Bacolod - arrival and meeting family - Philippines (2008)
Updated: Mar 10
That year I went to the Philippines with my mother to visit family. Our timing was in June, during the rainy season. We arrived in Manila airport where we would take another inland flight to Bacolod and we were greeted with smiles by many relatives.
People in the Philippines are in general always smiling and ready to help you. Many of them are also in low income, so they always expect a small tip in everything they do. It is not mandatory but it is a good gesture. Two policemen helped us a bit in Manila airport=tip. Guy helped us with the luggage=tip (well you would tip this guy either way). But you need to be careful about that as well, for example you have your bags inside a local long distance bus and you arrive somewhere, you see many people running towards the bags, some of them just to take them out of the bus and ask for a tip, maybe some of them to take advantage of the commotion and snatch something. It happened to me and my uncle while transporting some material to build a house.
In Bacolod we were joined by some more relatives and my auntie Elina. They took us out at night for sightseeing. Arriving in Bacolod airport the security measures were a bit more tight, removing shoes to check the soles, full body search etc. And then, as soon as we pass through the check I spot a weird character ready to go through. Westerner, white long hair, age around mid 50s, big beer belly wearing an open shirt, cowboy hat. As soon as he goes through the security scanner it goes "beep beep beep"! Police guy comes to search him, he opens a bit his shirt and I think I catch a glimpse of a gun with a waist holster, he opens up his wallet which is full of bills and pass a p1000 (around €19/$20) to the cop, then walks away. Three more cops come but when they go to the weird westerner they laugh and the "suspect" waves them with his hand that everything is alright. Walks away nice and easy... which left me very shocked!
We rode the jeepney bus to go to places. The jeepney is a common minibus which serves as public transport all over the Philippines and it is the cheapest way to go around places. They tend to be crowded in the popular routes and they can stop anywhere to load/unload passengers, even in the middle of the traffic! They tend to have nice kitsch decorations which somehow became part of the Philippines culture and art.
I visited some more relatives and an uncle who was running his own junk shop which was pretty good business.
All kinds of stuff were waiting to be sorted out in my uncles' shop.
An interesting fact was that my uncles' place was a printing shop as well. And the printing machine was operated manual by hand! Placing and removing the paper one by one while the machine was working.
I witnessed my uncle operating the printing machine. I had never seen a manual printing machine until then. I found out a bit dangerous as you are changing the papers while the machine is working, you need to be fast enough and very careful with your hands.
It was interesting to watch workers painting a high wall of a building. The scaffolding was made entirely by bamboo and the workers didn't have any safety precautions. It seems that bamboo is being used a lot as scaffolding in Asia, its' internal cell-like structure allows it to withstand compression and it is much faster to erect and dismantle than steel, and much lighter as well!
My mother grew up in the Molocaboc island, a tiny group of three islands in the Visayas region. But at that time, my grandmother Othelia happened to be in Bacolod city, together with my uncle and some other relatives. We took the opportunity and went all together to eat in a Pizza hut, it was my grandmothers first time in Pizza hut, so I was really glad!
GPS coordinates for places in this post, click on them to be redirected to the exact point in google maps. Click on the names to be redirected to their official websites (if applicable).
Bacolod Silay Airport: 10°46'36.0"N 123°00'54.1"E
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