Tuesday, January 26, 2010

THE BOULEVARD, Surigao City

Everyone in Surigao City has virtually a relation to this boulevard directly or indirectly. It is such a big thing for them that there is even a ‘Surigao City Boulevard Development Program’ and a ‘Surigao City Development Authority’. Am not joking! Involved in it are not only their local politicians but also the chambers of commerce.

What is it anyway? Well, foremost, it is a 1.8 kilometer stretch of a highway along the seafront and the concrete pavement seems to tell me it is rather new. That is it! It’s an emulation of Manila’s Roxas Boulevard or Dumaguete’s Rizal Boulevard. Aside from being a “park” for the residents, it is supposed to be an attraction in the city showcasing bla bla bla to attract tourists. While I am inclined to raise my eyebrows, it did attract me and I was a tourist, right?! So okay, their mission accomplished hehehe!

Ay, while I have my unfounded suspicions, the fact that I cannot dismiss is: it is one of a kind. When I say one of a kind, I mean to say that the entire length is a fully functioning wharf during the day and “some kind” of a promenade and dock (parking area for boats) during the night! The ones in Manila Bay or Dumaguete are more of just the latter. They don’t serve a real purpose for day-to-day lives of the people other than aesthetic relevance. Now that makes me appreciate Surigao’s Boulevard! Oh okay, all these 'boulevards' are breaks to keep big waves at bay during typhoons.

I’ve been on this boulevard at virtually all parts of day – morning, noon, afternoon, evening, night!

Shortly after check-in at Tavern almost noon, I went out to the boulevard just to see how life was getting along in that area. Noticed that it was bustling with activity. The eastern side, nearer the Eva Macapagal whatever is quieter. Silently moored there were mostly fishing, cargo and tour boats awaiting for any activity. At the end, on what seems to be a fenced “corner” that connects this boulevard to the Macapagal Pier, I saw folks fishing and children swimming.

Nearby, where some tricycles wait, is the Surigaonon Heritage Center. That is one reason I went for this walk. I have read that that is supposed to be a museum, library and study center with an extensive collection of rocks and minerals in the area. Alas, it was closed! And this was Thursday. I reasoned that the caretakers probably went to lunch early.

As I walked back to Tavern for lunch, I saw that as one goes westward in this boulevard, the activities become more bustling. Just across Tavern’s restaurant were big trucks unloading sacks of whatever. And I could see that several men were loading those sacks unto a boat. Further on, a big Petron truck was parked and I could see that folks were siphoning gasoline from its big tank unto plastic drums and containers on yet another boat. There was a mobile sari-sari store (powered by a bicycle) selling snacks and refreshments to the delight of the workers in the area. Some tricycles were parked by the shades of bigger trees on the boulevards flower island – that means middle of the road! Under some of those trees, folks placed wooden planks between branches and they serve as resting places. Again, that means, on the middle of the road.

By the waters too, just above the boats were big birds, flying west to east, seemingly on a patrol of the area. Occasionally they would dive to the water for fish. I think those were hawks that we commonly see in many a zoo named “Brahmini Kite”. Ah, interesting that they fly in twos! Watched them a while and noticed that when they do reach the big pier (Macapagal), they’d circle around and head back to where they came from (westward). Interesting!

Then I went to lunch!

After the meal, I continued my “tour” of the boulevard walking by the water’s edge westwards. It was only this time I noticed on what is supposed to become a sidewalk is still unpaved and muddy, at this eastern end that is. Boats, boats, boats and whoa! Children having a grand time diving and swimming. The waters in this area is clear emerald green. Way far from that of Manila Bay, even that in Dumaguete. Onwards, somewhere about midway, I noticed that the sidewalks are already done. Whoa! It is “cobbled” and there are concrete lounge chairs facing the sea. Nice!


Towards the end, and I must say the busier part are boats, boats, boats, people, people, people and vehicles, vehicles, vehicles of all types! The multicabs are line in a row, but the tricycles are like bees buzzing in a beehive – they’re parked any position they wish to take in a scrimmage for prospect passengers. Ahh, this is where my “wow” starts to become “gosh”! Yes, this portion also has the sidewalk still unfinished, therefore muddy. But yes too, the waters even at this area is still clean.

At this busy end of the boulevard is a perpendicular street that connects to Borromeo and the bustling downtown area of the city. So I went out there to roam more of the city. Hey, I started out on that walk from Tavern at exactly 12:58NN and ended in this corner at 1:18PM!

Later, at exactly 3:33PM, saw myself in front of the Surigaonon Heritage Center again. I went out of my way roaming the city perchance to see what might be inside the museum. Still closed. I asked the old man sitting in front of its gate (he lives in a nearby shack) and I learned that the facility has been, that way, closed for a long time now. Argh! Whether that was a lie or not, fact is, It has been closed since this morning. Bad.

