I had planned to get an early start on the first day of my tour, but I awoke to the sound of thunder and a heavy downpour, so I went back to sleep. I woke Mom up around 8. It was a good thing because she hadn't heard that the Plourds, an American missionary couple, were to pick her up at 9 for a car trip into the countryside. Uncle Dave showed up a bit after 8 and we three had breakfast at the hotel. I had 5 pancakes and most of a large bottle of water. Stoking up for the tour.
By then the rain had stopped, so I prepared to go. But by the time I was ready, it was coming down in buckets again. So I donned the rain cape, spats and helmet cover. By the time I got all that stuff out of the panniers and attached to my body, the rain was starting to let up again. Within a couple of miles the cape and helmet cover came off. I kept the spats on for awhile to protect my shoes and legs from mud thrown up by the front tire. I had fenders but no mudflaps.
Filipinos are incredibly friendly! Almost immediately people started
calling "Hey Joe!" as I went by. If I had a peso for every "Hey Joe"
or "Hi Joe" I heard today, I could pay for the trip! It was almost
constant all day long. People on the street and in passing jeepneys
would smile and/or wave. "Where are you going?" "Hello friend!" and
just "Hello!" were less common greetings.
When I stopped on a street corner to apply sunscreen a young Filipino boy watched in fascination. He had kind of a "Yuck!" expression on his face. I doubt he understood why the big white-skinned foreigner was smearing that greasy gunk all over his face and body.
Before long I was out in the countryside. It turns out the Plourds
were taking Mom in the same direction, and they passed me in their
van not long after. As I rode along, whenever I saw a
cleaner-than-normal-looking roadside store I stopped to get a Coke.
The going rate seems to be 6 pesos (13 cents) a bottle. (You rarely
find it in cans.) Pepsi is only 5 pesos. Coke must have a better
ad campaign here.
I arrived in Miagao, home of the famous national landmark church,
around noon. I was hoping Mom and the Plourds might still be there,
but no such luck. I bought a gallon of water and some sweet rolls in a
"supermarket." The only place to eat I could see was a fast food
restaurant. (I know it was fast food, because the sign said "Fast
Food".) Not much to choose from -- several pans of pre-cooked food
that looked like it had been sitting there for quite awhile. I finally
bought a piece of fried chicken and a pastry. I probably should have
eaten in Guimbal, the previous town. It seemed to have more of a
I spoke for some time with a friendly policeman in Miagao. He recommended a place to stay in San Joaquin. But 35-40 miles seemed an awfully short day, so I decided to press on to Anini-y on the coastal road at the southwest tip of Panay. There are supposed to be homestay places there.
But I missed the turn for the coastal road and continued on the main
road toward San Jose. Over the mountain pass! The ride had been flat
up to that point. The long steep climb near the end of the hot, humid
day about did me in. With my late start I didn't get into San Jose
until about a half hour before sundown. I stopped at a gas station to
ask directions to the hotel listed in my guidebook, Annavic Plaza
They had never heard of it, but one fellow was kind enough to give me a ride in his pickup truck to the "Binirayan Cottages" on a dirt road a couple miles from the center of town. They did have one of the four units available, and the room is very nice. But I worried about finding my way into town to a restaurant in the dark. The fellow with the pickup truck drove me to town and back so I would know the way.
That was extraordinarily kind of him, but by the time I showered and
changed and called Mom on the cell phone, it was pitch dark and Mr.
"Directionally Challenged" couldn't find his way on the bike. So
dinner consisted of sweet rolls and water. With my small lunch
earlier, I may be in trouble tomorrow. I do get a free breakfast with
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