my life in Oriental Negros series
Cloud-filtered sunlight earlier with a little bit of rain. Not bad for a road trip down south of Negros Island.
|390 something concrete steps make the walk downhill easy. the way back is one cardio exercise!|
I'm a sucker for natural hot springs so when I heard there's an accessible one with a 38 to 40 degree water temperature (hot enough to scald the skin!) at the foot of an ancient volcano, I got curious and wasted no time in looking for it.
Getting information about Baslay Hot Spring in the fringes of Cuernos de Negros Mountains was already half the adventure! I did my homework (online) on whether or not it has been reopened, the fees and how to get there. As it turned out, many information were old and unreliable since these were written before typhoon Sendong wiped out the facilities in December of last year. Must be closed. I went anyway.
|It was deserted but not closed. I was the only guest that day. Perfect for skinny dipping which I did!|
The junction to Baslay from the National Road is hard to miss. It's on the right side if you are coming from Poblacion, Dauin. Just before Jagoba-ac Bridge in Masaplod Norte. From there, it's a 7 kilometer uphill drive on a rough road with portions, about 40 percent, which are cemented.
|the dipping pool built above the natural course of the river. still intact and usable.|
Not a soul in sight except three sleepy dogs comfortably lying at the entrance when I arrived. They didn't mind my visit. Only when I parked Joe Black under the shade did I notice one guy loading gravel into a sack. I asked him if the hot spring is open and he said yes. But the area has been left unfixed after super typhoon Sendong destroyed it last year, he added. Still possible to take a dip? I asked him. He nodded and told me that there were a couple of foreigners who went there yesterday. Today, only me so far. No need to pay.
After half a year of neglect, the snaking concrete stairway was partly covered by creepers already. The natural canopy made the lighting perfect for a horror movie. I was gingerly walking down an eerie bend when an agile green lizard (locally known as tabili) quickly jumped in the trail! I jumped out of my skin!
|thick vegetation plus an eerily quiet place are elements for a horror movie. each root jutting out appeared snakes to me!|
I had to cross the river, hopping on volcanic rocks, before I could get to the dipping pool. Two huts remained intact in the heart of the ruin. The topmost one was inaccessible. I dipped the back of my hand into the water. Extremely hot! The late morning sun made it way hotter than I thought! I left my bag in the lower hut, took off my clothes and slowly submerged naked in the pool.
This must be Dante's purgatory but heaven for me. With sulfur smell for heightened effect. I closed my eyes while my body was blanched (just kidding) and just listened to the cicadas in the background. When I opened, a hawk hovered under the vanilla sky.
Local tourism development is a double-edged sword. One good thing that came out though in this local government's neglect is that the unique charm of this natural landscape took its own shape. Less guests means minimal impact to the environment, too. And the deal breaker? I could just sit there for hours on end and listen to the hum of the universe.
When the midday sun became unbearable, I went up the hut, cooled down a bit and got myself ready for my onward journey to Tambobo Bay. But first, I have to negotiate the climb up with a stick just in case a snake would slither in the stairway.