The flight from Manila to Bacolod had a few quirks. Although sleepy from having to wake up at 5AM, I was perked up by an inflight bring-me game, or in our case a raise-your-hand-if-you-have-the-object-game. It was my first time to encounter something like that during a flight.
The flight took barely an hour. I arrived in Bacolod at around 10AM but didn’t go to Silay until about 4:30PM. The few hours before that were spent traversing through Bacolod’s sprawling Central Market, browsing the scrap metal/coin galleries in the hopes of finding something rare for my numismatic collection. I left empty-handed, though it was interesting to see the sort of coins they had for sale.
I managed to catch a jeepney from Bacolod going to Silay and it cost me just 12 pesos (around 30 US Cents). The 20 minute trip was stretched to 45 minutes since the driver was still waiting for more passengers. It was interesting to see how the tout would go about getting more people to ride. The skill is akin to any salesman’s ability to convince his prospects to buy his wares. We would stop in just about every populated corner and the toutwould spend around 5 minutes going through the sidewalk telling each and every passer-by where his jeepney was going while pointing towards our direction. The tout does this until the jeepney is filled like a pack of sardines. It was also interesting to find out just how many people they can fit inside the jeep. Basically the rule of thumb is that the jeep only gets filled when it gets to the point that passengers inside can’t move anymore. On the way to Silay, there would be around a dozen stops and the tout would announce them all for our convenience.
And so I arrived in Silay – once the home of affluent sugar barons – a good hour before sunset so the lighting was still pleasant for picture-taking. I walked around the main square and found this “city” really slow-paced. Although there were an abundance of students and teachers in the sidewalks, and tricycles roaring the streets, Silay somehow seemed bare and trapped somewhere back in time. I saw no sparkle of ambition in the eyes of the city folk who swayed and talked in sync to the slow beat of this town. It felt very relaxing. But I think I’d go crazy if I were to live here.
The colonial buildings are of course, what I came to see. Most of them are aging and in dire need of a fresh coat of paint though there are a few which are still quite attractive and pleasing to the eyes. Some of the old mansions have been converted to museums and visitors can actually see how people lived back then at the turn of the 20th century.
Before going back to Bacolod, I stopped by this cafe called El Ideal which is supposedly over a hundred years old. While that may be the case, I am glad that I won’t be able to say the same about their pastries. I decided to go for something called “guapple.” It’s actually guava filling coated inside a pie that is styled similar to apple pie – complete with cinnamon and all that.
As the sun was already setting and there wasn’t much left to do, I boarded the jeep bound for Bacolod and paid the tout 12 pesos. At least on my trip back, it didn’t take him a lot of effort to fill up our jeepney.
probably the main shopping center in this sleepy city