Post 3 day quick trip to Bacolod! Here are some thoughts.
Food Prices Are Unfair – We had 3 or 4 group meals involving as many as ten people and the bill never reached anywhere what it would in Manila. At Masskara Chicken Inasal our bill only came up to P1.8k, and at Bob’s Cafe we didn’t even get up to P3k despite everyone having more than their fill. Granted there were a lot of senior citizen cards passed around but it was still amazing. Each time the bill would come I couldn’t help feeling like we were getting such a bad deal in Manila where a ‘good’ meal would be P150 – P300 and one in a similar establishment such as Bobs’ would easily fetch P600 – P800. Just check out the prices at Rau-Ram Cafe, which serves absolutely authentic Vietnamese Pho (situated in the middle of nowhere. Truly a foodie – only resto). No wonder Tita Tess eats here everyday. You CANNOT get quality that good for prices that low in Manila.
More On The LC – I put up pics on FB with Ace playing in his great grandfather’s Toyota Land Cruiser and it excited all my gearhead friends so here’s the back story according to its current owner Tito Ed: Jill’s grandfather was a lawyer in Zamboanga in the 1960s before he became a public fiscal. His client, a Japanese logging firm gave this to him to use so he could get to their office in the mountains. It was later bequeathed to Tito Ted to take care of as it had been left in a bad state. In the ’80s he then replaced the original 6 cyl. petrol, 3 speed with a new 4 cyl. diesel. He also replaced the then beat up body (with a canvass top) with a newer 80’s hard top version, retaining only the chassis and that’s how it is now.
To the untrained eye it’s just an old car but as most fellow gearheads know it is a rare – and getting rarer by the day – beautiful machine. It’s simple and devoid of luxury sure, but that makes it bullet proof reliable. It’s go anywhere off road capability yet affordable price at the time make it a farmer’s dream. I’ve seen some of these forge rivers so deep the only thing you can see above water was the black snorkel and white roof. Current SUVs look up to this with reverence and respect. I didn’t get to try it as it is used every Sunday morning to visit their sugarcane farm in the mountains. Hope I can drive it around the block next time I’m there.
The Car Scene Or What Little I Saw Of It – I saw 70’s VW buses, beetles and Brasilias, several old well kept Isuzu / GM Geminis and lots of 4×4 vehicles in all shapes and sizes, from old original looking Willys jeeps to about 5 or more other Land Cruisers and ’80s pickups, Pajeros, Isuzu Troopers, etc., all with huge off road tires and looking like they spend half their lives in the dirt. And this is what I saw from just a typical weekend.
I’ve seen a ’70s VW Bus for sale on Facebook for P200k and I remember when they were going for P30 – P50k back in the ’90s. Over here I saw up to three in fairly ok condition driving around.
I even saw this!
Taken during our trip here last year, a very rare double cab Type 2 VW Bus in pickup configuration that would probably fetch $30 – $50k in the US if restored properly. The mechanic I asked said the owner was fending off offers of up to P500k for it almost every day.
Of course no one makes a big deal about it over there because how could they possibly know how good things are until they’re gone? These cars were common in Manila up to the mid ’90s. Now that you can’t find any most of us old gearheads spend hours reminiscing about their old Beetles, their old Corollas, Lancers, Geminis etc. I’m sure when these eventually run out over there they’ll be doing the same. But as it is for a car guy like me going to Bacolod is a time warp back into when I was a teen.
Nature’s Wonders – Two places I need to mention are Mambukal Resort, which features beautiful Onsen style hot springs and just about the most amount of fun in the water you can possibly have in such a short distance from a city like Bacolod, and Gawahon Eco Park, which is just too beautiful for words, really. The former is a more formal resort while the latter is just nature showing off. Beautiful view of the valley below? Check. Rare species of birds endemic to the area requiring protection by park rangers? Check. Water falls of every type and size along with paths into the mountains convenient for trekkers and nature lovers? Check. And all, again, barely an hour away from Bacolod City with its decent hotels and affordable good restaurants. Don’t really know where you can go wrong here.
Travelling With The Little Guy –
After travelling with him to Cebu, Baguio, Bacolod last year and even Vietnam two years ago we both thought it would be easier now as he can walk much faster and is usually calm, singing and playing most of the time.
Last night on the plane coming home however wasn’t the case. We had a late 2150 boarding and after being forced to skip lunch, forced to wake up on the car ride going to the airport and forced several times in the waiting area and finally on the plane he had had enough and was wailing like a wild man, kicking and screaming and was just everything his mother could handle, almost bringing her to want to breastfeed him after she had already weaned him off months ago.
Fortunately the plane was only about 80% full and we moved to the very back seats to spare the rest of the passengers, some of whose seats he was pounding with kicks. I’m sure eyes were rolling and we were really quite embarrassed. This is one of those moments you realize the stewardess’ question of ‘is there anything we can do to help?‘ is just about the most useless thing to ask at that moment considering we clearly were trying our best to calm him down. It was well meaning of course, but unless she had a taser she really couldn’t help.
Oddly enough what finally settled him down was watching videos of himself on my phone some of which had been taken as long as two years ago. Eventually he was giggling and before we knew it an hour had passed. We waited till we were the final people left on the plane, got off, collected our stuff, Ubered ourselves home and after saying goodnight to us he calmly closed his eyes and slept while the two of us stared at each other still bewildered at his beast mode of an hour ago.
Note to ourselves: Get him his rest and feed him on time otherwise invest in a straitjacket.
Finally and most importantly we need to thank Tito Ed and Tita Tess Galon for their unbelievable graciousness and hospitality none of which we are worthy of I’m sure. They even lent us a car to allow us to visit Balay Negrense on our own, the first museum in history rich Negros in Silay City. Not to mention the feast we had at their fish pond which is something out of a city dweller’s dream of paradise, with no pollution of any type to speak of and a bounty of fresh bangus, 6 inch prawns, oysters, crabs and vegetables available everyday. We are overwhelmed with how kind and giving they are and are forever grateful.