Thursday, November 3, 2011

Caramoan Municipal Hall

Separation of church and state? Well, you might say that again for the town of Caramoan. This is one of the unique things I saw in this town. The church is at the southern end of town while the municipal hall, the hospital and other government facilities are at the northern edge! Yes they are! I was amused that even the cockpit, yes the “sabungan” is nearer the center than any of them haha! Luvit! So, from the church, I had to take a pedicab going to the municipal hall, passing by center of town, Lutong Bahay, Rex Inn and the schools! Looks like the ‘munisipyo’ is actually about the same distance from Rex Inn (to the left) as the church would be from Rex Inn (to the right). SO if I walked that could have been about 800 meters to a kilometer. Good I thought of taking the pedicab!

Nice enough municipal hall. Its not that grand to command oohs and aahs but definitely not as ugly a box as those of Iloilo, Carcar or Guiuan city/municipal halls hehe. Just a good oldish design from somewhere with the American and even still Hispanic influences, not too small for a town like that in Kawit and not too big either like that of Malabuyoc! Meaning, you might not even take a second look if you were just passing by in a car or habal-habal. I like it that though a bit modernized, this municipal hall still has that “balconaje” type of protrusion that doubles as the ground floor’s foyer. You know, that terrace where the ‘teniente mayor’ perches to give his speech to the townsfolk? Ganyan! More reminiscent of the smaller Guihulngan City Hall’s fa├žade, though Caramoan’s is not surrounded by trucks, buses nor ambulances!

Now now... am sure you Metro Manila folks know Scout Fuentebella. Y’know, the 'Scout Area', Timog, Morato, etc.! But the Scout Fuentebella I’m talking about is not your famous street in Quezon City. Its he himself, the dear boy scout! Why? Well he has a monument here. Scout Felix ‘Jovi’ P. Fuentebella, Jr. of Camarines Sur Council, one of the 24 Filipino scouts who died in a plane crash… on the way to the 11th World Jamboree in Athens, Greece. So he is/was from Caramoan! Wow! Well, I was not even an embryo yet when that unfortunate incident happened, but their memory reminds us that indeed this country has already been active in world affairs even in the past. And roaming around, am getting to know more of them! Nice to have stumbled upon this information on Scout Fuentebella! Teka lang! Wasn’t it the boys’ uniform was brown? Why is this monument green? Mukha tuloy girl scout hehe! Hmm, anyway. which scout was it we encountered at Zamboanga’s Pasonanca Park? Ehh, am not telling here. Go read my previous blogs hehehe!

The Municipal Tourism sits in a separate building. They have? Well yes, they have! Just the second floor of that building actually, but one of the most genuinely helpful tourism offices I have encountered so far. And really in the know! I mean not just ready with a heap of maps and brochures but can really tell you things you want to know – not just the beaches, mountains or caves, unlike the girl over at Surigao City’s tourism office located at their Luneta Park! I liked the knowledge about every little detail that the Caramoan tourism officer (Norma?) shared, and without pretensions. Example? I did not ask but she told me this… “habal-habal drivers do not have helmets and they don’t have insurance.., some may not even be licensed to drive (yet)”. That may have sounded trivial to many of you, but to me, it was a very important revelation and a story in itself. Why? Caramoan is such a remote town and the small hospital may not be as ready or equipped with all of us visitors encountering accidents or even minor injuries. They encourage the tricycles and the jeeps or the private vans as safer alternatives to the habal-habal. Yan ang black and white! Impressive!

She knows about rates, distances and timings. She knows accommodation facilities and their contact numbers BUT would not recommend nor offer a ‘preferred’ name. That only meant she is fair. When I tried prodding, the most that I got was “if the municipal government has approved or accredited them to offer such services, then we think they deserve to offer such services”! Oh ha?! I even attempted making her compare Villa Juliana and Rex Inn, but was unsuccessful! Her reply? There will be differences in the size of rooms or availability of facilities, but their service and attention to the guest’s needs will be as professional as should be expected. She topped that with, I am sure you will enjoy your stay in any of the two! I actually had the same observation already, I just wanted to hear if she preferred one from the other. How naughty of me, sometimes hehe! But the officer is a pro! I wish all Caramoan visitors would drop by this office first, for a more enjoyable visit. Hey they even have PCs with internet and she attempted to give me a printout of those places I asked about, though I said “no need” since I already wrote them down on my Omnia!

Let's continue with my roaming this town's center... in the next story :)

For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these numbers:
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

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