Mambukal Resort, a perfect daytrip for the whole family
Once upon a time, a hill station was established in the area in 1923, through a provincial administrative order, to serve as a weekend getaway for the officials of the Negros Occidental provincial government and its guests. Now many years later it has became a tourist attraction mainly known for its Sulfur pools with a public sulfur pool, the Japanese-constructed rotenburo and the Ishiwata Bath. But there are also waterfalls, picnic spots, butterfly garden which attracts the visitors.
Mambukal is home to several rare bat species for example the endemic giant golden-crowned flying fox and the Philippine tube-nosed fruit bat can be seen in the area. These, along with other resident bat species, are estimated to number between 7,500 to 8,000.
From Bacolod, take the bus from Mambucal Bus Terminal 40 PHP person. The trip takes 45 to 60 minutes. The last stop is the Mambukal resort so no worries there. Entrance fee is 50 PHP per adult. There is a foodcourt with several restaurants. So no worries there either if you are hungry and thirsty. The food is fully recommendable. Some of the attractions cost additional, for example the sulfur pools. 50-100 PHP per person. You can hike to the waterfalls and swim and if you are really lucky you might see some of the mythical creatures of the forest as well. When you are done the bus is waiting for you. They are going every 10 minutes (or so, you are in the Philippines after all) back to Bacolod.
Onuk island, the last frontier of the Philippines?
If you are like me, constantly searching for the pristine, unexploited and off the beaten track, then this can be something for you. But beware, it’s a little bit tricky to find your way out to Onuk island and there is no infrastructure for tourists whatsoever. But that’s part of the adventure right?
And hey! Don’t miss to watch the video clip at end!
How about the safety?
The short answer is yes, it’s safe to go to Onuk island. But consider the long answer as well. Remember before you travel to Balabac it’s always good to listen around regarding the concerns below since things can change.
There have been Malaria outbreaks in the mountainous Mainland Balabac but for now it’s considered safe to be out in the Balabac archipelago. But bring mosquito repellants because there will be tons mosquitos hunting for your blood after sunset.
A minor concern are the saltwater crocodiles but they are only present in the Mainland Balabac. Which means out in the archipelago it’s safe from crocodiles.
The weather can be unpredictable. The dry seasons of April and May are the best times to visit the Balabac archipelago since the sea is perfectly calm on most days during these months. You may also visit Balabac during the months of December to February where it is fairly good. However, these months can the waves be particularly rough on the beaches.
But hey! Balabac islands are located in the Sulu sea. Hmm wasn’t that the place where the Philippine army battle bandits? Yes, that’s right. But that’s on the other side of the Sulu sea at Jolo. There are no bandits in the Balabac archipelago.
Facts about how to get to Onuk island
Be sure to bring your snorkeling gears and you can enjoy the crystal clear water under the surface as well. There were some coral reef surrounding the island. Sorry to say much of the coral was already dead. But beautiful sea turtles were grazing sea grass from the sea floor but ever how hard I tried I couldn’t catch up with them. There were some amazing giant clams which were easier to spot since they didn’t swim away from me.
The final thought
If you are too comfy this trip is nothing for you. But if you are more adventurous and don’t mind to put in a bit effort to experience the beauty of Mother Nature I can recommend to explore this part of Palawan. It’s totally worth it all days in the week! Other post which is related to Palawan click here