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Pictures of our 2nd visit to the Philippines with our car from Nov. 2010 - Jan. 2011
[Part 1: Luzon (South) – Islands of Mindoro – Panay    with our vehicle from November to December 2010]
 
2nd Visit Part 2: Islands of Negros Cebu   with our vehicle from December 2010 to January 2011
2nd Visit Part 3: Island of Bohol – Luzon (South)   with our vehicle in January 2011
1st Visit: Luzon (North)  without vehicle in February 2008
 
 
Philippines Map
 
 
          Map of
    Southeast Asia
 
latest picture: December 5, 2010
  • click a picture to see details

Luzon (South)    11/5 - 11/17/2010
 
 
 
 
 
 
101  Friday, 11/5/2010: We made it!
In the rain at dusk our LandCruiser was
released from its 20th container in the port
of Subic Bay. Mrs. Dang Reyes and more
helpful hands pose for a welcome picture
102  The “Spanish Gate” – the Westgate
– was the entrance to the original Spanish
Naval Base in Subic Bay, which was
taken over at the turn of the century by
the Americans. Today Subic Bay is a
Philippine Freeport Zone
103  Remembrance photo with the team
of our shipping agent, Portland Marine
Services Inc. in Subic Bay. The Manager,
Ms. Dang Reyes, tried to remove all the
bureaucratic hurdles to smoothen the
release of our LandCruiser from the port
 
A glimmer of hope on the horizon? We are grasping at the last straws when we meet Indai, a Filipino lady in the Lutheran Guesthouse in Goroka in Papua New Guinea. She is working for the United Nations in conflict areas like Darfur, Afghanistan and now PNG and offers us spontaneously to make contact with her influential friends in the Philippines should we not succeed to obtain the extremely difficult entry permit for our LandCruiser . And we do not succeed. Thus we contact her shortly after, the countdown for our car to exit Papua New Guinea having already started: In three weeks time we will have to set the course for its next destination: Either the Philippines or Sri Lanka!
 
And once more, a short, but intensive chance acquaintanceship gets the ball rolling – and it is rolling fast. Indai’s intervention and friends on a ministerial level in Manila go far out of their way to assist us – and miraculously within the very short time available, soon a breakthrough seems in sight. Will our second attempt to discover this country with our own car finally work out? But it is still too early to jubilate, not all the permits from Manila are issued yet. Our chances that we get an exemption from paying duty, tax and a bond from the Ministry of Finance are only 80% to 90% according to Mr. Willy from our shipping agent Soriamont, who is eager to make things work for us – quite contrary to Toyota who does not even have the politeness to answer a question we asked them by email.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
104  The Lighthouse Marina Resort
– a landmark boutique hotel
along the Moonbay Marina
105  Visitors at breakfast: A Luzon
Tarictic Hornbill pair regularly comes
to rest at the same tree at the Subic Bay
Homestay, where we stayed for one week
106  Beach at the
Camayan Beach Resort
 
This percentage is sufficient for us to instruct our agent in Papua New Guinea per email on the last day before the ship is lifting anchor in the port of Lae to change the destination in the Bill of Lading from Sri Lanka to the Philippines. We are ready to take a certain risk – risks belong to our adventure. At this time, we are already in the Sultanate of Brunei on the island of Borneo visiting our friends Julie and Ruedi for a couple of days. We got to know them on our trip through Borneo in 2006 and feast once more on Raclette, the Swiss cheese specialty. Early morning of November 2nd, it is already time again to bid farewell. Ruedi drives us over the border to Miri in Sarawak, where we board AirAsia and fly via Kota Kinabalu in Sabah to the Philippines to join our LandCruiser. Three hours later, we land at Clark Airport, the budget air terminal near Angeles on the island of Luzon. Immigration and customs are fast. The free “visa on arrival” allows us to remain in the country for 21 days.
 
