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Pictures of our 2nd visit to the Philippines with our car from Nov. 2010 - Jan. 2011
[Part 2: Islands of Negros – Cebu   with our vehicle from December 2010 to January 2011]
 
2nd Visit Part 1: Luzon (South) – Islands of Mindoro – Panay   with our vehicle from November to December 2010
2nd Visit Part 3: Island of Bohol – Luzon (South)   with our vehicle in January 2011
1st Visit to the Philippines: Luzon (North)  without vehicle in February 2008
 
 
Philippines Map
 
 
          Map of
    Southeast Asia
 
latest picture: January 14, 2011
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Island of Negros    12/5/2010 - 1/12/2011  and  1/20 - 1/21/2011
 
 
 
 
 
 
161  Christmas 2010 is approaching:
Close to the city of Bago – South of
Bacolod – cribs are lining up one after
the other in a small roadside copse. All
are made from simple materials …..
162  ..... we look at all of them.
This one we like the best
163  Two boys smile at us. One
of them is chewing a piece of sugar
cane that is planted everywhere on
both sides of the road. The island of
Negros is also called the Sugar Island
 
Coming from Panay we reach towards the evening Bacolod, an “over-half-a-million-city” and the capital of Negros Occidental. The island owes its name to its original inhabitants, the “Negritos”. During its heydays in the sugar cane business between 1880 and 1930 however, Negros was also named “Sugar Island”. In the ‘Royal Am Rei’ city hotel we find a comfortable accommodation for Peso 1’000 (US$23) that suits us – ideal to get some things done.
 
 
 
 
 
 
164  Brightly painted outrigger
boats are pulled up near Cauayan
at the palm fringed river bank .....
165  ..... that is meandering lazily
through the fertile plain .....
166  ..... looking peacefully with
its modest nipa palm huts
 
We buy three oil filters at the Toyota dealer (we are short of an oil change) and apply at the immigration for our second and last visa extension that is obtainable in every main town. After we finally find the building with many detours due to the many one-way streets, there is a notice at its door: “Moved”. Well, at the end we locate it and everything is just smooth and easy. Within an hour, the extension is stamped into our passport and we leave the immigration with Peso 15’000 (US$342!) less in our pockets. No doubt, it is our most expensive extension ever!
 
 
 
 
 
 
167  On the Eastern side of the
road crossing the wide river in
Binalbagan, oysters and mussels
are farmed in big quantities
168  The fishermen in the plains
live in simple, airy thatched huts,
adjusted to its humid hot climate
169  On the Western side of the road
rafts made from bamboo are used for
pulling up the fishing boats at this
swampy river bank near Binalbagan
 
Urgent is also the welding of a front windscreen pillar rusted through already since Indonesian Sumatra. Where do we find a trusty welder? Luck has it that in the SM Supermarket we meet Ursula and Romanus from Switzerland, an early retired couple who chose 1 years ago the Philippines as their second home and are building a villa in Punta Ballo near Sipalay in the Southwest of the island.
 
 
 
 
 
 
170  The Southwest coast between
Cauayan and Sipalay is dotted with
scattered islands covered
with lush vegetation
171  The vast „Poblacion Beach“
at the sprawling town of Sipalay
172  View from Sipalay over the same
named river to the Northeast. In the front nipa
palms are growing. Woven to mats, the palm
leaves traditionally are used to cover the roofs
of the huts – therefore the name “nipa huts”
 
Spontaneously they invite us. Yes, they even have a welder. Awesome! Therefore a few days later on a rainy morning we pack our bags and drive the 112 miles to the Southwest, past rice paddies in different growing stages and huge silver green sugar cane fields. Convoys of trucks, heavily loaded with sugar cane, rumble endlessly down the highway. The harvest is in full progress.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
173  Monday market in Sipalay.
Vegetable is cheep: 1 kg of sweet
potatoes or eggplants costs 10 Peso
(US$ 0.20), 1 kg tomatoes triply
174  A fancy shoemaker.
„Sapatos“ means shoes – Zapatos
in Spanish – a reminder of the
Spanish occupation pre-1900
175  Students in their school uniform
happily pose for a picture in front of one
of the two “supermarkets” in Sipalay
 
Through a windy road, we approach the coastal village of Sipalay and are immediately pleasantly surprised at the beauty and remoteness of this region. Scattered outcrops covered with dense green vegetation tower from the sea, picturesque fishing villages line the beach. On grids tiny fish are put out to dry, fishermen are mending their nets and children are playing joyfully at the beach.
 
