Archive Page 2

Day 14: San Rafael – Roxas

Two boys with fighing cock. These kids were super shy - took a bit of convincing to get a photo.

Two boys with fighing cock. These kids were super shy - took a bit of convincing to get a photo.

Nice fast, smooth roads.

Nice fast, smooth roads.

Mmmm - attack that mango.

Mmmm - attack that mango.

I guess this area got flooded often - all the houses were on stilts.

I guess this area got flooded often - all the houses were on stilts.

single cigarettes, coca cola in a bag with a straw, petrol in coca cola bottles. Pick your bag, pull it off the hook, pay your pesos and it's yours.

Everything's for sale in the Philippines and in any manner: single cigarettes, coca cola in a bag with a straw, petrol in coca cola bottles. Pick your bag, pull it off the hook, pay your pesos and it's yours.

After a 77km day (67 the day before), we rode into Roxas. The town's not much - pretty scruffy - so we found another (deserted) beachside resort for the night. It was mid afternoon, so we decided to sleep for a bit before heading out closer to sunset for dinner.

After a 77km day (67km the day before), we rode into Roxas. The town's not much - pretty scruffy - so we found another (deserted) beachside resort for the night. It was mid afternoon, so we decided to sleep for a bit before heading out closer to sunset for dinner.

Bangka and island (view from beach outside our room).

Bangka and island (view from beach outside our room).

Bangka on the beach.

Bangka on the beach.

Quite nice to go for a stoll before dinner. Our legs were pretty trashed and we were looking forward to something to eat...

Quite nice to go for a stoll before dinner. Our legs were pretty trashed though and we were looking forward to something to eat...

The F/B Filipina Lady

The F/B Filipina Lady.

To get into town we had to walk right through a small fishing village (and volleyball game). Definitely got a few stares here.

To get into town we had to walk right through a small fishing village (and volleyball game). Definitely got a few stares here.

Kids walking home from school.

Kids walking home from school.

Crazy cats.

Crazy cats. No relation to this photo, but the best thing about Roxas is the Vietnamese restaurant on the main drag out of town. It's not in the LP book, but it totally should be - some of the best food we ate on the trip right there. Super tasty, fresh ingredients, cheap and good service. It was so good we went back for breakfast.

Day 13: Cebu – Puerto Princesa – San Rafael

From Cebu we hopped on a place and made the hour-long flight to Puerto Princesa, the biggest town on Palawan. Palawan is a large outlier island off the west of the main Philippines archipelago and is reknowned for striking landscapes and relatively undisturbed flora and fauna.

From Cebu we hopped on a plane and made the hour-long flight to Puerto Princesa, the biggest 'city' on Palawan. Palawan is a large outlier island off the west of the main Philippines archipelago and is reknowned for striking land and seascapes and relatively undisturbed flora and fauna.

After working up a good sweat pumping all our tyres back up to 60 psi we headed into Puerto Princesa, and then out on the rolling road towards Roxas.

After working up a good sweat pumping all our tyres back up to 60 psi we headed into Puerto Princesa, and then out on the rolling road towards Roxas.

One of the many shops we stopped at for hydration and salty snacks during our days on the road.

One of the many shops we stopped at for hydration and salty snacks during our days on the road.

We started cycling on the east side of Palawan and compared to the west sides of the islands we had been riding on it felt almost arid - like Australia. Between Puerto Princesa and Taytay the roads were quiet, rolling and smooth.

We started cycling on the east side of Palawan and compared to the west sides of the islands we had been riding on it felt almost arid - like Australia. Between Puerto Princesa and Taytay the roads were quiet, rolling and smooth.

That evening we found an abandoned-for-the-offseason resort at San Rafael. The bungalow on the beach we had was cool, but the dining down the road was classic turu turo - cold - and not particularly appetising.

That evening we found an abandoned-for-the-offseason resort at San Rafael. The bungalow on the beach we had was cool, but the dining down the road was classic turu turo - cold - and not particularly appetising. All part of the experience though. (Photo: Hana)

Day 12: Dumaguete – Cebu

We stayed at the Vintage Inn in Dumaguete, had a fest at Chow King, and the next morning sifting around the boulevard eating copious amounts of food. With its European restaurants and tourists Dumaguete had a much more cosmopolitan feel compared to the other towns and cities we had visited.

We stayed at the Vintage Inn in Dumaguete, had a feast at Chow King, and spent the next morning sifting around the boulevard eating copious amounts of food. With its European restaurants and tourists Dumaguete had a much more cosmopolitan feel compared to the other towns and cities we had visited.

