I try to remind myself when I am out and about to capture some of the sights that I come across. I mean, with all the advances in cell phone camera technology and a desire to show off the many facets of the Philippines, why shouldn’t I?
I have done Philippines photo montages before on the site, and since I have accrued more than a few new images (or rediscovered older ones), let’s get down to it.
Ferry at Sibulan: This is one of the two ferries that routinely runs between the small strait between Negros Oriental and the island of Cebu (you can see Negros back in the distance). The island ports of Sibulan and Santander (Negros and Cebu, respectively) serve as convenient jump off points to explore the surrounding islands. As you can see, this particular ferry is a RORO (roll on – roll off) on which you can transport your car or motorcycle. I was on my motorcyle this day, and the total cost for a round trip ticket was only 300 pesos (about $8). From where we are on Cebu right now, it’s just short rides to Oslob (whale sharks) on the eastern coast of Cebu and the magnificent Kawasan Falls on the island’s west coast. Also note how these RORO’s resember old Landing Craft Tank from the Second World War – they are not originals.
Cupcake Kidnapping: I was coming back from the BPI ATM one morning (with a pocketful of pesos thanks to the rising US dollar exchange rate!) when I came across this sign just outide Scooby’s at the Portal West Building. There really aren’t kidnappings on Negros Oriental, but I can still appreciate the logic behind Scooby’s latest marketing campaign. My gym – World Fitness – is also located in the Portal West building, so if I do woof down some cupcakes to stave off kidnappings, I can at least feel a little bit better afterwards by doing a quick workout.
Salad Days: I have been putting a great deal of time and effort in to trying to eat right in the Philippines. Left to my own devices here (based on my history since arriving) I will usually eat crap – stuffing my face with whatever is available at the local resto joints. Since discovering that the wonderful Daro produce market has superb veggies for bargain prices, I have been swinging by there every Tuesday and Friday to pick up some wholesome greens. Since I can’t really cook, this has mostly consisted of salads and grilled chicken, but hey, that’s a heck of a lot better than what I was eating before!
Carrot Cake Happiness: There is a little pot luck lunch every week at Dauin that I have been missing waaaay too much over the past months (too busy, di ba?), but I was able to get down there a few weeks back to spend some time in the cooler, sea-side weather. And again – since I can’t cook, I usually pick up something along the way. This time, I brought a carrotcake from the Sans Rival bakery in Dumaguete. Sans Rival is a very successful local business that offers an oustanding product – each and every one of them covered in a thick layer of gooey sugar. Their most famous offering are salvanas cakes which I still haven’t tried yet – gotta ad that to my “to do” list…. Photo: Lucy, Lynn, Grace, Jane and Jack.
If It Ain’t Broke: Fixers are compensated middle men that get things done, effortlessly navigating the byzantine Philippine bureaucracy with insider knowledge, connections and more than a few well-greasted palms. They are the guys (and gals) you go to for car registrations, visas and – as noted above at the Dumaguete Water District – paying off your water bill. There is a massive “anti-fixer” program across the Philippines, but it really hasn’t done a whole lot of good. Even in the face of jail time and serious fines, you will still see them offering their services as just about every Philippine utiltiy and government service – especially at the LTO (Land Transportation Office), where they can usually be found sitting right underneath the same anti-fixer sign seen above.
It Ain’t the Heat…: Yeah, yeah yeah – spare me. Actually, the next person that utters “it ain’t the heat, it’s the humidity” is going to get a fork in the eye. This is actually a cook day here in the Philippines. When you combine super-high humidity (like the 94% noted above) with temperatures approaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it can make for some severely brutal conditions. When that happens, combined “RealFeel” temperatures are usually at the 110-115 degree mark. It’s at this point, that I usually scurry off into a dark corner of our little bedroom, turn on the airconditioning and simply wait it out. Ugh!
Cat Fancy: This is our cat. Or – more precisely – this is a cat that thinks it is our cat. This little beast showed up one day, barefoot and pregnant and instantly made itself at home. Like nearly all feral Filipino critters, this one is beat up pretty good, sporting the typical bent/cracked/half-missing tail that most of these demented beasts possess – I think it’s got something to do with the local azkal (semi-feral dogs) using their tails for tooth picks. This cat is actually OK – she usually spends the day chilling out on the hood of my Pajero; so much, in fact, that I joke to Michell that the cat is the only one who ever uses the truck. And yeah, she’s pregnant again. Funny though – I have yet to see one of her kittens. This was taken on our front porch – it’s where I go to lean back and chill and stare across our wall to the smoke plumes and dilapidated high-rises in the distant city.
Cat Scratch Fever: The little annoying feline can’t resist the spare tire on the back of the Pajero – it’s like the bestest scratch post EVAH! Of course, when I finally need to use the spare, it will most likely blow up due to all the minute little cat claw holes in it…
Michell’s Miscreants: The kids don’t come around as often as they used to, now that Euie, Nikki and Nano have moved to another part of the city. Still though, they are always welcome whenever they do – just so long as Michell is at home. They usually just ask for some “kan-dee” and then run around in our yard until they run out of sugar energy. On this occassion, though, we were able to give them a little something else…..
Balikbayan Books: I bought a bunch of reading books for the kids when I was back in the US this year and shipped them to myself via a big balikbayan box. We have been passing them out to the kids as time goes on. They REALLY love books, and I don’t think they get much of an opportunity to read like we do in the US, what with huge public libraries in virtually every town. Keep in mind also that books don’t last a long time in the tropics due to the constant humidity and mold. Ingo in particular liked his Minnie’s Valentine book – he is bayot (gay) and wants to be a foreign OFW maid when he grows up…
Fecal Flowers: Speaking of our flowers (the “ladyboy” flower noted above), a whole bunch of them grow in Dumaguete’s waste water treatment plant. I am pretty sure this is just a showcase treatment system, as it is just about 160 square meters in size and can’t possibly be treating all of the gray water that the City of Gentle People puts out every day. Still, though, it’s a nice touch. If you are really interested in seeing the treatment plant, you can find it right across the street from the famous lookout tower on Perdices Avenue.
I’ve actually got another set of photos ready to put up, but I’ve been working on this one for a bit and need to get out of the house. Mebbe I’ll get some more pix along the way….
Take care ya’all!