Monday, October 25, 2010

ONE MORE TIME IN DUMAGUETE

IT'S JUST A cloudy early morning and I'm going today, July 14, 2010, for Dumaguete City which is crossable by a body of water. I have been worrying about the news of last night's about a typhoon Signal Number 3 (“Basyang”) hitting landfall in Luzon. So I dress up and hope for the best as I carried my backpack outside the street and hie a taxi bound for the South Bus Terminal.

I sit myself inside an unairconditioned Sunrays Bus nearest to the left window so I could analyze the weather better. The bus left the terminal at around five, half empty, and I wonder if it could arrive on the second boat trip to Negros Island which is scheduled at nine and I know they will be picking up and disembarking passengers along the way that would surely delay my schedule.

By the time the bus got to Argao, the sun rose gloriously and it is still 6:47 AM. Hmm...the bus made good mileage in lesser time than what I have expected it would. That is unexpectedly good. At least, I am hopeful I could make it at nine. I enjoyed well the ride listening to the tune of the bus' FM station playing mellow rock and new wave songs of the Eighties.

I am overcome with nostalgia passing by a highway that is very familiar to me in my youth and the '80s songs came just in time for a well-deserved company. Over at Obong in Dalaguete I looked for an old place. Instantly, a whiff of familiar smell came my way for just a split second as my eyes gazed at a worn-out house beside the highway. I could not describe the pleasant odor but it is strikingly familiar and it marked the spot near where I stayed and slept for six sets of weekends. Wow! Memories are good!

At 138 kilometers from Cebu City, Liloan Port in Santander is one of the major gateway to Negros. It is in the southernmost tip and it is nearest to the next island on the narrowest part of Tañon Strait. There are two types of seacraft that will cross the strait every day at every half-hour here: fastcrafts operated by Cuadro Alas Navigation Lines and wooden pumpboats operated by Candida Miparanum.

I took the latter because I want to savor fresh seafood cooked in my favorite hole-in-the wall eatery upon its wharf. I found it closed and I looked for another outside the private wharf and found just what I wanted – fresh dangguit soup and baked fresh eggplant. I order two servings of rice and a softdrink and paid just sixty-five pesos. Very cheap!

The water is very tame today and the craft reached safely at the Port of Sibulan. I took a public utility midget (a.k.a. multicab) for Dumaguete City but, at least, I am sitting in the front seat and somewhat comfortable. I disembark at Perdices Street and walk through Legaspi Street and went inside the Pag-IBIG office to transact official business. While waiting for the processing, I decide to leave and come back later.

I went to visit Robinson's Place instead to buy something and opt to spend my little precious time here in this city by visiting the 18th century-built St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral – the seat of the Diocese of Dumaguete. I took photos of the baroque facade and the interior ambiance which I will feature later in my personal blog. From the cathedral, I walk an easy stride to the Rizal Plaza then to the seafront North Boulevard before going back to Pag-IBIG.

I left at eleven for the PhilHealth office in Daro Highway to deliver a package and transact another business. This took not long and good enough to take lunch at the nearby Connie's Grill House. This small restaurant offer beef, pork and chicken meat cooked in different styles. Something unusual caught my eye - beef paklay – and I ordered that to go along with pinakbet, two servings of rice and a softdrink.

It's the first time that I get to eat beef paklay and it's very tasty. The thinly-sliced innards and lung components are soft to the tongue and gums and chewing is never a problem. Yeah, I love it. I wished we have like this in Cebu. What we have is the mandunggada but it is a different concoction. On the other hand, the pinakbet is cooked just enough leaving a crispy sensation. The ingredients are evenly spaced with no one dominating the rest like most restaurants do.

When I went to PhilHealth, I passed by a while ago a market fair locally know as a tabo. It is very near from PhilHealth and I walk in that direction and hope to see items which I love to take home. The open place is half-occupied. The first thing I see are fresh fern tops and I noted it intending to come back after my tour of the rest of the tables. I found chopped taro hearts and buy two robust plastic full of that. On the way out, I bring with me five sets of 50 fern tops each. Just paid all for forty pesos. What a treat!


Time to go back to Cebu now. I wrapped the leafy tops with my extra shirt to retain its freshness and stowed it deep in my bag along with the taro hearts. Rode a road midget again in the half-empty back and I reach Sibulan. I registered with the fastcraft and it left at two in the afternoon. From the boat I went immediately to a waiting Ceres Liner airconditioned bus and seated nearest the window. Glad to be away from the hot weather.

I adjusted the swiveling air vents overhead that flow cool air into my direction. Moments later the bus left Liloan Port into the national highway bound for Cebu City. The bus received more than it could sit as it leave Argao and still the airconditioner is cold as ever. People complain yet the pleas fell on deaf ears. I retrieve another extra shirt and drape it over my head as the vents could not be closed by hand adjustment. What made matters worse is we have to endure more of the freezer-like bus because of rain and the slowing down of traffic.

The bus reach the terminal at 6:30 PM and God how I am glad to be away from the freezebox. Hehe, my wifey should be surprised by the treats I brought her. The taro hearts and fern tops are both her favorites and I'm sure she would cook the fern first. She steam the tops and add vinegar, tomato, ginger, garlic and onions. Voila! It is superbly done and so crispy. Mwah! I love the sound munching it.

Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer

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