Two Weeks in Lezo (Part two)

Trip Start Mar 17, 2013
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Trip End Apr 14, 2013


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Flag of Philippines  , Western Visayas,
Wednesday, April 3, 2013

After all the hectic Holy Week celebrations we were prepared tor a week of more rest and relaxation. However, as I finished the last blog, I had caught a cold. Monday was just horrid. Stuffed up, aching and a fever when it is already 100 plus degrees. I spend much of the day in bed with a fan blowing on me. I did medicate enough that I started feeling better so we headed into Kalbo - we wanted to treat two of the Apostles to coffee at a US style coffee house they could not normally afford. Its always fun to see their faces as they look at the menu prices and try to choose the cheapest thing. Once we get them past that, it is always a treat to see when their order arrives....coffee choclate sundays, with expresso, ice cream, choco syrup, whipped cream and a cherry....like you only see on TV. We also took the opportunity for the free internet to upload a whole lot of pictures for the previous two blogs and get them published. During our fun though the medication started wearing off and I started feeling poorly again, so we headed home and I was right to bed.

Next day we were up early and it was not long before I was back to bed. But after a long midmorning nap I felt much better, and since we had been planning a huge outing to Jawili Beach the next day, we had to get to Kalibo for banking and booze. While I was showering to get ready though there was a huge commotion with the dog and one of the multiude of cats fighting in the Kitchen. Allan tried to separate them but ending up kicking the kitchen table hard. Didn't seem like any damage at first.

We went to head off to Kalibo but Allan was messaged by some of the apostles. They were at Navitas Beach in nearby Numancia and wanted us to visit. Since it was on the way we did.

Just prior to heading to Navitas we stopped to see Indak getting her hair done. Just in the past few months a hair dresser and his assistant had set up shop about a block away from the house. Obviously a May September romance these two men are the definition of gay in the Philippines. It is kind of strange set up for gays here. A gay man here is the very effeminate, cross dressing stereotype that you often see portrayed. These men are accepted and tolerated. However masculine gay men are usually hidden away, married and with families - anyhow back to our story....

We jumped in a multicab to Numancia where we grabbed a tricycle to Navitas beach. Its a scenic route along country roads some paved, most not. This is defintately a flood area, and there are plenty of swampy areas on both sides of the road, and mangroves growing. We arrived at the beach and Mark Eral and Dan-Dan came out to meet us. At the small park a group of kids were playing basketball, and the game ground to a halt as I walked by, This is a beach usually just frequented by locals. There were several small beach huts set up, (which they call cottages here) and the other apostles were there.

We had a nice visit for about an hour. Took a short walk on the beach. This is a pebble beach, with a bit more wave action. In the distance we can see some netting up for fishing and there are several people swimming! When we went to leave, Allan's foot was hurting more and he was limping noticably. We walked out to the road and waited for a tricycle to to bring us back to Numancia, where we switched to another one to bring us into Kalbo to the bank.

Something I have done for the past few trips is set up an account at the Philippine National Bank and just deposit money into it so I can use their ATM's. It also allows me to deposit money when the exchange rate is good, giving me more bang for the buck.

So we both withdrew some money and then headed to Guisano's the local shopping mall, to get some supplies for the beach outing the next day. We first got some ibuprophen for Allan and he took those and we shopped for a bit. By the time we had finished that we decided that the foot should get looked at so we took a tricycle to a local hospital.

Think 1960's school, that is what the hospital reminded me of. Painted all in green with cement floors, we explained what we were there for and were ushered to the emergency room which was thankfully quiet. There were four beds (green sheets) and a very friendly nurse. While Allan explained what happened, I went outside to call his insurance company (point of knowledge - while travelling its a good idea to know how to call collect overseas - I didn't know - and neither did anyone I asked. I ended up calling direct and asking them to call back, which they kindly did.

Back into the hospital Allan had had an xray and we were waiting on the results. When the doctor came out to look at it, she said she saw no broken bones and suggested to just continue with ibuprophen twice a day.

So with Allan's foot ok and my cold on the mend we are ready for the last week in Lezo.

Wednesday morning up early for a day a Jawili Beach. This is likely one of my favourite places here.  A long white beach that has warm clear waters, and has not been overly developed.  Used mainly by the locals and as a fishing centre, the beach is usually almost deserted.  However there are some beach cottages (what we would call covered picnic tables) for rent and the beach is right there. Since the beach is undeveloped it is also pretty much wild with coconuts, seaweed and logs.  Small sandcrabs run from hole to hole and pretty much all you hear are the waves splashing on the shore.

This was to be a family outing, and the whole family decided to come.  We had also invited a few of the apostles and several of the youth of Lezo who I had met on facebook.  We all met in the driveway and crowded into the two Multicabs we had rented for the day.   Jawili is about a 1 hour drive from Lezo and the conversation was lively with the excited group.

We arrived and the beach was just as I remembered it.  It was low tide so it seemed to stretch our for ages, but I knew that by the time we left the water would be right up to the area where we sit.   After some food and drink, we went out swimming.  And we played in the water for over an hour.   There was a fishing boat nearby that we played around (until the owner yelled at us) and there were lots of games of tag.

After a bit I climbed out and took a nap in the shade of a palm tree while all the boys kept on playing.    After a while there was some sandcastle building and burying each other in the sand, while the family continued either drinking or swimming or eating. 

By about 4 pm exhaustion kicked in and we headed for home.

