Philippines: Visayas - February 2008
Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
Filipinos have their own way of greeting you. To signal that they have seen you, noticed you, spotted you, to say hello quickly in passing, instead of a little nod, or a smile like in Thailand, they raise their eyebrows.
Let's raise our eyebrows to say hello!
This eyebrow raise is a quick, informal greeting, often followed by a smile and the inevitable "Hello!" or "Hi!" for the foreigner or the foreigner of passage.
It is also a way of saying yes, of signifying agreement...
I am happy to find here, in Siquijor, this little eyebrow raise so particular, that I had noticed in Leyte, but which had disappeared in Alona Beach...
It ends up rubbing off on me, by the way. I start to raise my eyebrows when I greet people!
The beautiful Salagdoong Beach
The day before yesterday, I went for a motorcycle ride (everywhere in Asia, the term "motorcycle" means any motorized two-wheeler, and when I say I ride a "motorcycle" it's actually more like a scooter). Siquijor is an ideal island for this kind of ride, there is very little traffic, just tricycles and motorcycles, some jeepneys (jeeps transformed into buses) and bicycles. A 72 km road, in good condition for the portion I have already covered, goes around the island.
You still have to ride quietly, because of dogs, goats, cows, chickens, children who can tumble at any time from the edge of the road, and people in general, because life is concentrated along this road. famous circular road, pompously called "highway"…
So, after the morning dive, I took a little trip to the east of the island. My goal: the beach of Salagdoong.
But I forgot it was Saturday. It is also the weekend for the Filipinos. Many of them came that afternoon, in groups or with their families, to enjoy the charming setting of this small cove with two coves, surrounded by rocks, with incredibly clear water, where you can swim without having to walk far (unlike "my" beach in Sandugan).
In short, instead of the expected calm, there was of course the inevitable karaoke at full blast, at the beach bar-resto, and lots of people in front of the barbecues or under the awnings to rent all around. Atmosphere and crowd definitely more authentic and pleasant than those of Alona Beach, this said!
I found myself again distributing shrugs of eyebrows and "hello" right and left. A group of students offered me to join them and a girl even offered me a glass of Tanduay, the local rum (often drunk mixed with Coke)...
I didn't feel like drinking rum at that time of the day, so I politely declined the invitation, stayed a while to take some pictures, take a dip, and then continued on my way to the town of Maria.
Maria, her market, her church
In Maria there is an imposing church and a small market. Flanked by a hexagonal belfry, the church of Our Lady of Divine Providence, built in limestone, dates back to the end of the 19th century.e century, shortly before the end of the Spanish colonial period.
Painted on the doors of the double door, the Ten Commandments, in English.
After my little foray into the church, I wandered around the market a bit, bought some fruit, and then headed back to Sandugan Beach before nightfall.
And it falls early here. It is daylight, immutably, from 6 am to 6 pm. So from 5-6 pm, it's time for a drink around the bungalows of "my" beach...
In Sandugan Beach, at Islanders Paradise where I am staying, I got on well with my immediate neighbors, Marika and Shareef, a young Swiss-Maldivian couple on vacation. We spend a lot of time together, we get along very well.
Like me, they travel according to their desires, without a really pre-established itinerary. Except that they have three months ahead of them. As a result, they have been stuck on Siquijor for more than ten days, so much they like it there... Marika is pregnant and doesn't have the courage to take hours of bus or ferry in a row. As she can't dive, she is satisfied with snorkeling (swimming in fins-mask-snorkel on the surface).
Today, another acquaintance, made during the dive: David, a young Spaniard, teacher in Saigon (also called Ho Chi Minh City, in Vietnam), as part of a university program to promote the language of Cervantes. He also has a lot of time ahead of him and has an appointment with friends in Boracay.
In the bungalow on my left, there was a Canadian couple just yesterday. And in the internet café of Larena, where I am, I already met two French couples, also independent travelers. Siquijor definitely attracts a much more friendly tourist population than Panglao...