Sunday, July 22, 2012

Family Togetherness at Mambukal Mountain Resort

At the Entrance of Mambukal Resort

Mambukal Waterfalls could have been the perfect sidetrip after our Mt. Kanlaon Climb but since circumstances led us to exit on the same trail where we entered, the OLAYS missed the opportunity to visit the famed waterfalls in Murcia, Negros Occidental. 

Our Service
My first memories  of the place were way back during one of the summers of my Grade School Life. It was Easter Sunday to be exact. I begged my parents that we celebrate Easter Sunday there as I learned from my childhood friends that they would all be going there. Jealous and not wanting to be left alone, I did all my best to convince my parents why we all have to go and luckily they gave into my request after hours of crying. Yes, CRYING always proved to be an effective way to get what you want only when you are a child. Having set my foot on the place for the first time, I learned that the resort was on the foot of Mt. Kanlaon, experienced my first hike up to the waterfalls  and see in real life what a waterfall is and a chance to smell for the first time the unlikely odor of a sulfur. The outing was successful and as a child I would often asked for more. When I asked my mom if we could go there again, she just responded with  a smile, “Soon.”
Dad and Mom at the Cottage
I never thought that soon would take longer as expected. Almost 15 years  apart.  My family and I went back last year when I went home for a Christmas vacation.  I had been to different places with my friends and I thought that it would be fitting that I had to take my family outdoors and share the experience with them. Mambukal was our choice as it was the most feasible option that time.
The river beside our cottage
My mom woke up early that day to prepare the foods  for our family outing and my dad was busy packing other things.  These are the simple gestures  of love from my parents that I missed most especially that I am away from home because of work. When the service vehicle arrived, everyone were excited to jump in and were looking forward to a day of fun and togetherness. 

Family Portrait in Mambukal
Upon arriving at Mambukal Mountain Resort, we rented out a cottage where we could stay. Even if it is just less than an hour ride from the city, we found ourselves eating immediately. It could be the ambiance of the place that can justify our actions. The resort changed a lot from the last time I set both of my feet on it. There were new structures added like the lagoon, cottages and villas were renovated and the place was well maintained. After some minutes of eating and exchanging conversations, I invited my brother who tagged along his friend to join me in hiking up the seven waterfalls. My last visit only took me upto the first waterfalls and as much as I want to explore the other 6 falls then, I was not given permission due to risks involved. As a kid, all you can do is just obey. We asked around if there was a guide who could take us up to the seven waterfalls and we asked the right group of persons because they can accompany us to the seven waterfalls. When we asked them if how much is the fee and they responded by saying that it is upto us as to whatever amount of money we can give as it will be considered as a donation. 

The first Waterfalls
As we were on our way to the first waterfalls, I noticed that there were already established walkways on the way up. Then, you have to be careful each step you take as we might be walking on loose sand or rocks. Now, it makes the hike more easier but  one should exert same degree of care and caution as to avoid any accidents. There were also canopy walks along the way and I would probably try it next time. When we arrived at the first waterfalls and was ready to jump into the water when the guide advised us that swimming on the first waterfalls is prohibited as there might be falling rocks.  I was disappointed but followed instructions as it for our best safety. During my first visit on this place, the first waterfalls was like a basin full of people. There were even some kids who were jumping into the water. I learned that there were recorded accidents that prompted them this action. I just took some photos and proceeded to the next falls. The second and third waterfalls were just along the way and just like the first one it is also off limits for swimming. We never had the chance to visit the fourth and fifth as it was closed due to landslide. After the third waterfalls we visited the sixth falls where we spent some time to rest. Just above the sixth waterfalls, one can swim and take a dip in the waters as it is safe. Our guide informed us that the seventh waterfalls is of considerable from the sixth. We would have to pass an open road first, then to some houses of the locals and plantation before reaching the last waterfalls. I was excited to see it as I was looking forward to it. When we finally reached it, we admired its beauty and we didn't have second thoughts on jumping into the water. We stayed for almost 45 minutes on the place before we head back to the cottage. I am glad that I spent some quality time with my brother even for just this hike as we never had this chance before. 

Seventh Waterfalls
As we traversed down to the cottage, we passed by an area where bats are hanging from the trees. At first they are unrecognizable but if you look closely, you can confirm that they are indeed bats by their color and the way they hang themselves from the branches of the tree. We took on a different trail going down and we hoped to pass by the sulfur pool area. After breathing some amount of sulfur into our body, we agreed to go back to the cottage for a lunch. We were then reunited with my parents and we exchanged conversations on our hiking experience. As much as they would want to join us, they decided to stay on the cottage due to constraint of age. They too had a quality time together as a couple. After lunch, we visited the butterfly garden. It was amazing to see butterflies of different colors and sizes and some would even land on your shoulders. 

Time came for us to pack up and go back home. The whole day was not enough for some family bonding but it was definitely a good kick off for more family togetherness to come.

More pictures from the waterfalls and the resort below

Me at the First Waterfalls 

My brother and his friend at the second waterfalls

The third Waterfalls

The Sixth Waterfall with Resting Area Above
Me enjoying the waters at the Seventh
My brother and his friend having fun at the Seventh Waterfalls as well

Bast on Trees...  Can you see them?

Very Hot Spring .. Pool of Sulfur

Me at the Sulfur Area

Boiling Mud

At the butterfly garden

With my Dad at the Lagoon Area

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