Funeral crashing and mtbiking in the witch island

Trip Start May 11, 2010
Trip End Aug 01, 2010

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Flag of Philippines  , Siquijor,
Thursday, June 10, 2010

Had another monstrously early morning (up at 4.30am before sunrise!) to catch a boat to my next destination. One thing I've learnt in the last couple of weeks is that the best time to do anything is early in the morning, when it's not yet too hot - this is certainly what the locals seem
to do at least in the countryside, where they often go to bed around 8pm and wake up at 4am. There have actually been a few occasions where I've arrived in a new town after 8pm and been unable to find dinner, because all the restaurants are already closed - fortunately you can almost always source some cup noodles and hot water somewhere.

I hired Emilio, a local living near the jungle huts, to take me to the port at the back of his bike, which ended up being a really interesting drive as he was one of the more talkative persons i've met in the last few weeks. I mentioned  how lovely, friendly and smiley people in the Philippines seem to be; Emilio agreed and said it's because "here in the Philippines, we are happy because we have time to relax". And it does show; big smiles greet you almost wherever you go. As for relaxing, i've seen people taking naps almost anywhere, anytime and in any sort of position in the last few weeks - lying over ticket counters (to relieve the tedium of selling tickets in a hot
booth?), lying down on motorbikes (only stationary ones though) and on top of buses. It's probably just a question of when, not if I'll come by a local sleeping standing up!

In Siquijor I hired a bicycle to ride to a waterfall, which ended up being a lot further away than I thought - about 30km or so. After the first few miles my saddle started to drop down and from then on I needed to stop every few miles or so to ask a local if they would have a spanner to tighten it up; luckily they were always very helpful and no one ever even asked for money for their help. A few of them invited me to take a litle break in the shade and have an ice-cold juice. At someone's house they even had steaming hot sweet bread and other treats for snacks; unfortunately it was only after I'd sat down at their porch when I saw that there was a coffin inside their house - felt very bad about gatecrashing someone's funeral! But the hosts insisted I must sit down and have some cake and get some rest before getting back on my bike, as the falls were stilll a fair way away.

At the falls I met two friendly Philippinos, Abet and Louie from Manila, who were doing a tour around the island and suggested that I could chuck my bicycle to the top of their tricycle and join them. Going up the steep hills of the mountain towards the center of the island I was glad that I wasn't on my bicycle! Went to a lovely little butterfly sanctuary and a viewpoint where
you could see the whole island - sadly my pictures didn't turn out too well, so you'll just have to take my word on how amazing it was!

Louie and Abet were going to catch a ferry later on to another island, but missed it because the captain had decided to leave early - so we ended up having dinner and a few thirst quenching beers at the beach guesthouse I was staying at with a few other travellers. The bike ride had completely wiped me out though as I was ready for sleep at 9pm - which was just as well as that's when another powercut kicked in.
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