 
 
 
 
 
176  Motorized three wheelers gather
at Sipalay’s main square. Westerners
usually pay six to ten times more for
the same distance than locals
177  It is quite hard work for the
boy. Bicycle rickshaws are
not so common anymore
178  Village huts with a small
shop along the way from
Sipalay to Punta Ballo
 
Life is going here its quiet pace. The empty white sandy beaches with its colorfully painted outriggers add to the charm. We find people more open and friendlier than before. In Sipalay we branch off to the small side road leading to Punta Ballo. After four miles Ursula and Romanus are already waving in front of their villa.
 
 
 
 
 
 
179  Along the way from Sipalay to
Punta Ballo the view from the bridge
over the colorful outriggers is stunning
180  Fishing boats anchor in
this estuary in the South of Sipalay
181  Densely forested hills dominate
the scenery around Sipalay
 
We like how they live, although it looks still pretty much of a construction site: Their house sits on a hill and is surrounded by majestic palm trees and tropical vegetation. Through a clearing, they have ocean view. And all around it is peaceful and quiet – simply beautiful. They have three cats, the four months playful kitten immediately finds its way into our hearts. With Ursula and Romanus – both motivated people – we have many things in common: Especially, we share the same joy to explore the world and the same enthusiasm for all the exotic places.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
182  Children from the fisher
community in Sipalay are keen
to pose for a picture
183  Sea passage through small
bays at Bulubadian Point between
Sipalay and Punta Ballo
184  The boy shows his sisters
who is the boss on board.
Or is he just being a gentleman?
 
Sipping a glass of homemade pineapple wine or one/two “Red Horse” beers we spend many hours with interesting talks on their terrace. When night falls, we enjoy the ever changing colors of the setting sun and watch the fishermen in their outrigger boats returning home. Attracted by the light, a spotted gecko and moths suddenly appear. Can life be more beautiful?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
185  Punta Ballo, 4 miles from
Sipalay: Our Swiss hosts Ursula and
Romanus with Emil at lunch time
on their veranda with sea view …..
186  ..... from where we
enjoy a wonderful
sunset each evening …..
187  ..... and the white beach of Punta
Ballo is only a stone’s throw away
 
Three days just spin away. On the fourth day Romanus surprises us with the offer to stay as long as we like. Who can withstand it, having since a long time thought about where we might escape the crowd over the coming Christmas festivities. On the fifth day, he and Ursula fly for three weeks on vacation to Thailand and we have the house including the three cats for ourselves.
 
 
 
 
 
 
188  In Ursula’s and Romanus’
garden we discover a spider,
presumably a “St. Andrew’s Cross
Spider” (Argiope), weaving its net. First
there was only one white line, after a
couple of days the second followed …..
189  ..... each morning at the same
time a yellow bird, a black-naped
Oriole (Oriolus chinensis) makes
a short but vociferous rest
on a palm tree .....
190  ..... and in the evening, a red
dotted Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko)
appears at the porch’s ceilings.
Its call is not less loud
 
It is not the first time that unexpectedly we can do house-sitting. It started in South Africa, followed by Australia, USA, French Guiana, East-Malaysia (Borneo), New Zealand and Brunei, and each time it is in its way exciting. That wi-fi was installed only four days ago is an additional treat.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
191  A boy climbs sky-high a slender
palm tree to harvest the coconuts. Up in
the treetop he gets bitten by a nonvenomous
snake – it’s a pretty dangerous job
192  Collecting firewood for cooking
is mostly the task of the children
193  An exhilarant and inseparable
team at Ursula und Romanus:
The male cat and its kitten
 
On Christmas Day, everything matches: The ocean is as smooth as glass, the sky above us bright blue and the tall slender palm trees sway in the light sea breeze. In the evening, we are sitting on the porch when the red ball of the sun sets. A chicken from the grill and a couple of beers are enough for the little celebration for the two of us. Fire flies dance and twinkle above our head in the darkness. They make this 27th Christmas Eve far away from home a very special one.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
194  A thunderstorm is approaching …..
195
196
..... when in Punta Ballo near Sipalay – at the West coast of Negros –
the sun sets, the mood is wonderful and peaceful
 
We recall: Where in this world did we celebrate Christmas the last ten years? A year ago it was in the Pacific in the Kingdom of Tonga. There was not much to celebrate though. I was lying in bed with a badly infected dog bite and was worried about loosing my left leg. One year earlier we celebrated in Vanuatu (also in the Pacific) in a quiet Korean owned motel directly at the sea shore. 2007 Christmas was in Hong Kong, shortly before Emil’s mother died – 2006 East-Java in Indonesia. Christmas Day 2005 in Phnom Penh/Cambodia is definitively again on the negative side, as I broke my leg – again the left one – due to being hit by a drunken car driver; the two years before were in the Caribbean: 2004 = Sint Maarten; 2003 = Saint Lucia; 2002 = Guyana; 2001 = California/USA and 2000 = Texas/USA.
 
