Day three on Siquijor

I woke at 5:45 and jumped out of bed.  I didn’t even kiss Praxy and she followed me wondering why I was hurrying.  Like the white rabbit I was late for this…

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I swear this is not retouched or shopped.  If I had been 5 minutes earlier, there was even more orange with red.  We watched the sun come up while I mused about the night before.

The resort is the called Firefly Cove and the fireflies put on a show last night for us.  I searched high and low and finally found them in a tree near the ocean.  We sat and watched 50 or so buzz around their tree, the ocean waves breaking near our feet.   They don’t flash like the one that I saw in the states, these stay on for many seconds at a time as they fly from branch to branch.  The dinner was excellent as usual, I had pork masala and Praxy had grilled blue marlin.  Tonight is seafood fettuccine for me and shrimp fettuccine for Praxy.  Oh boy!

After breakfast we saddled up our trusty steed,

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a 125cc step through Yamaha, and we took off for high adventure.  Well, if you are looking for “high adventure”, Siquijor is not your place.  Lets call it low adventure.  We headed for the local internet café about 4 miles away to check it out.  As we pulled in, the heavens opened and rain started to come down in buckets.  No problem, I parked under a tree and we scrambled (yes, scrambled again) safely inside.  Air conditioned and modern, this blog was loaded from there.  A little slow on the bandwidth, but I picked the morning when everyone is still sleeping in.

When the rain ended, we took off again.  This time our goal was Siquijor city.  Not much there, not even an international ATM.  Grrr.  We have about 2000 pesos available for tomorrow and Monday.  It should be enough, but the money situation here is awful.  ATTENTION FUTURE PHILIPPINE TRAVELERS.  Don’t let yourself get low on cash.  It’s a female dog to get money outside of the major cities.   And by major I mean a place that has at least 250,000 people.  Stock up.  I’ll get 20,000 pesos on Monday in Dumaguete.  I hope.   Otherwise we might have a problem.

We left Siquijor proper and took off for the Coco Grove resort on the south side of the island.  It was more expensive than the Firefly Cove, and when we arrived there the reason was obvious.  The place is huge and there are employees everywhere.  Guards, cooks, waitresses, porters, maids, bartenders, dive masters; you name it.  Two restaurants, two swimming pools, a dive shop, souvenirs, massage room, three bars.  Sigh.   Jeez.  Firefly Cove has three people, Scott, his wife (who is in Manila at this time), and Jovic the “go”fer (forgive me if I misspelled your name).  Quite a disconnect from the “resort” crowd.    And get this, he only rents out two rooms at a time.  He doesn’t need the money and doesn’t want the hassle. I think he is looking for company.  I’ve been talking to him a lot.  A very nice man.

If you want to see pictures of the Coco Grove,  just google it.  There are a ton of people there with a jillion photos uploaded.  I didn’t waste my time.

We rounded the island and got back at about three.

As we were preparing for dinner, another young lady traveling by herself showed up unannounced at the gate.  Jayjay is in her 20s from Shanghai, touring around the Philippines as was Laura.  I guess I’m old fashioned, but I’m keeping an eye on her as well.  This is a favor to her parents; for the people that (hopefully) kept an eye out for my daughter as she traveled to Japan and Brunei.  She is busy taking pictures and lounging around, and perhaps preparing text messages for friends and family.

I’ll go back to Negros and Dumaguete.

I wanted to see a cockfight and Praxy’s brother Presco was up to the request.  He used to do fighting and betting and is quite familiar with the situation.   He still raises birds for sale.  They are quite spendy to purchase, and $75 USD.  We drove in, parked, and paid our 150 peso admission.  No pictures, I figured I might get killed if I changed the outcome of a fight by photography.  The birds are brought in and CHAOS!  Guys were screaming around the ring and the noise was deafening.  I had no idea what was going on, and Presco’s explanations were fraught with the language barrier and cacophony.  Fight after fight, I was confused, but after about 2 hours, I think I have it pretty well figured out.

