called around here, would patiently guide him in building or repairing their boats.

"There is something special in the way the foreigners live here,” Prader noted. "Foreigners hire the local people who do not seem to have a chance to find jobs elsewhere.”

This setup, Prader explained, makes it convenient both for the foreigners and the locals. "We find it cheaper to make something here, while the workers find comfort in being able to come home to their families everyday.”

Prader said he enjoys his life now as a Tambobo Bay resident. "I like a different kind of life -- a simpler way of life.”

And like most cruisers, he supports himself with a pension from his home country.

Another Tambobo resident is Diane Pool, who first sailed out of San Francisco, California in 1991 with husband Bill, a forensic geologist.

Starting with a bare hull in 1975, Bill and Diane built for the next nine years their 38-foot Atkins design "Pilar”, so named after the heroine in Hemingway’s For whom the Bell Tolls.

They launched her at sea by 1984 and lived on "Pilar” seven years before she took them on an nine-year journey to the Pacific, staying in some places for some months at a time, through the waters of Mexico, the Gambiers, Tahiti, Hawaii, Caroline Islands (Micronesia and Palau), the Solomon Islands, Australia, and then by the year 2000 to Tambobo Bay in the boot-shaped island of Negros Oriental in central Philippines.

Bill and Diane learned about Tambobo Bay from other cruisers while in the Solomon Islands. "We get to meet with fellow cruisers and we compare notes. There’s also the Single Side Band radio,” she said.

"We were attracted to Tambobo immediately because there are not a lot of places in the world that are safe for boats; even expensive when there’s a marina,” she said. "Here in Tambobo, we can leave our boats because it’s safe. This is not a tourist thing like in the Caribbean or Hawaii; we see Tambobo as our little paradise,” said Diane, a graphic artist/designer.

She said living on a boat in an area far from the city compels one to live simply so as not to complicate things. "Living simply gives us time to read, which is another way of expanding one’s horizons,” she said as she showed her book shelf on the boat.

She remembers how a local was curious how yachties could live on a boat, and was wondering if they had at least a table inside.

"Pilar” has a two-cylinder engine which runs on 27 gallons of fuel at 100 nautical miles/four to five knots. It has berths for four people to sleep on, a toilet and bath, a galley with a sink, an oven, a stove fueled by wood, and a canning machine, 90 gallons of water that could last her a month, and a storage for everything. And a table. No refrigeration, no fans, no hot water, no GPS. "Bill and I are dinosaurs,” Diane proudly said.

"Every boat here has a story,” she remarked, as she took this writer on a tour of "Pilar” in her dinghy, as well as around the bay to get a closer view of the other boats, which either bore names of their country, or flew little flags of their country.

She pointed out some catamarans, a trimaran, and a junk from Japan, Australia, Israel, Korea, Italy, Canada, Austria, France, Belgium, and the concrete boat from Russia.

Pool, 63, discovered her love for sailing at the young age of 26 when she met Bill who was 22 years her senior, and a Marine during World War II. "The first time I woke up on a boat, I felt I had ‘come home’.”

Upon their arrival in Tambobo Bay in 2000, Diane offered to tutor Reading to one kid on a weekend. "Then many came.”

What followed next was a Saturday school program called the One Candle Schoolhouse where the local kids also learned writing, computer skills, the art of self-expression, and life skills like budgeting.

They also learned to translate English storybooks to the vernacular, Visayan, or weave an original story based on a picture story book. "I just felt that the local kids had to learn to do it by themselves; and they were enjoying the fact that they could actually create things.”

Bill, a forensic geologist in the US, built a carpentry shop, and started teaching locals how to repair and build boats.

They started with kids five to 15 years old. Bill and Diane would take them to the local market where they were taught how to budget money; each would be given some amount to buy ingredients for a recipe they were going to cook. The couple would also take the kids for a tour of Dumaguete City, more than an hour’s drive from the town of Siaton. "We took them to the bookstore, an Internet cafe, an art show along the boulevard, and took them for a ride on the escalator at the local shore. They’re grown now, and some of them have families and babies of their own.”

The Once Candle Schoolhouse has since evolved to become Bright Lights Community Learning Initiative, with campuses in the barangays of Bonbonon and in Siit, and recently, teaching livelihood skills as well.

More cruisers like Doug Schuch and furniture-maker Kenji Iemura have pitched in to volunteer their services to teach sailing, pottery, or painting, or donate good quality musical instruments.

Other foreigners like Simon Stack who have made Dumaguete or Valencia their home would drive their motorbikes all the way to Tambobo twice a week to teach the local children literature or computer applications like PhotoShop and Excel.

"There’s something about providing opportunities that make other people help themselves because you see so much potential in them,” Diane noted. "I feel good simply being with the local residents of Tambobo because I feel that we’re all connected, and that we can help each other to get better together,” she added. "Being in a community like Tambobo puts depth in my life,” Diane said.

Local resident Arlene Palallos was in her mid-20s when she would paddle her baroto (small banca) from yacht to yacht within the bay to sell yellow bananas from a bilao.

She said the foreigners liked the local sweet tundan and in no time, she was friends with them. They would go to her parents’ payag (hut) where she would serve them guisadong monggos, which they also liked. Then they started returning the favor, and the couple-yachties would invite her to their boats for salads and sandwiches.

