Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Going Dinagyang

Iloilo City and its nearby environs is a progressive (or fast progressing) urbanity that probably in a few years would become another metropolis. But this place still teems with histories and many things to experience (good and bad) that one does not commonly encounter in Metro Manila or Metro Cebu! Its not necessarily culture, but this place has a nice past, an interesting “today”, and a “heavens-knows-what” future!

How did I know about this place?
Well, who would not know about Iloilo City anyway? It’s touted as one of the more progressive cities in the Visayas area. I have friends who come from the place but are mostly scattered around the globe now. And those who are there, (as I see it) are too busy, I never want to bother them with my royal presence J Shssss, don’t tell them I think this way. If they discover, they will be mad like hell for having visited their city without telling them. Ilonggos are one of the most hospitable lot in this country, and they’ll be all too insulted to know that you as a friend actually sat foot on their land without telling them. A lost opportunity and shame for them to have not been able to accord you whatever it was they could have done to make your stay more enjoyable! So, don’t tell okay! :D

Before going on my last visit, I did spend some time on the web, browsing anything I could use as preliminary information about Iloilo City especially about life in there as a visitor during the Dinagyang festivities – as if I have not been there on a Dinagyang festival previously hehe! Just the same I researched on my own without bothering my friends who live there.

How did I go there?
I booked a circuitous but cheaper route! I was probably punishing myself for all the previous excesses I have been doing or probably too, I just wanted to make my visit more adventurous! And later you’ll see I had my fill of adventure!

Spent a little mental debate between me, myself and I, at just 3 days before the Dinagyang Festivities whether to go and arrive in luxurious (and of course expensive) comfort or backpack my way to the same venue! The wallet (not the pride) prevailed. Perhaps, it was because I was alone and nobody was to meet me there. And probably also it was because I did not have any companion to take care of! Yet probably too, I must have been wanting to see how is that countryside drive from Roxas City to Iloilo City.

So, one cool January Saturday, I jetted via a Cebu Pacific flight into Roxas City – which is still 135 kilometers away from Iloilo City. From the Roxas City Airport, I took a tricycle to the “paradahan” of Ceres Bus Lines which is at the other end of the city. Far as the bus terminal is, I took the trike ride for a breeze-through of the Roxas City proper. Well, it’s still the same. The massive cathedral, the city hall, the river and the famous bridge, the library – all are about the same the way they looked when I was last in this city many years ago. Just noticed there are more commercial establishments and too many more cellular phone ads everywhere this time. It was early morning so traffic was very light.

On reaching the Ceres Bus Terminal there was a bus more than half full and about ready to depart for Iloilo. But I have planned to catch the “aircon bus” and this was "ordinary". So I went into the restaurant that serves as also the dispatch office of the bus company. Asked the man who looked like he was dispatcher and he told me that an aircon bus was due to depart in just 15 minutes. I said I will wait for it. So I lounged and walked around waiting for the aircon bus. There were some buses (aircon and not) being readied but no indication as to which of them would go first. Then came a fairly new and newly cleaned aircon bus from the repair area to the departure side. I asked the driver if it was bound for Iloilo and the answer was yes! I was first to hop in so I took the front-most seat - chance for me to have a better view of the countryside ride.

Departure time was fast approaching and there were only a few passengers trickling into the bus. I already primed myself that I was in for some kind of delay as I know that in the provinces, the driver will wait for his bus to be full to the ceiling before he gets moving. But surprise of surprises! There were only about six of us on the bus, and at the designated departure time, we were off! Driver was even hesitant to wait for a family who came in via a tricycle trying to catch the same ride! He did stop and allowed them to board.

Onwards, the ride from Roxas to Iloilo was generally uneventful. There were good views and some surprising sights. Imagine how wide my little jap eyes went at the first encounter with a PHILTRANCO bus clearly marked "PASAY"! I was initially shocked?! Is there a "Pasay" on this island? Are there really Philtranco buses in this island, or are they imitations? If none, how the hell would that bus go to Pasay City? And as those questions circled in my head there was another one - the distinctly red and white bus of Philtranco. And it was marked "CUBAO". Golly! I was about to ask the driver and conductor who were a few inches away from me when we happened to have passed by a roadside billboard that had the face of the president and bore some pronouncements of whatever project. Seeing that face, I suddenly remembered the "nautical highway" that she has been promoting. So those buses are taking a roro ride from somewhere on this island and cross to Mindoro, then cross to Batangas and then Metro Manila. Oh so that was it! Other buses we met were not Philtranco but just the same were either going Cubao or Pasay. Some were non-airconditioned (Ordinary).

