Look It Up!

27 December 2010


Yey, another field trip for us. Thanks to Jacq for promoting the place. Hehe.

It was nice to be back on the island which I visited 21 years ago. The place has improved.

The tour was educational. But they should have allotted more time for it. There were too many places to visit in such a short time. We did not have the chance to fully appreciate the different sites. 

Our tour guide was okay. He was a good speaker. He knew his history. But according to Andrew there were some erroneous details. But for an ignoramus like me, papasa na yun. Hehe.

The tranvia is really cool. Literally and figuratively. Hehe. Presko siya. And it gives the tourists an unobstructed view of the places.

Lunch was so-so. Buffet siya but you won't have time for second servings because they only give you 50 minutes to eat. So you better get as much as you can on your first round. And the pandan juice did not help. Lalo ka lang mauuhaw. Good thing the water's bottomless. Haha. The waiters were deceptive. They ask for orders of drinks without telling the customers that drinks are not part of the free lunch. One foreigner ordered coffee and when he was asked to pay for it afterwards, he told the waiter that he did not have money with him. Tsktsk, I don't know how they settled that. But the food was delicious. Or maybe we were just too hungry.

The Light and Sound show at the Malinta Tunnel was good. Gumamit nga lang ng What Matters Most as background music. Andrew thinks they should have used music from the 1940's para mas bagay. And some parts were overly dramatic according to Andrew. Meron pa kasing, "This might be your last dance." na lines yung nurse as she was dancing with an American soldier. Hihi. 

The hotel was okay. Malamig naman ang aircon. Medyo maliit ang CR and I broke the shower knob. Hehe. But the rooms did not have televisions. You can only watch TV in the lobby. Para siguro magbonding ang mga tao. Or nagtitipid sila. Hehe.

Hotel food was expensive. P190 na ata pinakamura. The carbonara was okay but I did not really appreciate it because it had too many onions. Blech. And most of the dishes on the menu were not available. The waiter was insisting that we order certain dishes. Theory ni Andrew madami silang ganung naluto kaya pipilitin nila yung customer na yun ang orderin. Hehe.

We signed up for the activity package (?) of the hotel. 3 activities for P150. It includes the sunset tour, hospital visit, lateral tunnels tour, sunrise tour and easy hike. Oooopppss, more than 3 yun ah. Hehe. Oh well, yun ang sabi nila eh. 

The sunset tour was ugly. It was not the sunset's fault though. Kasalanan nung guide. We left the hotel late. Wala tuloy kaming naabutan. Sayang. It didn't help that we had annoying companions. There were 2 guys with us. College age siguro who were either taking pictures or talking. Ang kukulit. They were asking questions just for the sake of asking questions. Hehe. Na-reject tuloy.

Boy 1 to Group of 3 Girls: Do you want me to take your pictures? I'll just send it to you sa friendster.

Girls: Ay wag na, masyadong high tech ang camera niyo. Sa cellphone na lang namin.

Boy 1: Wala kasing wifi sa hotel kaya di ko masesend agad.

Girls ignored him. Hehe. Epal to the highest level. Lovers ang tawag ni Andrew sa dalawa.

We also joined the hospital visit. Scary. We went inside and we even went up to the second floor. Ang init dun grabe. It was also the barracks of the Muslims who were part of the Jabidah massacre in 1968. Brr. Madilim na nun so scary talaga.

We did not join the other activities. We were too irritated with the boys. Ang kukulit. And we were too lazy to get up at 5:30 a.m. for the other activities. Hehe.

The following day was spent swimming. Sa pool lang ng hotel because we were afraid that the beach was dirty. We also explored the South Beach. It looked clean but we just admired it from afar. Hehe. According to the manong there the South Beach which is near Cavite is clean while the part facing Mariveles, Bataan is dirty. Eh feeling ko connected naman silang lahat so wag na lang.

The sea near Mariveles was dirty. It was so disappointing. A foreigner even picked up slippers and he was giving it to his friend kasi ka-size naman daw. Hehe. I wish they'd clean that up. Kaya pa naman eh.

Okay naman yung ferry trip. You won't feel the strong waves unlike the trips to and from Siquijor. Hehe. 

Mmm, it was disappointing to see that Corregidor seemed to highlight the heroism of the Americans. It was as if the Filipinos only took the supporting roles. Daya noh?

Over-all, it was another happy field trip. I had a good photographer and history teacher with me who also shares my passion for making fun of other people. You can never go wrong with that formula. ;-)

Day 5 - Dumaguete City and Back to Manila

Day 5 - October 5, 2008, Saturday

We woke up late. Well, not really. Tamad lang bumangon. Haha. So as usual, no breakfast for us.

