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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, May 16, 2018

PATAGOŅA
Nature Sanctuary
BY A.V. DEL CARMEN

You feel you need a weekend break from the unusual summer heat and stress.

Go up to the mountains, where the breeze is a lot cooler than in the beaches and shorelines.

Check the possible destinations.

Not so distant from the city?

Good roads?

Wide range of things to see and experience?

Patag, the mountain attraction of Silay City, beckons once more.

What else is there to see other than the mountain resorts, the historic sites and the popular trek areas?

There’s one quiet place just barely 1-km. away from the barangay proper, where the road forks to serenity and solitude.

It is called Patagoña, a nature sanctuary that sits on a field of greens and blooms overlooking a small valley.

Patagoña is cool, literally and figuratively. Temperature goes in the low 20s and dips further at nighttime.

Nature lovers find it perfect – with forests around them or streams of flowers, both wild and garden-grown.

At any time of the day, the view is postcard-pretty. The blue skies, foams and foams of clouds blend with the mountain greens, prompting a guest from the city to say, “It’s so easy to forget whatever loads you have in mind when you are here.”

A duplex houses visiting kin and friends of Ricardo Calseña and wife, Ching. The couple owns the 11-ha. mountain lot, two-thirds of which are forested.

Hardwood, bamboo varieties and fruit trees as well as cash crops are all over.

If you come at harvest season, chances are you can buy fruits at prices a lot cheaper than what you pay for in city markets or malls.

Among the fruit trees in the area are durian, mangosteen, jackfruit, rambutan, santol, lanzones, marang, macopa, bugnay, breadfruit, banana and cacao.

Herbs are also grown along with root crops, like kalawag, ginger and camote.

Patagoña (the name a combination of Patag and the owner’s family name) is more than just vegetation and scenic views.

It owns pieces of the past. It is home to trails and a tunnel of various chambers that have seen bitter times during World War II. The tunnel is part of a system of hideaways built by the Japanese for their protection.

For those who want solace and spiritual strength, the place has a chapel that can sit a few dozens. The chapel stands amid blooms and is aptly named “Church of the Fallen Tree”, a testimonial to the source of its wooden materials.

Behind the chapel is a stairway that leads to a viewing deck that shows the a panoramic picture of the fields and the lowlands, reminding visitors of the majesty of the Creator of the greens and other colors glistening as far as the eyes can see.

It is uncommon to hear those who have experienced Patagoña to say, “I’d like to be back soon.” On hot weekends, or otherwise.*AVDC

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