Later still, after dinner, when I couldn’t find any desirable activity in town, I was holed up at the City Garden Restaurant of Tavern. The singers are good anyway. Looking at the boulevard at night time was a fine view – at least from where I was. There was the time that a Superferry swayed along. Nice view with its lights all on as it silently flowed through the darkness. Click the following links for samples of how good the Tavern singers are.
Video 1 Video 2 Video 3 Video 4


People were walking by, biking or zooming. I really hate those motorbikes and cars that zoom in front of you blaring their very loud engines. Anyway, that’s common all over this country and I do hope they’d all die soon and altogether hehe! So I also walked the boulevard like many of those folks! There were lovers, there were families, barakadas, little children, policemen, shirtless folks, barangay officials, hawkers, hookers,local tourists, foreign tourists, office workers and all kinds of people really. But I noticed the more I head westward, the noisier the karaokes were and the more I see of those shirtless men. That is probably the reason why there are more officers there hehe. So I headed back to Tavern and saw ‘Camp G’ along the way – its just two stores away from City Garden.

Camp G. Hmm, the entrance and fa├žade is not at all that attractive. Have seen this earlier in the day. But for lack of anything to do and attracted by the number of people going in there and probably the band music, I went in. OMG! That is probably where the whole of Surigao is during a Thursday night hehe! It was jam packed with people of all sorts and students of all courses hehe! All tables were occupied down and out into the inner extension near the toilets. Full!

But I found a stool by the bar. And, I did not care if someone was actually occupying it who just left for a while hehe. I settled there and ordered SML. While the waiters and waitresses kept brushing by me, and I could hear them shout their orders (to the bar folks), the place was a nice vantage. I could see almost everyone shouting and giggling or dancing and wriggling as the band played. It was a youngish band tonight and their style is that of a showband – y’know, singers in a choreographed dance as they sing. Entertaining enough, especially that the younger set seemed to be too excited hearing them. Even the foreigners danced with their Filipina wives and friends. I saw three Koreans on the dance floor too!


Oops, something was not quite right hehe. A group of girls and gays at a table front of me had their attention not on the band or dance floor. Hmm, one of them was even still wearing his PE (physical education) uniform! When I would glance at them, they giggle. I left them to it and pretended to be unaware. Later, one of the faggots, with his tagay of beer in one hand and an unlighted cigarette on the other, finally slithered and sashayed towards me as all his companions looked on. “Hellouuu, are you a lawwwn? You hab no prends?” I smiled and nodded. He looked at his companions and made some faces (that I did not recognize) and inserted himself between me and the other person (the next bar stool).

“Ker to joooin?” – am sure he meant “care to join us?” and I answered “ayaw ko englisa dong kay bisdak ko”! As if he saw a scene from ‘the exorcist’… both hands at shoulder level (still holding his glass and cigarette), he walked towards his companions stomping on the floor like a child who won’t be given a lollipop hehe! And I heard him exclaim “dili foreigner ayyyh”, and they were laughing at him. I watched the band.

About to finish my third bottle, I happen to have glanced at the same group and the faggot was still constantly looking at me. Every time I looked at him, his facial expressions and bodily movements would be reminiscent of “Pepe Le Pew”. I was waiting to see if he would flicker his eyelids that fast as they do it in the cartoons hehe! One last gulp, I placed my bottle on the bar, stood up, walked two steps towards the door, faced the group and very scrupulously made an ojigi (it’s the Japanese bow). As they smiled back, one of the girls said “hala oi, Koreano baya”! As I walked out of Camp G, the Koreans on a table near the door bowed at me hehehe! Out of the place, I was almost bursting in wild laughter!

Alright. Following day, after breakfast and before I roamed elsewhere, I did the boulevard again. This time perchance to see even ride a boat that goes to the islands. Many of them! BUT none would return same day and the destination that has a return trip is way far with that return trip at about 5PM. Nah, I couldn’t do that! Asked around if there were any boats I can hire to any of the nearer islands like Basul. They said I should ask the small boat owners over at the east end (near my hotel). I said thank you, though I knew I wouldn’t have done that at that time when the sun and the rains seemed to be playing hide and seek!

Watched more of the seaside sceneries and just like yesterday, it was a busy hum of activities. I like that part where the crews were loading fuel drums unto a boat. It requires good balancing skills and sheer courage to cross those planks hehe.


Oh, more kids were swimming and diving today! And the loaded passenger boats looked exciting to me. They’re different from what I have seen in Palawan, Mindoro, Boracay, Calbayog, Sibulan, Zamboanguita and elsewhere! It got me dreaming and hoping I would ride a similar boat to Siargao tomorrow. See pictures below!


2 comments :

  1. thank you for all the info good to know.

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  2. LOL! this is funny! na excite na hinoon mo adto sa siargao/surigao.

    i'l read more of your travels since walay work kay holy week! yey!

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