IT WAS an impromptu invitation. Let’s go to Patag on Tuesday or Wednesday. Long range planning is usually aborted so let’s do it!
Rose Lacson made sure all arrangements were in place – from the food to who will transport Fr. Bernard, OCD, our only religious priest uncle.
Patag is very much associated with the City of Silay, however, territorially it belongs to the City of Talisay. Patag was the last stronghold of the Japanese Imperial Forces during World War II. Remnants of the war are believed to have been unearthed in Patag such as bombs, ammunition, weapons, and some remains of the soldiers.
We took an alternative route to Patag which was circling the back of the new airport. I was so amazed at the excellent infrastructure. The roads were wide and to the right and left you see verdant pastures. It was like an unknown territory opened up to me with progress settling in with new communities developing.
In Patag, there is a hospital which served recuperating patients suffering from tuberculosis way before the war. For the longest time, the hospital was left to ruins, however, efforts have been made to restore the hospital and the area behind it is now converted to the Patag Recreational Center.
Patag is a forest area and is a major part of the Northern Negros Natural Park. Trekkers and hikers use the Recreational Center as base and accommodations in the now renovated hospital are budget-friendly.
On reaching our destination, we were greeted by an abundance of heaven blue million flowers all in full bloom. The early bird cousins were already devouring the fresh lumpia, the steamed camote, and the siomai. The lechon was already laid out. For such a short notice, this was just the tip of the feast what was to come.
The view was magnificent tropical rainforests in different shades of green splendor. The story of how Patag came to be the forest that it is today started 43 years ago. Buddy Boy Jison and his partner Robert Hinolan came to these mountains which were totally devoid of any reforestation. Befriending the townsfolk slowly, the two started planting trees and cataloguing each as they progressed through the area. There are pictures that show the before and after of Patag and thanks to these two eco-friendly advocates who have planted more than 60 hectares of trees in Lantawan that Patag is what it is now – a densely forested area serving the balance to our ecosystem.
With everyone enjoying the sumptuous lunch with chicken pesa (a favorite family soup – quite ancestral in origin), or dinuguan as the soup du jeur plus grilled tilapya and lechon plus more, we hardly left the dining table.
Tito Pari took his afternoon nap. The more adventurous upon hearing of a cave which was once used by the Japanese either as a hideout or as a bomb shelter followed the trail. Others decided to lounge themselves in the garden with the breathtaking panoramic view. It was great to be outdoors and be pampered with just the right temperature – not chilly, not warm compared to the confused weather down the city with the extreme heat interspersed with unexpected monsoon rains. Away from the deafening noise and dizziness of the city and work abandoned for the day was a total stress buster.
To add to the afternoon’s delight was to see the fog setting into the house. That was really cool! That is something one never sees in the city.
To Buddy Boy and Robert who have made this forest truly a forest, thank you!