We’re on the move again.

It was time to leave our friends in Guihulngan, and we’ll miss them.  The time we shared with Dick and Susan has created an strong friendship for life.  Of course we will see one another in the states, but who knows if we will return to the Philippines.  I sure hope so.

On to another Ceres Liner in Guihulngan.  Another madcap ride through the cane fields and along side the ocean.  Another time my toe nails curl as I watch how close we come to; pedicabs, motor tricycles, pedestrians, goats, rice, dogs, and above all, people.

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Here, an overloaded cane truck (all of them are overloaded) tailgates a motor tricycle.  One way traffic at a construction site.  I pulled my hand in well before the truck got to me.

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Passing by one of my favorite places to eat.  This rotisserie chicken tastes good! 

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Along the seashore with Cebu island in the background.

Even the workers on the bus look up when the driver REALLY lays into the horn.  You know that the brakes are coming on hard.  Gulp.  Safely back again.  It simply amazes me that there are not more accidents then there are.   I don’t ride in the front of the bus, I don’t want to be the first person to the scene of the accident.  I also don’t want to see how close we are coming to all the people using the bus driver’s road.  The drivers seem to think they own it.

We missed Presco’s store by about 100 feet, not bad.  There aren’t many landmarks in Ajong.   We took a break, then over to the house to load up our luggages.  They filled the car, just enough room for Presco, Praxy, little Zach, and I to fit in.  We aren’t hauling this many luggages around ever again.  If we ship stuff in, we will leave the bags in either Manila or Cebu.  Or ship it directly to it’s destination from the states.  But, we got down the the Bethel Guest House in downtown Dumaguete just fine. 

The room was quite nice, 1100 pesos plus 100 to take us to the ferry terminal.

IMG_4822 (1024x683)  Not bad at all, about $30 or so for air con, hot water, and a good restaurant downstairs.  I recommend the Bethel to future visitors.  We walked down to get some money from the bank, then went shoe shopping for Praxy.  Nothing downtown, so off to Robinson’s mall.  I may have mentioned that there was supposedly a Mexican restaurant at Robinson’s, so this time I got serious about finding it.  And I did.  The food was Mexicanish, but quite good.  I tried the Margaurita, and it was made with Jose Cuervo and was very strong and tasty.  I closed my eyes and for a brief moment I was in Puerto Vallarta sipping liquor and listening to a mariachi band.  Opened my eyes and poof, back with the hectic chaos that marks a Philippine city.  Finally found her some shoes she liked and we took a trike back to the motel. 

Next morning, up early at 6 for breakfast.  As I mentioned, good food and a decent price.  We walked around downtown for a little exercise and returned for a quick shower.  Then into the van a off to the pier.

Walked in to the terminal and found out, I had to go to the “corporate” office about two blocks away to get my eticket exchanged for a real ticket.  Fortunately there was no hassle and no additional charge.  While I was there, the stevedores tried to take Praxy for 1000 pesos to put our luggage on the ship.  She balked and settled on 600 when we see that the luggage is where it belongs and is all in one piece.  What a racket.  Everywhere you go round here, someone is trying to separate you from your money in an unfair way.  Sounds just like Mexico.  A person has to be vigilant.

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As I’m writing this, the ferry arrived, around 11:30am.  An hour and 45 minutes to load this plus more.  There must be 1000 people getting on this boat.  I’m glad I got a stateroom, best cabin in the house.  The cost was, get this, 4200 pesos for a private stateroom.  At 104.00 USD, I just couldn’t resist.  The pictures online looked encouraging, we’ll see when we get on board.   The ship should start loading soon, so I’m signing off and getting ready.

12/15/2011  11:30am local time

In the cabin and writing in air conditioned comfort.   The window to our cabin is just below the bridge far to the left on the upper deck, room 301.  I think the life ring right above our window is rattling around.

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There are four staterooms across the front.  EVERY other room on the ship is shared.  The upper deck has 6 beds in a room, you may or may not be with relatives.  The lower decks are rooms have hundreds in each room.  They are all air con that I can see, lucky for the passengers.     Except for the staterooms, everyone shares bathrooms, men and women.  I wouldn’t mind that but for a lot of these people don’t care to clean up behind themselves.  Whatever, I’m glad I booked early.

A quick checkin with the desk on the third floor and we were shown our room.  Paid stevedore #69 his 600 pesos.   I think that was too steep, but I’m not going to make an issue out of it.  And I’m sure glad I didn’t have to haul stuff up here.   I think 400 would have been about right.

The room is certainly nice enough, clean and very spartan.  The window is hopelessly stained on the outside by seawater, but I have a fair view of Negros going by, all I have to do is look to my right.  We have twin beds, and our own bathroom.  While we were away this afternoon watching the loading…(hold that thought)

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Lines, lines, lines, of people.  There must be 3000 on board.

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There must be 50 containers inside the ship.  The van is going in and afterwards the two little truck tractors went in as well.  This boat is stuffed.  I can understand why ferries sink so frequently in the Philippines and Malaysia.  Yes, I checked the weather this morning from the Bethel Lodge.  Looks good.  We have about two foot seas as I write this.

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The ramp comes up for the trucks and we pulled away.

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Us on the sun deck.  Sheesh, it was hot in that sun.  Guess that’s why it was called the sun deck, dummy.   Time to come back in and…

…a TV had showed up in our room.  Dunno what we could possibly watch, but there must be something.  No satellite service on the ship and I don’t think there is a cable for TV being strung along behind us.And we were on our way, about an hour late. 

So long, Dumaguete!IMG_4868 (1024x683)

Back to the desk on the third floor.  I had to ask a rather busy young man about the restaurant.  He glanced at our tickets and of course we have the “ritzy” one on the third deck, a short walk from our cabin.  He checked us in.  I politely asked about the towels missing in our room, and the guy decided to take a good look at our tickets.  Then he did the classic double take.  The balding foreigner wearing shorts, a tank top, and tennis shoes was in stateroom 301, the first one sold on this voyage.   Everything in a stateroom is paid for in advance and included (a princely sum in the Philippines).  Things were missing and/or not taken care of.  I got a “YES SIR! PARDON ME SIR! RIGHT AWAY SIR!”, the bellhop bell was rung loudly, the towels quickly delivered, and now all is well.  It made me chuckle.

I guess people usually don’t pay in advance.  I’m sure he won’t forget me now!

Praxy is getting her nails done.  We eat dinner around 6.  If I’m awake, there is a karaoke contest on the second floor tonight.  One of the guys in the beauty shop is judging and invited me to sing after Praxy mentioned I do sing.  He had (yes, had) a boyfriend in Tacoma, WA and misses him after being dumped.  Another hairdresser walked in, a trans.  Hmmm.

Are all hairdressers in the Philippines gay?   Not that I’m worried or care about it.

12/15/2011   5:00pm


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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