We left Harold's at around 12 noon. Checkout time na rin kasi eh. They allowed us to leave our bags there so that we can take one last look of Dumaguete. Boohoo.

We went to Sans Rival for lunch and to pick up our orders. Hehe, dahil adik kami sa pasta, we ordered Spaghetti Puttanesca. Hay, masarap din. Hehe.

We didn't get our orders yet. We decided to take one last stroll at the boulevard. Adik si Andrew mag-picture eh. Hehe. 

After some time, we went back to Sans Rival for the pasalubongs. The sans rival and the sylvannas have to be placed in a freezer after 4 hours daw. Tsktsk, sana umabot.

We took the trike back to Harold's to pick up our bags. Then another trike to the airport. They charge pakyaw rates when you're going to the airport. Medyo malayo na kasi siya eh. Our trike driver charged P40.00. Yung iba daw P50.00 to P100.00. Tsktsk.

Ang aga namin sa airport. Pero dami na rin kami kasabay. Their predeparture area is similar to Tacloban's. Hehe. We watched Eat Bulaga while we waited for our flight to start boarding.

On time ang flight. Medyo may turbulence.

*sigh* So sad that the vacation had to end na. But happy rin because I had a great time. I went out of my comfort zone. I did things I have never done before. I was not my usual maarte/maangal self. I just absorbed and enjoyed everything. Mas masaya pala yung ganun. No plans, no expectations. Mas na-a-appreciate mo yung mga nangyayari. Basta, I had the time of my life there. 

I really love provinces. Mas simple at mas masaya ang buhay. And the trip ended perfectly...with a rainbow. *sigh*

P.S. I wish people would be more conscious about keeping these places clean. The tourist guides in Bais threw their leftovers in the sea. Our Korean boatmates threw their trash in the sea also. The boulevard in Dumaguete is also filled with garbage. Same goes for the pond in Apo Island. Sayang naman.

Day 4 - Apo Island

Day 4 - October 3, 2008, Friday

Apo Island Day

Before going to Dumaguete, I was not that excited to see Apo Island. It's ideal for divers daw. Nge, ano ba naman tawag mo sa kin? Hehe. But when we got to Dumaguete, Harold told us that we must see the island because it's really nice. So sige, sayang naman eh. He told us to call the dive shops in the city and ask if they have trips scheduled during our stay.

We were lucky to find Glen of Diveworks. He had a trip scheduled for Friday. Foreigners daw usually ang kasama niya mag-dive. He charges P500/person for the boat ride to and from Apo Island. He can also serve lunch at P250/head. I think the usual set up is for him to meet his clients at the Private Residence Spa and Resort in the town of Dauin. But because he's nice, he agreed to pick us up from Harold's. At least libre pamasahe na. Hehe.

He picked us up at 6:30 in the morning. Since it was so early, we had to skip breakfast again. Keri lang, we had our crackers. Hehe.

Before going to Dauin, we had a few stops to pick up charcoal for the lunch food and then the tanks for the divers. Grabe, ang dami.

Private Residence was nice. Private din talaga although there were resorts beside it too. Pangit nga lang yung beach in front of it. Medyo di siya good for swimming. Mukhang take off point lang talaga siya going to Apo Island. Most of the clients were foreigners.

After everyone was ready it was time for us to go to Apo Island. We were with a bunch of Korean friends (7 guys and 1 lady ata) and a Chinese couple from Hong Kong. Coolness. Parang ang saya siguro mag-dive. Hehe.

When we got to Apo Island, we didn't go directly to the village. The divers had their first dive. Hintay kami for less than an hour. We were stuck in the boat with Mrs. Korea. Hehe. Tulog-tulog. Then off to the village.

Once you get to the village, you have to register and pay an entrance fee of P100. You pay additional amounts depending on the activities you're going to do in the island. I don't know how much you're supposed to pay for diving but we paid P50 for snorkelling (as if! haha!).

Afterwards, it was time to explore the island. We decided to go up the lighthouse first. Nagmamagaling kasi kami eh. Hehe. The people were giving us different numbers, pero mga around 320 steps siguro yung paakyat nung lighthouse. Hindi lang siya puro steps ha. May road part din siya. So hingal to the max talaga. When we finally reached the lighthouse, we were disappointed. Pangit. May abandoned and vandalized houses lang plus may duyan. It was so not worth it. After resting for around 30 minutes, we decided to go down.

Siyempre ang daming tubig ang naubos namin. Naku, don't buy water from the restaurant there. They charge P50 for 1 liter of mineral water. Samantalang P25 lang dun sa malapit na sari-sari store. Tsktsk. I got post cards from the restaurant for P25/piece.