Looking inland as the ferry departs Dumaguete. These volcanic hills reach about 1800m in height.

Looking inland as the ferry departs Dumaguete. These volcanic hills reach about 1800m in height.

Crossing to Cebu, the Philippines second-largest city.

Crossing to Cebu, the Philippines second-largest city. (Photo: Hana)

It was after dark by the time 4 hour ferry trip arrived at Cebu's port. We rode a short way into town and found ourselves a pretty tidy downtown hotel room for the night.

It was after dark by the time 4 hour ferry trip arrived at Cebu's port. We rode a short way into town and found ourselves a pretty tidy downtown hotel room for the night.

8 sec exposure of downtown Cebu from our hotel window. With only one night in Cebu we had to make the most of it, so we taxied off to a cool sounding restaurant for dinner, checked out the street market, and found ourselves a full-body massage for about NZ$8 each!

8 sec exposure of downtown Cebu from our hotel window. With only one night in Cebu we had to make the most of it, so we taxied off to a cool sounding restaurant for dinner, checked out the street market, and found ourselves a full-body massage (in a place that promised 'No Hanky-panky'!) for about NZ$8 each!

Day 11: Sipalay – Dumaguete

Sugar Beach, sans bike

Sugar Beach, sans bike.

Not far out of Sipalay we ground our way up a short steep climb. My 10-year old drivetrain was starting skip really badly. It had slowly been dying, but not we were faced with having to replace it right away, before we hit the hills of Palawan.

Not far out of Sipalay we ground our way up a short steep climb. My 10-year old drivetrain was starting to skip really badly. It had slowly been dying, but now we were faced with having to replace it right away, before we hit the hills of Palawan.

At the

At the bottom of the hill we cruised into Hinoba-an, and there it was - a likely looking bike shop (bikes are popular in the Philippines, but are usually in disrepair). Looked like it had Shimano parts too, and we had just enough pesos left ... (Photo: Hana)

At the bottom of the hill we cruised into Hanoba-an, and there it was - a likely looking bike shot (bikes are popular in the Philippines, but are usually in total disrepair). About an hour later we rolled back out of the shop with a new mid-range Shimano drivetrain on my bike, costing a grad total of NZ$60 - bargain!

About an hour later we rolled back out of the shop with a new mid-range Shimano drivetrain on my bike, costing a grand total of NZ$60 - bargain! The guys in the shop were stoked for the business and helped me transfer it all over. (Photo: Hana)

Spot the dog.

Spot the dog.

Hana chatting to villagers on the road between Hinoba-an and Bayawan. Most of was gravel, but we managed to knockout the 92km that day pretty fast.

Hana chatting to villagers on the road between Hinoba-an and Bayawan. Most of it was gravel, but we managed to knock out the 92km that day pretty fast.

70-year-old guy in same village.

70-year-old guy in same village.

Planting rice - got to be back-wrecking work.

Planting rice - got to be back-wrecking work.

Rice and grain shop at Basey. We were right out in the wops here and I think tourists rarely pass this way. We attracted heaps of stares here, and people were really shy. Makes you feel quite self conscious, especially with a big camera round your neck.

Rice and grain shop at Basey. We were right out in the wops here and I think tourists rarely pass this way. We attracted heaps of stares, and people were really shy. Makes you feel quite self conscious, especially with a big camera round your neck.

We stopped at chatted to this village tailor for a while. His sewing machine was treadle operated.

We stopped and chatted to this village tailor for a while. His sewing machine was treadle operated - cool! He and his wife were another couple that seemed so happy, with so little, that you really do wonder about the gig the Western world is on.

After 92km of mostly gravel road from Sipalay we hit Bayawan tired and dirty. We needed to be getting a ferry to Cebu the next day, so to make up time we caught an early evening bus the last couple of hours to Dumaguete.

After 92km of mostly gravel road from Sipalay we hit Bayawan tired and dirty. We needed to be getting a ferry to Cebu the next day, so to make up time we caught an early evening bus the last couple of hours to Dumaguete.

Day 10: Bacolod – Sugar Beach (Sipalay)

     Running out of time to meet our flight from Cebu to Palawan, and with a busier road ahead of us we decided to hop on a bus to Sipalay and head to the secluded Sugar Beach for the night - a sweet stretch of golden sand only accessible by boat. This cool section of road took us through rice paddies and out to the coast where we left the bikes leaning against a tree and hopped in a bangka.

Running out of time to meet our flight from Cebu to Palawan, and with a busier road ahead of us we decided to hop on a bus to Sipalay and head to the secluded Sugar Beach for the night - a sweet stretch of golden sand only accessible by boat. This cool section of road took us through rice paddies and out to the coast where we left the bikes leaning against a tree and hopped in a bangka.

