Two dudes, one bike…

September 9, 2008 - Filed under Bikes, Trikes, and Automobiles, Travel

Adjusting to the custom of the country is challenging, sometimes shocking, and always an amusing part of any travel experience. No matter the preconceived notions of what you’ll encounter, the horror stories, or raving reviews of every place along the way… It’s always different in person.

Upon landing in Cebu, we took a cab to the hotel where we’d booked our first night to recover from the flight. The cab, pulling out of the parking lot, cut off a number of motorcycles and proceeded to drive down the middle of the street ignoring all oncoming traffic except for the jeepneys and 4 ton trucks which held even less regard for others sharing the roadway. It appears that the center line is only a suggestion, at best. I understand why the vehicles are adorned with crosses and passages from the bible. I was praying the entire way…

During our boat ride from Cebu to Tagbilaran we were entertained by a DVD playing the first of many rock ballad concerts. Apparently rock stars don’t die, they just go acoustic. I have no idea what grey haired trio was on the first DVD, but during the trip from Tagbilaran to Dumaguete we were serenaded by the Scorpions. Best though, everyone knew the words but me. Singing along is done here without shame and I am amazed at the sheer number of lyrics the people know from obscure 60’s songs to present day. Karaoke country indeed! There’s even a channel on tv where you can SMS text your song requests.

On Panglao, determined to overcome my initial anxiety of driving in the organized chaos, I reserved a motorbike to tour the island. I soon realized that said ‘motorbike’ was an automatic 125cc scooter with 4 gears. No clutch? I struggled through the operations at first before realizing you just twist the gas and stomp the brake, shifting with a foot pedal whenever you feel like it. While standard fare for the locals, I’m sure Kelly was relieved when I let her off the back after telling her, “Riding hard on the brakes? There was no front brake!”

The following day, I rented a Honda XR200 dirt bike while Kelly went diving. I took to the streets and immediately found myself beeping the horn at every other motorcycle, car, chicken, pig, stray dog, and school kid in warning. Soon after, I was surrounded by a number of motorcycles with 2, 3, and even 4 dudes on the same bike, Riding after me and shouting “Kano, Kano!” Short for Americano (the nationality, not the drink), this seems to be a common sentiment with most of the islanders merely wanting to say hello. After an hour of exploring, I pulled into the only gas station on Panglao and attempted to pay 14 pesos instead of 140 for my fuel… not realizing the extra zero painted onto the end of the gas pump’s rotating digits.

Lastly, the halo halo. Thinking dessert a good idea one evening, I ventured to try a local concoction of ice cream, shaved ice, fresh fruit, condensed milk, tapioca, and some kind of bean? While a little odd, I’m not convinced that this is the standard way to serve halo halo. Regardless… I’ve been sitting in bed for the day, on antibiotics, taking on water, chicken soup, and gatorade in small doses. Me and the halo halo do not get along. Guess you’ve gotta earn your wings?

I’m looking forward to the next moment of “Wow, so far from home!”.

Posted by: Shim

6 Comments so far

  1. Bruno Madsen September 9, 2008 6:58 pm

    Dear Shim,

    Well, sitting in bed after no doubt having endured a nasty bout of the runs, you might want to take my hammock/concussion joke a bit more seriously. You’re obviously illness and accident prone! Better stay off those bikes too. In fact to be safe, I suggest that you just sit in your room and WORK, damn you. It’s so much safer. And I don’t have to envy you!

    Anyway, sounds like a good start – you and Kelly have loads of fun.

    Take care,

  2. Lilli September 14, 2008 1:33 am

    watch out you two. when i was in the philippines on any kind of transit, the entire bunch would make the “sign of the cross” and pray they made it safe. yikes!

  3. Kelly September 14, 2008 4:24 am

    Totally know what you mean Lilli! I think it’s also why all of the vehicles have sayings like “in god we trust” written across them!

  4. Dad September 14, 2008 9:50 pm

    Hi Mike & Kelly – Sounds very interesting – keep up this work and I will attempt to do so as well. Hopefully, my emails will start getting longer. Have a good day! I am very impressed with your website – Carol said the only thing missing is music… is that next?

    Love you,


  5. Malia Lattari March 8, 2011 3:22 pm

    Howdy would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re using? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good internet hosting provider at a fair price? Thank you, I appreciate it!

  6. Kelly May 4, 2011 6:44 am

    We’re using Rochen. You can check out their site here:

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