We then looked for the cottage where Glen was serving lunch. Kami una dun. Kahiya naman manguna kumain. Ayun, nauto kami ng mga ate. They sold Apo Island shirts for P200. We were able to make tawad dahil sabi ni Andrew di naman kami foreigners. Hehe. They sold it for P180/shirt. I bought shirts for Mam and Toto.

When the divers arrived, kainan na. We had grilled fish, shrimps, barbecue and rice. Sprite and Coke for the drinks. Mangoes for dessert. Heaven. Lamon galore talaga. Nakakatuwa yung mga Koreans. Sobrang cowboy. Nakatayo lang sila. Kain lang. Di maarte. And they were nice to us too.

After lunch, nagpamasahe yung ibang Koreans. Kami, we decided to check out the Marine Sanctuary. Sabi ni Glen we should be back by 2:15. Okay. Hehe.

On the way to the Marine Sanctuary, we passed by a garbage-filled lagoon/pond. Tsktsk. Andrew took pictures. Sayang yung place. Turns out that it's privately-owned. The residents of the island made it but the person tasked to register it under the island's name registered it under his name alone. Tsktsk. The people tried to get it back but the case won't prosper because that person still has a permit. The island residents report the unsanitary maintenance fo the place to the Bureau of Forestry (?) but the caretakers manage to clean it up before the inspectors arrive. Tsktsk, I smell lagayan here.

O diba ang dami naming nalaman. We had a great time talking to the 2 dive rangers in charge of watching over the marine sanctuary. Napasarap ang kwentuhan kasi we thought the water was so deep na di namin kakayanin. They had another funny story. The owners of the pond allowed the island residents to put fingerlings in the pond. Bangus ata. The owners assured the people that they will be allowed to harvest the fish. Come harvest time, the owners watched the people harvest their fish. Picture-picture pa with their fishnets and fish. Aba, afterwards, the people were charged with qualified theft. Ginamit pang ebidensya yung mga picture nilang nakangiti. Some of these people were imprisoned because of that. Riot talaga.

I really love talking to strangers. I love hearing their stories, opinions, views, etc. Lalo na sa probinsya. We tend to think that life's way too simple for them. But when you talk to them you'll realize that a lot of things go on in their lives as well.

Anyway, another batch of tourists arrived. Aba, nagswimming sila. And that's when we realized that the water's not that deep. Hehe. So yun, mga 45 minutes before our scheduled time of departure, we decided to swim and snorkel. I'm so glad we did it. Nakakatuwa. Kahit sa mababaw na part ng tubig, may makikita ka ng fish. Lovely talaga. Medyo madulas nga lang yung bato pero kaya naman. Basta nice talaga.

We left the marine sanctuary at 2:15. Hihi, tigas ulo. When we got to the sort of pier, wala na yung bangka. Huhu. Pero nasa malapit lang sila. Hehe. They came back for us a few minutes later. The divers were still under water for their third and final dive. Again, we were left with Mrs. Korea. After around 30 minutes, the divers emerged from the water and it was time for us to go back to Dauin. Huhu.

Rough seas again on our way back. Umulan pa. Tsktsk.

Glen was not going back to Dumaguete yet so we had to take the jeep instead. P13 ata yung pamasahe per person. Malapit lang kaya keri. We took the trike from the jeepney terminal to Harold's.

Andrew surfed the net after taking a bath. He read a blog which recommended the Panda Ice Cream Haus, popular for its fried ice cream. Shemps we had to try it too.

We had dinner first. The trike dropped us off in the ice cream house and we decided to look for restaurants near the place. Aba, we found Hayahay. We've read good reviews about the place but we were avoiding it kasi ma-seafood ata and Andrew's not into seafoods. Hmpf. But the name of the place was Hayahay Gourmet Pizza. Aba, eh pizza naman pala. We decided to eat there.

Hayahay serves good food. Siyempre mas expensive sa Neva's pero sulit pa din. We had the meatlover's pizza. 8 slices siya. Spaghetti yung pandagdag namin. Masarap din. They also sell Havaianas in their restaurant. Hehe.

Dessert time na. It was our first time to try the fried ice cream so we didn't know what to expect. Excited medyo. We also ordered Chocolate Parfait. Hmpf. Bagsak pareho. The ice cream's not really fried. May coating siya na fried. Hehe. Di bagay for me. I'll eat ice cream if I want ice cream, and I'll eat prito if I want prito. Ayaw ko magkasama sila. The parfait was not delicious din. Tsktsk.

Although we had no more activity scheduled for the following day so we didn't really need to wake up early, plakda pa rin kami because we were too tired. And too full din siguro. Haha.