Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dumaguete's Famed Rizal Boulevard

This place really needs no further elaboration since my afternoon experience was just the same as what everyone else have already posted in the weird-wired-world hehe! It’s a beautiful place, period.

People from all walks of life make this boulevard a nice retreat, thanks to its tree-lined and park-like ambience. There are just about every type and age of person here; locals, local tourists, foreign tourists; blue, white or red collared workers; young, younger, youngest; old, older, oldest; drivers, vendors, fishermen, religious, able, disabled, etc! There are things though that caught my attention and interest.

First, the sea in front of Rizal Boulevard is such a great afternoon view. You do not have to squint your eyes since the sun is behind you. Thus, the sun illuminates and highlights the blues of the sky and the greens of the sea. Quite a lovely view with nothing but a few boats and the vast horizon. This boulevard is unlike Roxas Boulevard in Manila if we talk about afternoons. It’s actually the opposite. Then again, I was quick to conclude that there must be a wonderful view here during sunrise. That’s a story that I will tell later hehe! Am still in my day tour of the city and I came in late care of Cebu Pacific Air, remember?!

Let’s move on land! Well, first major view is the Bethel guesthouse. And as described by many on the web, yes, the hostel like many others has a commanding view of the sea (if your room is on that side anyway hehe). Well, actually, Bethel too is a good blue and cream view from the boulevard. It looks tidy to look at from the outside. Therefore it must also be inside.

Back to the water, I noticed that at this southern end of the boulevard are fishermen’s little boats hung sometimes upside down to dry. It’s not literally hung like with a rope but the bancas are like shelved into make-shift scaffolds made of wood. I surmised that probably is what seafarers call a dry dock! Interesting sight! I see this sporadically in many coastal towns but there were a lot of them here.

Hey, in case you are not aware, unlike at Roxas Boulevard, the promenade area of Dumaguete’s Rizal Boulevard is wide and is divided from the road by an even wider island planted to trees and grass. This is actually that portion where people stay to picnic, rest or play around. However, yes, like at Roxas Boulevard, motorbikes are allowed in the promenade area that their smoke and noise irritate those who need to have peace and quiet amidst the cool breezes from the sea while sitting by the concrete benches. Am not sure though if motorcycles are really allowed at the promenade or those that I saw are just violators since there were not many. Imagine this… as you walk by the promenade, you encounter a mother with her infant on a stroller, then a family with their sickly granny on a wheelchair all trying to catch fresh afternoon are… and all of a sudden a giggly teenage girl on a motorcycle. Like hello?! Pwede ba?!

Ah, an interesting find! As I walked onwards, I noticed that the trash bins in the promenade are unique. These are the cube-like green nets with a steel frame that are elevated a few inches from the grass. That was something new to my eyes and I just thought there must have been a wise rationale for making them so. I had to take a closer look even if it contained rubbish. What I can make out of that “inspection” are: that the remaining liquid in anything that someone throws in will spill to the ground, the smell of anything that starts to decay or ferment will spread in the air/wind so they won’t be concentrated at just the trash bin and (this one am not sure) the mesh would probably make it hard for stray cats, dogs (if any) and even rodents (if any) to scavenge on the contents! I wonder!

Oh yes, my “examination” of that contraption did elicit various reactions from people in the area and those passing by. Some foreigners smiled at my curiosity. Other foreigners even also came closer to ogle at the thing with me – then left after also taking shots. Some local ladies I saw had their eyebrows raised to as high as the clouds at what I was doing. A man in uniform (police, tanod, taskforce whatever?) tilted his neck to the right to examine what on earth was I doing then just smiled and left me to it. And finally two little OSY kids (yep, Out Of School – they also have them in Dumaguete) came to ask me an almost simultaneous “what you doing” and “what for” (in straight English ha)! My reply was a joke saying “akong ipakita ni Bayani Fernando”! Expecting another question from those kids asking who Bayani was, I was very surprised to hear one of them say “ah kana siya (pointing at a tarpaulin advertisement), tighimo diay ug trashcan”. Hearing that, I had to let go of my very first boisterous laughter since arriving Dumaguete and I did not care who heard me! I was laughing as I said “yes yes, oo gyud, tinood na” hehehe! Golly that man, he’s already in the Visayas! Does he really think? Anyway…

Next to invite my curiosity was on old-style house that seem now to be an air-conditioned building. It has a fine Spanish period look to it but rather clean and well appointed. Oh, I realized it is the Honeycomb Hotel – one of my options though Harold’s won this time hehe! Then back at the promenade area, the SPC sisters invited my attention. Who are they? Well, I have read and took pictures of the history markers and the monument, but am not telling you now. Go forth to Dumaguete and see & learn all about them – esp if you’re a Paulinian who thought your Manila campus was the orig!

Further beyond the promenade and by the sea was another exciting sight. There was a passing line of what seemed to be a parade or procession of nine little fishing boats. It was nice looking at them slide gracefully by the sea, and silently – since they were far enough for anyone to hear an engine roar. Not that this thing is new to me. I have seen something like this with even more number of boats on Maqueda Bay and near the shores of Nagbalayong. But honestly, I have yet to know why these fisherfolks do it. Are those boats just following each other? Why and what for? Or are they connected in a series with ropes? Why and what for? Are all engines on or is it just the “head boat” at the front pulling all others? If so, why and what for? Probably to save on gas? If my memory does not fail me again, I am bound to ask around and know about this soon enough. I know I will. But for now, I am just too happy watching boats do that “procession”! They remind me of little ducklings following mother duck on a lake. Ah my Philippines!

I was heading towards the northern end of the boulevard and saw a number of restaurants and other establishments to my left, though I thought they’d be better to check out later in the evening. One other old-but-new looking building caught my attention. I think I saw that it was some government building though I don’t remember its exact identity. I just remember there was a cute little activity that I saw in front of it. Two guys were busy separating, counting and accounting for hundreds, perhaps even thousands of eggs. I just assumed they were about to deliver the eggs ordered by nearby Chin Loong and other restaurants. But what invited me to click my camera was the sight of this activity happening in front of a nice-looking government building with their multicab immediately beside a luxurious Mitsubishi Pajero, an equally high-end Nissan Largo and another privately owned Suzuki Multicab!

And then I was off to the pier!

For a chronology of stories on this trip, click the following article numbers:

01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18
19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35


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