Outside of the airport, Nathan’s parents Barry and Wendy from ‘Subic Bay Home Stay’, which we booked via internet, are welcoming us. On the new express road through lush rural scenery, it takes us only an hour to drive the 50 miles to Subic Bay, where the container with our LandCruiser was unloaded in its port two days ago. Subic Bay was a former US Naval Base, returned to the Philippines in 1991 together with the Clark Air Force Base. In the meantime, both became a Free Port Zone, customs wise separated from the rest of the Philippines, with duty free shops, supermarkets, restaurants, casinos and expensive hotels and – over all – checkpoints at every corner.
 
 
 
 
 
 
107  We drive through pristine jungle,
which still covers a large part
of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone …..
108  ..... where road signs draw our
attention to the special inhabitants .....
109  ..... having a peaceful home here
 
Next morning, on Wednesday, we make contact with Mrs. Dang, the manager of our broker ‘Portland Marine Services’, in order to start with the release procedure. Two days later, on Friday at 6.15pm – it is already dark and it rains – we get her phone call saying that she is on her way to fetch us; we are allowed to drive our LandCruiser out of the port! What a surprise! Everyone seems to work overtime; everything is handled smoothly and kindly. People are smiling and nobody even wants to have a glimpse into our fully loaded LandCruiser. However, we are soon informed that our car had succeeded only half of the hurdles and that we had not yet the final go-ahead to visit the whole country. We are only allowed to move freely around the 20 miles Free Port Zone, but in order to exit it we still need further stamps and signatures. And today is a Friday, hence we are stuck in the “SBFZ“ until mid-week!
 
It is not an issue though. During the American area logging was strictly banned, the Free Port Zone being now largely covered with pristine forest, reclaiming more and more of the base. It is a joyous feeling to crisscross the labyrinth of shady little forest roads, where the green foliage is already sprawling on the forgotten paths, where the branches are cracking from the rampaging baboons and where the colorful butterflies are flattering around us. There are also some theme parks like ocean adventure and animal safari though, but they do not attract us. And in our clean ‘Subic Bay Homestay’ in the green we feel comfortable. The room costing Peso 2’300 (US$54) is not cheap, but we appreciate having a fridge and a coffee making facility – not so much the microwave. However the breakfast is included, which is always very assorted and tasty. We also like to watch every morning a hornbill pair that settles always on the same branch while we are having coffee.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
110  Traditional and nostalgic: A mean
of transport with wickerwork. On our
way to Lake Taal in the South of Luzon
we encounter quite a number of them
111  From “People’s Park“ in Tagaytay
at Lake Taal – the highest hill in the
region – we enjoy a fine view over
a village nestling in the forest …..
112  ….. a group of students are
enjoying themselves and the views too
 
Next Wednesday, exactly after ten days, all the car papers are ready. In the meantime we were also able to extend just across the river at the Immigration in Olangapo our 21 days stay to 59 days for Peso 3’000 (US$70) each. Finally, we are ready to hit the road! There is only one more obstacle to overcome: The exit control gate of the Free Port Zone. But Mrs. Dang is paving also this way for us - the „Philippines way“: With our bunch of documents she disappears behind a door at the checkpoint and we are convinced that also there some dollars of the so-called “representation fees” (bribe money), which are a substantial part of our paid bill of US$ 1’384, are distributed. This is the way how most things work in the Philippines, whether you like it or not. Either you accept it, or you leave it and don’t need to come here!
 
Then the gate opens for good and while everybody is waving (no wonder!) we are rolling officially into our 168th country, into the archipelago of the 7’107 islands. It is Thursday, November 11th, 11.11am. What a sense of achievement! 50 miles further, in Angeles near the Clark Airport – the former US Airbase – we already make our first overnight stop. Not because of the place itself, where in front of each of the plentiful bars at least half a dozen juvenile girls in sexy outfits compete to attract customers – similar to Pattaya in Thailand. It’s said that currently around 10’000 of them are earning their living in the sex business – apparently during the deployment of the US Air Force the number was ten times higher. Today it’s not anymore alive with GI’s but with retired Westerners who swarm out of bars and hotels hand in hand with girls still looking like schoolchildren.
 
