Tuesday, October 28, 2008

San Juan, Siquijor

On with my tour around he island! Am not sure why I expected this, but the tour did go on a counter-clockwise run. My tour-guide-cum-driver Charles (though I preferred to and was allowed to call him Charlie) started explaining and pointing things as we moved along. Now I had proof I was not wrong in picking him.

As we moved on, he would ask if I wanted to see this or that and I would readily respond. It had to be this way, since I was chopping off some destinations (even if important) so that I would catch my 4PM return ferry to Dumaguete – which I have already paid for. My informal rule was, let us stick to destinations near the main road.

First stop, the town of San Juan
On a Sunday, this town was eerily silent. I couldn’t even hear blaring radios or TVs amongst the houses we would pass by. As is expected, the tourist (that’s me) was brought to the town center for a closer view of their famous natural swimming pool with water coming from an underground spring. They officially call this the Capilay Spring Park. At this time of visit, the water was rather too moss green in color and Charlie told me it was in the beginning stages of being cleaned. So after a few shots, we climbed up the hill to the town’s church. There is a kind of grotto to the Blessed Virgin Mary on this hill overlooking the pool and park.

St. Augustine Church and Bell Tower is how many people would call their catholic church. Why the ‘Bell Tower’? Well, I saw for myself. It is the last remaining link to its ancient historical past. The tower, what remains of it anyway, is not anymore as enormous. But it does still sport its old purpose – to house the church bell constructed in a housing of tin sheets that sits atop the remains of the tower. I thought it looked rather funny to almost silly hehehe! The church facede is new and pink. So does most of what you see inside. On a gloomy day, the insides of the church were too dark for my camera and Charles advised me not to enter anymore. When I asked why, he told me that I might not like what I would see as there was a service going on – a funeral. I backed out not because I might not like watching the funeral service but I was apprehensive the people there might not like my seeming intrusion!

Hey contrary to some descriptions on the web, if I base everything on size of the structure, St. Augustine’s is not a Cathedral. I am even tempted to call it a chapel. But am no expert on that topic, so I’ll stick with the “church”.

This town has a cute little two-storey building for a Municipal Hall. I liked its homey appearance where every window has a curtain colored pink! Maridess? BF? Area you guys there? Hehehe! We did not anymore enter the municipal hall but went on out of the town center. By a neighborhood just a few meters from the town hall, kids and adults called out to Charles as if to greet him and he readily acknowledged all of them. He told me he lived in this town and at one corner we slowed down for him to point me in the direction of their house! Coolness!

Since we were on the topic, the conversation flowed on to the common livelihood in this town. Most of them are farmer-fishers meaning they’re farmers and fishermen too. And that includes Charles, at least that’s how he told me. When not busy with tourists, Charles said he would go out to fish with some of his townmates. Even pointed to me the boat that he would usually use!

There are caves in this town but I told Charles we better omit them. But the town is lined with pristine white sand beaches in almost its entirety, so we headed in the direction of the resorts. Hey, this is the resort town of the island but way far from the bustle of Bora or Bohol.




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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