Monday, January 14, 2013

Patag: History and Nature's Bounty

On the foothills of Mt. Silay (also known as Mt. Mandalagan) lies the village of Patag, the site of the Japanese military's last stand in Western Visayas during World War II. In 1945, U.S. military forces landed in Negros Island. The occupying forces of the Nagano Detachment of the Japanese Imperial Army retreated to Silay and proceeded up Mt. Silay to Patag where they were prepared to make a stand.  My father (they had moved from the city to the haciendas to avoid the Japanese) would tell me stories of how they can hear the passing of the trains filled with the fully armed soldiers. To say that it was scary was an understatement. The Japanese were defeated by military forces of the Philippine Commonwealth and soldiers of the U.S. 40th Infantry Division with help from the local guerrilla fighters. To honor all those who died in that battle, the Japanese government built a Friendship Shrine as a memorial. Not to be outdone, there is also a WWII memorial dedicated to the Filipino and American soldiers.

Today Barangay Patag is often visited by tourists, nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. There is an old hospital there built in the late 50's that was meant for tuberculous patients, which has since been converted into a camping ground and a hostel with a swimming pool and seminar/training facilities. This is also the jump off point of the hike going to Tinagong Dagat, so called because during the rainy season, a hidden lake appears adding to the enchantment of the place.

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Patag boasts of many beautiful waterfalls, the most well-known is Pulang Tubig, a variety of flora and fauna, like the Philippines spotted deer and sulfur geysers or sulfataras.

I hate to admit this but I have gone to Patag only thrice in my lifetime which is a bit embarassing since I am a Silay resident. The first time, to be part of a tree-planting activity many years ago when the place was in danger of losing all it's trees.  The second time was an adventure trip to the old hospital and water reservoirs. We could see the city from the hospital then.  The most recent visit came about when I decided to tag along my mom's group who had an outing there.  It was during this last trip that I saw why Patag has become a must-see destination for eco-tourists and trekkers.  The vegetation has become lush, the trees have grown tall and strong (hey, maybe one of those was mine!) and the atmosphere was cool and fresh. The clouds were breathtakingly low that I reached out to touch them. The place was completely different from what it was 20 years ago.  Now, the old hospital was surrounded with trees and the city could no longer be seen from there. The whole valley had experienced a rebirth! 

I am not a mountain person (send me to the beach anytime!) and I always seem to get bitten by bees and bugs when I am there, so you won't see me going back anytime soon unless I get invited to one of the many beautiful vacation and resthouses that have sprouted all over the place, some of which had swimming pools.  But to all those who love fresh mountain air, Patag is the place to be.


How to get there:

By Public Transport: From Bacolod City Proper take any jeepney that will have the Northbound sign or Bata Libertad/ Mandalagan Libertad to get to the North Terminal. When there, take any Silay Bacolod jeepney or the Ceres bus or any bus that would pass by Silay.  Get down at the Silay City Public Market, ask locals from the area where the jeepneys going to Patag are parked, or if you have a big group, ask the drivers if you can rent the whole jeep.  Price varies but you can always negotiate based on the usual per person charge.

Important note: It is not advisable to rent or get a jeepney from Bacolod since the drivers may not be familiar with the route and terrain.

3 comments:

  1. It seems like i've gone here before..

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    Replies
    1. WHAT A FANTASTIC PLACE...... the same scene from the background picture of my brother....in Bacolod... =lara delfino

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