Sunday, June 04, 2006

Zamboanguita....Glad to Meet Ya!

Beautiful beach house in Zamboanguita, PhilippinesMy native friend Marilyn and I spent half a day in Zamboanguita, which is about 15 or so miles south of Dumaguete along the national highway. My prior experience had told me that every town in the Philippines is crowded, no matter how small it is. I was quite sure that Zamboanguita was rather miniscule, but I'll be darned if the downtown area wasn't crowded. We proceeded to the home of Marilyn's cousin, who had invited us to spend some time at her beach house. I was rather impressed with this beach "compound" that was situated on at least a few hundred feet of shore down the road. Apparently, Marilyn's cousin and her family own a pig farm. This can be a very lucrative industry as I understand. Yeah, I'd say so. They could have hosted a party for all of Zamboanguita on their property.

Shortly after we had made the short trip down the road to the beach house Marilyn's uncle asked if I was a beer drinker. Deciding it might be rude to reject what sounded like an invitation, I went along and said yes (in reality, I average about 2 beers per year). He then asked if I'd like to travel into town with him to pick up a few bottles of San Miguel, even offering to pay for them. Of course I agreed. We then set out on the short jaunt via a motorcycle, which is always interesting without a helmet. Thankfully, we only had a mile of ground to cover. When we arrived at the store I quickly noticed how primitive it was, even by Philippines standards. Once inside, I was greeted with a few curious stares from locals who were watching some sort of TV program. When it came time to purchase the beer the financial responsibility actually fell on me, despite the earlier offer by Marilyn's uncle to purchase it. I did not even flinch, but reached into my pocket to retrieve the 100 pesos (i.e. less than $2). Filipinos are masters of hospitality if you are a guest in their home, but in a neutral environment such as a store or restaurant the "rich" foreigner is expected to cover expenses.

Part of the beach 'compound' in Zamoanguita that belongs to Marilyn's cousinBefore leaving Zamboanguita I accompanied Marilyn to some sort of Catholic funeral ritual (Marilyn is Protestant, by the way) that was being held in memory of a distant relative. I don't know exactly what was going on, but a group of 4 ladies appeared to be singing verses over and over again and were facing an altar that contained a photo and a few flower arrangements. Marilyn waited outside the door for a good 30 minutes, entered for about 30 seconds, and then we left. I still don't know what it was all about.

By now it was starting to get dark and we still had to get back to Dumaguete. We waited by the side of the road as every conceivable form of transportation passed by. Finally, we flagged down a small van of sorts that looked like it was already filled to capacity. Would you believe there were two spots still available in the very back row? We sat down and began our relatively long (by Filipino standards) 15-mile journey back to Dumaguete. The driver appeared to be a younger gentleman, so you can imagine my shock when the van's audio system started pumping out vintage songs from Kenny Rogers! Of course, my disbelief had more to do with the fact that I was hearing American oldies in this packed little van in Zamboanguita, Philippines. At the same time, though, the familiarity of home was very much with me in those moments. I used to hear those songs on the radio as a kid in Michigan. The world suddenly became very small.

Oh, and do you want to guess the total price tag for that 15-mile trip down memory lane with Kenny Rogers? Sixty pesos for Marilyn and myself combined...or about 55 cents each!


Blogger Ed Abbey said...

The ladies were probably singing the rosary which is a prayer. Filipino Catholics often get together to say the rosary on the anniversary of a death. Here in the states, they still do that.

I often think of the Philippines as an America stuck in the 80's and overcrowded. Much of the music that I hear while out and about is American and from the 80's. I've never heard so much Barry Manilow until I went to the Philippines where he seems to be a national icon.

Friday, July 28, 2006 9:02:00 AM  
Blogger Twilly said...

You should try going to Bais, I guarantee amazement at the Sandbar. Here's a few links of my friends' photos of Negros you'd might like to view... --she has all my Negros photos. ;)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 3:04:00 AM  
Blogger Corey said...

Wow...wonderful photos. I have bookmarked these pages so I can finish viewing. Next time I'll just have to get more serious with my photo taking. I didn't prepare very well last year on my trip. Thanks for sharing!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 6:43:00 PM  
Blogger rhamil said...

I'm glad that you enjoy staying in Zamboanguita! For me I miss that place so much, well the picture that you post the rest house is my Uncle place, your correct Filipino people are very hospitable and friendly specially people from Zamboanguita!

Sunday, May 06, 2007 8:23:00 AM  
Blogger Corey said...

Hi rhamil...

Are you somehow related to my fiancee, then? She didn't recognize your name, though that could just be a screen name.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 06, 2007 6:47:00 PM  
Blogger rhamil said...

Hi I'm related to the Pinili Clan, ask her if she knew Eva Badoy.

Sunday, May 13, 2007 6:07:00 AM  
Blogger Corey said...

Hi rhamil...

My fiancee doesn't know Eva. However, her cousin Dina knows who you are.

Small world ;)

Sunday, May 13, 2007 10:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Raul said...

Hi Corey, got your site by accident. I'm a true-blooded Zamboangnon but I've been living in Cebu for several years now. It's always nice to hear from foreign guests like you how noticeable and endearing the traits of the Filipinos are. I sincerely hope that you willingly spread the word on that side of the rainbow of how beautiful this country is and its people. I hope you could find time to visit Zamboanguita again.

Sunday, November 11, 2007 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Joy said...

I do missed my home sweet home in beloved parents and relatives Bailio Family.

Monday, September 21, 2009 3:34:00 PM  
Blogger Pinili said...

Pinili clan site looking 4 historical info,old pictures for our website,pls send ur info and old pictures to or

so next year reunion u can be part of the event.

Monday, April 19, 2010 3:03:00 AM  

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