Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Habal-habal ride to Lake Kabalin-an


Lake Kabalin-an


My third trip to Dumaguete last weekend was a memorable visit. Not only because I had the ride of my life on board a habal-habal (a motorcycle) through the rain forest, on steep, twisting and rugged mountain road, but because I met new-found relatives I never knew existed in Dumaguete. The meeting with relatives was great as we traced our roots from our great-grandfather who came from Spain in the late 18th century.

But let me tell you about my death-defying ride to the lakes in the rain forests of Sibulan. To reach Sibulan, we took a 25-minute ride in a multicab from Dumaguete. When we asked some townfolk how to reach the lakes, we were advised to rent a habal-habal because the road is only accessible by motorbikes and 4-wheel drive. There were 3 of us and nobody was willing to sit on the gas tank in front of the driver so we needed to rent 2 habal-habal. The motorbike drivers were charging P600 for each bike to bring us to the lakes and back to town. I used my rustic haggling ability and a bit of my charm until we all agreed at P800 for 2 bikes.

Getting to the lakes was an unforgettable experience. Sibulan is a coastal town and the tip of Cebu is seen across Tanon Strait. From the sea breezes at the start of the ride, the road to the lakes took us to the rain forest filled with scents of trees and sweet mountain air. But the steep, rugged road as well as the elevated slopes were scary at the same time exhilarating. My cousin, Franzia, covered her eyes when the slopes become too steep and our motorbikes seem to have lost control, while April held on to their driver with both arms and legs. Their poor driver was almost mangled from their grasps. It was a hilarious sight! My driver, Edison, assured me that he’s been driving through those roads for the past 14 years---it still didn't reassure me.

Riding a motorbike is not my favorite thing. Motorbikes make me extremely nervous. And riding a habal-habal in those rugged terrain with no helmet, no protective clothing, you’d never believe the bloody scenes running through my mind. But I reasoned with myself that anticipating an accident is pointless, so I prayed harder and steered my mind to enjoy the lush mountain ranges, feasted my eyes at the unobstructed view of the sea, and inhaled the fresh air.

After a 45-minute ride (that felt like 3 hours), we finally reached Lake Kabalin-an. It’s a scenic little lake, very calm and the water reflects the green mountains around it. At the center are trees that have sprouted from the bottom of the lake, giving it a mystical feel. Enchanting Lake Kabalin-an is a peaceful haven after our arduous bike ride...a perfect place to catch our breath.


how about a hammock between the trees? cottages and rock boulders are scattered around the lake



the concrete part of the road


(I was busy holding on to my driver on the steep, rugged parts---too nervous to raise my hand and take pictures.)

11 comments:

nutart said...

wowww! Lake kabalin-an seems to be really thriving with nature spirits! Hmmm...do I pester my hubby to go our rounds the islands? he might just rent out a bike himself :-). I can imagine you guys hanging on to dear life! I would also try to concentrate on enjoying the scenery! Pinoys seem to thrive on risks. sometimes i even see folks ride on a habal-habal just carrying their baskets without holding onto the driver---fast ride ito ha?

luna miranda said...

You said it, Bernadette---we were hanging on to dear life! My God, I almost kissed the ground when we reached Lake Kabalin-an. I couldn't feel my behind (haha)and my legs were cramped. I don't know how they do it---one passenger sitting in front of the driver, naka side-view pa! Some have sacks of rice and bags of groceries riding a habal-habal. Amazing talaga!:D

Webradio said...

Bonjour Miranda !
Jolies photos de la nature...
Et Ton voyage est bien raconté...
A plus tard.

Photo Cache said...

looks like a fun trip and one memorable one. this is an oasis, glad you shared this.

luna miranda said...

Merci, webradio.

luna miranda said...

you're right, photo cache...this place is an oasis after our challenging ride through steep mountain passes and rocky road. thanks for visiting.

Panaderos said...

Lovely shots. Lovely trees. I've never been to Dumaguete. Plus, I'm so amazed that you and your relatives can trace your ancestry back to the late 18th century. I can barely go back four generations. :-(

luna miranda said...

I've never seen trees in that kind of environment before, I was amazed. Dumaguete is very laid back, a university town---you should visit it someday. As for my family tree, I'm actually the 4th generation from that Spanish guy who came to Negros during the Spanish-American war. Interesting stuff I learned from my Dumaguete cousins:D

Thanks for dropping by, Panaderos.

bertn said...

You love to live dangerously, don't you? I used to have that mental frame when I was young or youngish....not anymore.

Take care of yourself - don't be carried by youthful exhuberance. Take risks only when the odds are in your favor or the reward is really worth it.

This well-meaning advice is from an old fart no one listens LOL.

luna miranda said...

i'm living a very sedate and safe life, bertn. it's probably the reason why i sometimes do crazy things like this one. great advice and i appreciate it...thank you!:D

Andrea said...

this is rather late, but i've been browsing on your archive. I thought the habal-habal is that one used formerly also in Camotes, where a horizontal wood is placed on top of the motorcycle, pabalagbag parang naka cross, and all the passengers, 2 on both sides are all facing the front. Maski sa Mindanao may ganun din. Sa Dumaguete pala ang habal-habal ay ordinary motorcycle angkas lang. thanks.