 
 
 
 
 
113  Little is left of the former glory of the
guesthouse in Tagaytay – built by President
Marcos for a planned visit of President
Reagan. Everything is in a desolate state
114  Emil poses for a picture at
Lake Taal with its 1’000 ft high Taal
Volcano – a crater within a lake
115  Rice fields spread to
the shores of Lake Taal
 
For us Angeles is the place where we have to set the course: North or South. It will be South as we visited Northern Luzon already in February 2008 with a “Kia”, a rented car during 13 days for US$28/day, while our LandCruiser was sailing from Hong Kong to New Zealand. But unfortunately, there is only one way South and it leads through the always hopelessly congested mega city of Manila – everybody’s nightmare! We decide to wait until Sunday when the traffic is less intense and when we surprisingly manage to cross the capital without having even to stop once!
 
Soon we realize that the Philippines cities are almost identical to the Indonesian: Lively, chaotic, congested, partly dirty, noisy and polluted. The many slow motorbikes with sidecar are really hampering the traffic. But also the fancy painted “jeepneys”, which poison the air and stop everywhere, are contributing to the chaos. We are happy when mid afternoon we already reach our today’s destination: Tagaytay at the Taal Crater Lake, on an altitude of 2’000ft.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
116  The castle of the “Fantasy
World” theme park in Wyndham
Hills on our descent from Tagaytay
to Taal City remembers of the
“Cinderella Castle” in Disneyland
117  View from the “Fantasy
World” over Lake Taal
118  The “Basilica of St Martin de Tours“
in Taal City – one of the best preserved
sites of the Spanish colonial era – is one
of the largest Catholic churches in Asia.
Its interior is currently under renovation
 
The temperature is refreshing and we head straight away to the „People’s Park“ – the highest hill in the region – where we enjoy a sweeping view over the imposing crater lake with its 1’000ft. high, still active Taal crater – a crater within a lake – and the rice fields spreading to the river banks. It is an ideal spot for a picnic. Here, we are actually standing on historic ground. The “villa” was built years ago by President Marcos for a planned visit of President Reagan. Unfortunately, there is not much left of its former glory. The decay is visible around every corner.
 
After two days of comfortable temperatures we continue to the historic small town of Taal with its restored colonial buildings from the Spanish area and its massive Basilica – said to be the biggest in Asia. Its interior is currently under renovation. The many souvenir shops under colorful tarps are quiet on this weekday, as the main business is done during the weekend. Then we head East, past Lipa City to Lucena City and towards the Southeastern tip of Luzon with its imposing volcanoes – the Philippines count 200 volcanoes.
 
 
 
 
 
 
119  Rural charm at Tiaong
East of Lipa City
120  River east of Lucena City on the way
to Pagbilao: People washing themselves
and their clothes on bamboo rafts …..
121  ..... bamboo rafts serve also as
mean of transport for coconuts on a river
 
Shortly after Lucena, we are not anymore so sure if it’s worth to struggle with the deteriorating road condition for a further 300 miles when trucks push constantly from behind and the houses, mostly lining both sides along the highway, prevent us to have a view at the nature at all. At a bridge exactly 13 miles East of Lucena where people are washing on bamboo rafts, Emil throws in the towel: We turn around and decide to drive back to the port city of Batangas to board there the car ferry to the smaller and less populated Southerly island of Mindoro. Choosing this way to the South, called ‚Strong Republic Nautical Highway’ (what a strange name!), we don’t have to “survive” the terror of trucks for a second time that we already experienced on Indonesia’s Sumatra.
 
Shortly before 2pm, we arrive at the pier and inquire about the next sailing to Puerto Galera on Mindoro. “At two”, is the answer! Aren’t we lucky? Five minutes later, the “MV Reina de las Flores“ of the Monte Negro Shipping Lines – a relatively modern, clean Western style ferry – lifts its ramp. We pay Peso 1’500 (US$34), for the three-hour-journey and enjoy the passing island’s scenery with its scattered houses or occasionally a bungalow resort wedged between the steep green hills and the blue sea.
 