Thursday and Friday were uneventful.  We did some shopping in Kalibo, and walked around town a bit.  The school drum band was practicing so we stayed and watched that for a while. In Kalibo we bought some tropical fruits I had never tried before - fresh mangos, a purple hard shelled Mangosteen, a pomelo, which was like a very sweet and thick rinded grapefruit and guyabano.

Both days were basically lazy days as this part of our vacation wound down. Weatherwise Thursday started off with rain, but before 9 the rain stopped and before 10 the sun was out and brilliant.   Friday morning the sky was so blue and beautiful but by mid afternoon it had started to cloud up, and there was thunder in the air.  But even that cleared up leaving no rain in town, but a brilliant rainbow over the river.

Couple of off topic conversations here - every house in town has chickens and every town in house has cats.  Yet the cats never try to get the new born chicks.   Usually chickens are raised for meat, not eggs, and there are often hens followed by all their little chicks.   But the cats leave them alone.   The hens are very protective.  The puppy tried to play with a chick one day and the hen chased him halfway around the house, and for the rest of the day gave him a good warning if she even saw him. Pets here (and chickens) pretty much run wild and free.  They wander throughout the neighbourhood coming home to roost at night.  While cats and dogs might get table scraps, they are pretty much left to fend for themselves.   Of the 5 cats here, one is the originally from our last visit, two are her grown kids and two are strays that have adopted this house.   One of the strays is just a kitten, and has forge a friendship with the puppy and then often play together, and you can often see the kitten sleeping on top of the dog.

Next random topic - bathrooms - first of all, men here don't see a need to use them.  If there is a wall, there is a place to urinate.  Frowned upon in the city, but it still happens...it is not odd to be walking down the street with someone, have them stop face away and pee.  

And except in some businesses and hotels, toilets don't flush, there is a bucket and a tap and you pour it in.  Showering is typically with the bucket and tap too, although there are homes with showers and the hotels all have them.  Most places that have them will have individual hot water heaters that give you luke warm water.   Most also have a hose by the toilet for spot cleaning, if you know what I mean.   However in the poor households there will be toilet, no seat ,no tank, a bucket and a hose - and this will usually be outside in a small hut, although not always. 

ok, back to Saturday - Another rainy morning, but it cleared up nicely by 10 am and was hot by noon.   We didn't have much planned day time, so ended up just lounging around pretty much.  
The family was going to re-open their little store today after rebuilding, and being closed during our visit.  We sprung for new paint and painted it a bright yellow, and the barbeque could commence.

Meantime we had been invited both for dinner with Allan's uncle at his new house and to an outing with the apostles.

We first went to the uncle's.  He lives now in California but has build a house here to move to as he retires.  however as we were about to leave a brown out started (these are fairly regular here)
Like many Balikabyan (filiipinos who have moved overseas) his uncle plans to return to Lezo on retirement, and has built a huge house to return to.  He finishes a bit more each year.  Dinner was at the house, and was very good.  After a couple of drinks though we had to go meet up with the apostles.  

While not a long walk, it seemed a lot farther in the dark, with no street lights or house lights to guide us, just candles and the occasional car or motorbike.  Once home, we saw the BBQ stand open, and busy!  No electricity and people needed dinner.  Since it was also dark at the church we invited the apostles to the house and the drinking began.  These are good kids, between the ages of 17 and 30 who volunteer for the church, but they are kids and enjoy a good time.  Lots of drink, food and laughing.

Sunday was another HOT day.  I was up early (having punked out of the partying by 1 am) Allan not so much.  It was too hot to do much though, so I started some packing, and once Allan got up we took a quick trip into Kalibo to pick up some things, and on the way back we stopped at a Prayer Meeting we had been invited to by Jerome, the leader of the Apostles. 

Kind of surreal for me, not being catholic, but interesting. It was held in small chapel in another Baranguay of Lezo.    Each member got to stand if they so desired, and talk about how some of their prayers had been answered that week.  They then brought us to the front of the church and while a group sang a song, we were welcomed to the group for the day, and every member came up and shook our hands welcoming us.  A bit embarrassing, but very nice as well. 

After the service one of the members invited us to his farm which was close by.  This was interesting as it was not just the typical rice farm.  On this farm they grew tomatos, cucumbers, bananas, mangos and eggplant.  They also have ducks and some cows, and of course chickens.  Pretty cool farm.  

We headed back and at Jerome's place we saw a simple bamboo house, imaculately kept as are all filipino homes - while he is a construction worker, he also raised chickens and had a small catfish farm in the back.  His house bordered right on a rice field, and we walked though it to his family home which is in the middle of the rice field - no roads, just narrow paths.

There we saw a number of homes, all bamboo, and met his mother and her two sisters who all lived on this plot with their families.   A very interesting view of extreme rural life in the provinces.   We stayed for about an hour, and heard stories of their lives and livelyhoods.

We headed home, and did some more packing before bed.  

Monday was extremely hot, but we had to get packed.   We did a bit of walking around town, but didn't go far.  We visited Allan's friend who worked at the Town Hall and visited the Mayor's Office (he was not in) We took a quick walk to the graveyard to pay respects to Allan's grandfather.  While there we again discovered a grave marker had fallen off leaving the bones exposed.  Always a spooky event.   Evening Jerome came over for a bit, and visited as we packed.

I was in bed early - we had to be up at 5 to get to the airport on time for Manila Tuesday AM.   And the story will continue with us in Manila.








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Comments

Therese on

thank you for bringing me along on your vacation. Right about now the heat would feel wonderful as we are looking at minus 18 with the windchill here in Sudbury. I hope you are feeling better and hope Alan is no longer limping on his foot.
This place you visit sounds to be such a friendly inviting place. :)

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