My hotel in Butuan at the San Francisco Street called "Hensonly Plaza Hotel"
was a peculiar place with three beds in one room.
Probably more a dorm than a hotel. I've never saw that they changed
the bed linen so that we had changed the bed from time to time.
Butuan City has an excellent bus connection to Davao and other
destinations in Mindanao. I had invited the relatives of my girlfriend
to a bus ride to their home province: Agusan del Sur. They wanted
to show me the real life in a province of Mindanao. We decided to
came back on the same day we were going there, because they aren't
any hotels where I could sleep. Their house was to small to give
a guest an appropriate accommodation. I assumed that they were also a
little bit shy about their poor standard of living. At least we
performed this bus ride with the duration of four hours by one way.
The place where we've got out of the bus lies directly on the main
highway between Butuan and Davao. The heavy traffic of the big trucks
beside the sidewalks was a little bit worrying especially during
the nighttime. The big interest of the inhabitants on my person was
very flattering and exciting. This people have a fascinating and
carefree openness ( frankness ) that makes you feel embarrassing
if you think about the hospitality in your own country. Sometimes
it's unbelievable why the poorest people in the remote areas
are the most friendliest. This people have probably more
and bigger problems than you or me, but they are always happy and
friendly. Now I understand what Jesus means as
he said that it would be more easy for a camel to get through an eye
of a needle as for a rich man to come into the heaven.
We were going around to introduce myself to the whole village
aside from a villa of japanese owners.
On a little kiosk I purchased some bigger bottles of the local
brewing beer. This beer with the funny name "Golden Eagle" makes
me laugh a lot and was good to quench my thirst. I became a witness
of several social connections between the several members of the
village and the family of my girlfriend. The most touching and impressing
scene was the encounter with the grandma of May where all younger
members of her family were touched to tears about this happily meeting.
Meanwhile it became dark and I decided to acquire some foods for the dinner.
I saw some tunas in a store on the highway and ask the salesman for the price.
There was one of the biggest tunas I have ever seen in a store for less than
P 250,-. I bought this big fish and some golden eagles to make the meal
more enjoyable. Fortunately the brother of May is a many-sided cook, so
that I should learn that there are many ways to serve a tuna meal.
At this night I tried boiled tuna, spanish tuna salad and tuna barbecue.
There was no electrical power, so that they showed me how to build a
provisional lamp with an empty bottle of TANDUAY and gasoline.
I guess some of you had used the same method during several fights
with the police of your country in the sixties and it's superfluous to
mention how dangerous it is. As the wick the paper with the metallic
supplement of a cigarette box was used. In view of the plenty of tuna
the father of May had invited the whole village to a fiesta. After a while
I was observed through every chink of the leaky house by several kids
which where curious what sort of white alien May's family would to house.
In general everybody was friendly and shy. If I tried to take pictures they
are disappeared in the dark of the night. I noted several glimpse of
lokal girls which increased when I showed my affection to May.
This night was one of my most intensive encounters with locals
in a remote province of the Philippines. On the way back to Butuan we
tried to stop a bus on the highway, but we failed and moved to the next bus terminal
where we've got easily a bus.
After another day in Butuan we set off to Camiguin island. We were escorted
by a friend of May which wanted us to help to get the boat of her uncle for the
crossing. That's why we visited a little village between Butuan and Balingoan,
where we were enthusiastic greeted by the locals. Always I was surrounded
by mostly young people what ever I did. I ate some fish and they watched
at me as whether they didn't saw how a man eat a fish before. Amazing
how people are fascinated from different cultures and habits. The bad news
that the boat which should us move to Camiguin was under construction,
couldn't influence our good mood and we took the next bus to Balingoan.
The ferry boat was already waiting and we could boarding immediately.
Instantaneous we took off and need around one hour for the crossing.
At the port we were well informed about the accommodations, transportations
and costs by a friendly local. His brother drove us around and showed us
some beach resorts. Tired from the trip we decided us for the first resort
where we stopped. We stayed at Camiguin Seaside Lodge in Agoho.
On the opposite lies white island. During the length of our stay we
had lots of strong rain-showers, so that this report should give
a short introduction only. The cottages were clean and the personal
friendly, even you can see the age of this resort very clear. We payed
P 400,- for the night. There is a restaurant where you get local dishes
for a suitable price until 7.00 PM. The beach isn't the same like Boracay
( black lava sand ) ,but sufficient for all activities you may want to carry out.