Catching the boat out to Sugar Beach

Heading out to Sugar Beach.

Aye aye Captain.

Aye aye Captain.

Sugar Beach, Sipalay. Paradise for the afternoon.

Sugar Beach, Sipalay. Paradise for the afternoon.

Pretty sweet place to chill out! We went for a snorkel soon after we got there, didn't see many fish but i did, literally, bump into to sea sanke that seemed to be busy trying to kill something else. Saw some sweet limestone crags too.

There's a few mid-range resorts right on the beach and it makes a pretty sweet place to chill out. We went for a snorkel soon after we got there - didn't see many fish but i did, literally, bump into to sea snake that seemed to be busy trying to kill something else. Saw some sweet limestone crags too.

Filipino fishermen at dusk, Sugar Beach.

Filipino fishermen at dusk, Sugar Beach.

Fishermen.

After being quiet all day, at dusk the locals all either waded into the sea or hopped into boats and resumed their daily fishing tasks.

Banka.

Banka.

The sunset was pumping.

The sunset was pumping.

Hauling in a fishing net.

These guys spent an hour our two hauling in hundreds of metres of rope attached to a fishing net. It got dark long before we got a chance to scope out their catch.

Day 9: San Jose – Bacolod (Negros)

Most large towns had a catholic church in exactly this style.

Iglesia ni Cristo church (Tagalog for Church of Christ). Most large towns had a church in exactly this style. Iglesia ni Cristo is a Philippines-orginated religion.

Between us and Iloilo (where we would catch a ferry to Bacolod) there was a really big range of hills, so we decided to catch a bus to the top of the range (at the Antique/Iloilo boundary) - leaving us with a big roll down a hill and a 75km ride to Iloilo.

Between us and Iloilo (where we would catch a ferry to Bacolod) there was a really big range of hills, so we decided to catch a bus to the top of the range (at the Antique/Iloilo boundary) - leaving us with a big roll down a hill and a 75km ride to Iloilo.

Descending the hills towards Miagao - an awesome roll down through jungle and small villages.

Descending the hills towards Miagao - an awesome ride through jungle and small villages.

The valley ay the bottom took us through terraced rice paddies and down to the coast.

The valley at the bottom took us through terraced rice paddies and down to the coast.

Mausoleum and cemetery at San Jaoquin.

Mausoleum and cemetery at San Jaoquin.

A corridor of graves.

A corridor of graves.

Bridge repairs!

Bridge repairs!

While I was taking the photo of the bridge repairs, this guy came up to me and pointed down the road to Hana. 'Your wife?' he asked. 'Ah yep.' I replied. 'How many children?' (I was used to this question by now) 'Um, none yet.' (Look of absolute bewilderment on his face). 'But no children? That is your wife yes? So old ... when will you have children?', 'We'll we're busy seeing the world and having adventures'. (Shakes his head, and smiles).

While I was taking the photo of the bridge repairs, this guy came up to me and pointed down the road to Hana. 'Your wife?' he asked. 'Ah yep.' I replied. 'How many children?' (I was used to this question by now) 'Um, none ... yet.' (Look of absolute bewilderment on his face). 'But no children? That is your wife yes? So old ... when will you have children?', 'Well we're busy seeing the world and having adventures'. (Shakes his head, and smiles).

Keen!

Keen!

The road to Iloilo was smooth and fast, flowing along the coast. We were heads-down and pushing along - not wanting to miss our ferry. It was mostly an uneventful run, except for the unfortunate chicken that ran under Hana's back wheel. It made a strange, stilted squawk as 80-odd kilos went over it.

The road to Iloilo was smooth and fast, flowing along the coast. We were heads-down and pushing along - not wanting to miss our ferry. It was mostly an uneventful run, except for the unfortunate chicken that ran under Hana's back wheel. It made a strange, stilted squawk as 80-odd kilos went over it.

Single cigarettes for sale.

Single cigarettes for sale.

Outskirts of Iloilo, late afternoon

Outskirts of Iloilo, late afternoon.

Abandoned, rusting hulks in the river port. Iloilo. We made the ferry with about 30 minutes to spare and after the confusing process of buying tickets for ourselves and our bikes we were soon on our way to Bacolod - the largest city of our next island.

Abandoned, rusting hulks in the river port. Iloilo. We made the ferry with about 30 minutes to spare and after the confusing process of buying tickets for ourselves and our bikes we were soon on our way to Bacolod - the largest city of our next island.

