Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bayawan City ‘Nightlife’

My Negros Oriental Tour: Bayawan City's Nightlife
Does Bayawan have a nightlife?! Ah, let’s see!

My phone’s alarm woke me up at 7PM and after a quick shower, I started out again. This time for dinner and to see if there’d be anything on the side of night entertainment. Checked-out the restaurant downstairs and it was still hot in there. No patrons. I just imagined, who would like going there anyway?! And I mused that it was probably the very reason why the crews were always either out in the hallway, the frontdesk, the gym or even out by the roadside. I thought that was too bad since I flipped at the copy of their menu in my room and their dishes were reasonably priced and looked delectable. Anyway…

I remembered there was a ‘Chicken Ati-atihan’ restaurant near the Ceres terminal. Aha, nice option! As I walked on, I approached a lady busy closing her baye-baye shop and casually asked what would be the good restaurants in the city. At first she looked at my hotel but I was quick to say “except that”. Smiling she said “Chicken Ati-atihan sir”! That was all I needed and continued on my way there hehe! Nothing much to tell about ‘chicken ati-atihan’, right? They’re like Jo’s Chicken Inato, scattered all over the Visayas and Mindanao. And the bestseller, as always, chicken barbecue, what else! It was fairly bustling but not full and I liked watching their busy crews who were like moving in a frenzied ballroom dance hehe!

As I had my dinner, got a chance to ask my waiter where would be the good bars in the city. Ah, the litany was more on karaoke/videoke joints. I said I don’t want those and I like cozy bars preferably with bands or acoustic music. The reply was “boulevard” – and I have half expected that hehe! After the meal, I stood outside the restaurant and there seemed to be quite a few pedicabs or potpots around. None available for me. I asked the waiter for the best way to go to boulevard. He pointed to a group of habal-habal drivers waiting at the nearby corner. Oh so this is how Bayawan “moves” during the night!

A habal-habal driver was quick to approach me. Off we went and as he drove, he asked me where at the boulevard did I want to go. I told him to run the entire length because I wanted to see everything first before I settle anywhere. And we did. Both ends are rather still undeveloped and this boulevard is mighty long btw, it could probably count kilometers. I noticed that a place called Beach Inn is more popular as it was loudest and most populous. But I did not dig the kind of crowd I saw. And I definitely did not want to hear the blaring sound with each of them croaking.

So, boulevard is Bayawan’s nightlife. The kiosks provided by coke does get busy during the night. Patrons come and go generally for grilled foods and beer. They spread monobloc tables on the grounds right up to the beach when necessary. Some stalls do sell other stuff, generally dishes cooked at their homes and brought to the stalls. A full dinner can be had just about anywhere, though the grilled things are mostly available. I like it that people are just having a good time al fresco under the young trees. Yep, most trees are generally still small since this is a new development.

Over at the land side of the boulevard are restaurants too. And I have chosen BeachFront Bistro. On alighting from the habal-habal, I fished out a P20 bill and gave it to the driver. When he attempted to look for change, I told him he can keep all. His face brightened and thanked me profusely. Ha! Astang mayaman ‘no?! hehe, its just P20 anyway. That should have been P10 since I asked him to make the round of the boulevard – since one way ride is P5. Note to all travelers: THAT is one reason I like the provinces. Folks there are not as blatantly forward vultures as in the metropolis. BUT PLEASE, do what I just did very sparsely. Why? Because if they get used to it, they'll demand for more and the prices could get outrageously bloated. Mind you, many institutions in this country even have different rates for locals and tourists - yeah, as if! Happy to note Bayawan is not yet in that ugly scenario.

Well, BeachFront Bistro seems to be the “in” place for the yuppies and families of the city. More on the AB crowd really. That’s why I did not hear any boisterous men drinking and definitely no one was shirtless! It’s a nice cozy place. Minimalist but sprawling and clean. The set-up has been very well planned; restaurant and bar at the inner portion, square tables have white linen, even the wicker chairs are dressed white. It’s a native-looking big hut but the furnishings are modern. On the sides of the wide facility are some little elevated “bahay kubo” huts for families or groups who want a bit more exclusivity. Towards the center and up the roadside tables and benches are a la Mang Inasal, some are covered by those big umbrellas and some are not. Even the singers sing al fresco. So there is less obstruction of anyone’s view out unto the boulevard, the beach and the sea beyond.

