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Country > Philippines > Negros Occidental > San Carlos
Date > 2024 > February
Activity > Traveling


Exploring San Carlos, Cebu Jan 30-Feb 1, 2024

Exploring San Carlos, Cebu

Location Google Map: San Carlos, Negros Occidental, Philippines

Bypassing Don Salvador Benedicto
From Bacolod, I would have stopped at Don Salvador Benedicto for its cool climate and elevation, but it was too isolated and remote for a place to settle down to. I decided to see it from my bus window en route to San Carlos. I haven't been to San Carlos and I was curious what's there.

In Search of Cheap Lodging
The standard lodging in San Carlos goes for P650/night. I took it as a challenge to find something cheaper - not the Agoda-listed hotels, but more like the lodging salespeople take when they do their town rounds. I asked a pedicab driver to drive around as we searched for that place. I found it. It's above the convenience store along the main road. There wasn't even a lodging sign. I paid P250/night and stayed 2 nights. I won't recommend it unless you can think like a guerilla. But I paid P300 for the pedicab driver. Sometimes, the only person I outsmart is me.

Exploring San Carlos, Cebu
yellow circle was my P250/night room at Leo/Jim Store

I had enough money to have paid the regular hotel, but I wanted to see if I still had the juice to rough it.

Public Library
I had an interesting episode with this library. For a small city, this library is quite imposing. But in this day and age of A.I. and online global knowledge at your fingertips, the library is increasingly becoming a relic of the past. I could imagine that public libraries should be innovative and creative to encourage people to come in and use the facilities. But in this particular library, I was barred from coming in because I was wearing shorts - but these are the same walk-about shorts you see people wear strolling inside shopping malls. Besides, the Philippines is a hot and humid country - wearing shorts is the most logical and comfortable wear. This is a clear sign that the powers-that-be are still inside their outdated old-school bubble. I hope they have the insight to have a certified and forward-thinking librarian take over. At least a librarian would know what he's doing.

Exploring San Carlos, Cebu
the public library of San Carlos

Small City Benchmarks
"Small City Benchmarks" is what I call small mainstream businesses that make its mark when a big town is becoming a promising small city. I remember when Jollibee was put up in Siquijor Proper, the locals felt that their town has arrived! San Carlos has Gaisano Mall, City Mall, well-appointed cafes, hotels, etc. Next benchmark is when Starbucks opens up.

Exploring San Carlos, Cebu
inside Gaisano Mall, San Carlos

A Once Mighty Past?
Seeing the ruins of the Broce Ancestral House reminded me of the ruins of Silay where once-mighty mansions now lay in crumbling decay. During its heyday, Silay was said to be the Paris of Negros Occidental where artists, intellectuals and musicians unleased their revelry. Was San Carlos like this before? Or was this town ruled by just one powerful family?

Exploring San Carlos, Cebu
the ruins of the once-mighty Broce Ancestral House

When I asked the locals what the ruins was all about, they only said it was the old post office before it burned down. I guess no one talks about the Broces anymore.

Sestra Cafe
Pleasantly, there were a few independent upscale cafes in San Carlos - this is a good sign. I stopped by Sestra Cafe and to my utter surprise, there was a portrait of my alltime crush, Olivia Hussey. I was a kid when I saw her in Romeo and Juliet.

Exploring San Carlos, Cebu
Olivia Hussey at Sestra Cafe

Bascon Cakes
Last time I was here, I met with Mel Bascon, a friend from my New York days. I didn't meet her in this visit and I don't know if Bascon Cakes is hers or from a sibling. But nightly, I would come here and savor its smallest cake - a P250 indulgence that made the night for me.

Exploring San Carlos, Cebu
Bascon Cakes along the main road of San Carlos

Ending Thoughts
With its continuing prosperity and its coastal charm, San Carlos could very well be the next Dumaguete City - perhaps in 5 years, if population increases, an SM Mall or Ayala Mall may spring up (the Big City Benchmarks). But for now, it's not what I'm looking for. I can't imagine myself living here. Next stop? Cross the Tanon Strait heading for the city of Toledo, Cebu.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

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Exploring Toledo City, Cebu Traveling

Exploring Toledo City, Cebu

(Feb 1-2, 2024) I had high hopes for Toledo since it was the gateway to Cebu City from people coming from Northern Negros. I imagined it to be prosperous with a bustling city life. From San Carlos, I just had to take a ferry across Tanon Strait to the island of Cebu....more »»

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