Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ferry to Siquijor - Philippines

I took a ferry from Dumaguete City out to the island of Siquijor, one of the Philippines smallest provinces. It was close, just a one-hour ferry ride to an island that doesn't get visited by too many people, most of whom go to the totally commercial and over-priced Boracay. Boracay is beautiful, as most of the Philippines is, but I prefer the less beaten down paths.
"Siquijor is considered by many Filipinos to be a mystical island, full of witches and other supernatural phenomena," and for that reason many Philippinos won't spend the night on the island.

"Lightning laced the sky in white fire.
The earth wailed in the painful, joyous sound of new life.
The ground shuddered, the seas raged.
The churning waters parted and from the ocean's womb was born an island of rock and fire.

Thus did, according to legend, the island of Siquijor emerge from the sea."

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Siquijor Philippines

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The beach in front of my hostel looking both ways. It was almost deserted. I was only one of three people staying at the Norwegian Dream. You could also snorkel, the water was clear and beautiful and wasn't too cold. I could stay there for hours and see no one.

Norwegian Dream Hotel Siquijor Philippines

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Siquijor Philippines Siquijor Philippines Siquijor Philippines Siquijor Philippines
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These sweet peas came to visit me everyday at the hostel and we went swimming together. They lived up the road and didn't get to speak with foreigners too often. I fell in love with their pig, he kinda reminded me of a boyfriend I once had... something about those eyes.

Siquijor Philippines

Siquijor Philippines
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This is the view from my room at the Norwegian Dream, named for a Norwegian shipper that built the place with his Filipina wife. She was a character, addicted to karaoke, and I discovered that combined with half a gallon of vodka and a half-decent song list, karaoke was a darn good afternoon's amusement, that is, if you could wrestle the mic out of her hand for a go.

Siquijor Philippines
Siquijor Philippines
Siquijor Philippines
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I have to add a picture of Maddie and Jess because they were so incredible. The first questions from the natives are always the same - "Are you alone?" - a look of stifled pity when I say yes followed by - "Are you lonely?" I've been asked these two questions over and over again no matter where I go. I should get a t-shirt printed up with the words "Not Lonely Yet!" or perhaps it should read:
"Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired."

Siquijor Philippines

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A Lucky Break

One night I went into the small town of Siquijor, about 5 kms from The Norwegian Hotel where I was staying, but I didn't know there were no taxis available for the return trip.

I walked up to the main road that cirled the island and waited at a pickup point for taxis when three young men ran after me and asked if I needed a ride to my place. They told me there were no taxis at night. I was hestitant, but I had no ride, and it was too far to walk along the dark road. I asked who would drive me on the bike and one man pointed to one of the others. He looked either stoned or drunk to me. I wasn't sure I'd take the ride, but I haggled with him over the price nevertheless.

All of a sudden, two men with a young baby drove up on a bike and the guy on the back said, "You're not going with them are you?" as he dismounted and stared at the other men.
"Why, is there a problem?" I asked, but he didn't say any thing more. I looked at the guy driving, who had a baby tucked in front of him on the gas tank and said, "You drive me then."
As I got on the bike I asked him to leave the baby with his pal and come back, it would be safer, but he said he was going home.

He was super talkative, and even with the baby dangerously perched in front of him he kept looking around at me, his hand waving in the air. I kept telling him to keep both hands on the handlebars so we didn't crash.

'Careful with the baby!' He was really nice and I got back safely, but I just shook my head and sighed as I watched him drive off again with that baby with no helmet, no nothing. So. Saved again? I didn't trust the men offering me a lift home and then suddenly dude showed up. I think I'm lucky. Let's hope it stays that way.
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