Have you ever spent time in a tropical third world country? My husband and I recently visited my brother who lives in Bayawan on Negros Island in the Philippines. You won’t find this city listed in any tour book. It’s off the beaten path with the closest airport over two hours away in Dumaguete City, the capital of Negros Oriental.
I took copious notes and photographs and plan to use our experiences in a future story. In this blog I’ll share how we got around the city of Bayawan. That was an adventure in itself.
Cars are expensive to operate so you see few on the streets of Bayawan. The common type of transportation choices if you don’t own a motorcycle are riding in pot-pots (pronounced put puts) or tricycles. I’ll describe both. Here is a typical pot-pot looking for passengers.
Believe me when I say that padded narrow seat is designed to fit narrow-hipped Filipinos, not two broad Americano behinds! After several rides my husband and I learned how to wedge in nicely. Admittedly they aren’t comfortable but definitely very cheap. Cost: five Philippine pesos per person anywhere in town. The currency exchange rate is approximately 42 pesos to a U.S. dollar.
Tricycles are motorcycles with semi-enclosed sidecars which can carry up to seven people. It’s a wonder the bike’s gears don’t fail carrying these heavy burdens through town. You load people until there isn’t an inch of space left, and you can side sideways behind the driver too!
Bayawan is basically flat, has no stop signs, many four way intersections and pedestrians do not have the right of way. The ballet of pot-pots, tricycles, motorbikes and cars at intersections is amazing to watch and an unforgettable experience. Pot-pots have small bike horns they squeeze at intersections and when they want to pass or alert someone. Every time we crossed the busier highway riding in a pot-pot I closed my eyes and waited. Why see what you can't avoid? In my next blog I’ll discuss the exotic foods we ate in Bayawan such as buko, jackfruit, dinuguan, sisig, and biko.
What has been your most frightening ground travel experience?