When the rain sets out I drove around which a small motor bike which I had
rented from the resort personal. Inside the island is very steep, mountainous
and natural. I love the green rice fields in front of the big mountains with the
cloud covered peaks. The motor bike will cost you P500,- per day but it's absolutely
necessary to get around after 4,00 PM when the drivers of the Jeepneys stops their work.
One of the most exciting and worth seeing highlights of the island are the Katibawasan
Falls. I took some pictures with an fisheye, because of the spatial narrowness.
The nightlife doesn't exist so that we can't recommend this Island for singles
however families will found their quiet beach holidays.
In view of the missing nightlife and the continual rain showers
I followed the wish of May and we
left this island with the direction to Cagayan de Oro after two days.
My first impression of Cagayan de Oro was it's relatively clean streets
compared with other philippine cities. The hotel where we lived
for one week has completely european standard and this for P600,- only.
Its name is Crystalla Pension House situated at corner Pabayo & T. Chavez Sts.
Through the permanent police presence the city makes a relatively save
appearance, although an old lady was warned me to go out late at night.
What we did, were going out all night long, just the incorrigible youth.
Cagayan de Oro has a little nightlife scene, although it isn't comparable
to Cebu and not to Manila. Most of the pubs, discos and clubs are scattered
over the whole city, but you find all you need in walking distance from
the Cristalla Pention House. I felt very well in that city, but mostly my activities
were braked by May's laziness and in my mind it became more and more conscious,
that we wouldn't going well together for a long time. At the end of the trip
I hadn't the strength to give us a break, because I was addicted to
her beautiful presence, but I draw my consequences for the future.
What I learned was what I already know: the real Filipina is shy and will
be found in the remote provinces far from every tourist places only.
If you really want to find the love of your life you should try to find
a penpal first, but this is a pathetic statement only. In general a recipe doesn't
exist and we have to make our own experiences.
In preparation to the New Year's Eve I've bought lots of fireworks to
celebrate a very noisy turn of the year. All of the fireworks were handmade
and especially the rockets looked a little bit wobbly with their splinter made
from bamboo as a substitute for a stable wooden strip. For that reason
the guard of my hotel was delegated to light the fuse wire. He did
this responsible job with a brave devotion and we were busy to
prevent that he didn't burned the hotel to the ground. I never saw so
many explosions in a small town like this and this without any war.
During my stay in Cagayan I undertook expanded Jeepney tours to the surroundings.
One the new year's day I thought the live in the city is nice, but the sea is the
paradise and so I went out to look for the beach. I had stopped a jeepney any you like
and asked if he would bring me to the beach. He said it wouldn't be his route,
but he would change the whole schedule for me. What for a luck, I didn't
need to search any longer. He brought me directly to the Raagas Beach.
( Jeepney direction: Bonbon, departure at Rizal Street ) This beach was
packed over and over with people like a crocodile farm with crocodiles.
I was greeted with "Hi Joe" by nearly everybody of the umpteen locals
on the beach and I felt like the last white man on this planet. Nobody
was shy to became a motive for my holiday shots always I was enthusiastic
called: "one more shot". You find some of this pictures on this page and
I think you're able to imagine what fun I had on this memorable day.
There are many tuna grill stations (small sheds where they grill tunas in front of),
where I ate several times for a maximum cost of P35,-. I like to ate it with
hot chili sauce and a bottle of "Manila beer".
At last but not least some information for the single gentlemen. If you very religious
or below an age of 18, please stop your reading here and leave this page.
Most of the discos in your travel handbook are closed now for example:
Sunflower disco and Alabama disco, but some nightlife is still alive.
The place I liked most was a disco with live music, but I've forgot the name.
I'm sure you will find it by walking distance only. In May's opinion there are
some prostitutes inside, but I couldn't recognized them. Probably she has
right with her acceptance, because she know the behavior of this girls.
I had enough fun to watch how the people dance and celebrate the party.
Some nightclubs are also located both in the city and outside. I checked
out three only, but it wasn't enough, because of all the beautiful girls in town.
By chance I stumbled in a strip bar where some gloomy figures dressed
with military clothes drunk until they fall down from their stools. The performance
of the girls was cute and funny. The mamasan introduced herself to me.
A attractive girl with the age of 23. It seems that she leads this business alone.
One of the dancers had blond hairs on her genitals ! Surprised I bought her
a drink to hear the story about that, but I want to spare you the details.
Thanks for reading. See you next time.