 
 
 
 
 
122  „Jeepneys“ – public motor vehicles
– with their colorful designs are a delightful
sight everywhere, but sometimes also a
nuisance as they stop everywhere and
discharge often clouds of black diesel smoke
123  A „Bangka“ – a wooden boat
with an outrigger – near the ferry
terminal of Batangas in the South
of Luzon Island. They work also
for public transport
124  Ferries of any kind connect nearly
all of the 7'107 Philippines islands. Here a
car ferry from Luzon to Mindoro within
the frame of the ”Strong Republic
Nautical Highway“ (or also called
“Western Nautical Highway”), which runs
from Manila to Dipolog on Mindanao
 
Island of Mindoro    11/17 - 12/3/2010
 
After our arrival, we are looking straightaway for the two guesthouses we chose from the internet – in vain, we just cannot find them. A Westerner follows us on a bicycle and stops us. “Are you really coming from Zurich?” he asks us in Swiss dialect. It is Ernst who is working with his wife Sonja already for many years in the Philippines for the “OMF”, the Catholic “Overseas Mission Fellowship”. Much to our surprise and excitement he tells us that we are not in Puerto Galera, but 30 miles East of it – in Calapan. It turns out that all car ferries now call only this port, what is nowhere shown and nobody is telling. Well, it doesn’t matter where we start exploring; we just find it funny that everybody nodded when we asked in Batangas if the ferry is leaving for Puerto Galera. Even if we are not in the right town, at least we are still on the right island!
 
Having met Ernst, we end up staying at the “OMF” guesthouse, beautifully situated on a hill with a lovely view spreading to the sea and its islands. We get an airy room with shower/toilet/breakfast and wi-fi for Peso 1’000 = US$22 and feel comfortable. The other guests are catholic missionaries or bible translators who work together with the “Summer Institute of Linguistic (SIL)” in Ukarumpa in Papua New Guinea, where a few weeks ago we also spent a couple of nights. In Calapan, the capital of Mindoro Oriental, there is not much of interest. The town does not differ from other Philippines cities: It is alike chaotic, polluted and messy. Here we see additionally bicycle rickshaws again, which are now prohibited in Manila.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
125  At the market in Calapan, the
capital of „Mindoro Oriental“,
fresh fish is plenty
126  On our way from Calapan
to Puerto Galera in the West: It is
a scenic 30 miles drive partly
through the hills along the coast …..
127  ..... lush vegetation and the
deep blue sea invite us to take a
picture. Not for nothing it’s
called “Verde Island Passage”
 
After three nights, we are finally driving towards our primary destination: Puerto Galera situated more Westerly in the North of the island. The 30miles become the most beautiful we have so far driven with our own car through this archipelago. Twisting and turning, the newly built road meanders through lush vegetation, past modest villages, where the omnipresent carpets of drying rice on the tarmac take half of the road. Occasionally, the forest thins out. Then we have a glorious view of the coast. And as an additional treat and the dot on the “i”, we pass the Tamaraw waterfalls that rush from high up through the forest into a pool and further down the valley right besides the road.
 
 
 
 
 
 
128  A peaceful living: A modest
dwelling lonesome in a palm grove
129  The Tamaraw waterfalls
drop from a forest creek into a
pool just besides the road, nine
miles short of Puerto Galera
130  Small settlements and
white beaches dot the coast
towards Puerto Galera
 
Our first stop in Puerto Galera is Sabang Beach, popular with divers. Soon we realize that this is not where we want to spend a couple of days: Hotels, bars, night clubs, restaurants and souvenir shops have overtaken the whole place. Everything is so cramped, making it difficult to even park our car. At least we find a sign leading to a small open area acting as the only village parking. It costs 50 Peso (=US$1.14) to park. We stroll through the narrow alleys and along the waterfront with its many dive shops and have lunch at one of the just as many restaurants. But after that, we escape the crowd and drive West along the lovely bay. The “White Beach” comes next. But again, we do not fall in love with it. It is too busy and too overbuilt and for cars there is anyway no access.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
131  Sabang – another dive center
– is one of the beaches surrounding
Puerto Galera. It is very touristy
132  View over the picturesque sea
harbor of Puerto Galera. Not long ago the
car ferries from Batangas/Luzon arrived
here – now they are sailing to Calapan
133  The „White Beach“ West of Puerto
Galera is a popular weekend destination
for people from Manila who escape their
polluted city. Mostly they arrive on
a Bangka from Batangas
 
