Second day mid-morning found us in transit from Bacolod City proper to Silay City which is about 45minutes to an hour away from each other. After a hearty breakfast at Bacolod Pensione Plaza, we checked out not before asking for directions on where to find a ride. Though there were couple of directions given, they all end up on the main Lacson St highway. There were many jeeps plying the route costing us only 15 Pesos for the ride to Silay Town Proper.
It’s hard not to miss Baldevia Pensione House since it’s at the corner of the main road of San Sebastian and Rizal St in Silay. It’s one of those old Ancestral Houses in Silay turned lodging. Once we got comfortable with our 3-bed room, we left our things and got ready for lunch. We asked the ever reliable and friendly receptionist of Baldevia, Evelyn, on what we can do here in Silay. We didn’t really have a planned IT during this trip and was just playing our destination by ear.
One thing we were looking forward to see was the sugar plantations and the trains. But it was sad to learn that sugar farming is already a dying industry. Much of the lands has been developed and locals are looking into alternative means of livelihood than farming. Which begs the question of our dying place traditions taking place around the country. Modern people, much like in the highlands and laying their farm tools down and are looking for opportunities in the modern workforce.
Another interesting destination we were told was the eco-toourism wonders of Patag about 4 hours away from Silay in which Evelyn has gone to. It has waterfalls, nature treks and what I’ve heard before the Tinagong Dagat. It would be interesting to go there perhaps as a future prospect for exploration. Just nearby are also the Ruins in Talisay. We also asked where to get the best lunch here and she recommended three places: Higad Baybay, Kalubihan and Food Park.
We chose to have lunch at Higad Baybay since we learned it’s a floating restaurant by the sea. We took a tricyle for 100 Php for one way trip there. It was a long 15minutes ride passing by on what remains to be what’s left of the sugar plantations. Though it’s has abundant growth, the area is no longer as big since residential development is creeping in to those lands. We passed by several eateries and resorts along the way and finally came to a stop on a marker sign of “floating Restaurant” with the dominating view of the sea just in front of us.
High noon under the beam of the sun, we only walked a short distance from the marker on a restaurant which looks more of a bamboo stilt construction above the sea than a floating restaurant as it has been known. Higad Baybay has few platform huts though that were originally floating by the sea but they have to remove them since they are occasionally damaged when there are strong storms passing by.
For lunch we tried their oysters, callamares and mixed seafood. The Seafood were great and the oysters as well. The callamares has too much breading. It was a long lunch and we didn’t realize the passing of time. The call of the hammock was also so strong since the place was so conducive to just lazing the afternoon off. The cool wind, warm afternoon sun and unobstructed view of the sea was just perfect.
We managed to have a small talk with the owner of the establishment, Leny Javellana. She’s very accommodating and was enthusiastic to share what she knows about Silay and Bacolod. She said that Higad Baybay is the first restaurant in the area. Locals saw that it attracted a bit of crowd so other restaurants popped up in the area . Since it was already mid afternoon, we just stayed there in Balaring. Leny offered to put up two more hammocks for the three of us so we could rest for the afternoon while we wait for the afternoon sun to lower down so we could start shooting in the area.
The afternoon didn’t promised a spectacular display of light from the setting sun but the weather turned more into a squall as the night descends. Still we had a fun relaxing afternoon there at Balaring.
Essentials: Higad Baybay Floating Restaurant, Balaring – (034) 4968466 or 0909-6772784
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.