Roxas City Lights

Trip Start Dec 03, 2012
Trip End Jan 09, 2013

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Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Sunday, December 23, 2012

Transport Modes from Caticlan
To get to the port, I had to walk back to the tricycle drop off point supposedly to catch the tourist tricycle for 100 php. Here's a tip. If you walk further out to the main street, you can catch the public tricycle to the port for only 25 php, which I did. Getting out of the port at Caticlan, the options to my next destination were plentiful. I am heading to Roxas City (in Panay) but had to change at Kalibo. Public jeepneys travel to Kalibo for 50 php. Private vans (cattle class) go to Kalibo for a price unknown to me. Ceres buses go to San Jose via Iloilo City, via Kalibo for 160 php, so I waited for this one. It took the bus only one hour to reach Kalibo, driving along beautiful coastal roads of northern Panay.
Death of a Dog
At Kalibo, I had to switch to a Roxas City bound van which I only knew when I got to the pickup point. Apparently there are no connecting bus services to Roxas City. I had my suspicions but went with the van anyway. This two hours van ride costed 170 php and I sat at the front passenger seat, suffering the torment of listening to Gangnam Style on a loop. There were at least five different versions of the same song. Shortly out of Kalibo, we had the misfortune of seeing a street dog ran over by our van at high speed. I happened to catch the dog's confused eyes as it got out of its way from the opposite lane to face our speeding van. It was a loud thud before a sickening cry as the vehicle went over the dog. The driver didn't stop. Everyone started reacting in Tagalog and some prayed. I hope it was a quick death.
Roxas City
From the turnoff at Sigma towards Roxas City, we began travelling through small villages and lush rice paddy fields. Surprisingly, Roxas City turned out to be quite a sizable and busy city with huge churches, wet markets, shopping malls and city hall. A transfer on tricycle brought me to Halaran Plaza Hotel where I stayed for 750 php a night with air conditioning, ensuite and TV.
Grilled Seafood at Baybay Beach
It was almost 330 pm and I missed my lunch, so I headed out to Baybay beach (People's Park) for some grilled seafood. Ordered some big prawns and dozen of smallish scallops for 400 php (AUS$10). It was too far off my budget for a meal. The oysters (and fishes) at the next stall however were dirt cheap. 30 php for a mid-sized bowl of steamed oysters. I had to ask again to verify "30 php for one oyster or the whole bowl?" Not the best looking or tasting oysters obviously, nor were they any bigger than your small mussels. But for less than AUD$1, I was pretty satisfied.
Mirry Chistmis
Two young peanut vendors sat with me at the table and I tried to strike a conversation with them. Only 8 and 9 years old, trying to sell some peanuts for income. They were shy but with pleasant personalities, so I gave them my pen and wrote my name on their forearms. They also spelt their names in ink. I had to convert their "Mirry Chistmis". Trivial things like the wet tissue I gave them made them laughed. They even enjoyed my soft drink, like all kids do.
Xmas Concert
Back at city hall, the town's christmas concert had just started. Mostly performances from elementary schools, doing drummed up carols. One even had Gangnam Style mixed in. It was a huge turn out. The christmas village featured a 20 metres high light tree and other christmasy things. The river had light floats and a food bazaar continued late into the night. I wished the two peanut vendor boys were here but they were at least 10 kilometres away.
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