But at the following beach, the Aninuan Beach, we like it, and in a room on the 2nd floor of the main building of the ‘Tamaraw Beach Resort’ we have everything we need, including a fridge (important for our Gin Tonic!), TV and wireless in the lobby and above all a beautiful view from the veranda. The food on the cozy beach restaurant is tasty, but unfortunately the serving is much too small. During the week it is wonderfully quiet. Weekends however, it gets pretty busy with families and Westeners with their local “sweethearts” from Manila.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
134  A child sitting quietly in
the sand at Aninuan Beach
135  The setting sun is coloring the
towering cloud at Aninuan Beach
136  A wooden boat with outriggers, called
Bangka, is waiting for guests at “White Beach”
 
„Where are your four children?“, a hotel employee asks us on our second day. Once more we have been mistaken with the Zapp family from Argentina, which – with the help of their embassy – made it also temporarily into the Philippines with their 1928 “Graham Page” vintage car one week before us and therefore got some TV coverage. We find it astonishing because we really have absolutely nothing in common: Neither the car, nor the children, nor the age. On the other hand is it not weird? Since over 40 years no foreign car was admitted anymore to the Philippines, and suddenly there are two parties almost simultaneously? We tried to make contact several times with Herman Zapp by email and would have loved to meet his family. But all our attempts are not answered, a strange and abnormal behavior between car travelers. May be he is not so pleased that he is not the only successful one? Whatever the reason might be: We admire his 10-year-journey with his “old-timer”, which started with only the couple and increased to six in the meantime! Traveling with four children is for sure a special challenge too, particularly – according to the remarks on Facebook and his website – because the necessary means are obviously scarce!
 
 
 
 
 
 
137  Liliana is enjoying the lovely sea
view and a gin tonic from the balcony
of our room at the Tamaraw Beach
Resort at Aninuan Beach …..
138  ..... curious sparrows are
always around and are not even
afraid to come into the room
139  Doesn’t look the Aninuan Beach
Resort tempting for a romantic dinner?
 
From our planned two beach days we finally stay eleven, including three days when Emil falls ill with a sore throat and some fever. When we hit the road again and return to Calapan, the car ferry place, the sun is shining from a blue sky. Along the road people are raking up the rice that they spread out to dry in the morning and pack it into big white plastic bags. Either they are loaded to nostalgic ox carts or to folkloristic painted “jeepneys” and transported to one of the many rice mills lining the street of Calapan that seems to be a collection point. Hundreds of bags are piled up in the depots and rice is still put out to dry in a large scale. There are three harvests a year, which is just enough to meet the needs of the own population, we are told. There is not enough for export. What is the country exporting? Manpower – worldwide three millions! We remember that on the Arabian Peninsula the house maids are often from the Philippines and their work is appreciated, while on shipping vessels a lot of Filipinos work as crew members sailing the oceans.
 
 
 
 
 
 
140  Farmers are threshing their rice
outside Calapan. There are three
harvests a year what just covers
barely the demand of the country
141  Lovely evening mood over one
of the offshore islands North of the
Parang Beach Resort in Calapan
142  The island of Mindoro bids farewell
with an idyllic coastal picture when we
sail from the ferry terminal of Roxas in
the Southeast to the next island – Panay
 
When we leave Calapan after a night’s stop, we follow once more the “Strong Republic Nautical Highway” – the interlocking road-sea-route connecting the islands of Luzon, Mindoro, the Visayas and Mindanao with ro-ro-ferries. Its construction was decided only three years ago by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Before the islands were accessible only either by plane or ships, while cars had to be transported separately as cargo. However, the road is not entirely completed yet; at least 20 miles outside of Calapan are still under construction, taking us four hours for the 80 miles to Roxas, the ferry terminal to the next neighbor island of Panay. We arrive there at 3pm and despite that the next ferry was already leaving at 4pm, we prefer to spend the night still on this side. The journey will take 3 hours what means that we would arrive in the dark, what we do not like and avoid always if possible.
 
