Since August 25, 2008 is a holiday (National heroes day has been moved to Monday by virtue of the President’s power under the “Holiday economics” bill) my wife hatched the idea for us to go Dumaguete City, since it is Silliman University’s founding anniversary.
My wife Zenith, our son Zed two of our household help Londer and Lalay and Chang2x a family friend left on Saturday morning to drive to Dumaguete City. They took the car with them. I plan to follow them on Sunday since I have to attend the lunch birthday party of my grandmother at the Grand Convention Center. I also cannot afford to be absent in my class at the Southwestern University School of law since this class is only scheduled once a week and we did not get to meet a lot this month because of the holidays, school intramurals and other activities.
The next day, Sunday, I took the first trip of the Ocean Jet to Dumaguete City via Tagbilaran City. I left the house at around 5:30 a.m. The boat left at 6:00 a.m. The boat was so full of passengers because of the holiday. Luckily (if there was ever such a thing as luck) there weather seemed all right. Otherwise I would have not failed to review the free insurance quotes offered to me
There were some problems with the seating arrangement that I was forced by circumstances to sit beside a foreigner.
I initially planned to work on my blog post, but the foreigner started to engage me in a conversation so I placed my laptop away. After the formal exchanges, we talked about a lot of things including politics and his personal life. I learned that he is a 21 year old Sergeant stationed at the U.S military base in South Korea who recently got married. His wife is a Filipina who used to work at a South Korean Factory. They met at a Filipino restaurant in South Korea. He explained to me later on that his wife was expecting her on Tuesday but he wanted to surprise her that is why he is going to Dumaguete City earlier.
I learned from him that there are about 50,000 troops stationed in South Korea whose function is mainly to thwart the military ambition of North Korea. Our conservation mainly focused on military life afterwards we shifted to Filipino culture. I wanted to talk some more but I felt so sleepy since I only had three hours of sleep. Fortunately he excused himself to use the bathroom. While he was away, I started to take a cat nap. When he was back he noticed that I was trying to get some sleep so he just entertained himself by watching the on board movie.
At about 10 a.m. plus we finally arrived at the port of the City of Gentle people. My family and the rest of the gang were there to pick me up. We proceeded to Forest Camp where we will spend the night.
Forrest Camp is a 2.3 hectare resort located in an elevated town next to Dumaguete City called “Valencia.” Because the town is elevated, the climate there is much cooler. The surrounding areas features a lot of nature tourists spots such as lakes, hot and cold springs, mountain trekking including the Casarroro water falls. A river from the falls runs through the Forrest Camp.
We finally arrived at the Forest camp and checked in. We stayed in a two story Bungalo that is made of Bamboo. Our first order of business is to have lunch. We had a sumptuous meal of sea foods and grilled pork. After lunch we went out to buy some slippers, towels and to check out the World War II museum that was located in the area.
The Cata-al World War II museum is operated by Porforio Cata-al and his son. The museum is only about 5 minutes away from Forrest Camp. When we arrived, we were fortunate that the son of the owner was still around as he was about to leave. We were informed that we can take pictures outside the museum but not inside. Before we did some picture taking we explored the inside of the museum.
The museum is located below his house. The floor space is only small but I believe it houses the best collection on the invasion of the Philippines by the Japanese and the rescue of the Americans of our islands. We learned later on that the owner is a World War II veteran, but he did not receive pension benefits because his belonged to a guerilla unit. He was the one who started to collect pieces of the war including his old uniform and some weaponry. His son took interest in his collection and started to collect World War II antiques.
It was his son that expanded the collection. His son revealed that his first intention was to look for a portion of the famed Yamashita treasure which is believed to be buried in the mountains of Negros.
Most treasure hunters will not mind old war pieces and will simply disregard it, if they dug some. They are after the gold. Since his father was into collecting memorabilia of World War II he started to collect them also instead of focusing on the treasure.
The result is this massive collection of World War II antiques including huge bombs dropped by the Americans and the Japanese, an old Jeepeny with a trailer that bears the sign USMC (United States Marine Corp) several remains of Japanese officers, heavy artillery and ammunitions, old coins, antique plates, military accessories including full battle uniform, side arms and many more. There are even several cases of Pepsi and Coke from the 1930s, 1940s era.
I remember reading in the news that old bottles of Coke and Pepsi sell for a lot. Since he has so much in his collection I told him if he tried selling some bottles in ebay. He told me he is not interested in selling individual pieces of his collection, he said he is selling the entire collection on display for $ 12 Million dollars. (U.S) He said he has more that is not on display and he is selling all of it for twice the price.
I asked him if there was anybody interested, he said that representatives of Sultan Bolkiah of Brunei inquired on whether he wanted to sell the collection. He told them the price, and he was promised that they would contact him. A couple of years have already passed and they still have not contacted him.
I asked him if he is still going after the gold, he said that he does not want to go back to the site anymore because there are lots of rebels in the area. However he mentioned that a foreigner told him that he does not have to look for the treasure because the real treasure is already with him (The entire collection) He also said that he heeded the advice of a well known treasure hunter who visited him one time and that is, never make treasure hunting your main line as you will run out of money. Just make it your hobby.
Porforio Cata-al himself showed us a P 1.00 and a 50 cent piece which he said sells for P 50,000.00 each. His son continued to share some war stories. Every piece in the room had a story to tell. After a while, another group with an American arrived. Since he has to entertain the new guest, we started to leave and left a donation at the donation box. (The museum does not have any entrance and relies only on donations for maintenance) We then took some pictures and headed back to Forrest Camp.
I spent the whole afternoon sleeping while my companions went swimming. I slept until dinner time. After we had our sumptuous meal, I walked around Forrest Camp. We then played some pool and decided to hit the sack.
The next day, Monday, we were supposed to wake up early to go hiking to the source of the river, the Casarro waterfalls. Unfortunately we woke up late (around 7:30 a.m.) so we just cancelled our nature trekking plans. My son and I went fishing instead.
We rented some bamboo fishing rods and bought some baits. We started to fish but we the fish were not biting. We never caught anything so we decided to call it quits. I went walking around the Forrest Camp for 30 minutes afterwards I went for a swim in the nice cool river.
After breakfast, we had to bid Forrest camp good bye so we took our last shower, had breakfast and headed back to Dumaguete City.
We stopped by the famous Sans rival house near the Boulevard which as the name implies is famous for their Sans rival and other delicious, mouthwatering pastries. We then had lunch at the Taster’s delight which is famous for its delicious burgers.
Before we headed home we stopped by “Sidlakang Negros” tourism village. Sidlakang Negros Village is a 1 hectare property which features the local arts and culture, delicacies, and products of every town and city in Negros Oriental. My wife and the others bought some ornamental beads among other things while I scouted for paintings and other things that piqued my interest.
All good things must come to and end so we then proceeded to the town of Amlan to take the barge home to Cebu. We crossed the Tañon strait and after 45 minutes we landed at Bato Oslob. We stopped buy at Argao to buy some of their famous Torta Delicacies. We also dropped by Carcar City to buy some of their famous Chicharon. (Fried pig’s skin) After more almost 3 hours of driving we finally reached home.
Dumaguete City and its surrounding towns are truly a great way to escape from the hustles and bustles of big City life. Why not plan a vacation there someday? If you abhor land and sea travel, you might want to take a flight via Cebu Pacific, the only airlines that offers affordable flights in the Philippines. Cebu Pacific flies more than 14 times a week to Dumaguete City. For more information and to book a flight online, check out their website at www.cebupacific.com.
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