Saturday, October 31, 2015

Taglibaran to Dumaguete

Monday, January 19th  Taglibaran to Dumagete

I wake at 5:30 A.M. to a distant chorus of cathedral bells. The musical serenade continues for 30 minutes and I drift in and out of sleep. At 6:30 I wake and shower and just before 7:00 Art and I go downstairs for breakfast. We Skype Alisha and she tells us about Emily’s and Graham’s wedding at Natural Bridges beach; that Molly was the flower girl and Sterling the ring bearer and how cute they were and how beautiful the wedding was. I wished we could have been there but their wedding was planned at the last minute and our trip to the Philippines was actually planned around Joe’s wedding to Julie-Ann in Samur, which did not come to fruition.

After checking out of our hotel, we take four separate trikes to the ferry terminal; reportedly an eight peso ride but we pay and tip our drivers 20 pesos each, about 35 cents. The sun is sweltering and we wait in line for seat assignments and then in line again to check our luggage ($100 pesos per bag) before going through security. We place our carry on’s on the moving belt of the ex-ray machine and I am gently patted down before entering the waiting room of the terminal.  Our four seats across are downstairs in a mid row and there are no escape doors should the boat capsize. The two hour ferry ride passes without incident and at 12:30 we dock at Dumaguete Port. 

I Love Dumaguete
The hotel shuttle picks us up to drive us the few short blocks to a Chinese run tourist hotel. Posted prices here are $1800 pesos for a delux king room. (About $45) Our 6th floor room with large windows should have a reasonably good street and mountain view but the view is clouded by severely fogged double pane windows and when we check in, there is no water.  I read the two pages in our guide book about Dumagete city and the four of us set out walking back towards the waterfront to find lunch.  The clientel at many of the beach side restaurants is mostly European and ex-pat and we choose a dingy little restaurant bar, order an uninspired lunch and watch the goings on.  Our ferry has arrived too late for us to do any real touring and after lunch we walk to the University and visit their archeological and history museum.

A Lovers Photo Opt at our Hotel
It is extremely hot and humid and the boys return to the hotel but I want to find the Stillman University cooperative listed in the guide book. The current cooperative is relocating and I go to the relocation and am disappointed to find it empty until “permits” are submitted.  I want to buy Alisha a special gift and have not seen anything suitable for her and I go into  two clothing boutiques but the styles are uninspired, cheaply made and much too small for our tall daughter.

The guidebook recommends several restaurants along the waterfront and at 5:30 P.M. the four of us hire a trike to take us to Labas Restaurant, just north of the ferry dock. It is a two story, open air establishment and we climb to the second level and choose a table at the edge of the balcony, overlooking the sea wall and ocean beyond.  Coincidentally, our travel agency has an office downstairs and Art and Joe go in to discuss tomorrow’s details of our snorkeling trip to Apo Island.  Because of the hurricane and the resulting ferry cancelations, we are missing one day of island hopping. Apo Island is reported to have excellent scuba diving and Art would like to adjust the plan so that he and John can go diving there. In the meantime, John and I each order a margarita, relax into Island time and watch the activity on the street below.  It is a balmy evening and trikes and scooters come and go and the restaurant begins to fill with patrons.
Trike Ride to Dinner
Trike Ride to Dinner

Art is able to adjust the plans so that he and John will dive from Apo Island and Joe and I will snorkel as previous planned.  There are a few minutes of disharmony since the change alters the price and pick up time which affects us all.  Ultimately, we get a refund for the tour day lost and end up getting a $3,000 + peso refund. ($75)  John and I enjoy or vegetarian meals but the servings are small and Joe and Art are not all that happy with the dining experience, recommended as the best sea-food restaurant in Dumagete.

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