Looking for a spot along the sea shore to spend the rest of the afternoon, we end up at a residential area at Catalina Beach, where Nori approaches us and offers us spontaneously his beach house. Little by little his entire extended family shows up and we learn a lot about the country’s politics. He invites us to stay as long as we want. Having however restarted our ”locomotive” only two days ago in Puerto Galera, we are not yet in the mood for another break. Therefore, next morning, we drive our LandCruiser directly into the hull of the ferry bound for Panay. The fare for the 3 hour journey of our second island hopping is Peso 3’500 (=US$80).

 

Island of Panay    12/3 - 12/5/2010
 
Caticlan, the ferry port of Northwestern Panay and departure port for the tourist island of Boracay, announces itself with a palm-lined coast covered with outrigger canoes and huts half hidden among palm trees. Left of it stretches the long sandy beach of Boracay – the pearl of the Philippines. Unfortunately, its prices do not conform to our budget, though Emil is still hesitant and argues: “It is like being in Peru and not visiting the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. Boracay is undeniably THE holiday paradise of the Philippines”. But he also agrees that we do not necessarily have to go there, where everything is more expensive and therefore exceeds by far our means and secondly the questions comes up whether it is really worth it. Thus we check in at the Airport Hotel for one night. On the airstrip right across the fence one prop-plane after the other is landing. They carry well-off guests from Manila and the island of Cebu who are received at the welcome center and escorted to the tourist paradise of Boracay.
 
 
 
 
 
 
143  We are approaching Caticlan on the
island of Panay that belongs to the Visayas.
Here is the starting point to the Island of
Boracay, one of the most famous and most
expensive Philippines tourist destinations
144  Shortly after Caticlan, a remote
sand beach is appearing below us
along the Northern coastal road …..
145  ..... and on the other side of the
road, a colorful butterfly, a black
bodied swallowtail (Papilio Polytes
Ledebouria), is fluttering from blossom
to blossom when we make a photo stop
 
Next morning, we leave busy Caticlan and follow once more the “Strong Republic Nautical Highway” along the West coast to the South. The scenery becomes more rural and more peaceful. After the dirty towns, the clean, well tended and in much green and blooming flowers embedded villages are a treat for our eyes. We enjoy the lush rice fields stretching to the sea on one and to the hills on the other side of the road. Now and then, a cluster of Nipa huts under high rising palm trees appear in a rice fields. Simple bamboo huts of fishermen families nestle along the seashore. The beaches are lined with colorful outrigger canoes. Rice is spread out in large scale to dry here too. Together with fish, it is the main diet of the population. Goats, cows and water buffalos are part of the scenery. It is an island life that has a great appeal and represents also how foreigners are picturing it. Much too fast we reach San Jose de Buenavista in the South where we turn inland on a windy mountain road towards the West and Iloilo.
 
 
 
 
 
 
146
147
148
Paddy fields dominate on the West coast where we follow the „Western Strong Republic Nautical Highway“,
the interlocking road-sea-route with ro-ro-ferries between the islands of Luzon, Mindoro, the Visayas and Mindanao
 
In the Southern part or Panay the evidences of the Spanish colonial area accumulate. There are still quite a number of century old churches. The first one we visit has a rather “military” character and dates back to 1869. It stands in San Joaquin. According to “Insight Guides”, the attraction is a relief of the historic battle of Tetuan, depicting Spanish armed forces fighting back the Moors in Morocco. Unfortunately, there is not much left of its old glory. What we see is only a yellowing facade and a battered relief. Exactly the opposite is the “Miagao Fortress Church” lying 8 miles to the North. It belongs to the four Philippines churches proclaimed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. We arrive towards the evening and like it instantly. The main facade, flanked by two plain fortress towers, reveals an exotic relief of a tropical fruit garden.
 
