Thursday, September 3, 2009

San Vicente Wharf

This was not part of what I wanted to see. But my curiosity led me there.

As I was watching the fisherfolk tending to their boats and nets amidst the placid sea water in the morning calm, I happened to have seen something that looked like a wharf on the other end of the city. I surmised that should probably be near my hotel. On my way out of the public market I casually asked a woman what it was. The reply was a crisp “San Vicente Wharf” (in English ha), not “pantalan” nor “pier” but San Vicente Wharf!

So, when I emerged out on the main road, I hopped unto a tricycle and said my crisp “San Vicente Wharf”. And he zoomed through. This was a sea-side road of the city as I could see snippets of the sea in between houses. As we forded along, the places we were passing through started to look familiar. Have I been here? Ah yes, yesterday I happened to have been on this part of town. Then there was the heritage square. Whoa!

Heritage Square to our left, when driver started to veer right by the corner in front of a University across Bogo Park Lodge, I told him to stop. I paid and alighted telling him I will walk to the wharf. Whoa! From this corner, the Pizza Pub (where I was last night, remember?) was just a few paces to the left. And, diagonally across from where I stood was the plaza, yes the park. Wow! I didn’t know this was near a wharf!

So, as told to the trike driver, I started walking towards the right where I could already see in the distance was a wharf. But there were other things along the way!

On my right was an old-looking structure though obviously improved as the original materials probably have decayed. It looked like a colonial era house, just refurbished. Ground floor says it is the Bogo Water District office while second floor has signage that say Department of Education Division of the City of Bogo. Could not help but approach a guard to ask about the building. And so, I was told that in fact, this very house was previously the municipal hall. Then he pointed to me a signage that further told what this structure was. O ha?! I was not being observant! Hmm, probably that guard was thinking… “hello, can’t you read?” hehehe! Lesson learned: if you admire something, look at it from afar before closing in. I did not readily notice the signage because it was too near my forehead hehe! See the pic! It says everything about this house!

To my left (and just almost across the old municipal building) was Papi’s. That’s one of the reputed eating places in the city – so I read somewhere on the web while surfing for info on Bogo. It was not open yet though. They only come alive at 11AM.

Onwards and to the right is a fine-looking barangay multi-purpose plaza. I smiled as I thought that this is probably one of the places where they would hold the Miss Gay contests hehe! It is clean and well maintained with paint and flowering plants. Just outside it by the edge of the water, is a “lover’s lane” beside an herbal garden! Wow hehehe! Unique! And a little bit beyond, on the water is a little floating hut where you can probably get even more romantic. Warnings should be in place to lovers contemplating on heading to this “lane”. Like? 1) You may shiver or quiver in excitement at whatever it is you feel, but please… don’t munch on the herbs hehe; 2) When there seems to be a little lovers’ issue, please, don’t go there. One of you might just push the other unto the sea hehehe!

Across the lovers’ lane, is probably another lovers’ hangout. This time it’s the food lover’s place. Oh it’s a mini reclamation area where kiosks, tables and chairs have been erected. Learned from a manang that at night, this becomes a kind of mecca for people who want to eat out cheap. Hey, this is a 2,000 square meter reclamation area, but I say still, ‘mini reclamation’ in reference to what Cebu City and Mandaue or Pasay and Manila has done! Seeing the place, I promised myself I should be dropping by this place later in the night.

Golly I was not at the wharf yet and I was seeing so many things worth my notes! Alright, next is Japer’s. It is a big and well appointed place (compared to others in the area) that is not on the reclamation but just at the very edge. In fact, I would like to believe that this reclamation thing started long after Japer’s has settled in the place by the water. Why? Because, while millimeters beside Japer’s is already the reclamation, like you can now exit to the side instead of on to the road, under it is still water. Way beyond its rear area though is already land (reclaimed)! That only means… the reclamation folks did not anymore touch Japer’s underside since it is already there standing. Hmm, I thought I should come back to this place during the night too.

There are other big and small places onwards and across from Japer’s that line both sides of the road leading to the wharf. Hmm, while some are “turo-turo” restaurants, some do look like they are karaoke joints. I thought I should see this place in the evening and noted that on my PDA.

