Sta. Catalina a
town located in the most blessed corner of the “sock” island Negros, filled with
wonderful portraits of the Maker. Specifically Sta. Catalina is part of Negros
Oriental province. It covers a huge part of the island’s half for us to wonder
why it wasn’t called a city. It is a town when travelled would take 2 hours
from Dumaguete City and is before Bayawan City. Despite its classification it
offers wide variety of things that makes the tummy full, eyes satisfied and
indulges the heart to the people’s beauty. As the visitors enter this humble
town it will directly display the places serenity away from the city.
Many different foods that will bring costumers back to past are offered in the town. Food that will remind people of how much the nature can give us. In “paunayan”, various fruits, root crops, and vegetables are displayed in exchange of cheaper value during Fridays until Saturday afternoon. People from the mountains would bring their crops and sell them to buy rice and other expenses in exchange. Food from bananas is present here.
Waking in the morning one can have a short walk towards the “painitan”, without noticing it you are enjoying the sip of “tsokolate” and puto! It is specifically located at Sta. Cata. Public Market where there are vegetables and fish or other meats are sold too.
The oldest bakery in town is located at Martirez street Poblacion, Sta Catalina, which serves their special “Espanyol “. A spheroid shaped bread without any filling but surely make the tummy full. The bakery NickFlor stands for the owner Nickanor and Flor bread is very on demand in town. Many bakeries are present at Sta. Catalina too namely Park n’ Go, San Vicente, Sweet Julias bakeshop and many others. Bananas have been present since and very abundant in the area and Santahanons would celebrate it in a form of fiesta called Pakol festival.
From sunrise to sundown you can enjoy the beaches or unravel the instagramable views of the mountains that are not yet discovered. In Sta. Catalina, Poblacion it is best to spend the morning at Talisay beach seeing the sunrise as it paint the place orange. It is in along the national highway. As the sun begins to dim one can walk from orange Talisay beach towards the boulevard and enjoy having photos of sunset kiss on your face. There lots of other bodies of water to enjoy in the edges and corners of Santa Catalina. La Hermesa in Alangilan, and after this is Casa Rosario in Nagbalaye and Litid White Sand. In the heart of Sta. Catalina a beach resort named Bahay Kubo and Break Water beach can also be seen. In Amio the tallest water fall of Santa is located named Talostos. Having the height 50 feet from the ground Talostos stands its title. The abundance of bananas in the town results the monkey’s inhabitants. With the supervision of a private owner, monkeys can be visited at Monkey Sanctuary at Obat.
During the night if one cannot sleep, the park is open for everyone who needs a place to reminisce memories. The mountains of Sta. Catalina serves as view deck for someone to enjoy the sight of most parts of the town when summer comes one can enjoy the cold mountains and star gazing. Though the activity is not yet common but it is nice to build a tent on the mountain as an alternative of picnics to detour the routine of summer vacations.
It is not only the places and cuisines Sta. Catalina can tempt you the beautiful people will also hook you literally or connotatively “kung gwapo, gwapa gani ka, taga Santa ka” for santahanon ladies possess celestial beauties while the gentle men are like angels sent from heaven. The beauties of the Santahanons start from its first barangay down to the edge. As you attend Miss Teen Poblacion, Miss Alangilan, Miss Cawitan, Miss Caranoche, Miss Obat and Hara sa Santa Catalina there you see goddesses on the platform. Physical beauty is not the only quality Santahanons possess but the beauty of the inside also. The warmth welcoming people are present here. Faces of the people are painted with smiles, Santahanons are humorous in nature, they possess this natural sense that chase the sadness away. Laughter, loud, high tuned, odd, and even smelly can be heard around. The families are well rounded. Strong bonds between families are treasured here. Parents keep their children close to them and to God.
Santahanons are also very religious. They celebrate Pakol festival to show gratitude to St. Catherine the patron saint of the municipality of Sta. Catalina, the whole year harvest. In the 25th day of April Pakol festival is loud St. Catherine as the star.
Pakol festival is the celebration of Santahanons acknowledging the contribution of bananas to the locality, economically. The celebration lasts for weeks ahead of the exact date. Activities hosted by the municipality are enjoyed by the locals. Some highlight activities during the day are “Kalingawan sa Plaza” where parlour games such as caging a pig bathed with oil, boat racing, pealing of coconut and lastly budol fight is held at the municipal plaza. During the night the beauty of the Santahanons are presented with talents and the most awaited part are the display of Miss Sta. Catalina Candidates. Night before the fiesta a queen would be hailed as the newly crowned Hara sa Sta. Catalina and represent the whole municipality’s wit, beauty, elegance and talent to fight for Miss Negros Oriental during the Festivals of Festivals also known as Buglasan. In the final day when the sun is at its peak the street dancing begins and followed by a show down. The winner barangay would receive a cash prize and represent the municipality to Buglasan.
As a first class municipality of the north Sta. Catalina gives justice to the title. Though located in the most kept corner of an island the blessed municipality reveals an unhidden beauty from its legacy. So please come and visit and have a scenic ride to Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental. Viva! Sta. Catalina!
Prepared by: Gonzales, Angelyn Mae Ebarita, pearl joy Fabro, Marielle Duran, Cresilda Tapang, Jonathan Balansag, Jersey mai Tamonang, Sheena Gonzales, Kimberly