Our change of plan has put is in this lovely albeit remote marina for almost three months, the longest time Furthur has stayed tied to a dock for quite a while. This is a gathering place for cruisers, some crossed the Pacific the same time i did. Some are transient or waiting for the rally as we are and some have made this home.
So what does one do on a sunny, hot day on a jungle island in the Philipines. We often go to city which requires a ten minute motorbike ride, a short ferry ride and a taxi that will take you anywhere for three bucks. Davao has four major malls, all with state of the art movie theaters showing first run movies. Just to put things in perspective, Donna and i did “dinner and a movie”, ate in a nice restaurant, got theater tickets even large popcorn, all for under twenty bucks… the movie alone was three bucks a seat.. try that in the US hahaha.. while on cost of things, we went to our favorite bar where i sit in with the band, i wanted to buy the band a “bucket of beer” six beers in a bucket. Donna did the ordering then, with great concern, told me the cost, 230p, i thought that was per beer and it was very expensive, but no it was for the entire bucket, that is under five bucks for six bottles of beer.. and she thought it was too much hahaha.
We quickly learned that there was limited things to do at this marina and that the folks were eager for activities. There is a Friday night Cruisers BBQ where we all get together. First thing i did was arrange to hire the marinas speed boat and driver for a dive day. Six of us split the cost so not much. Now it is a weekly ritual, Sunday diving. We have found some surprisingly good dive sites here with brilliant healthy coral.
The next discovery was that there were a few musicians lurking about and more people who wanted to hear live music. I set up a weekly “open mic” on Wednesdays. With my sound system and microphones we have some fun times. So now Sunday, Wednesday and Fridays see our social calendar full.
The village on Samal Island has most of what we need on a daily basis, a plentiful open public market, a couple good restaurants, and super market. I even found a music store where i bought a new microphone, stand and strings. I have become known at the color game, the local gambling spot, where i have actually won more than lost. One time i won three whole dollars yippee.
The island is ripe for exploring, we have put 1000 km on the motorbike already. We found nice waterfall park for swimming, best to go during the week as the weekends are crowded. Last visit i joined some local guitar players and we had a ball. We have circum navigated the island on the bike and cut across the rough dirt road middle over the “mountain”. Recently we rode off the beaten path and found ourselves in a challenge with a young bull, he pawed the ground and bounced his head and chased us down the path on the motorbike laughing all the way.
This place daily reminds me of how much i love SE Asia, the great cost of living aside it is the people. i ride the motorbike the 10k to town and the children wave and smile as i go by. i hit the village that has one very crowded four way intersection, no signs, no lights and amazingly not grid lock, everyone just gets through it and with a smile. there is no road rage here, no matter how crowded the street is. The sound of a horn is not ” hey #$$% get out o my way” it is “hey i am here”. No one “owns” the lanes here, they all just merge happily. I can pass with oncoming traffic and the they just move over a bit.. it all works.
In no time one gets accustomed to things not usual. All across the Philippines every store, restaurant, bank, or business has armed security. It is never oppressive or even frightful, they are usually young and shy, funny many times the holsters are empty but most are well armed. This does give one a feeling of security and even a bit of humor.
Like i said the palm tree lined road to the village is full of reminders of life here. I will see giggling uniformed school kids, families and groups of folks just hanging out on the road, all smile or wave as we go by. I also see chickens, dogs and herds of goats and sheep on the road, sometimes it takes a honk to get them to move. The other night after jamming with the band in town we did the late night ride home. It is common for motorbikes to have little or no lights, some use a head mounted flashlight so one has to be alert. This time something caught my attention and i slowed down as we approached a large lump in the road, low and behold it was two mammoth cows sleeping in the middle of the road. They did not move as i swerved to miss them, i just smiled and said to myself; God, i love it here.