Archive for the ‘Places my feet take me’ Category

Following our visit to the Negros Museum, we went for a walk at the Provincial Capitol Lagoon.

 Lagoon Run for Unity Flash Mob

We were treated to a flash mob dancing to promote the “Run for Unity” activity, most probably sponsored by the province. The dancers were lounging around, pretending to be all sorts of people, one of them a jogging man with a box head:

Run for Unity man with boxhead

That sure got my attention.

We were hungry after all that excitement, and went straight to the Dunkin Donuts store across the street. This store has been at the corner of 6th and Lacson St. for ages.

The Dunkin Donuts staff gamely allowed me to take a picture of the donuts. It was already almost six o’clock in the evening, and they were out of my favorite Choco Web.

Dunkin Donuts

My next favorite would be the Ham and Cheese Bunwich with an egg. R ordered his favorite BLT Bunwich (also with egg), while the Babii got the Tuna Bunwich with cheese. This was her introduction to Dunkin Donuts.

Dunkin Donuts bunwichThree bunwiches for three different personalities

As I have previously observed in other establishments, the portions are noticeably smaller. The Bunwich is no exception. Sigh, this is a reflection of economic times, more than anything else.

One thing that remained the same, however, was the coffee. Dunkin Donuts has the “cheapest best coffee,” with the exception of La Corona Cafe near the Burgos market, at P35 (US$0.80) a cup.

Dunkin Donuts coffee

The total bill for three bunwiches and drinks: P280 (US$6.40). It is simple pleasures (read: cheap) like these that I truly miss abroad.


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R and his family are regulars at Hinobaan, a town by the sea at the southernmost tip of the island of Negros. I had been hearing so much about the place for the past decade, and I was quite excited when a weekend trip was planned during our holiday.

First off, the trip was pleasure mixed with business, although thankfully not mine. It took us most of the day to navigate our way south, taking a few detours to Isabela, Binalbagan, Hinigaran, Ilog and Sipalay. For those who know Negros geography, yes, we went back and forth a little bit.

HinobaanThe shores of Hinobaan are peppered with vacation houses for rent.

We arrived after dark at the rented vacation house and got busy getting dinner ready (I assigned myself chief fanner of the charcoals for the grill). A note of caution for city dwellers: when it’s dark in the countryside, it’s really dark. Street lights are few and far between, and of course, there are no lights on the water except for the fishing boats. We fell asleep with the cool wind and the sound of the waves.

The next morning presented better opportunities for photographs.

HinobaanLook, a chicken! Oh yeah, and coconuts too.

There were so many chickens happily walking around. I suspect we ate some of them for lunch. A little tough but quite tasty.

R and I spent most of the time lounging around under the shade of the coconuts, keeping an eye on the Babii as she happily toasted herself in the water to the color of a perfectly done lobster. I experimented with the camera (which I have never really learned to use), but the blinding sun made it hard to see the pictures I had taken. (I realized only much, much later that my lens was dirty. Dirrrrrty. Que horror!)

HinobaanSpot the difference.Pun intended.

Somewhere along the way, a sand crab wandered towards us which R (of course) had to pick up.


Something really has to be said about my family and bugs. A few weeks ago the Babii picked up a snail and chased me around the house with it. The night we arrived in Hinobaan, I had my revenge when R chase her with a labug-labug (coconut beetle). Thankfully, this time around R was too busy helping me get a good shot of the crab that he forgot the time-honored tradition of chasing me with bug in hand.

SandcrabAlthough technically, a crab is not a bug.

We ended our last day with a beautiful sunset….

Hinobaan sunsetThe Babii basking in her sunset.

Although we live in Jaffa right next to the Mediterranean, it is not so easy to catch the sunsets. But the Babii just loves them. I think it has something to do with some singing mermaid with an orange pearl.

On the way back we took the ubiquitous Ceres bus. The trip took about five hours, with a few rest stops along the way.

Things I learned from this trip:

1. Most stores close at 6pm in the countryside.

2. Most stores are closed on Sunday in the countryside. (Ah, the good old days.)

3. Most of the food you need are available at the public markets, perhaps even in more organic forms. But mineral water may be hard to come by.

4. After two hours of sitting in the bus, your butt starts to hurt.

5. Wearing a sundress on a Ceres bus is NOT a good idea. (But I ran out of clothes!)

6. When going to the beach for three days, remember to bring the other half of your swimsuit.

7. If you forgot to bring food on the bus, have no fear! The manuglibod (ambulant vendors) will bring you banana cue, mineral water, candies, peanuts, siopao, hard boiled eggs, and sandwiches. Take your pick.

8. Negros has a lot to offer in terms of tourism. It still needs more development, but I think the local government already understands this and has taken steps in this direction. I just hope that whatever development we get, it will be sustainable and beneficial for everyone.

For more information about Hinobaan, click here.

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One Friday Night


Our neighborhood is busy. Crazy busy. It has schools, restaurants, bars, a legendary flea market, and an ancient city, so most days of the week it is teeming with people and cars.

This is an alley in the heart of the flea market, on a quiet early Friday evening. In a couple of hours the bars and the streets would be full, but at this moment the lights had just been turned on, the sun just set and the summer sky just giving way to the stars. Perfect.

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