Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ambling Around Amlan

My Negros Oriental Tour: Municipality of Amlan
I knew this would have been a very short ride from San Jose and I was ready to hop on any mode of transport except habal-habal as rain was on-and-off. But as I waited, the first that came was a Ceres so I flagged it and took the ride. Hmm, I think the fare was just five pesos. No wonder the conductor let out some kind of an exasperated sigh when I told him where I was going. I courageously (but in a friendly way) asked why he seemed disgusted. He sheepishly answered they expect to get passengers destined for farther destinations; that most of the time they skip those who look like they’re just going to ride a few meters down the road; that I looked like a backpacker destined for some far places like San Carlos! Ahhehehe! I laughed and told him I really was going there but have to pass by each town along the way!

Ack! An ‘atrevida’ lolo with a cane and a ‘bodyguard’ beside him from across the aisle was listening… he butted-in asking (in English) “are you a news writer, from CNN, Discovery, National Geographic, BBC, NHK or Arirang? OMG that question almost made me jump outa my seat hehe! What was that? A litany of the cable channels?!!! So I answered (in English too) “no sir, I am just trying to see the whole Philippines”. His face seemed to have changed from enthusiastic into something like doubtful (even condescending) and exclaimed “what do you want to see in our province just for yourself? You should write your experiences and tell the world”! Ah I did not anymore pursue the topic, I was sure he wouldn’t understand if I told him I was blogging! I reversed the topic and talked instead about him. Success! He is from Bais and went Dumaguete to attend the birthday party of a grandchild, plus some regular medical check-up done by his daughter, the mother of the child! Ah anyway, we arrived at Amlan…

Bus let me off across the town's municipal hall and what a welcome sight! Look at the picture hehe. That is what welcomed me, and in fact I was unconsciously already groping my pocket for my MarlLights pack and lighter. Yay! Afraid! Wow la!!! They’re probably serious about it since they took the bother of putting up such a signboard more than 6 feet tall! And those many signatures on the tarp seem to be of the big shots and officials of the town. Hmm, I did smile and was surprised at the lower-right logo sponsor of this tarpaulin. Its just not common. In fact, it’s the first time I saw them bothering to participate in some ‘civil’ efforts by having their logo printed. I know them as ‘quiet crusaders’ hehe

Anyway, I took a pic of their municipal hall that looks simplistic but nice enough old building a bit elevated from normal ground level. The roman numerals say it was built in 1952, and yes there are two non-smoking signs to greet you – one by the concrete steps leading towards the building and another at the very main door. I asked a man who passed where I stood about the “non-smoking” law. He said the town’s government (esp the ladies) are serious about it. You cannot smoke even out in the open. There are only some designated places where you can do that. And he pointed to me a corner of a garden beside ‘dreamland’. Wow! So if it rained, you may not smoke! Argh!

Did I just say ‘dreamland’? Yes, I did and that is how they call one of the town’s official units. If you cant see it clearly on the pic it means Diversified Resources for an Ecological AMLAN Development. And they usually write the town’s name (AMLAN) in red. Thus the DREAMLAND. That office is right beside the highway at the edge of a park just across municipal hall. It was closed of course (Sunday) but looking at the pictures and posters posted around, this seem to be a combined force of their tourism, education and environmental management services. Hmm, nice approach. I hope it gives them some kind of success in whatever they so desire. Hey, should it really be “Operation Center” or “OperationS Center” with the first word pluralized? The first phrase (without the s) seem to mean ‘a place where you do surgery on people’ hehe. Whatever!

Ah, as expected from my web searches, I was not supposed to see any attraction at center of town aside from the municipal hall and church. But the “No Smoking” and “Dreamland” were curiously new enough. So, I was satisfied hehe. But when I was done ogling at the “operation center”, and started to walk towards the church, I noticed little buildings hubbed under the trees across the highway (therefore beside the municipal hall). I thought it looked like a public market (though unusually cleaner and remarkable quiet) than most I have seen. Fortunately, when I looked to my left, the man I asked before was at the “smoking area” puffing a cig. I joined him and asked what the little buildings were. He confirmed it was their market. I said it was nice new and clean. And he said, even there, no one is allowed to smoke. I asked why it was too quiet with most stalls closed while those open were not selling anything but rather cleaning up. He said “domingo man” (its Sunday) and I understood that. See?! If at where you live, the SM and Rustan’s Supermarkets will be bustling on a Sunday, not with rural places like Amlan. It’s the day of the Lord, so day-off for everyone!

Alright, after the smoking area, I walked the few steps towards their church. Its nothing fantastic. In fact, from the outside front, it looks like a deformed clay model done by an inexperienced toddler hehe. What with a fa├žade tapering towards the top (as usual) suddenly capped with a big circular slab of concrete hehe. I know, I know… they probably intended to put something up at center of that round thing hehe. Or there probably is something there really but camera just could not see it as the afternoon was gloomy. Well, from the looks of it, this is obviously an old church that has just seen many a face-lift from priests with various ‘artistic’ minds hehe. The concrete (or is that asphalt) around this church can really use some generous donations. Many a pair of shoes will not last long in that kind of entrance and exit hehe!

But I like the inside of this church. Its rather simple and without too many adornments to distract the pious. Most everywhere is painted white. Wall fans are installed near each frame of the ‘stations of the cross’. Electrical lamps – the likes you would see atop many gates or fences of many residences – are also installed near each electric fan. I think they look good! Would probably even look wonderful when lighted. Ah yes, the floor is tiled while everywhere with the usual black colored tiles to define the center aisle leading towards the altar that is also tiled all the way to the walls and the sacristy.

After the church, I decided to break the plan of staying overnight in this place. I have read that there are ‘resorts’ here though the beach is not something to die for. I actually got curious to to try them for myself as some of them resorts were pronouncing on the web as ‘with comfort room’! That probably means others don’t have hehe! Some also say they have ‘short time’ rates while others also proudly announce they don’t have such! It also probably means something hehehe! I wanted to check those out but the pesky skies were not cooperating. Ah, I headed back to Dumaguete where rain or not, I would enjoy the night!

Oh well. Tomorrow is another day, and I will head onwards!

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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