To while away my evening, I enjoyed my SanMigLight while listening to the two-man entertainment and jotting some things on my phone. Jotting what? Well, many parts of this story and more! What else? Ah, you really want to know? Here I go…

If I said BeachFront Bistro was very well planned, it is not very much executed so. Like, it’s a new facility but the paint on the tables and benches have already chipped that makes them look ugly. Good the garden area is dark so the tables are not highlighted. I actually just noticed this when I checked one of my shots (of the gambas) as I played with the cam. Oh, about lights. Though the boulevard lights are bright and give some wash to the al fresco area of the restaurant, there are garden lights too along the grassy side. And it adds to the coziness esp during moonlit nights. But alas its too dark when it comes to reading anything like the menu or your bill hehe!

Oh the crews are amateurs. One time I saw my beer already at the bar ready for serving and no one was bringing it to my table. The gambas too took ages! When it finally arrived, waiter apologized telling me that his colleague dropped my original order to the floor. Hmm, at least he was honest. I was not complaining (yet) anyway! And my gambas was swimming in a lot of corn and tomato sauce almost the consistency of water served in a sizzling plate that did not sizzle. Hello?!

But I did not spend my evening to just critique the restobar. Those things just happened. In fact there was a bubbly cheerful waitress named Grace who was always all smiles delivering my beer and even engaged me in some light banter. The others being neophytes were too rigid seemingly afraid to make a mistake, thus, very mechanical and uncordial hehe. They’ll grow out of it am sure! Ah, my place at the garden afforded me a good view of everyone who came to eat or drink. So I can tell you, Bayawan’s parish priest plays tennis. Yup he does. How did I know? Well, he came to join an already settled group all in tennis attire. And the greetings gave it away. Everyone stood up to greet the priest with “good evening father”! See?! Hahaha! What was I, paparazzi?

Most patrons of BeachFront Bistro are actually what I can call the affluent set of Bayawan. Some families came with their dogs. Many came with their yayas. Some of the boys have “toy cars” spruced up with all the gadgets and glitterati available. Some dads came in Pajeros and just a lot more came and went in their motorbikes – helmetless of course! Yep, even those who came to drink, went away in their bikes – as if that’s uncommon hehe! Okay, enough of BeachFront Bistro and its patrons, lest I start telling you some censored items!

Now now, I also doodled things about the boulevard itself. Like? Well, one is that this boulevard cannot be like Dumaguete’s in many years. Why? There are just so many shirtless folks who come and go walking to and fro with occasional hollering at other people they also know. They live just behind the perimeter wall of the boulevard. More of like Surigao City’s boulevard. Another thing, if not given proper attention, this boulevard will in the long run have no view of the sea. Why? Because the beach side is also open to structures that build whatever they want and fence everything in to make their restaurants look good or secure. Good if they will make use of the coke kiosks perennially as those are just about my height. I doubt though! There are already two or three such restaurants on beach side. Oh over at the end where there is less development yet. I saw some men and their families cooking what I think was corn and/or peanuts and their children are the ones who sell them to the restaurant patrons. Yes, they were cooking on the very side of the new pavement. Gosh!

Anyway, it drizzled a bit during the night. And many of us at BeachFront Bistro transferred to the covered areas of the restaurant – though I did stay for a while just to feel the light droplets blown by the wind to my face hehe. So did some of the dudes in other tables. Naturally many folks went home. And when the drizzle was out, I also did call it a night. THAT was the problem! At about 12MN I was having a hard time catching a ride as there was virtually none! Talked a bit to one kiosk owner and she said I could actually just walk the about three block to Casa Rosario. Attempted but there were stray dogs who wanted to probably mangle me to pieces. The woman and another friend and her daughter was by chance already about to go. They had flashlight and sticks to whack those dogs away. So they told me to walk with them. Hah!

That was some night! Really!


If you want to read the chronology of all stories on this tour, click the following:
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
36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65



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