Saturday, January 24, 2015

Rough Road to Bacolod

Good thing today is a long travel day since it is raining pretty hard. Instead of walking to the bus station I jumped on a moto-trike for the short ride to the Ceres Bus Station. Just as I got there a bus bound for Bacolod was getting ready to leave. Unfortunately this 8:45 am bus had no A/C nor WiFi like my last bus ride. It was pretty steamy inside and the windows were fogged up. I opened my just a little to clear the window and to get some fresh air.


As we left Dumaguete, the bus was just 3/4 full but that soon changed as all of the seats got full along with many passengers who stood in the aisle-way. For the first hour the highway ran along the eastern seashore until we abruptly turned left up toward the mountain range. The crops changed from flooded rice fielts to fields of sugar cane.



Along with the sugar cane, we began to encounter huge slowly moving sugar cane trucks overloaded with the sugar cane harvest. Our bus continually passed these trucks along with the many moto-trikes filled to capacity with people and goods. In many places the road narrowed down to one lane because of the construction. I kept my arm inside the bus because it looked like the bus may end up rubbing against one of the many on-coming sugar cane trucks.

As we neared the top of the mountain range we were stopped where apparently a landslide had jammed up some cars and made the road impassable. One of the buses in front of us was trying to turn around at the bend of the road to return to Dumageute. While this was happening, our bus conductor was busy giving people refunds. Some were getting on the bus back to Dumaguete others were just standing around in the rain.

I tried to hitchhike, but all of the vehicles were already full. I then heard a honk and when I turned around there was the bus that I had been on full of its passengers. As I got on they all cheered me aboard. What an experience.

For another hour we continued down this bumpy, rough road that was being repaired in certain areas. Some of the bridges were still under construction as well as much of the road. When we finally got to the other side of the mountain range the road leveled out, but there was still a lot of construction with one lane road areas around the construction with no safety guards controling the traffic flow. Somehow people cooperated and traffic flowed without accidents. The sugar trucks and moto-trikes along with frequent stops to let off or pick up passengers made for a very long and arduous trip.

By the time we pulled into the South Bus Terminal at Bacolod, it had stopped raining. After pushing past the several taxi and motorcyle touts, I spotted some jeepneys parked so I went to them and they got me to the jeepney that would be going to the City Hall area where I had spotted some possible hotels to stay at for the night. Sure enough for just 8 pesos, my driver dropped me off near City Hall. From there it was just a few paces to the Check Inn Hotel where I got an A/C deluxe room for 850 pesos since all of the standard rooms were already booked.

After sorting myself out, I headed for dinner a a place called Manokan Country. There must be about 20 or so eating places that offer basically the same thing----chicken. They showcase the raw chicken----all parts--which you pick out and then sit down with a cold drink---San Miguel---to wait for them to bbq the chicken using lime and soy. They serve it with rice and no veggies. While you are waiting you can order a plate of raw oysters for 35 pesos. My meal of chicken breast, rice, and a San Miguel was just 176 pesos, and tasty at that.


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