Monday morning, 7:30am

Amado, Peter, and family leaving for Tacloban

Amado, Peter, and family leaving for Tacloban

They are off to retrieve Pym from the hospital in Tacloban.  His foot is in “cemento”, a cast.  They aren’t sure if the doctor will release him yet but they are eager to bring him home.  They also spent a long time yesterday washing the pickup.  It was filthy after splashing through all the road construction.

Back to the first day.  Getting from points A to B.

There are several ways to get around the area.  I’ll go over them.  This will continue for the next few posts as I encounter them.  I’ve ridden in everything from pedicabs to modern jetliners.  Paddle boats to gigantic ferries with a stateroom.  Horse carts to air conditioned buses.  Not much intimidates me.  Or surprises me.  Now.  But it sure did on my first trip!

The pedicab

A pedicab driver with his son in the "cab".

A pedicab driver with his son in the “cab”.

This is about the cheapest way to get around short distances other than the “shoe leather express.”  5 pesos or so will get you across town.  They are common in areas where the people are poor and distances are short.

Wanna go for a ride?

Wanna go for a ride?

It’s hard work.  I doubt if the drivers make much money after paying for rent on the cab.   I’ll bet $5.00usd is tops.  Best to ask a local about prices before you ride if you are a foreigner.  We got “ripped off” yesterday.  I paid a buck for a 15 cent ride.  But, I’m not worried about it.  Hard for me to take small amounts of money seriously in the midst of poverty.

Once, years ago, I was in El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico, looking for the train station.  My ex and I were planning a trip to Copper Canyon and I wanted to find out where everything was the day before as the train left at 6:30am.   A beautiful young girl of about 12 years old tracked me down and held her hand out.  In it was an American quarter, absolutely useless to her and her family.  Some idiot gringo had tipped her father for something, maybe luggage, and she was sent to “charm” this hopefully dumb gringo and get extra Mexican dinero.   “Cinco (five) pesos, por favor?” with puppydog eyes.  I knew exactly what it was worth as the exchange was 10-1, so I countered with “Tres (three) pesos”, giving her a slight break.   “Oh. cinco pesos, por favor.”  “Tres pesos”  “Senior, cinco pesos, por favor”, almost in fake tears.  This riled me a bit.  “NO”.  I shook the coin at her sternly and gruffly replied  “DOS Y MEDIA (two and one half) PESOS, AQUI.  Dos pesos ahora o nada (two pesos now or nothing)” as I was pretending to be irritated.  She shriveled into her sandals with sagging shoulders, thoroughly chastised and murmured while staring at her feet “OK, tres pesos” now just hoping for three.  She was beaten at her own game.

I solemnly counted out two pesos, then three more with grin.  Her worn but clean clothing and broken shoes proved her family could use the extra money.  She beamed a smile back at me, thanked me, then raced home with her five peso prize.

The point wasn’t the money.  I wanted her to know in no uncertain terms that I knew what was going on.

Back to 2015.  For longer distances, beyond the reach of pedals, you can use the tricycle.

Cheap motorized transportation, Philippine style

Cheap motorized transportation, Philippine style

These things are everywhere.  Must be millions in the Philippines.   I know the attached cab is very very hard on small motorcycles and many drivers slip the clutch ruthlessly.  But that is their problem, not mine.   A 1 kilometer trip is about 15 pesos around here.  40 cents or so.

So, what is there to see around here?   Walking or the above modes of transportation present…


Praxy makes a choice

Praxy makes a choice

Lets see.  Pork, chicken, adobo, rice, fish, vegetables, all well prepared by her father in the kitchen.


At the table

Sorry about the closed eyes. but this is the only shot of the interior.

The bill

The bill

Bicol Express was spicy pork.  Not hot, but very flavorful.  Pakbet was a vegetable stew of squash, egg plant, potatoes, a leafy green, and juice.  The tiny bottles of water are very “expensive” around here.  Same one is 10 pesos on the streets of Cebu.  But that is much better than getting the “scoots”.

So far, the fanciest (and only restaurant I’ve seen) in town.  A whopping $3.80 for a very tasty and filling meal.  A tip rounded the bill up to 200php.  Much more than we wanted to eat.  Peter finished it off yesterday morning at breakfast.  Walking around afterwards…

Nice house

Nice house

There are a few of these around.  Probably parents of children working abroad.

Hand pump

Hand pump

Local waterworks

Local waterworks

This kind of ingenuity fascinates me.  A water jug and a hose.   Under the houses and down the block.  To a cistern.  And probably several families share the water barrel.  It gets low and someone runs back to the pump for a refill.  These hand pumps are common throughout the town.  Very few people can afford a pressure tank and electric pump.  We are fortunate to have running water.

Tricycle getting low on fuel?  Not to worry.

The local gas station.

The local gas station.

The barrio of Can-Avid is too small to have it’s own gas station.  So the locals, every resourceful, improvise.  Two stroke motorcycle?  No problem.  Properly measured oil for premixed gas will be somewhere close and also for sale.  Dump it into the Coke bottle, shake it up, into the gas tank, and go about your business.

Street game

Street game

Money is scarce around here, few people can afford internet.  So on a Sunday afternoon, the children play games in the street rather than stare at computer screens (like me or kids in America).  This was some sort of game of tag or chase.  Whenever I get close, the kids stop and stare.  This is the best photo I got while shooting from the hip and looking nonchalant.


Meena’s younger sister

While walking through town on the first night, we ran into Meena’s younger sister.  Meena has dementia and needs 24 hour care.  The sister isn’t feeling good, has a sore back, so she hasn’t been over since I’ve been here.

We took off over to Amado’s little farm for the morning to look around.


Rice paddy paddle machine

I see these in just about every rice paddy.  I think it is some sort of tiller or mud mover.   The engine is in the house and will be put in place soon.  Amado has over 8 hectare of rice nearby.


Odd looking flower

Dunno what this plant is, but the flower are cool.  Look like a drum stick.  Amado plants anything and everything.  It is his hobby.


Four winged beans

Edible and high in protein.  Might get to try some today.


Praxy enjoying the harvest

A huge smile on my wife’s face.  She picked leaves, star fruit, beans, egg plant, anything that looked ripe.  The star fruit was over ripe, also some of the eggplants.  That goes to the chickens and pigs.  Speaking of which…while we were there, Amado hauled a pig off to butcher and cook for Sheila’s birthday party.  Not a happy camper as he was being strapped to the motorcycle.

It was totally yummy.


Many egg plants.

Praxy will cook these for dinner.  I’ll eat at least two of them.  A favorite of mine.  People around here do not eat enough vegetables in my opinion.

Lastly, a few pictures of Sheila’s party.


The food


The some of the well wishers


And, the birthday girl

Thirty years young.  Most of the guests were high school teachers as that is Sheila’s profession.  She is working on a PHD in something to do with education.  Not sure what, but she teaches Monday-Friday, goes to college in Borongan on Saturday, and gets ready for the next week on Sunday.  Now THAT is a busy schedule.  Needless to say, no boyfriends showed up.

Three hours of karaoke later, it was bedtime.

OK, I’ve run out of pictures.  I’ll finish up here, proofread, and upload.  Then off to see what else inspires me.

10:16am 12/7/2105  Can-avid, Eastern Samar, Philippins







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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