Motherhood

Negros Island Tri-City Family Road Trip with a Ford Ranger Wildtrak

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Being a homeschooling family, we are up for any reason to travel. Read more about our tri-city family road trip in Negros Occidental with the Ford Ranger Wildtrak.

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Taking a break in front of the Lion’s Head in Don Salvador Benedicto with the Ford Ranger Wildtrak. Again, we are in Negros Occidental, Philippines. I don’t care what other people say about the name of our province. This is where I live and I am proud of our beautiful province.

City living has its perks, being very near everything. It’s so easy to attend events where we are invited as Bacolod bloggers because we are a few minutes away from hotels and malls.

But sometimes, the noise pollution, heat, lack of greenery, and drudgery can get to you. So an invitation to take a road trip along the countryside is always a welcome relief. It’s good for the soul.

And taking the Ford Ranger Wildtrak for a spin was definitely an awesome experience for the whole family. I especially liked the fact that I didn’t get dizzy on the winding roads and the kids were comfortable at the back seat. It’s just enough for our family.

Taking the Ford Ranger WildTrak on a Tri-City Family Road Trip

For this particular family road trip, our Papa had the chance to fully enjoy driving the Ford Ranger Wildtrak. We did everything easy, nothing harried, just to enjoy the scenery and each other.

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A Don Salvador Benedicto marker by the roadside at Cafe La Guada.

To encapsulate, these are our stops in this tiring yet fun tri-city family road trip.

Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental

Dubbed as the summer capital of Negros Occidental, the municipality of Don Salvador Benedicto is only about an hour’s drive from Bacolod City. But since it’s elevated at 2,500 feet like Baguio City, it is much cooler than Bacolod and is a preferred destination by local tourists.

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A partial view of the Don Salvador Benedicto mountainside as seen from Cafe La Guada.

It is now a favorite get-away of city dwellers especially during the weekend because of the good roads. A short drive will already bring you nice views of the North Negros Natural Park (NNNP). Now, there are many roadside cafes along the highway offering unique cuisine and comfort Filipino food.

An interesting environment fact. About 90% of the island of Negros used to be covered with forests. But only approximately 4% of the original forest cover remains today. The North Negros Natural Park is considered as one of the top 10 most important forests in the world, yet it is also one of the most threatened.

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This was taken at the Lion’s Head viewing deck. You can see a huge portion of the Northern Negros National Park and rice terraces behind us.

This data is according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The survival of the Visayan Spotted Deer and other endemic animals rely so much on the survival of the NNNP.

Lunchtime in Don Salvador Benedicto

We left Bacolod City around 10am so that we will get to Don Salvador Benedicto around 11:30am on a leisurely drive. That would be in time for lunch.

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A magical spot just below Cafe La Guada in Don Salvador Benedicto.

For our mid-day stopover, we chose Cafe La Guada because they offered eel as well as wild frog dishes. Moreover, they are open on a Monday when some of the cafes were closed.

We made sure the night before that they had adobong palaka by messaging them and we were told that they had it on stock. But we were disappointed the following day that they only had fried ones.

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Fried frogs with gravy by Cafe La Guada in Don Salvador Benedicto.

Check out Shane’s video below while eating a fried frog:

I eat fried frog. 🐸🐸🐸Hmmm… Yum yum..😋😋😋Available at Cafe La Guada in Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental.#shanenanigans #Bacolodblogger

Posted by Shanenanigans on Sunday, October 13, 2019

All in all, we had fun eating there because of the experience and the view was breathtaking. We also took some family photos in their nice garden.

  • Follow Cafe La Guada on Facebook: LaGuadaDSB
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We try exotic dishes in our family travels. That’s part of the kids’ learning in our homeschooling journey. This is an eel dish.

After lunch, we went on our way and stopped by the giant Lion’s head, sponsored by the Lion’s Club. It’s a mandatory photo opp in Don Salvador Benedicto on the way to San Carlos City. It’s like the little version of the giant one in Baguio City.

There’s a view deck where you will see the NNNP as well as some rice terraces that the locals have made for their rice farming.

