Left my big backpack at the My Hotel reception, they promise to keep an eye on it while I am away for couple days, there's a jeepney that takes you to Ecoland bus terminal outside the hotel, the tip coming from the security guard, took maybe 20 minutes to get there. At the main entrance I waited for Maricar, Olan's friend, she is from Gen San and is willing to show me around her town. We agreed to meet up at 12noon but i have waited for over an hour and no sign of her! I told one of the baggage security guys if anyone asks (assuming it would be her) I am already gone. Some touts guided me to the Yellow bus terminal, then as I was about to get in the bus there was a tap on my back, Maricar had been waiting here in the terminal shed for the same amount of time, obviously we misunderstood each other. Anyway we got on and the trip lasted 3 1/2 hours.
We stopped at a restaurant halfway for people to get a snack and use the toilet, i bought some "bibingka" a native cake type thing, and it was
delicious. The scenery from here on is amazing, going up some hills the road winds around some beautiful valleys full of fruit trees, coconut, mangoes, papaya among others it's very lush indeed. There are 2 bus terminals in Gen San, the old and the new, we got off at the old station and took a trike, 1st to drop off Maricar to the waiting shed on Pioneer ave. where I will take the same jeep tomorrow to meet her up for the wharf. Then I gave the driver the full address of sea Lodge hotel, we got there but it does not exist, the driver asked me how old is my guidebook, It's the LP Philippines 2003 edition! he said he thinks it was one of the buildings that burned down years ago! so scrap that, he took me to Vince Pension House, a bit expensive 300 pesos for an ugly room with fan and toilet but it's clean, is all that is important to me.
Had a walk around town, i am surprised they don't have much posters of their hometown hero Manny Pacquiao plastered everywhere, like in northern Luzon, I saw only one or two. The city
is small and they have this nice park next to the municipal hall where people chill to beat the day heat, I walked all the way down to the beachfront and discovered a simple beach area called Queen Tuna Park, a black sand beach, not very tidy but good enough for the locals to cool off, a bunch of kids skimboarding as the sun is setting that makes for some good foto op for me. I was looking for a seafood grill restaurant but did not succeed, ths place is the tuna capital of the Philippines, yellow fin is the big celebrity here after Pacquiao.
I found a grill restaurant in a nook and had a load of things to eat all bbq, and a litre of San Miguel just for me. When I was full and a little bit tipsy i went back to the hotel. it was a bit noisy, there is a karaoke bar somewhere howling horrible music, so have to put on my mp3.
5am got up and got ready to leave, went to the waiting shed as Maricar instructed me, no jeeps yet though and so i hired a motorbike to take me to
the Soledad Village waiting shed, took 15 minutes then when I got there took another 10 for Maricar to show up. There we waited for her uncle to pass by on their way to the Makar wharf so we can get a lift. 15 minutes later a red suv pulled over and off we go. At the Makar wharf we pulled over where the action is going, huge tuna fish being hauled in from the boats, next to where we got drop off, tunas are being weighed in this scale and I wasted no time taking fotos, it's so amusing to me, all the commotion going on, people lifting this heavy fishies, scrambling as if running out of time, I walked around to take more fotos and observe as people work, some tuna are being processed on the spot, heads and tails cut off, cleaning the fish taking out all blood, guts, etc. preparing to pack for export. I saw a really beautiful fish sat in a tray, I asked one guy what it's called he said "Diana", red and bulgy it quite an attractive catch! Went out further to where the boats are coming and observed how they take
the tuna out from there to the processing area.
When I met up again with Maricar she took me to this restaurant to get some sushi, they indeed have fresh cuts of tuna but no wasabi! they ran out, such is my luck really! It was so cheap, one kilo for 300 pesos only!annoyed we left and looked somewhere else, we found this eateries inside a building and we had good Pinoy food, very cheap and tasty but no tuna. We came back to the tuna processing area and took more fotos, I walked around away from Maricar and as i took one shot I heard someone behind me asking if I have permission to take fotos, what the hell are you talking about I thought to myself, the guard told me you need a special permit to be allowed to take fotos inside the facility, I told him I am with people who works here, he came with me and Maricar have to apologize on my behalf. I don't understand what is the big deal about fotos, this place is not top secret and surely not a security risk it's just a hauling place for tunas, I think
the local government is over reacting really. Anyway I had a great time anyway and we left the port happy and satisfied, at least I was. I said bye to Maricar and her Uncle and I took a motorbike back to town, took my belongings from the hotel and same dude dropped me off at the bus station for Marbel, a town an hour away from here.
P.S. Been wanting to meet Manny Pacquiao who hails from here but apparently he is running for the Congressman seat of another province called Saranggani, he lost here in his hometown last election, wanted to come by and see his mansion too but no time for that either, am sure will see lots of him anyway all over Mindanao, life size posters that is.
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