Then they suggested to her if she could prepare meals, like in a restaurant, and they would come buy food and drinks. Which she did, first by preparing native dishes like lokon (big shrimps) and adobo, and clay oven-baked bread stuck together, referred to in Siaton as torta. Then the foreigners advised her there was too much sugar in her bread; since then, she wouldn’t add any sugar if it was the foreigners putting in the order.

From her share in the sale of her mother’s property, Arlene invested in a refrigerator and the building of a bamboo dock where the foreigners could moor their dinghies, and head straight into her little restaurant.

Business must have been good all these 13 years as she was able to put her daughter through college at Foundation University. Palallos continues to run Arlene & Boy’s Café, and would greet each foreigner who comes in with his/her first name. "They are more than customers now; we are friends,” she said.

She recalled that even without her asking, the customers one time chipped in to pay for the surgery on her brother who figured in a motorbike accident. "They also give financial advice; I know they want us to improve our lifestyle, and not only to eat once a day; they always give from their hearts.”

After Bill passed on in the US, Diane said she was at a loss. "But I came back to Tambobo because I knew the local kids were counting on me. What’s better than seeing kids enjoying learning?”

"I wouldn’t have stayed here in Tambobo this long now if it weren’t wonderful,” she said. "I like the space, the freedom, watching nature from the cockpit, it’s absolutely gorgeous here. There are now many cruisers here on the bay yet, you never feel invaded.”

She said that in the US, she felt more alone among thousands of people. "But here in this small community of Tambobo -- although I now live alone on the boat -- there’s life starting in the early morning when you wake up to see neighbors sweeping their beachfront.”

As she would say, "I am more of a foreigner in the US than I am here,” where she has found a simple life aboard her boat in Tambobo Bay, that everyday is a witness to the sunrise in the east, and the sunset against a backdrop of the Cuernos de Negros mountain range.

Tambobo Bay resident Diane Pool gives the author a tour of the bay and her boat. (Photos by Alex Rey Pal)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

NORSU, UP Diliman create partnership

NORSU, UP Diliman create partnership

Students looking for the type of education offered by the best in the world such as the University of the Philippines-Diliman need not go anywhere anymore. This is because the Negros Oriental State University now offers a course in partnership with the National Institute of Geological Sciences of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

The UP NIGS is known to be the premiere institution on geophysical sciences that hosts among the most advanced geophysical laboratories and most brilliant geoscientists in the country. The UP NIGS was among the first to provide scientific data used to understand the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that stuck the Province on Feb. 6, 2012.

Students of the NORSU Bachelor of Science in Geology now boast of having some of the same professors as their counterparts in UP Diliman after a memorandum of agreement was formalized between NORSU President Dr. Don Vicente C. Real and UP NIGS Deputy Director for Academic Affairs Dr. Ma. Ines Rosana Balangue-Tarriela.

During the event, Dr. Real said that the NORSU-UP NIGS partnership will not only strengthen the university’s curricular offering of BS Geology but will include the collaborative conduct of research and geological studies among teachers and students of both universities and the sharing of physical and intellectual resources between UP and NORSU.

The BS Geology Department, a flagship program of the University, has started holding classes featuring professors from the UP NIGS and is in the early stages of organizing a national convention that would tackle pressing geohazard and environmental issues.

The developments of the NORSU BS Geology Department have attracted the support of the likes of Freeport-McMoran Exploration Corp., the world’s largest producer of copper and gold. FMEC representative Noel Ferrer, in a simple ceremony, turned over five Brunton compasses, 10 protractor scales, 10 sample picks, 10 fifty-meter transverse measuring devices, and 10 scribers to NORSU administrators led by Dr. Real.

Physics and Geology Department Chairperson Engr. Eduardo Iso, who, together with NORSU CAS Dean Dr. Fe Violeta B. Taring, nursed the BS Geology program from its early stages, said that several other multinational companies have also indicated their intentions to donate laboratory equipment to the Geology Department to complement the laboratory upgrades and infrastructural projects that the university is currently undertaking in its desire to produce the best education for its students. (Marx Iturralde)

Vida Homes is a 38 unit Condo Hotel/Resort facility

Vida Homes is a 38 unit Condo Hotel/Resort facility located by the beach of Dauin, Negros Oriental, Philippines. It offers spacious luxury units for sale/rent from single bedrooms, to double bedroom, and some units with lofts. Each unit has a big terrace with a nice view at the ocean.

It also includes facilities such as a fitness center, infinity pool with intregrated bar, gazebo, cocktail bar, lounge, parking areas, and a reception. There is an easy access from the property to Pura vida beach resort where you can avail of other great services such as the spa, sauna, restaurant and scuba diving.

For more info contact


Dumaguete City, Apo Island, and Valencia in Negros Oriental images

Dumaguete City, Apo Island, and Valencia in Negros Oriental random Images

Dumaguete City, Apo Island, and Valencia in Negros Oriental

Dumaguete City, Apo Island, and Valencia in Negros Oriental

Dumaguete City, Apo Island, and Valencia in Negros Oriental

Dumaguete City, Apo Island, and Valencia in Negros Oriental

Fire hits Dumaguete City along Real and Sta.Rosa Street

Fire hits Dumaguete City along Real and Sta.Rosa Street. 5 houses were gone.
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Proudly Dumaguete - Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental
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