My bus entered the Iloilo City suburbs around 9AM or so.

Arrival and accommodations
Buses arrive at an outskirt part of the city. It’s a vacant lot with nipa-roofed little buildings (open on all sides) for vendors and waiting people to sit around on benches or monoblock chairs. The ground is not concrete so on a January morning, it easily gets muddy being trodden by the big buses. Ah yes, they call this a bus terminal! This is the northern part of the city. So, if not interested in taking the many airconditioned taxis going to the city centre, one takes a jeep ride going via Jaro district until you reach a mall across the river from the main urban area. Well, it’s already also bustling with commercial establishments that the old houses and other great sights are obscured from easy pass-through viewing.

During the Dinagyan festivities, the bridge is closed to PUVs but not to taxi cabs and private vehicles. And when not in a cab, you must cross the bridge on foot from the Gaisano mall towards the main city centre. Reason why I chose a nearby hotel along these parts!

From Manila I called up to reserve a room at the River Queen Hotel. The woman there already knows me cuz this was my second time to go watch Dinagyang alone and staying at the same venue. The hotel is nothing grand. I do not even recommend it to those who are used to five star comforts. But you’d realize this place had a grand past and must have seen its glory days. The front desk fits only a single person. But this is not a big hotel anyway, so it’s more than enough I suppose. There are always complimentary copies of the local newspapers, Sunstar and some others – ah this part I always like – keeps me easily current with the local happenings in the area. There is a big big big dining hall that has the river and the Gaisano mall at the other bank of this river for a view. Nice sunsets in this restaurant. But yes, owing to rarity of customers, this place, the food and the service is starting to get sordid. Crews are still friendly but busier listening to the radio or chatting with the guard than being on their toes to serve you.

At times, there will be a band or an acoustic singer doing some gigs. But there are few to sometimes nil customers. Now if you’re a big group who want a big “cheap” dining hall away from the inquisitive eyes of the “trying-to-be-alta-sociedad”, this place is a candidate! Lastly on this restaurant, it has an ancient, really antique “cash-machine” – yes, the cahier’s machine with a lot of numbers where the individual keys are like in the olden typewriters and where a little bell somewhere inside it rings when the cash drawer springs open! It is one rusty thing that could already command a prime display shelf in a museum! One afternoon, I even asked the cashier if I could buy it but got a negative reply the following morning – “ser, indi puydi sabi ng owner kay may-ara kuno continental value” – she probably meant sentimental value!

Between the restaurant, the little sitting area called lobby and the front-desk, there is actually some kind of a disco that even has a second level. But look elsewhere since it is usually closed or open but devoid of patrons. Am not too sure, but a prayer-meeting with lots of singing that I heard one Sunday morning seemed to emanate from this same place. Cool! At least it pulsates with action from day till night – during weekends! Party place by night, prayer place by day!

Oh the rooms! Ahh also old and grimy and dark. I did not look closer, but the curtains look like stiff with dust. There is a phone, a towel, a little square of soap, an aparador with a big mirror and the ever whirring airconditioner. On this recent visit, I was late booking my room so I could only grab one with nothing above but an incessantly whirring and shuddering “ceiling fan” which I thought would drop to my head anytime soon! This place has 3 levels and wherever you go, you must climb up or down a staircase. At least the center of this rectangular building is an open space green with plants and flowers. You’d actually think you’re living in a school-building! Just like a dorm but without the laundry hung everywhere. Oh there are even caged birds on that little garden with flowery plants. Bottomline, I still like the place as I only need a bed from about 3AM to 7AM when in Iloilo!

The Parade
Early in the morning, drums of all sizes could already be heard rumbling along the route of the Dinagyang Parade. Yes it’s true, these parades usually happen twice – that’s one on Saturday and the final spectacle on a Sunday. If you want to count it in, there is even a third one which is what they call the Fluvial Parade that happens on a Friday – of course in the river. In the past, it would usually start from the church area near the plaza Libertad, but I think this time they have adopted the style in Cebu’s Sinulog called a “carousel-parade”. Am not so sure about those now! All I know is I run into my desired vantage area and watch the contestants.

Be wary of what to watch-out for in this parade or you might end cursing yourself for not having been early. This is a festival and the contingents do not just walk or march along the parade route. They not only even dance! Most of the groups have acrobatics and props sometimes almost as tall as a house! The performances are frenzied and do have meaning, re-enacting some events of the past so you’ll need to get a better view to absorb them – and of course for a better camera vantage point!