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If you’re in Don Salvador Benedicto, try their sweet pineapples.

Don Salvador Benedicto Pine Forest

One of the awesome attractions in Don Salvador Benedicto is the Pine Forest. It’s a private property but people can go in and have their photos taken. You cannot bring in cars, though.

It is just located along the Eco-Tourism highway going to San Carlos City. You will not miss it because the Pine Forest stretches to a couple of kilometers–or even more. Across the entrance are fruit stands where you can buy local produce, especially pineapples, at very cheap prices.

We were able to spend a few minutes here for a photo shoot. The kids were also able to pick up pine needles, catch some insects, and check out the wild flowers. There is so much wonder in discovery.

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By the entrance of the DSB Pine Forest are these huge volcanic rocks from Mt. Kanlaon arranged like a cordon.

Soon after, it rained, so we rushed to the car and headed down to San Carlos City.

San Carlos City, Negros Occidental

Another 30-minute drive on the Ford Ranger Wildtrak brought us to San Carlos City. All in all, Bacolod City to San Carlos now only takes about 1.5 hours. When I was a kid, we used to visit San Carlos City and it took more than four hours going through coastal roads. I remember throwing up so hard that I would swear off-road trips.

  • Related: Tips for Traveling with Young Kids

Thanks to the Eco-Tourism Highway that cuts through the mountains, we could get there at a much shorter time.

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A quick buzz at the La Riqah Resort and Family Park. Though still in the mountains, it’s already part of San Carlos City.

Due to our leisurely drive, we noticed a sea of artificial flowers on my right so we pulled over. It was the La Riqah Resort and Family Park, which was inspired by the 10,000 Roses of Cebu City.

For PhP30 per head, you can have unlimited photo shoots there. But it was a sunny afternoon so we just stayed for a little while then we went straight to San Carlos City.

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People in San Carlos City are football-crazy, which explains why they have so many well-maintained football fields.

Hotel in San Carlos City

While at the home of the Pintaflores Festival, we stayed at FB Traveller’s Inn. It’s a comfortable and safe accommodation for the family in San Carlos City complete with a gated parking lot. Yes, it’s another family-friendly hotel in the Philippines.

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The FB Travellers Inn along the Eco-Tourism Highway in San Carlos City.

And the best thing is, it’s very affordable here. You would be surprised.

In San Carlos City, we appreciated the greenery around the downtown area. Despite the developments from the last 11 years that I was there, the city remains green, orderly, and very clean! It’s really impressive that despite their open football fields, I could not spot trash on the sea of green! Amazing discipline and implementation of city ordinances.

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Our aunts, uncles, and cousins in San Carlos City where we had our family dinner. Mommy Donna is known for her homemade cuisine in San Carlos.

We had dinner at my aunt’s home where we met with relatives. These are my aunts and uncles on my mother’s side. The kids also got to play with their cousin. It was a mini-reunion, as I haven’t been back to my hometown since I got married! Maybe next Christmas, we can already go back and join in the family reunion that happens every December 25.

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The flowers of La Riqah Resort are lighted at night.

Since we had an early dinner, we were still able to go back to the resort. They didn’t charge us with the entrance fee anymore because we were there that afternoon and the staff remembered us.

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When you are in San Carlos City, don’t miss these ER’s Special Peanuts. It’s a popular San Carlos pasalubong.

San Carlos People’s Park

The following day, we woke up earlier than usual so that we could visit the San Carlos People’s Park. It’s a park maintained by the city government but you have to pay an entrance fee of PhP10. Personally, I think it is worth it for the upkeep of the park.

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Our family with cousin Dream at the San Carlos City People’s Park.

The park is open daily from 6am to 10pm, but I think the best times would be early in the morning and from the afternoon till after dark. I think it would be nice taking strolls here at night, like after dinner.

In our case, it was already mid-morning, so it was quite hot already. But we couldn’t really wake up the kids very early. We had an exhausting trip the day before.

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The People’s Park playground. This is just part of it.