We arrived in Bacolod early in the evening, found a spot to stay downtown and then got a tricycle to this amazing japanese restaurant in the nice part of town. 'Sleep cheap, eat good' might become our adage.

We arrived in Bacolod early in the evening, found a spot to stay downtown and then got a tricycle to this amazing japanese restaurant in the nice part of town. 'Sleep cheap, eat heaps' might become our adage. I took this while were biking along looking for the right (numerically named) street. Our apparently illiterate tricycle driver had no clue (or couldn't count) - we had to keep telling him to go further.

Day 8: Idio – San Jose

The highway out of Idio was smooth and rolling. With a 120km day ahead of us we hit the road early and stopped for a breakfast of bananas and bread at the first decent shop.

The highway out of Idio was smooth and rolling. With a 120km day ahead of us we hit the road early and stopped for a breakfast of bananas and bread at the first decent shop. In the background horizon you can see the coastline we ride rode the previous day.

Funeral procession - Phillipines style. We got cheered and waved as we rode past this happy bunch. We were surprised how many funerals we saw - but in a country of 90 million people you are bound to see a few!

Funeral procession - Phillipines style. We got cheered and waved as we rode past this happy bunch. We were surprised how many funerals we saw - but in a country of 90 million people you are bound to see a few!

Probably my favourite cycling photo from the trip. Going places on a deserted highway... We crossed a lot of wide river beds and bridges like this. Judging by the size of the river beds and some of the damage we saw the rivers clearly flood the whole valleys during typhoons.

Probably my favourite cycling photo from the trip. Going places on a deserted highway... We crossed a lot of wide river beds and bridges like this. Clearly full on torrents when the river floods during typhoons.

Not sure what this guy was making - part of a boat maybe? He was old as the hills.

Not sure what this guy was making - part of a boat maybe? He was old as the hills.

Laundry out to dry on the road side.

Laundry out to dry on the road side.

Hana)

This bridge was about 500m long and had a few marginal dwellings in the riverbed underneath. These guys had built up a couple of stories, to reach the bridge, and then made a cool entry portal from the bridge into the top of their hut. Like a tree house for big kids. (photo: Hana)

Flood damage from Typhoon Frank - and probably a few others - underneath the bridge.

Flood damage from Typhoon Frank - and probably a few others - underneath the bridge. Yes - that is a truck!

Another clever - but terrifying in a flood - home.

Home Sweet Home - must be terrifying in a flood...

Rolling on down the road - near Patnongan I think.

Rolling on down the road - near Patnongon I think.

We dozens of these beasts, usually wallowing in a nearby river or mudhole, every day.

We saw dozens of these beasts, usually wallowing in a nearby river or mudhole, every day.

Want to watch a cockfight in Patnongan? This is where you go.

Want to watch a cockfight in Patnongan? This is where you go.

Flood damaged road. Quite a few houses had been taken out here - and the termac had been swept off the road in a long strip and deposited 100m downstream.

Flood damaged road. Quite a few houses had been taken out here - and the tarmac had been swept off the road in a long strip and deposited downstream.

We were well stoked to reach San Jose de Buenavista after 122km and six hours in the saddle. Fortunately the money machine was online too so we got cashed up. This photo's taken on the beach just outside our lodgings for the night.

We were well stoked to reach San Jose de Buenavista after 122km and six hours in the saddle. Fortunately the money machine was online too so we got cashed up. This photo is taken on the beach, outside our lodgings for the night.

I wouldn't want to have been in these nipa huts when Typhoon Frank hit town...

I wouldn't want to have been in these nipa huts when Typhoon Frank hit town...

We were pretty hungry campers after our long day in the saddle so we caught a tricycle (this one was notably flash) into town and hit the best restaurant we could find. After three meals between us we went in search of dessert.

We were pretty hungry campers after our long day in the saddle so we caught a tricycle (this one was notably flash) into town and hit the best restaurant we could find. After three meals between us we went in search of dessert.

Chow King delivered the dessert in the form of Halo halo - a funny mixture of ice, fake fruit jelly bits, sweet beans and icecream. Pretty tasty.

Chow King delivered the dessert in the form of Halo halo - a funny mixture of ice, fake fruit jelly bits, sweet beans and icecream. Pretty tasty.


Welcome to VeloTour

This blog's about a three week cycle touring trip in the Philippines in July 2008. Check out the introduction.

I've created the blog to be a day-by-day account, but it's all based around the photos - so don't worry - we won't bore you with loads of text ... just pages of photos instead. Blogs show the most recent post first - so if it's easier, use the menu below to navigate.

All photos © Mark Watson unless credited otherwise.

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