Thursday, December 10, 2009

Glowering Qualms, Sipaway

My Negros Oriental Tour: Sipaway Island, San Carlos City, NegOcc
I asked how much for him to tour me around the island. The reply was P200. I asked how much was one way fare from where we stood to anywhere, he said P20. So I said my tour should only be P80 or I will agree with P100 since its just like riding four times. He scratched his head and offered P150 as he said there will be some waiting instead of him already taking other passengers. Grinning and raising an eyebrow (to indicate disagreement), I accepted the deal anyway. I took the ride already from the western side of the island near the school. And so my tour on habal-habal started!

First, by my request, driver brought me to the northern end of the island whether or not there is anything there. He obliged, and after an aggressive dog attempted to block our way, we were on a rocky beach with a view of both Negros and Cebu Islands. Other than farms and fishermen’s houses distant from each other, there was really nothing there except the silence of a breezy paradise amidst turquoise waters. Hah wow! Next, I told my driver bring me anywhere else interesting in the island by following a circular route (circling Sipaway) until we reach the port for me to head back to mainland.

After passing thru thickets and some narrow crooked dirt paths off the main road, we were in front of the grilled gate and concrete fence of ‘Sipaway Island Resort Whispering Palms’. As my driver parked the motorbike, I went ahead to the gate and the guard said “bakit, sir?”. That question got me dumbfounded a bit. Imagine, you reach the gate of a resort and the guard asks you “why sir?”! But I took it as he was trying to say ‘what do you want’ or ‘what do you need’. In any case, that would still be an absurd question to ask a visitor if you were guarding a resort hehe. Ah guards are not taught how their verbiage could affect a business! My driver was already beside me and answered for me saying I just needed to ask about rates and packages.

Mr. Guard let us in and pointed us the way to their front desk (as if it would have been hard to find anyway hehe)! So we went there, passing by a row of nice native-inspired couches, wooden sculptures and cages of wild or endangered birds am not sure this resort has the proper authority or expertise to keep them in captivity. Reaching the nicely appointed front desk, we waited as there was nobody there. So I took a few snaps of the surroundings – the cottages, the walkways, the grounds, kiosks where some guests were having breakfast. Yes, everything is amidst tall coconut trees with their palms swaying to the gentle wind. Nice enough.

Soon came a girl to man the front desk with a very charming “good morning sir, what can we do for you” even as she walked past me towards the desk counter almost the height of her neck hehe. As we conversed, a male crew also came to join her at that desk. Told them I was just passing by to check the place out. Then I was showered with a lot of information regarding their facility and packages – even giving me brochures and rate sheets. I asked if I can go check out and take a few photos of the beach area. The answer was… I’ll have to register as a day-tour guest AND do the same for my tour guide (the habal-habal driver) if I wanted to take him along. Its actually just P300 (I think) per person and includes a meal (with very pronounced announcement that it does not include the use of their swimming pool hehe).

Time for my driver (again) to butt-in somewhat protesting that we wont even be 5 minutes in their beach as we were touring the island. The uniformed staff, still smilingly friendly told him(us) that it is a strict and unbreakable rule as per the owners (a German married to a Pinay). I already fished my wallet and counting P600 when my driver patted my arm asking me to drop the idea. In front of the two resort crews, he bluntly told me the beach is not actually that interesting for photo-ops as they just gathered sand and stacked those on an otherwise muddy mangrove area hahaha! Now I was smiling that someone’s head simmered before mine ahhehehe! I think this happened before, and I like it! Hehehe again. Obviously I learned something from both the reaction and pronouncements of my driver! See?!

You guessed it, we drove off to continue touring the island! And as we did so amidst very good paved roads, my habalhabal driver still vented his now negative views about the resort to my mum delight! I cannot spell all the details here lest he be banned from getting near that resort. And OMG was he serious! I could hear him take deep breaths or exasperated exhalations as he spoke of what he thought ill about that place. Let me summarize… he was saying… their charges should be on a case-to-case basis, that Filipinos are generally poor and should not be charged what they do to foreign tourists. And he feels insulted he too had to be charged the day-rate for having accompanied me when they should even pay him for bringing me there. Gosh he was seething! And I even patted his back telling him to keep cool.

Here’s the clincher… he told me he is already familiar with the internet because of the need to interact with some family working abroad, and that in the course of doing so, he has seen the resort’s website further telling me there is no picture of the beach with the seawater as it is actually either rocky ugly or muddy mangroves! Hmm, now I checked while writing this and I believe he has a strong point there hehe! Anyway, I think I did not react quite negatively like he did, for I did not know beforehand that the resort even existed! He finished that with “naunsa sila, bayad pa ka P300 arun ma-mention ilang resort sa imong website, sir? unsa na oi?”! Ah he was really piqued by the rules hahaha! See? I learn many things at many an unforeseen situations!

And hey, his aghast and disappointment was not at all whispered. I think he even said them loudly for me to hear as we were cruising along the paved road. Anyway…

Let’s tackle more Sipaway things in the next entry, shall we?!

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 comment :

  1. Wow! nice experience, how I wish I can visit Sipalay. The farthest I had visited in Negros was in Dauin.