I sprained my ankle today! My fault because I got carried away photographing the mind-blowing view of the sea, the mountains, the islands of Cebu and Siquijor in the far distance and the beautiful plants and flowers of “Our Lady’s Garden”. I didn’t see the steps going down and I twisted my ankle! Thank goodness, my beautiful camera was safe and sound with that fall!
A must-visit when in Dumaguete is the “Our Lady’s Garden in Sibulan”. A big statue of the Virgin Mary will welcome you up on the hill, majestically standing there amongst the beautifully landscaped gardens. And when you get in, you will be blown away by yet more beautiful flora and fauna (there’s an ostrich farm and some birds) and traditional bamboo houses representing those of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Another place to add on your list is the Sidlakang Negros, a village showcasing different bamboo houses also representing the different towns of Negros Oriental.
Show huts in Sidlakang Negros
The reason why we found these two places is because we were lucky enough to meet the Bamboo King of Negros, Franz, a Dutch who had lived in the Philippines for 42 years. Franz has designed all these bamboo houses (and furniture) and even supplied the bamboo cottages to most of the beach resorts in Negros Oriental, each one painstakingly built by the mountain men he trained in order to give them a means of livelihood. His bamboo enterprise is a non-profit organisation supported by the government of Negros and his missionary group. So while Franz is doing his noble deed of helping this mountain people earn their living, his wife Inday is also helping women who are victims of rape, domestic crimes and others.
This coming Friday, there will be a conference to be attended by Negros farmers, bishops and pastors so that the former can voice their plight about the government’s plan to convert their agricultural land into bio-fuel production plants. Whereas the existing land is where the farmers get their main source of livelihood (where they grow rice and corn), they are now in panic about their future. There is also the resulting chemical waste of these plants getting into the sea particularly the Tanon Strait which will threaten the habitat of dolphins and whales not to mention the marine life which is the main source of food of the people.
He invited us to attend but it’s just a shame that the conference will be in Visayan dialect hence H won’t be able to understand it.
The Buglas Bamboo workshop
This bamboo cottage resort is just one of the clients of Franz.