Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Dogs of Sunrise at Santiago Bay, Camotes Islands

It's a work-related trip alright but despite the hectic sked, I make it a point to try and wake up early enough for the sunrise (if it comes out alright for photographic purposes) and perchance, to play with the friendly dogs of the place.  Sort of a personal barometer for me I guess as to the friendliness of the area.   Santiago Bay Beach reminds me of Corong-Corong in El Nido, Palawan, what with all the nice and playful dogs on a nice stretch of fine sand beach.  It only took some 10-15 minutes of meeting up and playing; the next day, the two friendliest dogs were coming up the stairs to the Santiago Bay Resort where we were initially billeted, some 45 minutes drive from the main wharf in Poro.  No regrets though as the ambiance is much more relaxed here in Santiago.  After two days, we had to move closer to the venue of the Rare Philippines activities (but not after seeing kayaks for rent and Pito's Sutukil right there, tucked on one corner of the cove).

We would come back for some sort of celebratory-cum-farewell dinner two nights later and all it took was a whistle and the dogs came back to me, playful as ever.   It's my first time visiting Camotes but the dogs made sure I wasn't a stranger.   Santiago beach and its dogs certainly made a good impression on me.  Next time, would love to stay longer for recreation, play with the dog, kayak during the serene mornings, eat sinugba an sutukil right there on the beach.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Kuching: Following the Opium Coffee Trail, Satok and Other Stops

Kuching's iconic Darul Hana bridge at sunset
Our guide, Margaret on India Street
I've been to Malaysia several times but this marks only the second time I'm venturing further east to Sarawak (the first was to Miri about five years ago).   Then, as now, it's a trip about finding more of what's familiar and similar to Pinoy culture and stuff than looking for differences.   It seems almost everywhere I turn in Kuching, I find something that reminds me of home.     

The morning before the Kuching Waterfront Music Festival, we were taken on a morning city tour by the Place Borneo team along with our Hokkien city guide, Margaret.    Our first stop was the Satok weekend local sellers market, about 20-25 minutes drive away from the waterfront area.  It's bustling with sellers and buyers as it was still early on a Saturday.  Well, we wouldn't go hungry here as most of the items on sale are familiar not only in appearance but oftentimes in names (and flavors).  Occasionally, some vowels would be different but phonetically, they're similar to the ones we use back in the Philippines.  Members of the garlic family are called bahwang (Pinoy bawang).  Noodles used in Chinese and Malay cooking?  Beehon (Pinoy bihon).    A stack is called tempok (Pinoy tumpok).   So pardon me if I used the local colloquial expression, "Sounds family?"

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