The road to the Dumaguete Triangle.

Last time I described the last night of the Bacolodiat festival, my impromptu late night market visit and consequent very late bedtime so it was no surprise that I didn't get up in time for the silly o'clock air-con bus.  I checked reluctantly out of the rather pleasant hotel I was in, grabbed a taxi to the Southern bus station and had my first up close encounter with one of the most dangerous things ever invented by man or more possibly the more malign witches of Siquijor island (of whom more later). 

Ceres assassin Liner.

This thing is a Ceres Liner bus and it is the most feared thing in the Visaya region of the Philippines.  I have been forced off the road twice by them whilst riding my motorbike.  Don't panic, they generally only force you off wen there is somewhere to go and I am well aware of them.  They drive like complete lunatics.  I heard a joke that if a Ceres Liner driver knocks somebody over they are told to reverse over them as funeral expenses are less than hospital fees.  At least I think it's a joke.

Anyway, I got on the thing (no option really, it is the only transport) and settled down for the seven hour journey to Dumaguete, a Southern city and capital of Negros Oriental with a reputation as a University place with a relaxed atmosphere and it is certainly relaxed.  I have been here for about six weeks now with no apparent way out, but more of that in due course.

The Ceres Liner, non air-con, was great fun.  In truth, I do not like air-conditioning.  It gives me a sore throat and three nights in an air-con room will inevitably gve me a head cold.

Interior, Ceres Liner bus.
The day passed pleasantly on the bus with the window open and my arm out getting some sun.  It was not too hot, especially on the mountain section Kabankalan / Mabinay / Bias City.  there were also some nice views on this section but the bus never stops at the scenic places.  It does, however, stop just about everywhere else.  This is effectively an intercity service and you can flag it down anywhere on the road.  Similarly, you can get off at your front door, just yell at the conductor and the bus will stop.  I think the funniest bit was when the bus stopped and the conductor jumped off with a plastic bag of clothing and ran into a shack by the roadside.  He re-emerged a minute later with another bag of obviously folded clothes.  He had stopped to get his laundry.  Only in Asia.

View of Cebu.
I did manage to get one half-decent shot as the bus hurtled down the twisting mountain road with no barriers and a sheer drop.  Forget Alton Towers, this is a proper thrill ride.  Despite the best efforts of the psychotic driver, we arrived in Dumaguete in the early evening and remarkably intact.  Out of the bus station, had the obligatory argument with the trike driver who obviously took me for a mug and jumped in (at the right price) and took off on what I know now to be National Highway South.

I should explain here, I had booked ahead online at a place called Dumaguete Springs, which looked nice on the website although it was a bit above my budget.  For some reason, Duma itself was full up and I just could not get a cheap room anywhere.  At about 12km we turned off down an unpaved and unlit track and eventually turned up at the Dumaguete Springs Resort.  The first problem was finding a member of staff, which we eventually achieved by liberal use of his horn which was no problem as the horn is the most important piece of equipment on any Philippino vehicle.

Dumaguete Springs Resort room.
I don't know about you but I have a really highly tuned sense of a place almost instantaneously.  It was just after sunset and I would have expected at least one or two people either round the pool or at the bar or even at the not very inspiring beach.  Not a one, it was like the Wreck of the Hesperus, a bloody ghost ship.  Not good.  I was shown to the room, which was pleasant as the photos show.

Dumaguete Springs Resort.
The resort itself was OK although overpriced for what it was but the problem was that it was totally dead.  Damn, I was in here for three nights and there was nothing to do.  Even if I had had a partner, the pool table was covered and being used for sorting laundry.  The photo of the jacuzzi says it all really.  I found out that the first night I was there that only one other couple was booked in and the second night I was the sole paying guest.  Even at the ridiculous prices here, it can't be covering overheads at that rate.

Alleged jacuzzi, Dumaguete Springs.
I did find out later that the resort is owned by an Austrian guy who has various other businesses in the Phils and is run by his mistress.  You heard it here folks and, believe me, I have all the inside gossip in this town now.  He might want to have a look at what is undoubtedly a multi million peso investment.  In fairness to the place, it did have a lovely pool, so here it is.  More to come soon.

Pool, Dumaguete Springs resort.

No comments:

Post a Comment