I really like the style of this Barangay San Vicente. They peppered the whole place with markers and signs as to the significance of things and places. Like entering the long and curving wharf, there is a welcome signage that tells this is the oldest wharf in the city. Therefore, there are other wharves? Yes. There is one I saw soth of the city and I know there is the Pulambato wharf in the north where ROROs take-off for Masbate and Leyte. So, okay, thanks to the signage. My lowly morning brain was forced to think about those hehe!

I was just entering the wharf and in my mind I was already saying WOW! This wharf lays silently on very calm, very placid waters. Or maybe it was just so during my visit. Or because it was still very early in the morning. I was lucky that means. There were only two boats and a little banca docked in this wharf. The more that it looked and felt very serene. And it was not windy. I don’t know how to describe it, but I felt a different sense of satisfaction bordering on mesmerized while walking the length of this wharf.

Ticao Island Resort… ha?! Where was I? That sleek, all white resort boat sported the name and it lay silent to my left. But I know that resort is in Masbate! So I recalled… last night, while talking to the Pizza Pub crews, I asked why there were tarp adverts of this resort inside their restaurant. And I remember they told me that the owner/s of the resort are close friends of the pub owner; that some tourists approach that resort (yes, in Masbate) from this place; and that, the resort does its marketing and procurements mainly in Bogo as it is the most convenient city to go to with a Gaisano Supermarket. Whoa! THAT got my fingers punching the dear old Omnia that I must go to Ticao (again) this time via Bogo. Whohoa!

A slightly bigger boat (the other of just two) was also moored to the left of this wharf. Interesting too! Just looking at the boat told me things new! There are boat trips to Villaba in Leyte every 12NN and the opposite trip (Villaba to Bogo) is every 8AM. Whoa! I did not know there is such a trip! Want more? The maximum capacity of tat boat is 80 passengers and it takes 2.5 to 3 hours. Well well well, another option at roaming the Visayas islands. I must try that sometime soon! Ah the name of the boat was probably “Christopher 2” since I cold see “topher 2” while the rest was covered with canvass. Crews were probably still sleeping inside since it was only about 744AM.

Onwards, now there were people! A manong has his “mobile store” (its an improvised roofless trike) parked on one side of the wharf while two ladies obviously waiting for a ride to Villaba were seated nearby. A few meters onwards, 6 folks were having a grand time on the wharf’s sea water. I envied them, I almost also splashed in for a morning swim. Hey, those folks bathing did not look like those you see in most ports in this country (beggars or squatters) – at least if I may judge a book by the cover. This one I encountered was a family with a mom and a dad, three boys and one girl (eldest). They had food niftily laid out on the concrete steps. They even had to cut their swimming short when the mom said she'd be late for work.

Onward still, I had the wharf to my very own. Nobody else except me. What a grand feeling. And over at the end of this wharf (probably a kilometer out from main land) I get to read that indeed this place was spruced and cleanliness maintained to make it not just a docking area for boats but also a place for people who want to stroll around for a breath of fresh air and fantastic views. Indeed the views are great – with the calmness of the sea making it more dramatic. Needless to say, I took a few minutes just standing there and looking out unto the surrounding areas. This as joggers and fellow strollers would come up to where I was and return to the city area.

Done? Yes on savoring the views, but I did not expect to encounter other interesting sights as I walked back towards my hotel. Like? Like the crews of the “Christopher 2” were already up and about. One was cooking food at the side of (yep onboard) the boat. Hmm, that must have been their breakfast. Two were taking a bath also on the side just outside an enclosure that looked like the comfort room of the boat. Quite a sight those two hehe.

Then a tricycle arrives with four passengers. They had big bags with them that indicated to me they came from somewhere urban and on their way to Villaba or onwards. Tsismoso… I stood around trying to listen in. Ah, one girl just arrived from somewhere, reason why they had with them an outsized luggage on the tricycles roof. The other two folks are family of this girl who fetched her from somewhere (probably Cebu City). They thought there was an earlier boat going to Villaba than the 12NN trip.

What a nice way to end a leisurely stroll at this wharf...:

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