I have learned to pick a place they call “judging areas”. They’re easy to spot as these are usually located in big street-corners with some kind of make-shift stage for a lot of people to sit-on and along the sides of the street are make-shift bleachers where you pay to be able to perch on them. In those areas, contestants make full performances each. As expected, these judging areas are the ones that get very crowded first. Am even telling myself, next time I should go even earlier if I want to get more of the views.

AND most important thing to remember while watching these parades is to keep watch of your belongings. This is where I lost a cellphone! It was inside one of the pockets of my body-bag and it just got lost amid the frenzy while I was watching the performance of one great team that ended up as the winner. Mind you, when I went to the Globe store inside that old SM Mall in the city, I was told by a guard that I was the 18th person who has reported a lost cellphone! Golly! And it was only about 1030AM! At least that was just an aging 6310 and Globe immediately killed the SIM and gave me a new one bearing my very same phone number. Then again, every time I received a txt msg I would ask them “hus dis” and thus I started re-building all the more than 400 nbrs in my fonbuk – while still watching and enjoying the parade. So beware!

BTW, all is not lost if you can’t get a good spot in those judging areas. I tried this myself: I traced the parade route and found that there were areas that did not have crowds and were even kept away from the sweltering heat of the sun by tall buildings. So it was a good area to watch parade participants in full ground-view. The hitch is they’re not actually in full performance mode with the running and jumping and shouting. But as I said earlier, this is not your ordinary city parade – so they’re still dancing as a group even as they move forward.

At times you may even catch some of them not moving along the parade route as they wait for the preceding group to finish a routine at the judging area. And this is where the group in front of you does some hasty preparations for their props, re-touching their body-paints or make-up or quenching their thirst with bottled water. So need I tell you? This is also a good photo-op if you want to take pics of the performers just posing and smiling for you!

The Streets!
For me, this is where Iloilo’s Dinagyang is different from others like the Masskara, Sinulog or Panagbenga. The streets (not only along the parade routes but even in other streets that criss-cross the city centre) are playing… no no no… make it BLARING very loud danceable tunes courtesy of radio stations and other such entities wanting to have fun! Hah, these are not just little karaoke speakers! These are HUGE speakers some of them are taller than me (am exactly 6’0”). As if that were not enough… a multitude of them gigantic speaker boxes in black faux-leather finish are positioned beside each other to sometimes six in a row while other equally big or smaller boxes are placed on top of those that stand on the ground.

The effect? All you can hear around you is the music and you can feel in your ribcage each vibration of the bass drums… so it is but natural that your knees and your toes start twisting and tapping to the tune being played. Now that is the reason why most everyone you see on the streets are either dancing or just about to dance or moving their shoulders in dance-like twitches! Ah this is FUN! Of course they tone it down or even stop their kind of music when the performers pass by for everyone to hear the sounds of the beating drums or those big tubes being slapped with rubber sleepers! Ano, nakakita nab a kayo nyan?! Well, back to the loudspeakers… when the parade is over, they spring back to full pulsating mode. Thus, you really groove on the street with your food and drinks!

Food and drinks? Yeah palangga, yeah! We’re still on the very same streets as where you find the loudspeakers. The Iloilo way to party is again unlike elsewhere. During the Dinagyang Festival, what used to be your normal sidewalks or walk-ways plus about half of the lanes where the parade won’t pass-by suddenly become make-shift turo-turos with enough tables, chairs and benches for you to enjoy all sorts of gastronomic delights the Ilonggos can think of. Of course, drinks of all sorts from bottled water to Gatorade from Sarsi to Red Horse are available at sari-sari store prices! And mind you, on the streets where the parade won’t pass… ah they’re all strewn with lots and lots of eating places that serve just about anything!

While in many fiestas the town or city is awash with a sea of tiangge stalls transforming them into like Divisorias or Baclarans that sell things like toys or DVDs, in Iloilo, it’s about the same deluge of stalls but not for petty little nothings but all are food stalls! You would wonder who comes to buy and partake of the food and drinks, right? The answer is simple: it’s all of them Ilonggos and us the visitors! Who cooks the food. Them also! Pagalingan, pasarapan, pabanguhan, pagandahan ng pagkain yan! Grabe! Here’s a technique I learned: don’t eat any meal as your breakfast-lunch-dinner-and-drinks are strewn all over the place from sun up to almost the next sun up! Plus, when you buy something you like, buy just a little bit so your stomach won’t get full. Why? Because Inday, in the next stall, there will be something else that you will want to bite! Gluttony is the order of the day!