The birds are brought in and everyone looks them over.  Each bird is “hazed” by another rooster to get his fighting blood up.  The bettors that want to bet the favorite shout out the odds to the bettors wanting to bet the underdog.  Even money is rare, most of the odds are, for example, 8-10 or so.  Meaning that if the favorite wins, the underdog bettor pays 8 pesos.  If the underdog wins, the favorite bettor pays 10 pesos.  The favorite bettors shout at the top of their lungs, the underdog bettors sit quietly and flash hand signals.   For instance, two fingers horizontal is 200 pesos, two fingers strait up is 2000 pesos.  Waving two fingers strait up is 20,000 pesos.  Yowser.  The hand signals can be 1-10 for the amounts.   I can’t overstate how noisy this is.

Then the birds are released and the arena goes quiet.  I won’t go into details on the actual fights.  After the fight, the bettors settle.  It is all on the honor system and virtually no one lies.  Amazing.  Even the people working the ring get into the action.  Money is wadded up and thrown across the ring or into the ring.  When the underdog wins, the place gets quiet.  We only bet underdogs and each of us won 130 pesos.  Not bad for the first time out.  Presco is a bit superstitious, and when the wrong color of bird finally won we had to go immediately.  I bet on the light colored birds and did OK.   Beginner’s luck.

So that is now ticked off of my list.  I asked Dick Dyer to take me to a fight, but I can now let him off of the hook.   But if he wants to go, I’ll go again.  Now that I know what to expect, I’ll do some more betting.  The odds are good.  The house does not take a cut out of the bleacher action, but they do get a percent of the ring action.  So the bleachers are one to one.  You can not get those odds in Nevada anywhere.

Earlier in the day, we attended the fiesta for a national holiday.  This holiday is like President’s day in the US.  We went to two different houses and ate some wonderful and tasty stuff.  First one was Lita’s former brother in law from a previous marriage (I think).

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Everyone shows up.  When the food is gone, a tablecloth is hung on the gate.  But, live entertainment shows up for a few pesos.

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I paid him to leave.  Not really, he actually did a good job on his crude little guitar.  There are a lot of people in the Philippines trying to hustle up a living any way they can.   Here’s the spread, the food was beyond yummy.  The red bottle is banana ketchup and it is pretty good.  A little too sweet, but whatever.  Just about anything cooked with sugar here in the Philippines has a little too much sugar for the American palate.  For instance, spaghetti tastes strange.

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As guests of honor, we were given the catbird seat…

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overlooking the highway to watch the traffic and people.  Very nice, but kind of warm.  I snuck down and watched the Pacio (spelling) boxing match with the fan pointed at me.

Then off to another house and another feast.  I was stuffed, but ate a little to be polite.  I love this “lechon” baked pig.  I wanted the tail as a swizzle stick, but another person beat me to it.  Dunno what I would have done with it anyway.

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Freshly cooked and oh so tasty.  The man here with Presco was a man serving under Presco in the army.  They are still good friends.

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Rudy on the left and Presco on the right.  Rudy cooked the food, he was a cook in the military for the stars and bars guys.  He was pulled him from the ranks out of hostile Mindinao at Presco’s recommendation.  Presco knew of Rudy’s skill and figured the brass would appreciate Rudy’s culinary knowledge as well.  They did, he was in Manila for the last two years of his career.  I got to appreciate his skill too.

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Rudy’s mom and grandson.  Nice people.

A very busy day.  I sure sleep well around here.   In bed by 8pm and up around 6.  Earlier if the roosters are too noisy.  I noticed one night that when I get up to hit the restroom, the roosters crowed.  After thinking for a bit, I knew why.  They see the light in the house and think that it is morning.  The roosters settle back down to sleep again after crowing for about 15 minutes.  Sigh

12/4/2011 8:10am


About Ken

I am a federal employee that loves to travel. I don't get any time off during the busy salmon tagging season, March through November. So, I save my leave and explore the warmer parts of the world during the winter.
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