bleeding heart pigeon

CENTROP

Silliman University’s Center for Tropical Research is a refuge to the Visayan Spotted Deer and the Bleeding Heart Pigeon, in addition to 14 other species of indigenous mammals, reptiles and birds. CENTROP is a great place to visit while staying at Harold’s Mansion since it’s only a short walk away.

Both the deer and pigeon are endangered due to loss of habitat and over hunting. The Bleeding-heart is under threat, since it is trapped and used for meat. There is also a market for it in the illegal pet trade due to its striking appearance of blood dripping down its white front. A local guy from the mountains was able to figure out how to breed the birds in captivity. If you happened to visit on a day when he’s there you’re in for a real treat. He’ll show you around and take you in the cages. I pet a bat that was unbelievable soft:)

deer

As for the friendly deer, who I also pet* deforestation has greatly contributed to the decline of the species. CENTROP is engaged in the deer’s captive breeding and the success of the program has led to some of the captive-bred deer to be released in the interior forests of Negros.

If you in town you should take a tour and leave a nice donation since it helps to feed the animals.

*By petting these animals in no way means I condone the petting of all wild animals everywhere, including the whale sharks nearby! Think of CENTROP more as a petting zoo than the wilds of the ocean

Rooftop Evenings at Harold’s Mansion

Contributed by:Jenn Rose

Every Wednesday night at Harold’s Mansion the guests gather on the rooftop to enjoy a communal grill out night while enjoying the views of the mountains looming in the distance. Everyone brings his or her own meat, fish or veggies to grill and enjoys a feast together. If you are unsure of where to find delicious food to grill, ask anyone of the staff and they can direct you to the local market or supermarket. This week it was the last night of 2 Dutch girls who had been guests for the week and we celebrated a bit with some Tanduay and San Miguels while the smell of the grill filled the air. It’s a great environment to get to know the other people staying at Harold’s Mansion and make some new friends.

Harolds Rooftop Fun

Harolds Rooftop Fun

We all enjoyed our grilled chicken, pork, veggies and fish while chatting amongst ourselves. As we finished up our plates, some people from the mansion decided to go out for a night out in town for live reggae music at Hayahay. In Dumaguete, there is nightlife usually with options for some live music.

On Friday, everyone from Harold’s Mansion gathers again on the rooftop to enjoy free oysters cooked on the grill. This week, my friend David has arrived and we enjoyed prying open each oyster while chatting with new people who have arrived at the mansion. Everyone has brought up their own drinks from the bar and plate after plate of oysters comes around the table cooked by the lovely staff at Harold’s. When everyone had their fill, it was time for people to move on to the town and continue socializing. There is always something going on at Harold’s Mansion to get people together and enjoy conversation, drinks and food!

Siquijor Scuba Dive Trip

We made a punctual early start as the boat trip to Siquijor is around one hour-enough time to wake up with a couple of cups of tea and enjoy the fresh sea breeze whilst taking in the spectacular surrounding views.  Not forgetting the actual boat itself; a traditional Filipino design but with the added luxuries of a flush toilet, fresh water shower, sundeck and cabin.

Isla del Fuego or Siquijor is an island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas region. Its capital is the municipality also named Siquijor. To the northwest of Siquijor are Cebu and Negros, to the northeast is Bohol and to the south, across the Bohol Sea, is the island of Mindanao.

Our first two dives were at the Paliton wall, where some parts go as deep as 50 meters. The huge sea fans and soft corals at the Paliton wall were beautiful. There is huge overhang of about 35 meters where the site comes alive.

We spotted Turtles, Cuttlefish, sea snakes, Moray Eels, Blue Ribbon Eel, Bumphead Parrotfish, Spanish Mackeral, Jackfish, Lionfish and much more.

After the second dive we ate a delicious traditional Filipino meal of halang halang (chicken in coconut milk) and pork adobo, followed by a short siesta.

Our third dive was at Maite Point, due to the many crevices and cracks of the dive site, interesting small sea creatures were easy to find. The Maite Point has soft and hard corals intermingling.

Each dive was great with excellent visibility. The dive masters were professional and experienced, boat crew very efficient and good quality dive gears.  The new boat is fantastic.  All this along with the delicious lunch and unlimited tea and coffee made it a perfect day diving around Siquijor.  Highly recommended.