 
 
 
 
 
197  In the tropics flowers seem
to gleam more brilliantly than
elsewhere: Hibiscus
198  A remembrance picture at
the Sipalay river before we continue
our trip towards the South
199  From the road, South of
Sipalay we enjoy the view
to the Campomanes Bay
 
The old year bid its farewell and the New Year dawned. We are still at the same spot. The reason is especially the flooding and the landslides that are currently devastating Southeastern Luzon and the islands more South of it – our next planned destination in the East of the Philippines. Finally, after exactly 28 days (it did not feel that long), i.e. one day after the return of Ursula and Romanus from Thailand, we say good-bye to our new friends and head towards Dumanguete, the capital of Negros Oriental.
 
 
 
 
 
 
200  Along the Southwestern coastal
road close to Hinoba-an, a palm
grove invites to a relaxed picnic
201  Two boys pose for a picture
in front of their thatched home
202  Wedged between steep slopes
and the sea, short before Basay: This
picturesque fishing village lies still on
the side of Negros Occidental but
close to the border of Negros Oriental
 
Different things are to be blamed that we do not manage to reach Dumanguete before darkness. Firstly, we enjoy our grilled chicken picnic intensively in a shady palm grove along the sea shore. Secondly, we need to search for the reason why suddenly the horn stopped working on the way, hooting being absolutely essential when overtaking. .....>
 
 
 
 
 
 
203  The cluster of fishermen huts with
their colorful outrigger canoes on the
small stretch of beach spread a sense
of peaceful island life
204  Testimony of a great fisher
nation: The big outrigger boat
carries small canoes on board
205  Palm trees and outrigger boats
– a tropical paradise?
 
Thirdly, the plug of our “Engel” car-fridge starts to melt and Emil has to bypass it. Fourthly, the scenery in the Southwest with its romantic sandy bays sandwiched between lush green hills and the sea is so lovely that we take plenty of time to take pictures. And fifthly, as a matter of principle, we drive at night only in an emergency.
 
 
 
 
 
 
206  We relax four days at the black
sandy beach with its leaning palm trees
at the “Well Beach Dive Resort“ in the
Southeast of Negros (Oriental), one
mile North of Maluay/Zamboanguita …..
207  ..... each evening we
enjoy a beautiful sunset .....
208  ..... and watch the constantly
changing bizarre towers of clouds
sailing above the small
offshore island of Apo
 
Therefore the sign “Well Beach Dive Resort“ one mile North of Maluay/Zamboanguita appears just at the right moment. And there we stay not only one night, but five. We like the black sandy beach with its bended palm trees. We like the spacious, bright and quiet house in an adjacent garden rented additionally by the resort.
 
 
 
 
 
 
209  The weekly market under palm
trees in the small village of Malatapay/
Maluay is attracting the hill people
from the whole region …..
210  ..... at one corner, people debate
about a cock. Cock fights (Sabong) are
still wide spread in the Philippines – some
of them are legal, the others illegal …..
211  ..... at another corner pigs are
traded. Due to their sensitive skin
under the strong sun, water is poured
over them once in a while
 
And especially, we like the food in the restaurant. For a long time we will dream of the Sausage-Cheese Salad, the Cordon Bleu, the Wienerschnitzel and the Pizza. The hotel is managed by Guido, a Swiss, and his Philippines wife Marevic. The guests are mainly divers, mostly from Germany and Switzerland.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
212  A couple of musicians earn a
few pesos while making music …..
213  ….. a nostalgic market kitchen .....
214  ….. and a lady vendor with a
wide brimmed hut waiting for customers
 
Pictures from our return trip from South to North on 1/20 and 1/21/2011:
 
 
 
 
 
 
215  Sugar Cane is harvested. The
Island of Negros is also called
“Sugar Cane Island”. Its heyday
was between l880 and 1930
216  Not really comfortable,
but at least shady
217  Landscape on the inland route over
the hills between San Carlos at the East
coast of Negros Occidental (!) and
its capital Bacolod in the West
 
