February 12th, 2008 – by: vidalibre
the breakfast club
I'm not really sure what is going on here in Dumaguete, but this place has some strange effect upon me. There isn't really all that much to do here, its been raining for 7 days, and its difficult to find a meal that serves vegetables (that's the case all over the country). Yet, I'm somehow drawn to this small city. Its quite different than most places in the Philippines, which tend to be large, overcrowded, dirty cities, or tiny villages with chickens and pigs everywhere. This place has all the advancements to make life comfortable, yet the charm of the small village. I originally stayed 3 days when I was nursing my leg. This time, I was going to stay one night, and ended up staying 7, this time nursing some foreign stomach illness. There are 4 universities here, so the people are quite educated and computer literate. The harbor front is something you'd see in the south of France and there are a number of friendly bars. My hotel, the Vintage Inn, is inexpensive, clean and the staff are very welcoming. I have breakfast at the public market each morning and my guya (polite Tagalog term for older man) and attay (same for woman) have my coffee waiting for me by the time I sit down. They even fixed me up on a date the other night... maybe that's what's keeping me here (LOL)
When I began this journey thru the Philippines, I had no idea what to expect. I ended up only spending significant time on 2 islands over the past 5 weeks. But now I have a long list of places I want to see - actually another 7105 islands to be exact. I know for sure I'll be back here, the question is not if, but when. The Philippines is a place where you can really find paradise. If its not on one island, it will surely be on another. There's so much to do or, not to do, if you are so inclined. Filippinos are extremely outgoing and speak great English, which makes your experience much more real than in other Southeast Asian countries. Its not often that you get to mix with the locals in many countries. Normally, you have a travel path and even if you stray from it, getting to know locals in most countries requires much time, effort and a decent command of the language. The great treasure of the Philippines is that you can have real experiences with locals and very easily blend in. Much of the time you don't even feel like a tourist. You feel very welcome here. And for those of us on the road for a long period of time, that feeling is priceless.