Make your trip to Murcia worthwhile by trekking up to the Mambukal waterfalls. It is a pity if you will just go there for a picnic or dip in the hot spring. Guys with green t-shirts and ID will approach you and offer to guide you for the trek. They are trained guides. but do not get salaries for their services. There is no fixed rate for tourist guides, but they are allowed to negotiate their price with tourists.
In our case, we interviewed some tourists who have just gone down from the trek. I wondered why their usual comment was "Bahala na kayo" (It's up to you.) but I realized later that it really depends on how much, in your opinion, the guides have been helpful to you during the trek.
My cousin spoke to the guides in Ilonggo and agreed on a price of P300 because a 4WD will bring us up to the point where we could start the trek to the 7th falls (instead of starting from the 1st falls) through a shortcut, then trek down to the other falls.
The way to the 7th falls wasn't an easy shortcut. What may be easy to the guides may still be difficult for you. What the guides described to us earlier as "patag" (plains) wasn't all level ground, but involved an uphill climb, passing through itchy grass, slippery soil, narrow paths that bamboos covered, and slippery and rocky creeks. The way could be treacherous, appearing scenic but actually dangerous. I have to commend my guide for really taking good care of me, holding my hand for support and teaching me where to put my feet for the next steps. Hubby's guide coached him on where to put his feet, but he didn't hold him (perhaps hubby was bigger than him, or maybe because he was shy to hold him?) so hubby slipped a few times on the slippery rock on the creeks.
We thought going down to see the other falls would be easier, but the descent proved to be difficult, too. There were steep descents and climbs, more rocky creeks, more slippery grounds and when we reached the narrow carved steps to the falls, there were not enough handrails to hold on. A recent typhoon apparently damaged some of the rails, but some metal rails were reportedly stolen.
After our trek, hubby gave our guides P400 each instead of the previously agreed upon P300 for the two of them. They really took care of us well.
As mentioned, there are a lot of things you can do at the Mambukal Mountain Resort. It is always wise to prepare small change for payment for the different activities you'd like to do. It is such a waste of time waiting for your change if you pay a big denomination, so here are the amounts (as of the time we went):
Entrance Fee: P30/adult,;P10/child (11 yrs and below)
P15/Light Vehicle; P30/truck or bus
Swimming Pools: P50/adult; P20/child (11 yrs and below)
Picnic Huts: P600 for big hut; P300 for small hut
Wall Climbing: P25/pax
Slide For Life: P100 for 2 trips
Canopy Walk: P50/pax
Butterfly Garden: P20/pax
If you go to Bacolod City, you shouldn't miss going to the Mambukal Mountain Resort, otherwise, your vacation wouldn't be as meaningful.
Mambukal Mountain Resort is the most popular resort in Negros Occidental. It is located in Barangay Minoyan, Murcia, some 1,200 feet above sea level at the foot of the dormant volcano, Mount Kanlaon. The resort was first developed by a Japanese company, Iwazaki, but is presently owned and administered by the provincial government of Negros Occidental.
Mambukal is the best place for nature-lovers, a perfect site for eco-tourism guaranteed to relieve the stresses of urban life. Aside from a trail that leads to the crater of Mt. Kanlaon, it has lush greens in the forest reserve, multi-tiered waterfalls, therapeutic dipping pools with water coming from cold and/or hot springs, a Butterfly Garden and an area for Bat watching. They say that at Mambukal Resort, there are 3 already endangered species of bats – the Philippine Flying Fox (Philippine Giant Fruit Bat), the Philippine bare-backed fruit bat, and the Little Golden-mantled Flying Fox. These bats produce guano, a nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer.
Aside from the beautiful natural formations in Mambukal, the resort offers the adventure seekers with adrenaline-rising facilities like the slide for life, canopy walk and wall climbing. For less extreme sports, one may try boating at the lagoon. There are picnic huts, as well as picnic tables and chairs with canopy, There is a camping ground for tents, as well as accommodation facilities (cottage/lodge/dormitory) at the resort. There is also a spa where one can have a massage. There are conference rooms available for company outings and trainings. More importantly, there is a food court. You don’t have to bring food for your picnic. Just choose from the seafoods and meat and have them cooked whichever way you want.
We went to Murcia using a private vehicle. It is only a 25-minute drive from Bacolod City, but if you take the Public Utility Vehicle, it will take about 30 to 45 minutes.
The Mambukal Food Court houses different concessionaires that offer fresh seafood and meat to be grilled or cooked any which way you want. There are fresh tropical fruits you can choose from to be prepared as shake or juice, or eaten fresh, depending on your preference. What is nice about this place is, the concessionaires do not mind if you bring your own cooked food, provided you buy some food from them. Another nice thing is the homey atmosphere. You can eat ala-"kamayan" (using your bare hands), too. There are faucets and liquid soap for washing your hands.
Favorite Dish: We brought our own "lechon" (roasted pig), but we ordered other food which were all delicious: "Kinilaw na tanigue" (fresh fish cut into cubes then marinated in vinegar with spices), grilled "liempo" (pork belly) and grilled blue marlin. The avocado shake was surprisingly very good, much more delicious than shakes prepared by other restaurants.