Want a more specific scenario? Here goes: one beautiful Sunday midmorning while wading my way to make a short-cut to another judging station, I had to push my way amongst a crowd of people taking their turns to buy food from the little make-shift counter of one food-stall. Others were already competing with everyone to grab the table-and-chairs that they like. I just thought “kaka-breakfast lang a, and look at these people crowding here instead of watching the parade”. So I went by and noted on my mind I will probably come back later to have lunch. When I came back, the whole street was already filled with a maddeningly thick crowd of diners – all under the sweltering noontime heat! So I ordered lunch and grabbed the first available table I saw. While finishing my bottle of Coke, a TV crew with his outsized camera begged if he could join me on the table. I said “sure”. So I looked around and saw that about 4 tables from me, having lunch was a well-known senator with some other who’s who! I asked the cameraman if those politicians really need to injure the heat! The answer was: “ganyan mag-fiesta dito, dapat nasa labas ka to mingle with people”! Later I learned the stall-owner pala is a great cook and the beautiful wife of one of the big names in this city! Whoa! Even them do bother to be in this kind of chaos!

After the “educational” lunch I walked to the next stall that also sold lunch but had different kinds of tasty little things like yema. Chatted with the stall-owner and learned that she was actually an MD (yes, medical doctor) and was out here to earn a few little pesos at the same time have fun. Her daughter even took a break from her regular airline job to help-out. And the son was pitching in as a promo-model of a certain dairy and coffee company out with their own stall for a “free-taste” of this and that product! Next stall was selling tasty cakes and pastries (I loved the brownies) and I later realized the “tindera” was mother of the MD and lola of the stewardess! Wow! No wonder their serving dishes were mostly Pyrex! I did not ask but I wouldn’t be surprised if the utensils in use were Oneidas or Waterfords hehe!

We’re not done on the streets yet, okay? During nighttime, these on-the-street eateries even fill with more of humanity I sometimes wonder where on earth they come from. By sunset the music boxes climb to their maximum level and the latest dance tunes are constant. Then some party lights, flood lights and spotlights of different colors start blinking.

Party lights? Yes again, palangga! And at this point you can see a lot of males are already drunk (even I had already about 4 bottles of SanMigLight by 5:30PM) but the party is just about to begin! Let us say that again… about to begin!

The street party – the drinking and dancing, that is – starts at just about sun-down. Throngs of people come to these little eateries on the streets to eat, drink and just be merry. Oh goodness! This is a one-of-a-kind street party! In the same downtown area, every two corners or so are erected stages big enough to straddle the whole road. What for? All kinds of musical bands to play all kinds of music to make your evening party great. Imagine that… so many bands just a block or two away from each other. Let me rephrase that… so many stages with so many musical bands just a block or two away from each other! At one stage your favorite local band in manila would be playing, at another stage a very popular acoustics duo would be doing their routine, at yet another, a showband is rocking the crowd with choreographed singing and dancing! Grabe, I had fun hopping from one-stage to the other just to listen to the different bands play music. And to do that, with my sanmiglight on one hand and lighted cigarette in the other, I had to wade through thousands of humanity either also roaming or seated on the thousands of tables and chairs all over the place. If only I could take an aerial view of this big big party!

Oh, it might have been pure luck or the people there are really peaceful because… with all the drinking and dancing and singing, I never encountered or heard of a commotion or that sort of party-stoppers. And to think I already lost my cellular phone during the parade!

Other Things Iloilo
Much as you would think you are going to Iloilo for the Dinagyang Festival, heed the advice of many (for which I did) that there are a lot of other sights and experiences to enjoy while there.

One of these is the Museo Iloilo. Not really that big a museum and just recently refurbished, but there is an admirable collection to link you to the city’s and province’s past. There are a lot of books and other reading materials – even paintings and more modern artsy things. Here is one thing to avoid though… they sell a CD that contains still shots and mini-videos about the city. It is very amateurish and at first was priced at P850 but when I begged for a discount, the ladies there called up someone, and then it became P500. But considering the contents of the CD, you should not even buy it even if it were sold to you at P30! Why? Because everything in that CD can be had from the web and the resolution of everything is quite poor. My 5th grade niece can make a better collection than that! Well, I had to buy it if only for me to say I bought a souvenir!

