Philippine holiday (part 7)
Our visit to Malabuyoc (15-17 August 2005)
Sunday, 15th August 2005. We drove to Malabuyoc (where Ivy was born and lived for the first 15 1/2 years of her life). Malabuyoc is on the south-west coast of Cebu, about 3 hours drive from Cebu for a seasoned Philippine driver. But four and a half for David, who went very slowly for fear of dogs, children, tricycles etcetera popping out at him unexpectedly. The more leisurely pace was also helpful in enjoying the views. From Cebu, the best way to Malabuyoc involves crossing the spine of hills which runs along the island, some of which are lucky enough to retain some of the original natural vegetation. There are several lovely views out to sea, as well as unusual (to Western eyes) sights like the large fish ponds where Bangus (Milkfish) are farmed.
We had lunch at Kawasan Falls, an attractive waterfall at Matutinao, about an hour from Malabuyoc. The water is very clear and excellent for swimming. Serious efforts are being made to conserve the wildlife and natural forest in the area, which should help attract the right sort of visitors. The falls themselves are a three tiered cascade, falling through lovely scenery. A combination of Charles and our desire to get to Malabuyoc prevented us going all the way up to the source. But there was noticeably more wildlife about than in many other places, although most of it was very hard to spot among the dense forest canopy. As in all tropical forest, you hear far more than you see!
Malabuyoc is a small, quiet, peaceful village on the coast overlooking the island of Negros. It is about 125Km south-west of Cebu City. Allegedly, the name is derived from the weight of fruit on the branches of the trees, which caused them to bend down under the weight (`buyoc' in the Visayan dialect). The population is about 17,000. Most people earn their living by fishing and farming; the hillsides are covered in plantations, chiefly coconut and banana, with various other crops besides. There is one decent hotel for tourists, Kawayan Marine, from where a variety of activities like dolphin watching, swimming and diving can be arranged. Fortunately, the abominable practices of dynamite and cyanide fishing, never popular here, seem to have been eradicated, and a decent amount of coral remains off the coast. At present it is reasonably clean and unpolluted - dramatically so when compared with the larger towns and cities, which are universally atrocious. David (very foolishly) drank the water with no real ill effects. But of course for us the chief attraction was to visit Ivy's family.
Our first stop was at Ivy's aunt's house ...
In the evening, we were invited to dinner by two families. First, the Dela Pena family, then the Carcedo family.
At the dela Pena's residence, Ivy met her two of her elementary teachers: Mrs. Florencia dela Pena & Mrs. Nila Alosada
At the Carcedo & Lirazan residences ....
AFTER TWO SUPPERS WE PROCEEDED TO THE CENTRE OF MONTANEZA, A DISTRICT OF MALABUYOC WHICH WAS HOLDING ITS PATRONAL FIESTA AT THE TIME. WE WENT TO THE CHAPEL OF THE PATRON SAINT (SAN ROQUE) FIRST TO SAY A FEW PRAYERS. THERE WAS A CORONATION OF THE QUEEN OF MONTANEZA, A PRESENTATION OF TROPHIES FOR THE WINNER OF BASKETBALL AND DISCO.
THE RECEIVING OF THE TROPHY AND CORONATION
The Basketball trophy was won by Buntol, where most of the players were Ivy's cousins to varying degrees of distance!
(Philippa was eventually induced onto the dance floor briefly, before the clicking of camera shutters had the opposite effect from that intended! David, equipped with three left feet for dancing purposes, was caught embarrassingly as well!)