Have you ever been to Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB)? Or even heard of it? For some reasons, this town has been playing “under the radar game” the whole time but it is actually full of surprises.
DSB is a fourth class municipality located in the hinterlands of Negros Occidental, named after the late Vice Governor of the province. If you’ve traveled to Bacolod from Cebu or vice versa by land and sea trip, chances are, you’ve passed by the sub-zero town of Don Salvador Benedicto.
If Cebu’s Summer Capital is Mantalongon, Dalaguete, then its counterpart in Negros is no other than Don Salvador Benedicto. DSB has earned its moniker “Little Baguio” due to its cool climate, panoramic mountainside view and stunning pine trees abounding the eco-tourism highway.
While DSB is still embracing a small town feeling, however, a number of interesting spots and activities await tourists who have an insatiable thirst for adventure and nature-related jaunts. From wandering in the arms of nature, to relishing unruffled views, to pampering your adrenaline, to indulging in organic delights, Don Salvador Benedicto has got you covered.
Play the game differently by maximizing your stay in DSB with these ten (10) must-try feats!
1. Seek Refuge at Jomax Peak
If you’re feeling the torment heat of the Metro, then take a refuge in the new chilly haven in Negros. Perfect for a great escape from the busy and tiring city life. See full review here!
2. Chase Malatan-og Falls
If you’re not satisfied with the charming view of the cigarette-like cascade of Malatan-og falls from the Lantawan viewing deck, then trek your way to the falls and embrace it in its full glory. You’ll pass by mini rice terraces along the trail and expect some cool river tracing. Upon arrival in the area, fine mist-like spray will cool every inch of your being, soothing your sore muscles. See “How To Get There” section for guiding services.
3. Marvel at the View-tiful Mountain View Resort
Find solace in Mountain View Resort Bar & Restaurant to rejuvenate your restless spirit. A great venue to just idle away while enjoying the countryside mood with rice terraces backdrop or succumb to your foodgasm venture with variety of juicilicious treats.
Getting to this place will remind you of Baguio or Tagaytay ‘coz you can savor cool pine-scented breeze along a kilometer stretch of beautifully-grown conifer trees road from Barangay Igmayaan to Poblacion proper.
4. Experience Wellness at Rapha Valley
A weekend restaurant offering an organic farm tour, Rapha Valley is surely your destiny to wellness. Located 1KM off-road past the KM 48 post (near Jomax Peak in Barangay Kumaliskis), this health-full paradise is also a great spot for reveling in the golden moments of sunset while feeling the cool-moist air of the highlands.
For reservations, contact Rapha Valley at 09178292023 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Conquer Everest Zipline
Fly warp-speed like Superman in one of the the highest and longest zipline in the country. Staged 1,000 feet above the ground, be thrilled as you zoom your way over the lush mountainscape and enjoy the breathtaking views of the winding roads, gushing river and mini rice terraces under the cool weather.
Face your fear by contacting Bong +639154756113 or Ricky +639152602004 or email at email@example.com. Damage P300
6. Dip into Balokon Spring
A swimming pool with collective waters flowing from natural cold springs, how cool is that? Come on, take a break and dive right in! Plus, it also offers rooms for overnight stay! You will never be lost when visiting the Balokon Spring as it has a conspicuous signage posted on its entrance along the highway of barangay Kumaliskis.
Contact them ahead via mobile 09225658598 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Get lost in Pine Tree Forest
Do you mind getting lost in a forest full of uniformly lined up pine trees? This stunning spectacle will surely blow your mind! As this is a private property (owned by the Cojuancos), watch out for the “no entry” sign which is by the way non-existent so sneak your way in and do some quick photo ops with your bonnet on.
8. Beat the heat at Doc J’s
Starving? Agonize no more as two of Pinoy favorite dishes/desserts can equally fill your gastronomic pleasure, whether you want it hot or cold. Their minty native chicken tinola is a must-try. And don’t leave DSB without trying Doc J’s bestseller halo-halo and homemade ice cream. If you’re a foodie, I strongly recommend this charming place in barangay Pandanon!
9. Selfie with the Lion Statue
Contrary to some blog articles, the statue of the lion does not mark the entrance to the municipality nor a lame copying of Lion’s Head along Kennon Road, Baguio. In fact, this landmark is erected in barangay Igmaya-an, next to Pandanon (first barangay of DSB after the town of Murcia). The Lions Club International marker is a symbol of Bacolod City Host Lion Club’s effort to serve and to make the lion’s presence visible in this part of the world, a joint project of PH, South Korea and Taiwan in the spirit of Lionism.
Aside from taking a selfie with the statue, be mesmerized with the view of the most photographed rice paddies in DSB or be a pilgrim and pray at St. Padre Pio’s Garden, a place of meditation, located just below the Lion Statue.
10. Kali-Kalihan Festival
Held every second week of February, this harvest festival boasts unique atmosphere by illustrating the various cultural and traditional activities of the people from the “Kali” through a dance parade with costumes made out of natural materials endemic to the town. As their cultural heritage, it has adopted the martial art of “kali” a.k.a. “arnis”, one of the oldest forms of weaponary sports in the Philippines.
Sample Itinerary (2D/1N from Cebu)
How To Get There:
A. From Bacolod
Approximately an hour drive from Bacolod City by public utility vehicles (PhP 60) and about 45 minutes by private car. Alight at the town proper where the Tourism Office is located. Hire a habal2x to tour you around DSB. Contact Raul via mobile 09302626907 and pay around Php 300 (Pakyaw rate, inclusive of guiding fee).
B. From Dumaguete
Head to the bus terminal located near Robinson’s Plaza in the city proper. Hop into a bus bound for Bacolod (via San Carlos City) and not via Mabinay.
C. From Iloilo
If you’re from Panay, you’ll reach Negros via ferry trip from Iloilo to Bacolod. Regular fare ranges from PhP 200 to PhP 350 depending on the vessel. See details in letter A going to DSB from Bacolod.
D. From Cebu
Take the earliest trip around 4:30AM at the North Bus Terminal bound for Bacolod (via Don Salvador Benedicto). Pay PhP 375 for the bus fare. Make sure to pre-purchase on said terminal boat ticket from Toledo (Cebu) to San Carlos (Negros), costing PhP 145 for economy plus PhP 15 terminal fee. Take off the bus when you arrive in DSB proper around lunchtime.
For faster and cheaper route, take a Toledo-bound v-hire in Kamagayan GT Express Terminal (Php 100). Catch the shuttle ferry at 7:30 AM trip (Php 180) bound for San Carlos then finally hop into a yellow bus that plies for Bacolod and enjoy a breathtaking ride along Negros Translink Eco-tourism Highway. You’ll reach DSB in less than 5 hours for only Php 335 total.
Now, tell me. “Does the name Don Salvador Benedicto ring a bell?”