Feeling On Top of the World in Valencia, Negros Oriental, Philippines
STORY: It took me less than an hour from Dumaguete City to arrive in what is known as the most photographed waterfalls in the whole province of Negros. 9.2 kilometers away from the sleepy capital is Valencia. Heard about it? Yes! Valencia is a popular town for adventure and thrill-seekers. Studies show that 65% of the town's geography is hilly terrain, and at 500 meters above sea level, it surely compliments the scenery here with the cool temperature. If you like to commune with nature, by all means... make your way to Valencia!
It's a great first day for me as i was able to navigate the lush forest and this awesome waterfalls. The place has been visited by travelers like me who want to get as close to nature as possible. Casaroro Falls is one of the best places to see when you're in Negros. Take note of that.
350 f^ck*n steps! Those steps, i will never forget. It seemed endless to me. I have to be honest in telling you, it's not an easy way going down, worse is going up. Get fit and exercise those muscles, you'll need them a lot.
What to Bring?
A light backpack with the following--bottled water, snack bars when you get dizzy, and swimming clothes. I highly advise wearing cross-trainers. Those beloved flip-flops won't do you good as the rocks nearing the falls are a little slippery.
Going down is exciting, as you count 350 steps further down, you can hear the gushing sound of water from the falls. The scenery awakens your senses, increases your curiosity and prepares you for a thrilling adventure anytime soon.
Before the steps were built, travelers would actually risk their lives downhill and up the route to the falls. This staircase should lead you to what is 100 feet of awesomeness.
Casaroro Waterfalls in the town of Valencia, Negros Oriental
I love Casaroro Falls!!!
After a day of riding the motorbike with my guide, it's inevitable that i will swim. Braving the cold water, i managed to wash away all the stress cells looping inside my head. My guide must have sensed already how happy i was that he said i should take my time there. I did. Until two lost Americans arrived there, i had the falls to myself. Brilliant!
The adrenaline rush was taking a toll on my guide. He said, "I'll take you on top of Dumaguete". He sure did. Nestled on top of the mountainous region of Valencia, is a surprise hit to me.
Welcome to the Shrine (Fil-Am Japanese Shrine)
The commemorative shrine is actually a tall pillar with a solid concrete base. The pillar has three angles, making it appear 3 sided similar to a triangle. These three sides represent the three countries: Philippines, United States of America and Japan. In 1977 it was erected and unveiled by the war veterans, the surviving families of the water veterans, and the descendants of those who marched and died in the same war. Other people who were in a way a part of the war joined the unveiling ceremonies. The shrine was declared a historical monument shortly after it was constructed.
The trip going there is not for the faint-heart as it passes through some of the most ridiculously steep roads in the whole of the province. When it rains, head back. If the weather is good, you might need a 4 x 4 or a high-powered motorbike. I rode the latter and sometimes i had to go down when the road is a little too tricky to navigate. But for those who manage to continue on, you'll be gifted with jaw-dropping views of valleys in unexplainable proportions. It's one of my personal favorites, actually.
Scooting down the improbable roads, i glanced upon and saw the mighty, rugged mountains of Valencia. I stopped by in one of the many sheds and asked my guide to take my photo. It was a refreshing scene to be able to walk around for a bit with that view. I saw a couple of old men and little kiddos. It was fascinating to note that these people actually see this kind view everyday. I envy them so much.
REALIZATIONS: Looking back and seeing my photos once again made me appreciate life even more. I thank God that i was blessed to be able to visit such a beautiful town. Valencia moved me in such power. People ask me where's my most unforgettable experience in Negros, and i couldn't think of a better candidate as top 1 than riding the motorbike 2175 feet above sea level on the gorgeous mountains of Valencia.
Additional text and Fil-American Japanese Shrine from here