Sunday, July 29, 2007

Negros Oriental - Dumaguete City

The resort we booked at Dauin, which is about 20 minutes to/fro Dumaguete sent a chauffeur to pick us up at the pier. There was a group of French tourists as well (they boarded in Tagbilaran, Bohol) who joined us in the van. They were staying at the same resort and we rarely bumped into them for the whole week we stayed there.

Although we didn’t stay in Dumaguete City but having rented a scooter to help us move around easily, we were able to spend a good amount of time in the city. We both loved the boulevard. I wish Cebu had something like this.

This is my favourite Dumaguete City foto. The trike truly symbolizes Dumaguete.

Me ordering at Jollibee - I simply do not understand the redundancy of taking orders? Twice? Where is the logic? Next foto is the ubiquitous tricycle.

Dumaguete Belfry; the Boulevard during a beautiful morning -look at the glorious clouds; and Filipino ingenuity: a street vendor selling burners made from soda cans, lol.

OK, moi here with the trusted San Miguel Pale Pilsen Beer, and oh dear, I have such a shiny nose!

Open-air terraces at the Boulevard (by the Dumaguete Bay) at night. The Boulevard is surely a lively place when the sun goes down. At 'Why Not Disco'... some of the local girls dancing on top of the bar.

More fotos can be found here: Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental - Philippines

Here are some of my/our Dumaguete thoughts:

1) Compared to many small-town cities I have been to, Dumaguete came across clean and orderly. Good job, Dumaguete officials. Dumaguete is also known as a university city.

2) And like any small metropolis with the village feel, Dumaguete is no less different – tricycles swarm freely and plentifully on the chaotic streets. These ubiquitous traveling machines serve as the town’s efficient, fast, and most affordable public transportation, while motorbikes and scooters are its equivalent for private vehicle use.

3) The Boulevard along Dumaguete Bay is the central nightlife and hangout in town. Here you can find a few café-restaurants, fast food shops, street vendors, a disco pub, hotel, and a park where trees are strikingly dressed in bright lights. It’s always Christmas in the Boulevard at night.

4) You can buy a map of Negros Oriental at Cangs, Inc. near Jollibee in the main shopping area for Php 99. It isn’t much but it shows you where (not exactly though) the interesting places, i.e., nature and touristy spots, and will help you navigate the island at the basic level.

5) A 1-hour scooter rent costs Php 20 in Dumaguete. I managed to get 4 days (24 hours x 4 days) for Php 1,000 so I think I did well with negotiation. Bravo!

6) There is this interesting stretch of outdoor terraces at the Boulevard at night. Street vendors sell Balut (aborted cooked chick embryo – yuk!), tempura, squid and fish balls there. I must admit I was tempted to indulge in a tempura or a squid ball but refrained since my system is still vulnerable. Street food might just make me more ill than I already am.

7) And speaking of being ill, we had to go to the hospital (Holy Child I think) for my laboratory tests (UTI again), paid a quick visit to the doctor at the out-patient services, and afterwards bought the needed antibiotics. Unlike the “hospital-from-hell” in Bohol, as Dutchman would say, the hospital in Dumaguete was far and way better, so he took a seat and passed the time for me in the out-patient area.

8) There are no real coffee shops selling real coffee in town. The only café-restaurant we saw that has a real coffee machine, and helaas on our last day, was the Sansrival Café near the Boulevard. The café is tucked away from sight but it is right across the Chinese restaurant on the side corner street.

Some videos here:

This is a STILL video of a busy crossing in Dumaguete City by Jollibee fast food. Filipinos have great talents when it comes to traffic!

And this is a MOVING video. We just rented a scooter and went cruising town. I am so proud of Dutchman quickly adapting the great Filipino skill of manuevering with art and grace through the chaotic Philippine traffic. Goed zo!

9) Was it just us, but there seem to be an abundance of gruff and crotchety looking white muscled men with flamboyant tattoos in the city?

10) And why is it that there are so many mismatched Fil-west couples here? It’s either the above mentioned--white, muscled, brassy and tattooed men or grizzled retirees in their graying and wrinkling years with young trophy Filipinas. When I say young they are usually 23 and below. If that is not enough, these Pinays have a sundry fashion sense playfully blended with fun, the dressing up to paint the town red and out-and-out erotica. Lots of exposed skin... back, strap, or sleeveless tops in rich colors paired with body hugging pants flared at the bottom or titillating mini, mini shorts and accented with elevated sandals and generous accessories. Just perfect. OK, I might get haters for posting this!

11) Because of that, Dutchman and I felt, just a teeny bit though, out of place. Looking at the usual Fil-West suspects in the city, he would come across too young and I too old. A woman in her 50’s actually approached me while I was queuing up in the pharmacy. She said, “Your husband is handsome and decent looking, and you too (as she looks up and down like I am some sort of specimen)... unlike the rest of the couples we see around here” – Uh huh, OK she just said that. Must I rejoice that we are different from the discriminated stereotyped pack? Or, should I be ashamed and be full of indignation that Fil-West couples have deteriorated into a genre that society scoffs at and strongly frowns upon? Honestly, judging is tiring and a waste of time.

12) All caucasian (white) males living in and visiting Dumaguete are either an American or a German. They all seem to have one name: JOE.

13) “Why Not Disco” is a must visit. The experience will give the visitor a sneak preview of the locals enjoying night life entertainment. The local men just sit passively with their beers and finger foods in the corner while the women rush to the dance floors. They gyrate their thinly clad bodies teasingly, jiggling like worms, in groups while facing the mirrors. It took us some time to realize that these girls were actually masturbating in front of the huge mirrors, practically, haha. Masturbating in the sense of indulging in utter self gratification--look at me I am so pretty and sexy. Welcome vanity et al. Ah, women, tsk, tsk, tsk... Entrance fee to the disco is Php 70 with 1 free drink.

14) For the first time in alcohol history, beer (lager) tasted like flavored water. I could finish a bottle in a gulp and that still leaves me thirsty by the way. 3 beers would do me nothing. What has become of me? Red horse was okay though, it left a bit of tang to my parched taste buds.

15) We had this fabulous 1 hour massage for Php 150! The massage place is near Silliman University and the treatment was just amazing. The attendants carefully washed our feet in a basin of warm and fragrance filled water before the massage. Afterwards they gave each of us a warm cup of green tea served in an artsy platter. Of course, we gave the girls a generous tip!

16) Dutchman and I also shopped at Super Lee Plaza, a department store in the busy crossing by the main shopping area. We both bought Jag jeans for only Php 900! Buy Filipino! The store was a much better and convenient place to shop than in the posh and abstruse malls of Cebu, Manila, and Singapore. They only bring confusion. It’s not a joke when you are faced with 40 shops selling the same thing. You end up not knowing where to start and the desire to spend has waned. Maybe I am just impatient but consumerism does have its own flaws too.

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