Philippines Day 4

At 7am I went out to get breakfast on the beach.  i had decided to leave Apo, and had hitched a ride with a flambouyant gay old Frenchman called Jack, and his young lover, a tall, elegant Parisian.  Jack was a funny bloke, outspoken and fiercely anti-American.

I ate breakfast alone.  Am omelette and a cup of lukewarm tea.  I always eat alone.  I haven’t yet joined anyone for a meal.  I’m enjoying my own company, but sometimes I get lonely.  Still, it’s nice to worry about nothing but my plans and myself.

After breakfast I paid my dues and hopped on the bumboat with Jack and his lover.  Again, I sat at the front.  It was time to say goodbye to this little island..  It had been nice.  Two nights was enough, however.  I got completely drenched again before we hit the shore at Malatapay.  Today, being a Wednesday, was market day.  A visual local feast then festooned itself before my culture-hungry eyes.  Everything could be bought here.  A man steered 2 buffalo down the dustt track in front of us.  Old women stood at fish stalls crowing about their wares.  Such a fine scene it was.  I was quickly drying off as we walked, and soon I was bone-dry once again.  Jack had suggested; rather demanded, that we catch the cheap Jeepney (a cross between a bus and a jeep) back to Dumaguete, so we waited at the roadside for around 30 minutes in the blazing morning heat as villagers bustled past us carrying live chickens.  When a Jeepney arrived, everybody stuffed inside, bags on top.  The jeepney was colouful, and crammed with happy villagers clutching their market buys.  To stop s jeepney, passengers have to frantically tap the roof or any metal surface with a coin.  The bus stopped around 15 times before we finally reached ou destination proper.  At this point, I bid farewell to my brief travelling companions, keeping Anglo-French relations solid.  I took a tricycle for P10 down to the Pier.

Once at the Pier, I organised my ticket to Tagbilaran, the port town of Bohol.  With time to spare, I gave the security guard at check-in P60, told him to look after my bag, and caught a tricycle to the Plaza.  Once there, I got another 150 photos transferred to CD, then had a good walk round the town, before finally stopping in a place called Why Not?  Cafe and nightclub.  I ordered some rather unappetizing food, then headed to the pier.  Dumaguete, I discovered, is a very pleasant university town, fairly peaceful and with some interesting old churches and markets.  It was worth a little more time than the four hours I spent traversing it, but I had to move on.

The oceanjet ferry cossing to Tagbilaran was smooth, made smooter with my new item of literature, FHM Philippines.  This is how to learn the real culture, national psyche etc of a place!  When i arrived, a bloke called Edrick offered to take me to a hotel.  I opted for the Via Bohol Tourist Inn.  I befriended the receptionist immediately and asked her out for dinner.  not because I had amorous intentions, but because I was sick of eating alone and needed company.  She was shy, though, so it never happened!  Rooms were comfortable, clean,and only P850 a night.  Cable TV as well!

I showered, changed, then felt ready for action.  I took a tricycle for P8 to a place called Garden Cafe, where all the staff are deaf.  Perhaps tastebuds arent in proper working order either, as the food was awful.  The place had a Country and  Western style theme, but that novelty soon wore off.  I got a tricyce to Metro Centre, where they have a popular club.  It wasn’t busy yet though, so I wondered around and stumbled into a place called Solid Gold KTV.  I should have known.  Unaware of what kind of place it was, i was shocked when a frank Mama-san showed me a pink room full of scantily-clad ladies, also in pink.  They were gathered around a TV.  Some were smiling, laughing.  Others looked bored.  Others looked petrified.  Most looked no older than 18.  The mama-san demanded I choose one.  I decided instead to quickly finish my San Miguel and go back to my hotel for a couple of hours as the town was too empty to begin a night out.

I emerged again at 10pm, ready for the night.  This time I hit Bohol Tropics, a big, plush club, clearly popular with then local crowd.  I met a gay bloke and his female companion at the entrance, and they befriended me.  Once inside, they introduced me, or rather I introduced myself, to a sexy tall German lady with black hair and an outrageous blonde streak at the front.  We got on splendidly, and as the only foreign woman living in the place, she appeared to be quite a local celebrity.  I was buying drinks fro everyone all night, they are so cheap compared to Singapore.  I felt rich again, just like I did when I used to travel during the time I lived in Japan, such was the strength of the Yen.  It was also great to have some company.  Later, we all went to Metro Hotel’s club, and danced the night away. After 10 San Miguels, 4 rum-cokes, 2 long island iced teas, and a few shots of various things, I left.  It was 3:30am.  Had to be up at 7am for my trip around Bohol with Edrick.  But what an enjoyable day and night!

Author: Neil

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