Michelle de Guzman | April 2008
What’s more romantic and fun than getting out of the city and getting married amidst the mountains (monte) and beaches (mar) of the Philippine South? Want a one of a kind wedding? Have a montemar wedding in Negros Oriental.
Negros Oriental offers a treasure trove of tropical forests, sultry beaches, thundering waterfalls, and awe-inspiring caves—as well as the comforts of wedding preparation, from wedding cakes to souvenirs to wedding caterers. Dumaguete’s infamous Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries is not only known for its to-die-for sans rival pastries but also for its beautifully-crafted wedding cakes. For sumptuous wedding feasts, Dumaguete offers Chef Ritchie Armogenia of Likha Restaurant and Catering Services whose international culinary background brings modern fusion to local cuisines. There is also Yum Cha Cuisine and Catering Services which offers delicious yet affordable wedding menus.
For beautiful flowers for your wedding, there is Country Accents whose years of experience as wedding florist guarantees creative wedding styling. There are also Dumaguete’s known wedding planners Grace Sycip of Creative Concepts and Agnes Tuale of Weddings Exquisitely Designed, who can help take away the stress of wedding preparations.
These local wedding suppliers and establishments are not only cost-effective and of good quality, they will undoubtedly inject the local, indigenous flavor to complete your unique destination wedding experience.
Are You Adventurous?
Why not have a wedding overlooking Lake Nailig at the foot of Mt. Talinis?
Trek for half a day up the “Cuernos de Negros” (Horns of Negros) in Valencia, Negros Oriental to reach this mirror clear lake surrounded by trees. Don’t let the word “trek” dissuade you or your guests, the slopes are gentle and the picturesque view going up will make you forget you’re mountain hiking. Mt. Talinis rises almost 6,000 feet above sea level with a high degree of biodiversity, with virgin forests, orchids and rare species of wildlife.
To get to the highest peak, you will need to arrange an overnight hike-slash-camp with a guide (check at the Island Life Outdoor Store or the Valencia Municipal Government). But it’s definitely worth it and will make for an unforgettable destination wedding celebration. Likha Restaurant Yum Cha Catering Wedding Entrees by Likha Restaurant by South Sea Resort (left) and Yum Cha Cuisine and Catering Services (right).
After watching and reveling in the sunrise atop this mountain range, go to the province’s capital, Dumaguete City, and treat your wedding guests to cold beer, grilled pork belly and sisig at Barefoot Bistro in EJ Blanco Drive, an outdoor bar and restaurant with native huts, billiards and the smell of the sea.
The next day, you and your loved one can go to the municipality of Mabinay for some good, old spelunking. The most visited caves are Odloman (8870 meters, known as the 2nd longest cave in the Philippines), Crystal (159 meters with icicle-like dripstones), and Panligawan and Pandalihan (143 and 282 meters, popular among amateur cavers).
Finally, head to the Paintball War Games Park at the Fantasy Village Convention Center on the national highway to appropriately end your wedding escapade with vibrant colors and energy.
Other sites: Forest Camp, Casaroro Falls, Pulangtubig Falls in Valencia.
Are You Romantic?
Boulevard strolls at night or bicycle trips (available for rent by the outdoor tempura stands) early in the morning, horse-drawn carriages and ancestral Spanish houses, are but footnotes to the possibilities of a romantic wedding in Oriental Negros.
The Antulang Beach Resort in the municipality of Siaton is highly recommended because of three words: private pool villas. Surrounded by antulang (gumamelas) bougainvillas and wild blackberry trees, its premium rooms and facilities are situated on the edge of limestone cliffs.
Have your wedding at the terrace of their restaurant, with flowered trellises and the sparkling ocean as your natural wedding backdrop.
Afterwards, you can go horseback riding on the beach. Or if you want a bit of adventure, you can also try rappelling down a picturesque 20-meter drop, kayaking to Tambobo Bay, and snorkeling in its deep blue waters.
With a breathtaking view of the sea and one’s own saltwater pool in a little corner of the world, who will not melt at the luxury of it all?
Other sites: Tirambulo Highland Resort, Mabinay
What About The Beach?
There is a seven kilometre white sand beach that is only visible during low tide in Bais City. Welcome to the Sandbar, a respite from the deep waters of Bais Bay and Tañon Strait. From afar, its cottages seem like they are built on water. A wedding ceremony by the sunset might just be the way to go.
And here’s the added treat to both you and your guests: Before you get to the Sandbar, go on a Dolphin Watch Cruise, touted as among the most successful dolphin and whale watching operations in the country.
From dolphins to pygmy sperm whales, the cruise takes everyone through a body of water acknowledged to have one of the highest concentrations of cetaceans in the world. A wedding in the middle of such rich marine life will truly be one-of-a-kind.
When you get back to Dumaguete City, dance to the Visayan beat during the Wednesday reggae nights of Hayahay Treehouse Bar and Viewdeck (Flores Avenue, Piapi) fronting the sea. Savour the smell of habagat, taste their famed oysters, and drink to a life of wedded bliss.
Recommended months: from May to September
Care To Dive Into The Apo Way Of Life?
Start your wedding journey with a Wednesday Market experience in Malatapay, Zamboanguita, just before riding a boat to internationally acclaimed Apo Island. The seaside market features livestock auction, flea market and al fresco beach food stalls that will surely whet your guests’ appetite for more Negrense culture.
Then head to Dauin for a 30-45 minute trip to Apo island, one of the world’s best known community organized marine sanctuary.
Composed of only 72 hectares, this volcanic island has five pocket beaches of white pebbles, two mangrove lagoons and a lighthouse. Diving equipment is readily available, and for first-timers, snorkelling gear also does justice to the abundant marine life.
But the best thing about Apo Island, aside from a sunset beach wedding by the marine sanctuary, is its friendly and hospitable people. At 10pm, the electricity is turned off. And as the couple and guests stay at the Apo Island Beach Resort, they will immediately notice how Apo Island inhabitants are working for the good of the whole community. The resort, the cooperative store, the bakery; all proceeds are divided among the locals.
Encircled by love for both nature and for people, your appreciation for living and new beginnings can only increase thousand-fold in this Island.
Recommended time to visit for the full Negros Oriental experience: October for the provincial fiesta, Buglasan Festival of Festivals in Dumaguete City.
For more information, please visit http://www.negor.gov.ph