Guimaras' Cardio Workout

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

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Flag of Philippines  , Western Visayas,
Thursday, December 27, 2012

Guimaras Island
A late start tot he pier for boat ride to Guimaras Island. The taxi driver took me to the wrong pier which I had to backtrack to the right pier on a tricycle. At the port of Guimaras (after barely 30 minutes), I had to register myself and was asked if I had arranged any accommodation. I replied that all I wanted to do was to cycle the island - like it was really accessible. It was not. But I will save this tale for later. I was taken on a tricycle to Hoskyn and arranged for a mountain bicycle rental at a rustic looking hall. Apparently this rental service belongs to Tommy (a local eco-guide featured in Lonely Planet) which I was unaware of. Tommy was not around anyway. I rented my bicycle for 500 php together with a stinky helmet and a pair of newish gloves. Rather costly if you ask me.
Unusual Extreme Fatigue
Stayed on the main road and started making my way towards San Miguel, Guimaras' capital town. The entire route was unfortunately on an uphill before it ended with San Miguel at the top. What a terrible ride - no shade and no sights. Ploughed myself on the pedals but just as slow as I would be walking. At some point, I actually dismounted and pushed the bicycle up this ridiculous hill. Frustrated wasn't the only adjective - I was quite pissed off at this backbreaking 4 kilometres uphill route. Just one final kilometre away from San Miguel (also the steepest), I had to seek refuge at a nondescript convenience store (which by the way was closed for the day). The family was just starting their lunch and I had to interrupt their private time. Rather apologetic, I bought a bottle of coke and sipped my way into slumberland. I was so exhausted that I dozed off on the chair, barely conscious for about an hour. The extreme fatigue was not familiar to me. Was I really that exhausted or was I drugged at breakfast?
Terrible Terrible Town
The last leg of the route featured nothing but oncoming trucks and speedy jeepneys, I could have just taken the jeepney! Reaching San Miguel town, a hot and dusty western cowboy town greeted me. There were hardly any trees or greenery. The smog from the vehicles made the town even worse. My cold lunch of pork and bitter melon was equally disappointing. San Miguel finally earned my irk when I rocked up to the museum and discovered it shut for renovations. This had got to be the worst town I visited in the Philippines. It was 3 pm, I resigned to my fate and started making my way back to the port. Picked up some Guimaras mangoes from a street stall and rode downhill the entire hour back to Tommy's. That really was the only consolation and maybe the mangoes.
Hidden Treasures
Returning my bicycle, I actually met Tommy himself before he sat me down and showed me photos of all Guimaras' hidden treasures. Hidden. Basically off the track. Caves, waterfalls, churches...etc. He did however admitted that the off-tracks are difficult to access and are physically demanding. Tell me about it! I rode uphill for 3 hours to a closed museum! Maybe next time Guimaras. Or maybe not. A motorbike will suit her terrains better.
Backstreets of Iloilo
Back to the bustling Iloilo City at 5 pm, in time to soak up scenes of peak hour traffic. A city always reveal interesting details about the place if you take the effort to explore it on foot. Iloilo City is no different. The backstreets were particularly photogenic especially where I got to witness the daily trivialities like the repairman working at his bicycle workshop or the ice cream vendor waiting under his umbrella by his wheelie kiosk. Dinner was at this seaside restaurant in the west barangay called Villa. Rustic bamboo setting with the dinning platform perched out to the sea. All thanks to my new friend Lillian and her goofy housemates for this great recommendation.
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