Now, cross the river northwards and you should discover some charming remnants of this city’s past. There are old mansions with ornate gates, fences and structures. Be on the lookout for some old wooden and stone houses are sometimes obscured by commercialism!

La Paz Batchoy! If you are thinking of trying to find the tastiest and original of this delectable noodle soup, drop the idea. You’ll just have a headache! Every one of them will claim they were the originals because they’re from La Paz District. Bottom-line, they all taste great for me that I don’t mind finishing a bowl of it even at midday! I just love this batchoy thing! While there are malls even hotels in the La Paz district, I did notice that there are more residential houses here than elsewhere. I did see that the bamboo craft business seem a big thing in this place. Oh, there is also a cathedral-like church that people visit when they want to travel far.

I had a chance to visit the Jaro Cathedral. It’s an interesting antique place where the main door has a loft that becomes some kind of a second level where people light candles to an image of a saint. No you cannot hear mass from this loft. But it has a very good vantage if you want to take pictures of the front-loan of the church and the plaza across the street. Did I say Plaza? Oh yes, and when I went there, the signage say it is a “park”. But people refer to it as the Jaro Plaza! Now am not sure what the difference is! But in here, there is nothing great to see except that they tell me this place was a big thing in the past. As for now, during the Dinagyang festivities, this plaza is converted into some “agro-industrial-fair”. And what do you see in that fair? Thousands of trinkets, fake brand shirts and pants, slippers, sandals, sando, bra, caps, bonnets, key chains, plastic toys, fake Barbie Dolls and a multitude of CDs and DVDs! Plus there are stalls where you can sing-along by dropping the usual 5-peso coin. Plus there is a perya-like place where you either bet on the “pula” or “puti” or throw darts to little balloons stuck to a wall! That is their agro-industrial fair hehehe! Then again, I did see a stall that sold barongs and those kinds of materials. Oh right on this plaza (or park, whatever) is a gigantic belfry without a church! Why? I really don’t know but the church is some 50 or so meters in front of it across the street and the big frontage! Actually I was told that in the ancient past the church structure was bigger and this belfry is what remains!

Now now, if the La Paz Batchoy was an original in La Paz district, in Jaro, it is the “biscocho”! It’s the yellow crackly bread smothered with margarine and white sugar toasted to its delectable state. It goes well with Coke by the way hehe! And if you want to look for and taste the “original” makers, it will be another headache as everyone will claim they are or were – whatever! One thing is for sure though, give me a bag of that thing (whatever the brand) and in 30 minutes (or less), everything sans the wrapper will be in my tummy – and I will ask for more!

Hey I hear Jaro is the most affluent district of the city. I did not bother to check for evidence; I just believe them until today. Why? Cuz almost all of my friends are from this district hehe – so that’d make me also an affluent nut hehehe! Am such a social-climber!

Then there is the Molo Church that you must visit folks! It’s on the other end of the city from Jaro but yes, this is still Iloilo city. Every church I visit is such big and cathedral like and old. Maybe they had too many priests in the past who each wanted to have his own parish? Anyway, I took a cab to this place and found many things interesting. It is fronted by a park with big trees so I can’t take a very good picture of its total front view (reminds me of that blue church in Puerto Princesa). The church person I talked to in this place told me that this is a unique church in that it has a Gothic design (I still don’t understand what it is anyway) and that most of the churches in the country are Baroque style (I also don’t understand that but am familiar with Barok and Gundina and the Korokans). I do believe this church is majestic with a big shining silvery dome. There are a lot of wooden pillars inside the church and each bear intricate flowery carvings. They call those Corinthian Columns but I don’t know what’s Corinthian though I once lived in that village of the same name beside the camp hehe! The most interesting part of this church to me is that everything I saw were female saints. Yes kuya, feminista yata ang friar dito during our historic past hehe! All those pillars are installed with a female saint each! Unique and interesting!

Now you must be itching to hear about Molo Soup. Oh yes palangga! That soup with a floating siomai is said to have originated in this district of the city. As this is another favourite of my crazy tongue when in Manila, I did immediately notice the differences of Molo soup in Molo and the same soup from where I come. One, there is not only one siomai in your soup but more. Two, in Molo it is not exactly siomai since the “meatballs” are a bit flat and the wrappings are not crumpled at one end but a bit squarish – if you can picture that. And, it always has a generous scattering of the fried garlic which makes the soup all too delectable. Now am salivating!