 
 
 
 
 
149  Daily life at a modest
hut along the coast
150  Carpets of these purple
flowers grow near the sandy
beach at many places
151  A catholic cemetery sandwiched
between a fallow rice field and the blue
sea. The Roman Catholic Church is the
biggest religious group in the Philippines
 
Having driven today already 132 miles, we spontaneously decide to spend the night here. Right behind the church, we find an aircon room – actually a whole apartment – for Peso 1’500 (US$34). Next morning, the church bells ring already at 5am calling to the holy mass. It is a Sunday. At 8am, we also hop over the street. The church is cramped with devotees. People gather also outside at the open doors. From a stony bench under a shady tree, we watch the church goers, from grandfathers to babies. Sweet are the small girls, dressed like dolls, who try with still wobbly legs to make some walking attempts Then, we return to our apartment, return the key and hit the road again – towards Iloilo City.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
152  A boy in a rural area enjoys
rolling a bicycle tire along the street
153  Doesn’t the little girl look
adorable in her Sunday dress?
154  What are the two concocting?
 
It suits well that it is a quiet Sunday for our visit of this half-a-million-city. First of all, we are looking for the ferry terminal, mentioned in Lonely Planet in order to investigate about the schedule to the island of Negros. We end up at a crammed part of the harbor where people live in poverty and I am glad when we find our way out again. Whoever we ask about this ferry terminal, we just get an answer in the negative. Also the security personnel, dressed like generals and posted at every corner, cannot help us and often give us false directions, just to have something said for not seeming ignorant. Only a woman carrying a baby brings us finally a step further. She suddenly mentions the village “Dumangas”. This place lies 15 miles to the North. Is this possible? Well, we will have to check ourselves.
 
 
 
 
 
 
155  The Miagao Church – (Santo
Tomas de Villanueva) – in the South-
west of Panay was declared a UNESCO
world heritage site. Flanked by two
bleak stronghold towers, the facade of
the main section shows a beautiful
relief of a tropical fruit garden …..
156  ..... Believers take part at the
celebration of the Sunday mass
157  The Infant Jesus adorns a
thatched hut between Iloilo City
and Dumangas in the East of Panay
as Christmas approaches
 
Along a badly damaged coastal road belonging also to the ‚Strong Republic Nautical Highway’, we crawl North towards Dumangas. The condition of the road shows once more that – though the appropriate directives exist – its implementation is failing: The project was started exuberantly but soon afterwards it gets forgotten again.
Cozy and airy eateries, built on stilts, line the road. All are empty. Why? We don’t find out. While Emil needs to concentrate mainly on the dusty potholed road, I enjoy the rural scenery passing by – the modest fishing settlements with the thatched huts and outdoor kitchens with all its pots. At 1pm we reach Dumangas and arrive really at the right place.
 
 
 
 
 
 
158  Small fishing village near Dumangas,
the ferry port, where the ro-ro-ferries leave
for Bacolod on the island of Negros .....
159  ..... Emil is maneuvering our
LandCruiser into the ferry leaving
for Bacolod on Negros Island …..
160  ..... and sits on the roof of our Land
Cruiser for the two hour ride until the salt
water fountains chase him away
 
We learn that the next ferry to Bacolod on Negros is sailing at 2.30pm. Actually, we only wanted to inquire about the departure times. But being already here and missing no further special sights on Panay, we can as well hop to Negros now. There is just time for a quick picnic consisting of bread, salami, cheese, olives and a cold beer from our car’s fridge before Emil maneuvers onto the open ferry where already trucks are parked carrying highly loaded sugar cane. Our parking spot is right besides the ramp. During the following two hours we helplessly watch how our good old LandCruiser – which is rusting anyway more and more – gets one salt water shower after the other! The best way that the rust gets worse.
 
More websites from the Philippines:
2nd Visit Part 2: Islands of Negros Cebu   with our vehicle from December 2010 to January 2011
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