On the fifth day, one day after the big weekly market in Maluay, we give us a kick and leave this relaxed place and at the same time also the island of Negros. The ferry in Tampi, 10 miles North of Dumanguete, is ready for departure and the gate is closing when we come rushing at 11.30am. We had luck as the next would have left only at 2.30pm.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
218  A small mountain village, half hidden
by coconut trees, sits on a mountain hill on
the inland route around the Kanlaon volcano
between San Carlos and Bacolod …..
219  ….. on our descent to the
West, the landscape spoils us
with lush rice terraces and another
volcano in the distance …..
220  ….. a freshly planted rice
field that has always its special appeal
 
While I run to the ticket booth and pay for the three of us Peso 870 (US$20) for a one-hour sea journey to Bato on the island of Cebu, Emil is already boarding with the LandCruiser. As soon as I am on the ferry too, the ramp is lifted and slowly we head out to sea. We are sad to leave Negros as we found people and places we have grown fond of.
 
 
 
 
 
 
221  A Christian procession is carrying
a statue of a saint from the San Sebastian
Cathedral through the streets of Bacolod City
222  Our LandCruiser on the car
ferry from the island of Negros (Bacolod)
to the island of Panay (Dumangas)
223  The island of Negros bits
farewell to us with an impressive sky
 
Island of Cebu    1/13/ - 1/14/2011  and  1/19 - 1/20/2011
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
224  We are approaching the island
of Cebu. At the landing site in Bato
at the South coast, the blue church
under renovation strikes the eye
225  Obviously we don't have
the only overloaded vehicle!
226  We reach the Southern cape
at Santander on a good tarmac road
that mostly follows the seashore
 
We have no great expectations of Cebu when we go ashore at Bato, the ferry landing at the Southwest coast. With a population of around 2’500’000 heads, Cebu is the second most important island after Luzon. Cebu City counts about 1 million people. However, the only way to reach our dream destination of Bohol, leads through Cebu. At least the stretch from Bato to the South cape has a certain island charm and the good tarmac road runs even mostly along the sea shore. But in the East, everything is different: Population and traffic increase, it is dirty, noisy und polluted. The closer we come to Cebu City, the more we feel the chaos. Mid-afternoon we are fed up and make a night stop in Carcar, 25 miles short of the mega city.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
227  In the modest coastal village
before Boljoon on the East coast
there is an impressive old Basilica
228  Our LandCruiser is the only
car on the ferry from Cebu City
to Tubigon on the island of Bohol
229  Cebu City lies beneath an impressive
cloudy sky. Counting about 2 million people it
is the second biggest town in the Philippines
 
Next morning, we have no choice than to pull out into traffic again and continue our drive with the many three wheeler taxis and trucks that discharge thick black clouds of smoke towards the “smog dome”of Cebu City. Both of us have only the wish to escape. Luck has it that from the busy city port a ferry from the Lite Line is sailing to Tubigon on the island of Bohol at noon and we manage to catch it after we have been asked to pay at five different booths: 1) port access Peso 10. 2) Bill of Lading (yes, here a B/L is issued!) Peso 2’210. 3) terminal handling charges for the LandCruiser Peso 168. 4) Ticket for myself (Emil as driver is included in the car’s tariff) Peso 200. 5) Terminal fees for myself Peso 10. Total Peso 2’598 (US$59). Typically a disproportionate bureaucracy! How easy and relaxed it was on all the previous ferries, where we simply could buy a ticket at ONE booth, like it is usually done on ro-ro-ferries! The “Strong Republic Nautical Highway” shows still some humps.
 
 
 
 
 
 
230
231
232
Some small islands appear during our crossing, two of them are heavily overbuilt
 
Spectacular white clouds form dramatically surreal towers over Cebu City when we take off towards Bohol. Besides us there are only a few more passengers on this small vessel. It is open on all sides and we are able to gaze in all directions: To Cebu’s coast; to the scattered tiny islets, sometimes surrounded by a sandy belt - in many cases densely populated; to the fishermen in their outrigger canoes and to the tropical showers that pass by along Bohol’s Northeastern hills.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
233  We are crossing the oncoming
ferry of the “Lite Shipping” on its
way to Cebu City …..
234  ….. a young passenger
girl follows Liliana everywhere
235  ..... there is no beer on
the ferry ….. just Pepsi!
 
 
More websites from the Philippines:
2nd Visit Part 1: Luzon (South) – Islands of Mindoro – Panay   with our vehicle from November to December 2010
2nd Visit Part 3: Island of Bohol – Luzon (South)   with our vehicle in January 2011
1st Visit to the Philippines: Luzon (North)   without vehicle in February 2008