Manokan and other eateries. While Bacolod’s Manokan Country has no equal, Iloilo does have its share of eateries. But for some reason my sources were insistent that I go to Tatoy’s. I was told to go beyond Molo and unto Arevalo. A hotel staff told me to take the Villa Jeep, others said Arevalo Jeep. I got confused and am still confused if Villa and Arevalo are one and the same place. I took a cab instead!

Anyway, Tatoy’s Manokan serves food that I won’t really jump about for. But the place is interesting as it has a nice setting and “caring” staff – most of them are old (reminds me of Lantaka Hotel in Zamboanga hehe). This is a big big big place. You enter a low roofed nipa hut to be greeted by a wide and expansive open-air restaurant dotted with long bamboo tables and benches, individual huts, function rooms and function houses with a choice of air conditioned or not! This is a big compound!

As I was alone, I positioned myself in one of the little huts. And as I am not a chicken starved kid and am not a gulay hungry dude and I cannot finish the big lapu-lapu or the big crab… I ended up with lechon-baboy – the single serving of which was I thought even enough for four people! Ahh cholesterol! They carry your plates to where you are and lay them face down on the bamboo table. The spoon and fork are swimming in a bowl of hot-water. Your drinking glass is placed top down in a saucer. Now the waiter or waitress (when not busy fetching for your food) would stand by your table armed with a little stick with plastic strips to drive away flies, insects and birds from your food. Did I say bird? Yes! The maya type! An interestingly rural setting, di ba?! The best part is not in this place though.

Across the street and that means by the beach is a line of little cottages also owned by Tatoy’s and you can have your food there. Inside the bamboo huts are bamboo tables and benches then you can feast on your food amidst the sea breeze and a faint view of Guimaras Island beyond the sea. Watch out you finicky dudes cuz your waiters will carry your food in open serving plates as they cross the street where a jeep or car could be zooming along to spray dust hehe! But oh, by the way, this area is called Villa Beach. While it is not the best part, some people do actually go and swim during, before and/or after lunch in those huts!

There are a lot of other places similar to Tatoy’s in this very long strip of beach. Someone in there even told me to see Breakthrough restaurant and Villa Regatta. I did. The first is the same thing but food is served on more affluent and continental paraphernalia while the latter is more of a water resort! So I think I know now why Tatoy’s is the most-visited that even the President of the Republic is herded to this place for lunch! Enough of the food now, okay?!

On the other side of the city is the SM City Mall which is just like any of the SM Malls scattered all over the country. But it was fun for me to realize that just across it is where the buses marked Pasay or Cubao emanate from!

Going back downtown, you might have forgotten the Plaza Libertad? It’s at the very heart of the city. What is there to see? Nothing hehe. There is a marker about its historic past and some old buildings surrounding it.

Then there is the Muelle Loney. What is that? Just the port hehe, where you ride the boats going wherever like Bacolod! There is though a cute little building I don’t remember if that was a customs house or a post office. Now challenge yourself and start looking for Fort San Pedro – still in Iloilo City and not in Cebu! When you can’t find it, just look for a lighthouse in that area. That’s it hehe, the ex location, that is!

Now let’s finish this with an ugly thing hehe! In all my travels in this country, I have noted that the city with the ugliest city hall is Iloilo City. Not that it is an ugly structure since it actually is a box-type building. The ugliness is the filth and yuck that you’ll somehow feel when in and around it!

Then let’s jump into something beautiful again! Never miss to observe the jeepneys in Iloilo City. They’re a bit different to those you see all around the country. Jeepney by design and purpose but they look more like the Ford Fiera than the Sarao. The finish is generally smooth and shiny sans the ornate things that your local sarao jeep would usually have. AND the most exciting… when you ride one, the upholstered seats are generally too low to just a few inches that you feel like you’re almost squatting on the floor!

Lastly, they also have an interesting little airport building. There is no common check-in counter but there is a common arrival area. So where do you go to check-in? Inside the airline offices where you must compete for space with all other passengers. You then go out of the airline office, walk towards the pre-departure or waiting lounge before you are called to board your flight. Well, I did hear a new airport is on the way!

Oh well, I flew back in via Air Philippines without anymore going to Roxas!

1 comment :

  1. Wow! This was 2006! The ugly city hall is no more. A new city hall rises from the old site. To be finished by August of this year. The small airport, its already has moved 20 kms up north. And regarding Ilonggos who would be a bit dissapointed whenever they knew you visited their turf without informing them, yeah...quite true. :D