Last week, my wife and I took time off from our work to visit our cousins in the City of Smiles, Bacolod City.
The supposed four-day, three-night vacation almost got derailed by the heavy rain on March 13 that cancelled the flight to Manila; we had to take the bus so we would have enough time to see our three boys in the metropolis before flying to Bacolod Monday afternoon.
That Tuesday (March 15), with retired seamen Bebot Gianan at the wheel, we went to Campuestohan, the popular excursion place about a third up a mountain that featured wave pools and the biggest concrete dinosaurs in Asia.
After that, we passed by The Ruins, the shell of a magnificent building built by a Negros hacendero for his Portuguese wife.
It turned out that the resident tour guide, PBB 737 3rd placer Roger Lucero, was a student at the private college where my cousin Inday worked in 2015.
That cursory visit turned into an unforgettable experience, thanks to the witty and entertaining guide who also took our pictures that we will now treasure as part of our 25th wedding anniversary in June.
One of the factors that makes Bacolod a tourist destination is not only its people and places but the easy access for travelers.
Our Cebu Pacific Airways ticket cost only less than P2,000 per pax one-way on board an Airbus A320.
Compare that that the nearly P8,000 for the Virac-Manila trip, P10,000 if you purchase your seat just before you fly, for a ride aboard a noisy ATR-72 propjet and you get an idea why not so many domestic tourists are lining up for trips to the Happy Island.
For many Catandunganons who are forced, out of necessity, to take the commercial flights, it seems that airline passengers on the Manila-Virac-Manila flights are subsidizing the low fares of those taking the jets elsewhere.
If you have the time, better take the bus. It’s only your butt that will hurt, not your pockets, and you will only lose sleep, not money.
One thing that a passenger notices at the NAIA3 terminal is that so many people are flying these days, that one can hardly hear the flight announcements in the midst of the noise created by hundreds of passengers at the departure area.
The requirement to Traze one’s presence is no longer being followed at NAIA3 and at Bacolod-Silay airport, with the border control only looking at the S-PaSS copy.
Except for the face mask requirements, there are no more restrictions upon entry to business establishments especially restaurants.
Anyone who has read the Philippine Statistics Authority”s special release on death in Catanduanes should take note of the fact that there were 38 fetal deaths here in 2021, for a fetal death ration of 9.8.
While the PSA report did not specify how the neonatal deaths occurred or were caused, the nearly double death ratio is alarming, considering that 43 deaths or 71 percent of the total occurred in the capital town of Virac where most health institutions and clinics are concentrated.
The province’s FDR of 9.8 is almost twice the 2018 national fetal death rate of 5.2, according to the Philippine Health Statistics published by the Department of Health (DOH) in 2019.
Somebody must be doing something wrong.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF MARRIAGE. A gynecologist waits on his last patient, who does not arrive.
After an hour, he makes a gin and tonic to relax. After he settles into an armchair to read the newspaper, he hears the doorbell ring.
It’s the patient, who arrives all embarrassed and apologizes for the delay.
“It doesn’t matter,” answers the doctor. “Look, I was having a gin and tonic while waiting. Do you want one to help you relax?”
“I accept, thanks!” She answers. He gives her a drink, sits down in front of her and they start talking. Suddenly someone is heard opening the entrance office door.
The doctor looks worried, gets up and says: “My wife! Quick, take off your clothes and spread your legs, otherwise she might think there is some nonsense going on!”