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My Bone Marrow Transplant

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

In which we journey from Dumaguete to Bacolod by Toyota Hiace charabanc. Overriding impressions of Dumaguete; schools, schoolchildren, motorised tricycles, Ceres Liner busses, lots of foreigners, nice people, great service. We will come back. The Hotel Nicanor where we stayed is only 2 star but the room that we had was spacious and clean and the staff were always very friendly and helpful.

So much for the 9am start that we had planned for this long trip, we eventually set out at about 10:30am. We had a hearty breakfast in Chico’s and I ordered a Tuna sandwich to go as we weren’t sure about any restaurants along the way. We had a different, more comfortable, van for this trip. The route was up the east coast of Negros to San Carlos where we would stop for lunch before crossing the mountains to Bacolod.

Along the way there was 1 village where several houses had been badly damaged in a recent earthquake. It was strange to see a wrecked building surrounded by others which were unscathed.  In San Carlos we stopped at a restaurant called Mom’s  Small hotel and restaurant. No one else was hungry so we just ordered drinks and I ate my Tuna sandwich. Going across the mountains we had spectacular scenery all the way, there were even some formations reminiscent of the chocolate hills in Bohol. We stopped at a couple of lookout points. The first had a view over the valley to a beautiful waterfall which looked to be at least 100m tall. It was so quiet we could hear the sound of the water hitting the pool at its base. When we stopped the place was deserted, within 30 seconds 2 young girls appeared selling home made banana chips and vegetable kropek. We bought some for the ride and they were delicious. The second stop had a view of a wild river curving around a small village with some terraced rice paddies. We saw young children walking home from school on steep mountain roads. Judging by where we could see houses it looked like some of them had 2km or more walks to get to and from school.

We detoured to the Mambukal Hot Springs resort, a local government run resort in the foothills of a volcano about 45 minutes from Bacolod. It was very well maintained and there were lots of cabins where you could stay for the day or overnight. Unfortunately the weather was bad with low clouds, rain and an angry looking sky, but it didn’t stop Linds and Francesca from going for a dip in a hot pool. Sam and I went bat spotting and general sight seeing. There were a lot of swallows getting ready to nest under a bridge as dusk was approaching and close to the river the smell of sulphur was quite strong. The bats were stirring and opening their wings, getting ready to fly, but we didn’t see any on the wing.

We stayed at Mambukal for about an hour then set off on the final leg of the journey to our hotel in Bacolod. The L’Fisher hotel is very nice even if the name is an affront to good grammar. You learn to live with these things in Asia. We are staying in the Chalet annex behind the original hotel; inappropriately named as it is a 4 storey building! The rooftop has a  coffee shop, swimming pool, gym, salon and spa. It is very pleasant to sit up there in the breeze.

For dinner we went to Trattoria Uma which was a bit disappointing. The soups were excellent but the squid in the Fritto Misto was so tough that it was indelible and the pasta was too salty. We got a free panacotta dessert when we pointed this out, and when the moist chocolate cake we had ordered arrived we forgave them. It wasn’t so much moist as liquid and was so delicious.

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