Since the broken nose incident, we had to stick around in Dumaguete for a few more days until I got the stitches out. It was tough been waited on hand and foot by Hannah whilst I we lorded it up in a swanky 20 quid a night hotel! We were then given the all-clear by the doctor to carry on our travels which was a relief.
The following day we had our first experience of a Filipino bus. We couldn’t believe how small the seats were and how many people they could fit on. It was about as cramped as Linford Christie’s running shorts. Pair this with the sweltering, stifling heat and it made for quite an interesting journey. It took about 4 hours to get to Sipalay and then we had to catch a boat over to our resort on Sugar Beach. The boat approach was stunning. We were very excited to see white sand and clear, blue skies. Our resort, called Takatuka Lodge, was brilliant. It had about 8 different themed rooms and we opted for the ‘Rockadelic’ room themed around music. The little touches around the room were cool. You had to work really hard to find all the light switches as they were hidden amongst the décor. We found one in a guitar, one posing as a DVD player and another light switch masquerading as a pair of ladies nipples!
We had a fantastic three night stay at the resort. It’s amazing how time flies when you just sit on the beach in the sun all day. Unfortunately I couldn’t get my face wet in the water due to my recovering nose but we were still able to go in everyday up to our heads. The other drawback of the accident is also the anti-biotics. Obviously I have been told not to drink whilst taking them which is annoying since the Philippines has the cheapest beer in the world!! I am due to stop the course of anti-biotics on Christmas Eve so I have told Hannah to expect fireworks around then as we bring in the 25th with 50p beers. The food at the resort was excellent. Hannah ate some noodles and a Filipino dish while I, like the cultural chameleon I am, ate chicken and wedges every night!
Beautiful Sipalay was just what we needed after the stress of the accident and Dumaguete. It fuelled us again for the rest of our travels. We had another very busy bus journey to get to the other end of the island of Negros. We left Sipalay and then caught a 5-hour bus to get the port of Bacalod. Like the previous bus we were so tightly packed we were made to feel about as comfortable as a peanut in a Snickers factory. The seats seem to be more suited to people with dwarfish tendencies. At one stage we were sharing a 2-seater with three other people and were surrounding by 4 other children being sick into bags.
It certainly is a unique way of travelling but we feel we are definitely seeing the real side of the Philippines. The 5 hours went surprisingly quickly as we were entertained by the locals. At every other stop (of which there were hundreds) random men jumped aboard the bus to sell the crappiest of foods. We were offered hard boiled eggs that were sweating inside a condensated plastic bag at least 20 times between Sipalay and Bacolod. The other thing we kept noticing were the random buffalos everywhere. You did read that correctly – buffalos. It seems it is common- place to keep a buffalo as a pet and every 400 metres we would see one tied up the edge of the road.
From the bus to Bacolod we caught a 1 hour boat to Iloilo. This is where we are now. It is a pleasant enough little city. It is not as mad as the other Philippines cities. They seem to have the transport system sorted out by actually building pavements for pedestrians to walk on! What a crazy concept – a concreted section of the road solely for the use of people to use rather than sharing the road with a load of wheels and a cacophony of horns. We have been tricycling around for a few days getting ourselves sorted before moving on to Boracay tomorrow.
We are in Boracay for Christmas and New Year. We hear it is very, very cold back home in England and that it will be a white Christmas for many. We wish everyone at home a Merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you all in the new year!