Philippine Island Times Adventures of an American expat in the Philippines

June 13, 2007


Filed under: siquijor — lapulapu @ 10:13 pm

The Philippines has more than enough natural disasters to keep people on their toes. Like the culture, the Philippine plate is crunched between east and west, and earthquakes and the occasional volcanic eruption result. Typhoons are what worry people most, though, along with the floods and landslides that accompany them. Filipinos name typhoons alphabetically just as Americans do hurricanes, and they almost always run out of letters. Those things I expect.

I did not expect to see one of these.

Siquijor buhawi

Neither did the staff at the resort where I was staying in Siquijor. None of the girls had ever seen one before, but they knew instinctively what to do. All of them reached out and began making the scissors motion with their fingers, and the buhawi soon vanished.

I have to remember not to piss these girls off.

June 5, 2007

Seafood Pinoy

Filed under: siquijor — lapulapu @ 11:59 am

On my first motorcycle ride in Siquijor last year I had a flat within the first few kilometers. When I pulled off at Salag Do-Ong beach, the man in charge noticed my problem right away and called a couple of guys over to take care of it. While they hauled the wheel into town I had a nice chat with him and his wife and we have been friends ever since. They invite me to their home whenever I visit and are always the most gracious of hosts.

Talingting friends

A couple of days ago we spent an afternoon on their porch eating buko (young coconut) and drinking beer.


At low tide we went foraging. I was worse than worthless, but they found lots of sea urchins and “shells” (I would call them small clams) and something like a slug. I was amazed when my friend somehow cracked open the spiny urchins with one quick crunch of his teeth. We made a picnic on a mat of seaweed and ate the lot dipped in coconut vinegar infused with garlic and chili. Delicious.


Urchin inside
Only the flesh-colored part is eaten. This one doesn’t have much.

Coral Cay is a nice little resort on the southwest coast of Siquijor. The rainy season has come and temperatures are moderate, so a fan-only room is perfectly comfortable, especially with the pool to dip into if things get hot. Yesterday morning I took a kayak out to their little raft a couple of hundred meters offshore and had a swim before breakfast. The sea was calm, the water here is crystal clear, and much of the bottom is white sand, so visibility was excellent. Still, there were few fish to see. The corals for which the resort presumably is named were destroyed years ago. The service here is excellent, though, as I guess it should be since on a typical day I am the only guest and there are three waitresses on duty in the restaurant. The low season here is very low, for no good reason that I can see. It does rain most days but usually only for an hour or two. My biggest complaint is that overcast skies often spoil the sunset. Hard to get very worked up over that.

Negros from San Juan

May 31, 2007


Filed under: siquijor — lapulapu @ 11:19 am

My first night in Siquijor the moon was bright on the white beach and the air smelled of flowers. The new videoke was obviously proud of its sound system and its wailing could be heard for at least half a kilometer (I checked), but even that did not ruin the atmosphere. I was the only guest at the resort, which was not exactly open for normal business, and enjoyed a nice chat with the cousin of the manager. She had suggested that he drop by with his motorcycle just in case I needed a ride somewhere. Treasurer of the barangay, he worked on the books as we talked. At one point I noticed a chorus emerging in counterpoint to the videoke. My companion and I went to the road to watch as a procession of the local saints passed by. Many smiling children trailed along behind the adults, the girls walking hand in hand or arm in arm as they often do, and everyone singing in the local dialect. There are so many beautiful moments in Siquijor.

It was only when I was ready to call it a night that I realized I had no water. My companion the treasurer and I zoomed off on his motorbike to a sari-sari (general store). When we returned I asked how much I owed him. He just said “No” and seemed a little embarassed at the question. “The distance was very short. To ask something would not be good.”

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