Day One - a day in Lezo
Trip Start May 31, 2009
16Trip End May 25, 2009
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Slept suddenly and soundly. Crowing roosters woke me up shortly before dawn but I was able to sleep until 8:30. Got up and had coffee and felt much better. Morning was pretty slow with an egg and sausage breakfast, with Pandesal which is a sweet bun. (and fresh and warm from the bakery too) (and cheap - about 50 cents a dozen) After a quick shower (more about that later) we took a walk around the town and saw some of the local sites again.
Lezo is a small town just outside of Kalibo, which is in the province of Alkan. Our plan is to spend a couple of days in Lezo, before flying off to Cebu and Bohol. We then will return to Lezo for a week for fiesta, and we will also use that week to tour around some of the sites of Aklan.
A quick moment to introduce you to the cast of characters that will populate this story
Often in the Philippines poorer family members will live with better off family, to help out in their businesses, to attend school, and to help take the burden off the the family.
We likely will do plenty of town walks. We did meet up with Dong Dong, a relative of Allan's, who asked us if we wanted to go see the cockfights in the afternoon, and decided we did. It was part of the Philippines experience that I wanted. Dong Dong is the cousin of Marbi, Allan's closest family member who lives in Toronto. After watching Prize fighting on TV we took a van to Numancia where the cock fighting area was.
First thing we saw was hundreds of tricycles lined up and an amphitheater set up and the roar of the crowd
In a fight both roosters have blades (spurs) tied to their feet and after they are aggravated by another bird, and put in the ring together. It is a fight to the death, and if they slow down or seem to take a break, they are aggravated until they start fighting. The "referee" picks up the birds, and puts them face to face, and as long as they are pecking, the fight goes on. The fight ends when all the fight goes out of one bird, either too weak to fight or dead.
Not just a spectator sport, all the men bet on the outcomes, and prior to the fight there is a cacophony of men yelling, getting each other's attention and betting. High betters are on one side of the arena, and smaller betters on the other. Small children roam the crowd selling gum, candy and cigarettes. I asked Andoy to film the fights while I took photos; got close up, and filmed for quite some time. Unfortunately he got the on and off buttons mixed up, and filmed his feet between fights, rather than the actual fights. Watching him filming he would have done a great job if not for that little mistake
Outside the amphitheater is a small market, selling meat, fish and vegetables. As the only white at the event I gathered lots of attention, especially from the vendors there, who suddenly started hawking their wares in English. People were surprised that "joe" was there.
Upon return we found out that the cost of the trip to Numancia was 1700 pesos, or about $50. We paid but after asking family we were charged about 4 times the going rate by Dong Dong's friend. While $50 is not much in North America for an afternoon's entertainment, here is is about 3 week's pay for an average person, and the family was outraged that we were taken advantage of because of the "rich white guy"
After our return is was starting to get dark - it gets dark around 6, and is fully night time by 6:30 - and we took another walk around town. Because fiesta is coming up - another reason for our visit at this time - a small carnival is in town. There are several games and hawkers, mostly gambling games of chance
Dinner tonight was mostly leftovers, bifstek, soup, lumpia and barbeq. As well there was a great corned beef dish that went very well with the ubiquitous rice. Half way through dinner the power went out, and we finished eating by candle and flashlight. We went outside after dinner and found that the sky had finally cleared, and the half moon was lighting up the town. We wanted to walk around in the moonlight, with no other lights and Allan, Andoy, Putin, Indak and I had an enjoyable walk around. We, of course, ended up at the carnival and played a few games of chance, before heading home again an hour later. Just as we were walking up the driveway, the lights came back on..and we headed on in and got ready for bed.