Bacolod The City of Smiles
We wanted to get away for a bit but did not want to spend very much. I’m still reeling from the Palawan price tag! So we decided to take a long weekend and go to Bacolod. From Iloilo to Bacolod is a 1 hour, p350 trip. I shopped around online and found the Middle Town Inn for only $25 a night – for all 3 of us. And since I was using agoda.com I had some points from my last big Philippine trip. Agoda is kind of like hotels.com, but for Asia. Anyway my points turned into $25 credit. So for 2 nights, for a 3 person room, I paid $36 after taxes. Not too shabby.
I took 2 jeepneys to get from our barangay to the docks about 9:00 AM. The Super Cat had one broken boat so was only running 1/2 their schedule. So no 10:30 ferry… bummer. Next ferry is at 2:30 PM! We walk down to Weesom and they have an 11:30 AM – luckily Ocean Jet has a 10:45. Much better. They have an air conditioned waiting room so we relaxed for a while. The ferry is pretty nice. The seats are set up similar to an airplane. And we have assigned seats in an air conditioned area. We are in the middle of the boat right next to the door going down to the engine room. It is like the front row – lots of leg room. So far so good. Then… the boat starts moving. A man gets up and asks for our attention as he has a 5 minute message from the captain… then proceeds to preach about Jesus sacrifice for 20 goddamn minutes. Un-fucking-believable! So I do the only reasonable thing. I put on my noise canceling headphones and crank the shit out of some NIN. Much better. After he was finished he took his seat right behind me and kicked the back of my seat like a spastic 5 year old ha ha. Glad it was only a 1 hour trip.
After an uneventful ferry ride we get to Bacolod and meet up with Rogena’s cousin. We stop for lunch at the Chicken House. Really good inasol (like bbq). About p100 each ($2.50) but there is a 10% aircon surcharge. Ok. Whatever. Good lunch, so who cares. Rogena’s cousin picked it and it turned out to be a place recommended by a friend online. When we tell the cabbie our hotel and he says “oh, the old BIR office”. It looked really small on the website and it was smaller in person. And, yes it looks like an internal revenue office. A small front desk, then each floor has a big lobby and hallways full of individual rooms. Kind of like a waiting area and rows of offices. But each room has its own aircon and CR (comfort room – restroom). So no complaints here. It is small but all we need. The other hotel I was looking at was a few miles away, bigger rooms, restaurant, pool, oh, and was $60 a night. This joint may be small but it is clean, has good aircon, is walking distance from the Lagoon Park, zoo, the mall. Generally a good location. And did I mention $35 for 2 nights? Time to go out and wander around town.
There is me, Melane, cousin Rogena, her 2nd cousin, and his girlfriend. We get out to the street and you can see the sign for the mall about 3 blocks away. Same street. When I suggest we walk they all look at me like I suggested swimming back to the States. So we take a jeepney… takes as long to wait for it as it does to ride 3 blocks. Why are we going to the mall? Tradition! How did this tradition get started… I don’t know. But tradition tells us who we are what god wants us to do. Wait… wrong movie. Why are we going to the mall? Because I am not in charge of this outing. The SM mall is pretty impressive here. Very big and nice. So I buy some Chap Stick, Melane buys a couple tourist t-shirts and we move on.
I say I want to walk for a while. I love the sightseeing. And people watching. We buy some piaya, at Bong Bong’s. I have never had fresh off the grill piaya before. Man is it good. We also buy a couple packages for tomorrow. So yes, the walk cost twice as much as the jeepney ride but it tasted a lot better too! (kind of a fruit stuffed tortilla’ish thing- google it). The lagoon park is pretty cool. The government building is there (see top picture). They have tons of fish you can feed. It is only p2 for about 1/3 cup of fish food. Looks like colored crisped rice, I don’t know what it is. These fish eat better than most people in this, or any, country! People feed them ALL day. The lagoon is pretty big but all the fish are concentrated along the outer wall. That is where we feed them. Some cool statues and a fountain (not running). A nice park really.
Time for dinner. They ask “do you like seafoods?” Melane knows I don’t but I know they all do. So I tell sure I can find something to eat. No worries. You would never find this joint on your own. Strictly a local place didn’t catch the name. Not too far off the main road, but far enough. You start at the fish market and meet your meat. After you pick what you want they take it next door and cook it. It seems that the price of the fish is doubled for the meal. I heard how much the fish was and the bill was pretty close to double. I had my shrimp what they call “crispy fried”. Meaning shelled, battered and fried. If I just said fried shrimp who knows what they would do. It was ok… a bit strong with a fishy flavor. I am used to fried shrimp being almost flavorless. You know, I think seafood is wasted on me ha ha. They had shrimp, cooked in the shell and in some kind of sauce – I did not try it. And a slice of some giant fish cut up and in a clear broth with vegetables. I tried it and it was better than my shrimp. Almost no fishy taste. With enough rice I could have eaten it. So needless to say we stopped for a burger at Angels on the way home. (2 for p40 – $1). Small sidewalk stand, open 24 hours, and hundreds of them around. Not too bad really. Did I mention that good seafood is wasted on me?
2nd day we go to Mambukal Mountain Resort. It has its own write-up here. (post – https://expatinphilippines.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/mambulka-mountain-resort/)
After Mambukal we have to go back to the mall. Yesterday Melane saw some shoes 2 for p399 and decided she wanted them. And we need dinner anyway. So we walk back to SM mall, get her shoes, and while there we saw some really cheap water socks for me. I have some old Speedo water socks that are really showing their age. I hope these last as long as the Speedo water socks. But for p249 ($6) I won’t complain no matter what. That was about all the excitement we could handle this evening because we are all worn out from Mambukal today. Going to bed early to get an early ferry tomorrow.
The ferry ride was fast and uneventful. We easily got home, unpacked, and collapsed! But a fun weekend. Bacolod seems pretty cool.