Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Camels Crossing - Trip to the Belly of Negros Island

I used to be able to do this breakway look back a lot. Now, my cardio sucks.

I’ve never seen a sign that says “Camels Crossing,” not until that time we pedaled the road between Murcia and La Carlota. I didn’t have the time to take a photo because Ride All the Way, who was on the lead, was pedaling on a solid pace. It wasn’t blistering, but she was relentless.

It was the third day of our bike trip in Negros. But let's go back to day one first.

Bound for Negros Island

We left Cebu on the midday of the 24th of February. We went to Toledo through the Manipis Highway. From Toledo City, we boarded a “fastcraft” bound to San Carlos City. We paid 180 pesos for our fare, plus 50 pesos for each of our bicycles.

We were initially charged with 75 pesos for each bike but I didn’t think it was fair because after we took the tires off our bike, it didn’t really take up much room.

The boat ride was not pleasant at all. I don’t mind a bumpy ride on an outrigger (bangka) because it’s in open air. But being cramped in a dimly-lit space that smelled of sweat, crude oil, and burning rubber is recipe for a vomit spree -- which I somehow managed to contain.



Bacolod via Ecotourism Highway

We arrived in San Carlos City after an hour and a half that seemed like forever. We stayed in San Carlos Guest House, a place with lots of wooden sculpture and vinyl. They also have a two-foot jar filled with 25 cents.

In San Carlos Guest House. These are made from recycled 1.5L soda bottles.

We left for Bacolod via Ecotourism Highway. It was a trip that was supposed to only take four hours but we did it in eight. There were so many reasons to stop.

One of the many stops that delayed our trip. It was a welcomed delay.

My favorite stop was Mowgli’s Cafe -- 53km from Bacolod. It was the first time that I paid 20 pesos for brewed coffee. But the most memorable part of that ride happened somewhere outside the town of Prosperidad.

Mowgli Cafe, 53kms from Bacolod. They serve brewed coffee for 20 pesos.

Ride All the Way had to have her brake fluid refilled and we didn’t have the right size of screwdriver with us and the wrench to bleed the caliper. We were happy to a machine shop somewhere along the road and were able to borrow what we needed.

One of the many bridges we crossed. I was so caught up in the beauty that I didn't bother to list down the places we passed by.

The hydro hose accumulated so much air that bleeding the caliper twice was not enough. That’s when our mechanic hero stepped in and did the job for us. He undid the bolt entirely, and used his thumb to control the bleed at “thumb point” accuracy. And we were immediately back on our merry way.

Before we reached Bacolod City, we stopped by a tattoo shop that serves batchoy. The server’s forearm was inked with Bob Marley’s portait and Tupac Shakur on the other.

Powerup Gym - Bacolod

We didn’t have much to do when we arrived in Bacolod so we dropped by Powerup Gym. We found it by accident while looking for a place to stay at.

Powering up at Powerup Gym.

It was really good to hang out with the Bacolod crowd. They had everything figured out. The live in a chill city. They didn’t have much to offer in terms of natural attractions but their food, culture, and art is there.

The people at the gym are very supportive. And, best of all, they sell soda. I love soda.

Bacolod - Day Two

Going up a dirt track that leads to Murcia, Bacolod.

We stayed in Bacolod for an extra day to meet up with Ride All The Way’s friend. As with all other people from Bacolod, she was really cool. And I learned so much from her husband -- I asked him questions that range from fitness, competition mountain biking, and politics.

“Kung nastre-stress ako, nagba-bike ako. Ngayong hindi na ako stress, hindi na rin ako nagba-bike,” (I bike when I get stressed out. Now that I’m not stressed, I don’t bike) were his words of wisdom. My favorite.

“Kasi itong mga taga-Bacolod, kung anong bago ‘yun ang tinatangkilik nila. D’yan sa Strip noon hindi ka makaupo sa dami nang tao. Ngayon, kahit saan, pwede ka nang umupo.” (Probably not his exact words.) It does reflect how Filipinos choose the places where they hang out.

Warmup Cafe in Bacolod. The best things in life are not free. But you can put them together in one place and that's worth paying for.

The dinner we were treated to was one of the other highlight of our day two in Bacolod. Of course, there was Warm Up - a bicycle service shop that doubles as a coffee shop. Somehow, someone was able to fit two good things that were larger than life - coffee and bikes - in one space.

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