Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rolling on to Siaton

My Negros Oriental Tour: Siaton
Okay, I was back in familiar territory! Pronounce that as “sha-ton” and the letter o in “ton” is not silent as you would say button, mutton or cotton. In fact to make it easier, since its how most locals pronounce the name anyway… do it like “sha-tun”! Alright?! This is the southernmost tip of the island of Negros. The other three places we’ve covered in earlier posts are situated northwest of this town – meaning geographically western part of the island. Oh, Siaton is this town I passed yesterday where the Ceres bus rested a bit on a new public transport hub. No its not owned by Ceres but by the municipal government. Feels like Daanbantayan’s but cleaner with a shinier floor!

Random notes on my phone said Balanan, Antulang, Bonbonon and Tambobo. But sorry, I was not about to visit any of them on this trip for practical reasons. First, Balanan Lake is about 10 kilometers from the main highway (I took a picture of the signange yesterday just after crossing the bridge) and there are no ready rides going there. Antulang? Ah its luxury at 8kms from the highway and I don’t have the $$$ to spare this time. Its just Day 2 of attempting to roam this province. Was there last year anyway and it does not have a good beach, not in front anyway. Bonbonon and Tambobo are better approached from Antulang via a leisurely $ rated afternoon cruise hehe! Woops! What was it that the driver was pointing to? Yep you guessed it, he was saying "sir, that is yellow fin tuna"! Wow la!

What was I going to Siaton for then? Hmm, doesn’t anyone want to see or experience the town center? Well, I do! And that was exactly my target destination for this visit!

When my Ceres bus entered town and ready to veer left towards “Siaton Terminal Complex”, conductor asked if anyone was going down and I quickly stood up ready to jump out hehe! Bus stopped and I actually jumped out – from the door of course! Then bus turned left on a narrower street that I know leads to the terminal I have seen yesterday. Children were mostly out on their school grounds playing – that probably is the last school activity in the afternoon. I just walked past that elementary school heading towards their church.

San Nicolas De Bari Parish, so I read one sign on the church. Hmm, first time I heard about “De Bari”. Anyway, this is one beautiful church where you walk an expansive garden lined by trees and santan flowers towards the main entrance. I actually believed this one fine old church but approaching it, I saw the inscription at the top, near the cross and it says 1968. From the outside, the look and make of this church seem to have been made earlier than that. Well, my only basis is having seen other old churches that this one looks like.

This church though has a wider inside than one would imagine by just looking at it from the pathway. There are four columns of pews and the side doors are also big. Oh, a mass service was in progress so all I could do to look around was stand near the very last pew. I did notice that there were quite a few attending said mass. Or maybe it looked so because this is such a big church hehe. No old or ancient anything at the interiors. It is generally plainly pink. And aside from wall fans hanging by the posts, there also are the “electric fan trees” that I abhor hehehe! My my, I really have a thing about those. At least in this church those “trees” are planted on the aisles. Ah!

Kept waiting for a truck to move away from main entrance so I could take a clean pic but no it was not leaving any sooner. So I walked around the garden towards the side which I saw connects to a park. Aha! By one of the plant boxes near the church compound’s fence, I spotted kids (lovers eh) in some kind of a serious lovers’ sweet-nothings. But alas, a pesky barkada (of the guy, am sure) was at the other side of the fence looking over and teasing them. Quite a sight! Makes you remember your younger years hehehe! After I took the pic, I signaled the guy if it was okay, and he signaled back with a thumbs up using his left hand hehe! But that does not authorize me to show their faces, right?!

Moved on to the adjacent park and voila, it is the municipal park of Siaton and over at the end is their town hall, so I went for it. Hmm, the building is not big considering the expanse of the public park. Then again, maybe they don’t need that much of a space or they probably have extension buildings at the back and under the lush foliage. Ah frontal view is blocked by a stage facing the park. All the more that the town hall seem to look so minute!

But I like this part of town. Not just expansive grass and greens as in the other towns I previously visited. Its really cozy here. The trees along the sides of the park are real big if only to give it cool shades. There are “fantasy slides” for the little ones, iron love-seats (I mean park benches), gardens, a fake river and a little bridge, tables and benches where high school students huddle, grassy areas and a tableaux made of life size gold-painted statues depicting… something I don’t know hehe!

I was out of the park and standing by the highway at 1:35PM. And, tummy dear started to grumble. Ooops, I suddenly remembered I only had skyflakes and coke over at Sta. Catalina. So I hopped on a potpot and asked manong driver to get me to a restaurant or turo-turo where many people usually eat at lunchtime. As I expected, he drove off to the public market area, but hesitated where to bring me. I told him to just go on. He was about to circle the who market square when he slowed down by something I also liked, a turo-turo that obviously was a hit to most locals.

Aw, I am sure my doctor won’t agree to my going back there! While I perspired enjoying the delectable tinola (tanguigue) and the doctor applauds that always, there was something that attracted me and caused me to finish three servings of rice for the whole lunch. Guessed it?! Humba! Yep, humba in the Visayas is just adobo to many folks from Luzon (meaning no peanuts, puso ng saging nor black beans). BUT, this humba was a big chunk each – probably two inches cube EXCLUDING the fat portion. Whoa! And, it was not just tender but just the way we like it… slightly poke the fat and it starts to disintegrate. Yum! Its color was dark, meaning its overcooked the way I liked it. And yes, I looked into the big pot and all the pieces were swimming in your dreaded oil (fats from the pork itself) yummy yum yum!

Bad thing is I forgot to take pictures of the yummy lunch. AND, I have observed and therefore conclude that this “forgetfulness” sets in when you dive to lunch with a deprivedly starving stomach hehehe!

Ah, while I forgot to take pics, I seem to remember that the eatery’s name is either M&N or N&N. I actually went in for lunch when most of their patrons were already gone since it was half past one and there were just about 5 other sets of customers plus two policemen. I asked how best to go to Zamboanguita and the crews (I think their a family) were very helpful! The policemen and another diner who was a habal-habal driver even contributed to the discussion. Yey! The consensus, if I really wanted to peep in at Antulang, habal-habal would have been best from Siaton BUT if my boat to Apo Island was scheduled at 3PM, then I should omit Antulang as it is still some 8kms or so from the main road. See?! Help is everywhere in Siaton when you need it.

So after the dizzyingly delicious lunch, I took another potpot to the transport terminal and waited for a Ceres bus to Zamboanguita.

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


  1. Hi, what should bus or whatever should I take to get me to Siaton from Dumaguete City? How much is the transport cost?

    I'm going to Dumaguete next month and I just plan to roam around. No specific plans. =)

  2. hi jake, i can't recall the specifics (sorry tao lang, and growing old hehe) but i seem to remember on a separate jaunt that it was nothing much - something like P20++ on an ordinary Ceres and P60++ on the air-conditioned ones. there are also multicabs/jeeps that ply the route for a cheaper fare. i think its just about 50km or therearounds.

    glad of you to have dropped by, suddenly remembered I haven't read your blog quite a while. will do soonest!

  3. Hi! Nakaka-enjoy basahin ang blog mo! :) I'm just re-starting to blog. :)) Anyways, my mother's side of the family is from Siaton! What a delight to have read your post about Siaton. I will also read the rest of your posts on Negros Oriental. :)