When we trek, climb, or go hiking and camping, we usually have the idea of mountains, trails, or peaks. Isn’t it cliche? This time, I’ll share my amazing and unusual in a good way experience trekking to the less known, unexploited historical Japanese Shrine of Valencia, Negros Oriental, Philippines.
Japanese Shrine stands on a sacred ground where an encounter during the World War II actually took place. It was built to remember the many lives taken by the vicious war. It was also to provide closure to a sad era and to mark the beginning of peace and friendship between the three countries. The commemorative shrine is actually a tall pillar with a solid concrete base. The pillar has three angles, making it appear 3 sided similar to a triangle. These three sides represent the three countries: Philippines, United States of America and Japan. In 1977 it was erected and unveiled by the war veterans, the surviving families of the water veterans, and the descendants of those who marched and died in the same war. Other people who were in a way a part of the war joined the unveiling ceremonies. The shrine was declared a historical monument shortly after it was constructed.
My first ever climb was at the Japanese Shrine. It was on a chill twilight of mid July and it serves as our initiation for our mountaineering club. We were so excited and thrilled and worried at the same time. First time to go hiking and camping at 6 in the evening, with these new friends, so we thought maybe it’s normal to feel that way. We left Dumaguete City at around 6 pm and arrived at the starting point of the trail 45 minutes pass 6pm then started hiking. The moon and the stars lit our way from above. We took 5-minute rest once every hour. We finally reached the top at around 10 pm.
It was so tiring, but the touch of the cold air concealed by the fog and the view of the city lights from above have taken it. We set up our tents and slept. The first thing we did the next morning was to wait for the sun to rise. It was so majestic witnessing the visible rays breaking through the clouds.
How to get there:
( Based in Cebu City)
You ride a bus at the Cebu South Bus Terminal going to Dumaguete City. (They have direct trips going to Dumaguete City. For more info, you can check the schedule for bus trips). The fare is around Php 300 including the fare for the barge. Estimated time of travel is about 4 to 5 hours depending on the traffic. Ride a tricycle going to Balogo, Valencia. From there, you just have to follow the road until it leads to the shrine. Note that taking the road trail takes time but it is the safest way for first timers going to the shrine especially during at night. Remember, do not hesitate to ask directions when in doubt. After all, Dumaguete City is the City of Gentle People. It is not termed as such if not for that reason. Have fun!
What to bring:
Shield for cold atmosphere
Phone charger (Yes, they have free electricity)
In our case, first time to camp there, we decided to bring self-defense and put it in the most accessible place just in case. We brought tear gas and swiss knives. Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Keep safe!