Friday, March 23, 2012

Sugarcane Farms of Negros Island

I was born, grew up, studied up to high school, in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental. My parents and two siblings are still living there. Cadiz is on the northern most part of Negros Island, which is composed of two provinces, Negros Occidental, predominantly Ilongo speaking and the capital is Bacolod City, and Negros Oriental, Cebuano speaking and the capital is Dumaguete City.

My province is known for huge sugarcane plantations. As far as the eyes can see, one can see sugar plantation from the seaside to the foot -- sometimes up to 1/3 -- of mountains. Our house, like most houses in the province, is just beside a sugarcane farm. When we were young, if we needed to munch sugarcane, we just enter any part of a farm and get any type, any size, of a sugarcane. Or we would hunt spiders there. Life was cool.

Below is the new Silay-Bacolod airport. Silay is actually two cities away from Bacolod and the airport is built on a previously sugarcane farm. So when you land at, or take off from the airport, one will see wide sugarcane plots around it. Mt. Silay can also be seen from the airport terminal.

More photos of sugarcane farms below. At harvest time, when the soil is soft and muddy and the trucks cannot go in the middle of the farm, carabaos (water buffalo) would haul the sugarcane to a nearby road where the trucks are waiting.

Trucks that carry the sugarcane to a sugar milling company are usually large. While the most common trucks are still six-wheelers, many trucks now have 10 or 18 wheels. So one can imagine the heavy burden on public roads.

When the farms are prepared for another cycle of planting. Tractors are used to till the soil. Soil erosion is heavy in sugarcane farms because the soil is tilled yearly, and those tractors plow about 1 foot high of soil.

I'm not in the mood to inject numbers and statistics about the sugarcane economy, I just showed photos here. It's deja vu for me whenever I come home to visit my old and sickly parents. I like to sit in front of a car or a bus whenever I travel from Bacolod to Cadiz and back. The sight of those wide sugar plantations, something I cannot see anywhere in the Philippines, or in many other Asian cities or American cities that I have visited so far.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Filipino Shop Signs

A good background story here will be Pinoy Jokes, Part 4There is a long list of funny Filipino store signs there. Here, some of those shop signs have real photos. All photos I got from the web, not one of which came from my camera.

We repiar any electrect pan...

This shoe repair shop was once very famous in facebook... and those barber shops :-)

Famous chicken house spoofed, or Middle Earth chicken food shop :-)

Storebucks, Carbucks, Fishballbucks...

Foot long (burger) becomes Put long... the famous Dollibee, and a bake shop by Bread Pitt...

Finally, Boracay in Porac, Pampanga... Cantu... what? The famous Taal Lake....

Happy weekend.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Rocks and the Rock Climbers

I was an avid mountaineer from 1993 to 95, I belonged to the Congress Mountaineers at the House of Representatives where I used to work before. We climbed so many mountains, including the two highest mountains in the Philippines, namely Mt. Apo in Davao and Mt. Pulag in Benguet.

I was preparing to invest in rock climbing already in 1995, had my gears ready, then the house where I stayed got burned, I lost everything except my road bike, the fire occurred at midnight while we were sleeping. I rode my bicycle to seek help from some the village security because the fire was already big. When I came back, I could no longer enter the house. I have to forego rock climbing and used my savings to buy new stuff again.

Below are some photos I got from the web, well from facebook photos, I just mixed them in one frame to save space. Wonderful photos of rock climbers, and a few funny photos :-)

Really tall rocks, some climbing without ropes, the extremist and most skilled climbers... then a climber with no clothes. His lover's husband has surprisingly arrived, hahaha.

More hard core climbers... and a cat :-)

Climb hard... and party hard, hanging under a tree branch or a rock. Life is cool.

Hey honey, pass on the baby! .... and an aspiring rock climber turtle...

When birds think that a rock climber carries lots of food, or they simply make fun of him, or he could have accidentally went to those birds' rock nest? Goats are great rock climbers too.

Party-party-party! Alcohol and laughter high up in the air.

Happy weekend.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Bavarian Mountain, Germany

My German friend who hosted me in his place in Miesbach, Germany, Christian Beil, brought me to a mountain, I forgot its name, but it's not far from his place, also in Bavaria. My legs were so rusted, I have not climbed a mountain for several years before that, I nearly gave up on our way up but I was ashamed to tell Christian that I wanted to go back.

Some of the steep portion of our climb. Fallen trees, most likely due to old age. A mountain house or cottage, upper right.

The house or cottage not far from the summit. Or perhaps it's a backpackers' hotel during summer. Lower right, the other side of the mountain, opposite Munich side.

Ahhh, the summit! I thanked Christian profusely for pushing me then because he already noticed that I was having a hard time walking further. Behind me is a lake and further behind that is Munich city.

More views below the mountain.

On our way back to Miesbach.

I think it was the last mountain that I have climbed since then. Up to now, I haven't climbed a mountain yet, whereas in 1993-95, I used to climb a mountain once every two months on average, I think.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Austria Highway

My photos in my computer could be gathering "rust" now, have to publish them as I may not be able to visit these places again....

After my seminar in Gummersbach, Germany in late October 2008, I visited again my German friend, Christian Beil, and his family (wife Astrid, a Filipina, and their two young sons) in Miesbach, Bavaria, southern Germany, 1st week of November 2008. Christian picked me up at the Munich central train station then brought me to his place, about an hour by car.

It was a nice trip. From Miesbach, me and my co-participants to the seminar were brought to Cologne. Some took the plane out, I took the train. Cologne to Mannheim. It was the regular train that was fast. Then I transferred train for the Mannheim-Munich, this time, the ICE train, and it was running very fast! Should be at 200 to 300 kph on a straight path.

Miesbach is not far from Austrian border. Christian brought me to Austria twice during my 4 days stay in their house. First in Salzburg, famous for the background scene in the movie "Sound of Music", then in a glacier. Below are my photos of the highways between Germany and Austria.

I was fascinated by their fantastic road infrastructure, well in almost all parts of Europe I guess, and other developed countries. Huge trucks and many cars would be whizzing by 24 hours a day on those highways crisscrossing many European countries. Here, the scenes are more mountainous, should be on our way to the glacier.

The white tops of the mountain are not snow, not yet.  These were rocky mountains, no vegetation.

Lots of mountains to see on our way to the glacier.

I am really lucky to have friends like Christian who went out of their way to host and tour me. Heck, he filed for leave in his work, he's a lawyer, just to show me around.