There are two new swimming pools inside the park and people can swim here for a fee. These amenities can rival some of the private water parks and swimming pool resorts in Bacolod City.

From the San Carlos City Ceres bus terminal, ride a pedicab going to Peoples Park. Fare is only P7.00.

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One of the pools at the San Carlos People’s Park. They just added two more.

Canlaon City, Negros Oriental

We had brunch in San Carlos City and took off with some take out from Jollibee in order to head off to Canlaon City. This mountainous city is just the next-door neighbor of San Carlos but it already belongs to the jurisdiction of the Province of Negros Oriental.

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The Canlaon Century tree base.

Our main purpose of going there is to see the century tree and experience more cool climes. We also wanted to buy vegetables, as farm produce are very cheap here. But we no longer had the time as we had to return the Wildtrak to the Ford showroom in Talisay City.

Thankfully, our trip did not disappoint. Armed with the GPS, we were able to reach the Canlaon Century Tree park in no time. We were blessed with good weather, too.

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During our visit, Mr. Kanlaon was shy and hid its peak behind the clouds.

However, Mt. Kanlaon was shy to show us its peak–it stayed hidden behind clouds. But the caretaker told us that the crater is already more than two hectares wide for this active volcano!

About the Canlaon Century Tree Dalakit

The Canlaon Century Tree is actually a balete tree that has grown to its humongous size now. It is estimated to be already more than a century old. It was also reported that botanists from Silliman University in Dumaguete City estimates the tree to be more than 1,300 years old.

Locals superstition has people believing that the Balete Tree is the venue of a fairy gathering at night, which explains why the tree lights up at night.

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The width of the base of the Canlaon Century Tree taken from the other side with our relative human sizes.

The Balete tree stands proud within the OISCA Farm at Barangay Lumapao, Canlaon City, Negros Oriental Philippines. Its mysterious aura and natural beauty has made it a favorite place to hold special events. Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions have been held there.

From the outside, you will see hundreds of branches clasping with each other. But inside, the Century Tree has hollow portions that is home of many insects, bats, and lizards. We had to keep warning Shane to watch out of ants, which were abundant around the tree.

Going Back to Bacolod

Our tri-city family road trip ended in Canlaon City. But before going back to Bacolod, we had to stop by the Ford showroom in Talisay City, Negros Occidental. It was around 5pm when we go there.

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Going back to the Ford Negros showroom in Talisay City, Shane felt like she bought a new truck. haha

So all in all, our tri-city family road trip took 31 hours and one overnight stay. It was a pretty cool experience for the whole family! It was our first time to do so and the kids are clamoring for another one. We will have to talk to Mr. Dennis Piccio of Ford Negros again! haha

Our Negros Island Tri-City Family Road Trip

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I know many families have done this road trip before. But how did you like our Negros Island tri-city family road trip? This trip was courtesy of the Ford Ranger Wildtrak.

How to Get to Negros Occidental

From Manila, there are daily flights to Bacolod City, the capital of Negros Occidental, via Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines. There are also daily ferry trips like FastCat from Iloilo City.

Meanwhile, San Carlos is the last city of Negros Occidental and can be accessed from Bacolod through bus or private vehicles. You may also travel from Cebu City through the RORO or Cebu-Bacolod land trip.

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2 thoughts on “Negros Island Tri-City Family Road Trip with a Ford Ranger Wildtrak

  1. Negros is definitely a part of my bucket list for 2020! (good thing we are just here in Cebu & one ninang of my son is from Canlaon). I am smiling while reading this post seeing your beautiful pictures. I am sure Dirk will have so much fun in Negros and can’t wait to take precious photos with him.

    You are blessed with your 2 darlings Mommy Sigrid! They are really adventurers as well! Do they get tired? 🙂 Their energy is amazing! They survived your 31 hours escapade!

  2. How I wish we also have a People’s Park here in Bacolod City like the one in San Carlos where locals can enjoy amenities at affordable rates. And I hope Bacolod residents can be as disciplined as the people of San Carlos City — no plastic in the markets and groceries, no smoking in public places, etc. Our city has to strictly implement existing laws and ordinances.

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