First-time in Kanlaon
Mt. Kanlaon is shrouded in mystery. I grew up hearing tales of hermits, fairies and other enchantments that happen around the tallest peak in the island of Negros. This same volcano divides the eastern part of Negros from its western counterpart, represented by the two provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, creating two worlds in this single island.
My mother’s hometown lies just at the foot of the volcano. My father’s relatives, on the other hand, live in a city that could be viewed at the other side of the volcano. It was only when I visited the famed city at the volcano that I realized that this same place was geographically connecting both sides of my family.
Despite the proximity of their hometowns in Kanlaon, I was only able to visit the place in my adolescence. I was spending a short portion of my Christmas vacation a few years’ back at my uncle’s family in the town of Guinpanaan, Moises Padilla, which is at the base of the volcano.
Being a rural place, with little diversion, my uncle and cousins invited me for a joy ride to Kanlaon City. I was excited because I have never been to that place. Seated in the back seat of a pick-up truck, we worked our way through the dusty and winding road, passing by very few houses and awestruck with the beauty surrounding me.
We crossed a bridge and found ourselves getting to Negros Oriental. Finally, we were entering Kanlaon City, marked by giant vegetable sculptures. We passed by the city’s plaza, there were families hanging by the square, while others were selling local street food in the periphery.
We continued until we go to the vegetable market were sacks of cabbages, fresh carrots, potatoes, cauliflower and all kinds of greens, seeds, beans, and seasonings were being sold. There was even a live pig sold inside. Not only were they fresh and large, but they were also extremely cheap. Living in a volcano has its perks, especially for those who make a living from agriculture because the land was truly fertile.
After my cousins had purchased vegetables in bulk, my uncle brought us out of the city to a spot where we could see San Carlos City, my father’s hometown. The sea was visible from afar. As I looked up, the volcano’s peak was covered with clouds and fog. Soon after, it started to drizzle.
We returned to Kanlaon City and went to another market where clothes, shoes and other merchandise could be found. Because of their laid-back lifestyle, you wouldn’t even think that you were in a city. We drove back to the city square, which doubled as a park and bought ourselves some barbecued chicken intestines, gizzard, and other chicken parts. We also got some sticky rice wrapped in coconut leaves, shaped like a diamond.
The sun was setting and we headed back to Negros Occidental. Night has fallen when we arrived in our uncle’s house. It was an interesting trip for I have once again enjoyed the Philippine countryside.