Ilaya Highland Resort

LAST JUNE I wrote about the Ilaya Highland Resort at Patag, Silay City. It was still under construction and even while workers were making the finishing touches, we already saw the incredible sight from a mountain top to the lowlands. The panoramic vista is so captivating that just looking at the scene was already restful for the eyes and the spirit. It was an exhilarating sight.

The swimming pool was still being tested but even then the water was already blue, reflecting the sky and the white clouds, its water is restful by itself.

On August 1, Fr. Felix Pasquin blessed the resort and it officially opened on August 8. We joined a group from Bulacan last Sunday for a visit there. Thus we finally saw the incredible view literally from the mountaintop because the resort is high over the lush forest. From the pool, one can see the plains, the valleys and the forest. I don’t think there is any resort in Negros that can match the scenery and the perspective from the pool because one is literally at the tree tops and can view greens down below.

The Ilaya Highland Resort is the only one where the swimming pool is on a ledge and the swimmer can enjoy the fresh water and look down at the trees. Since the water in the pool is directly drawn from natural springs that abound in Patag, it is fresh, cool, restful and inebriating as it is pure – no need for chemicals that sometimes offend the eyes. Only when there are plenty of people in the pool will the waters be treated but the natural spring water makes the difference.

The flowers are in bloom. We wrote about it before but this time there are more, particularly the blooming orchids from the collection of Mrs. Anita Hinolan, the resort owner with her husband, Robert. Endemic multi-color flowers are all over to add to the naturally attractive trees. Behind the resort is a thick forest with huge, centuries-old stands. There are no monkeys there – they are mainly in the south and the east, on the other side of the mountain.

The resort has a restaurant with a wide range of food and drinks at reasonable prices. The policy here is for the visitors to enjoy and at the same time keep the place constantly clean and pleasant – no litters around. Food, therefore should be sourced from the resort restaurant.

Ilaya can accommodate up to 200 guests. The restaurant and the reception areas can easily serve over a hundred but there are tents for those who would like to enjoy the day alone or in small groups.

Since the area is wide (over two hectares) in undulating greens and open terraces, walking around the resort would be a good exercise under the sun because the air is cool. At three or four of a sunny afternoon, the fog from the mountain begins to descend on the resort but lifts after an hour or so. It is an experience in itself.

From Ilaya Highland Resort, one can watch the flights take off and land at the Bacolod-Silay Airport or at night, the headlights of vehicles and the streetlights of Silay and the airport road.

Travel from Bacolod takes only 45 minutes and 30 minutes from the airport in a leisurely drive on concrete road. It is good to stop briefly along the way to also view the lowlands and the mountain peaks of Lantawan where the fiercest battle of World War II in Negros was fought. Then the road goes under the canopy of trees and winds to suit the topography that allows the visitors to see the steep valleys that are covered with a blanket of trees. It is a fascinating view as well.

A reasonable entrance fee is required to insure quality visitors and a pleasant time to enjoy the beauty and gift and grace of nature.

There is a wide parking space and the short road from the barangay to the resort is being widened and concreted, all at the resort’s expenses. The resort is still on its infancy. Soon there will be cabins for those who want to stay overnight or longer.

Darryl and Alma Hinolan, who own Alma’s Cebulicious lechon, manage the resort.

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