THE KIDS BAND AT NEW YEAR
Every year a children's band will play on New Year at Tom Tom Club and the patrons will donate generously. The kids usually come round just after midnight, all neatly dressed in red with a selection of instruments. So if you are interested in seeing them perform (which is exceptionally good) why not turn up at the bar next New Year's Eve.
GAMBLING AT XMAS
During holidays such as Easter, Xmas and New Year the locals love to gamble (actually they love to gamble all the time whether it is cards, mahjong, lottery or cockfighting). But at this time of year stall holders set up their stall ready to make some easy money.
In the first photo there are 36 colored squares and colored rectangles around the table. There are 36 different colored squares, with 6 squares of each color. Customers place their bets in the colored rectangles and then 3 balls are rolled on the table. The squares have slight indentations on them so eventually the three balls will come to rest on three colored squares. If you have bet on one of the colors you will double your money, but if 2 or 3 balls land on the same color you will triple or quadruple your money.
I calculated that the odds of winning are 50 % or 1:2, so how does the stall holder make a profit. Well, sometimes one ball may not come to rest on the indentations on the square, so in that case the balls are removed and only one ball is rolled in to play which gives the gamblers only an 18.33 % or 1:6 chance of winning.
There is another version where there are only 6 squares and one square with six different colored sides is dropped, and to win at this you must have bet on the color on the top of the square.
There was a similar colored roulette wheel, but i did not catch the odds of the wheel or the previous game that i mentioned.
- Casino and Gambling
ERNST SHOWS US HOW TO EAT A BALUT !! SO TRY ONE
Not too many foreigners are keen to sample the Philippine delicacy, BALUT, but our friend Ernst eats them regularly, so while you are in the country why not try one. In the evening you may be approached by a local carrying a basket offering balut, particularly in places where a lot of people congregate, such as Baywalk. For those of you who do not know a balut is a boiled duck egg with an embryo inside. It is always sold hot and unbroken.
1. Crack a hole in the rounder part of the shell where the hollow spot is. Tap the egg on a hard surface to locate this spot.
2. Peel the shell until the hole is about the size of a bottle top, then suck the broth from the sides.
3. Peel the egg a little more until you can see the duckling inside then sprinkle some seasoning on it, usually rough sea salt or vinegar with chili or diced onions.
4. Now you can bit the top half and the bottom half should contain the duckling
5. After looking at it's little head and webbed feet, you can devour the rest, if you still feel up to it. At the bottom there will be a hard lump of egg white which is tough but edible.
EVERYONE RUSHES TO THE MARKET ON 31st DECEMBER
It appears to me that the locals celebrate New Year much more than Xmas as the market is absolutely crowded and the streets around it are often gridlocked. In the morning the locals rush to the market to buy fruits, pork, hooters, local cakes made from rice , cassava or ube. Prices for some fruit is sky high but consumers will pay this for special occasions. It is a good opportunity for photography.
DECEMBER 1st ----XMAS TREE LIGHTS ARE SWITCHED ON
If you happen to be in town on December 1st get yourself down to Baywalk where half the town turns out to see the Xmas tree lights being switched on. Carol singing by various schools and other groups start around 7pm, followed by the Mayor's Speech before the countdown for the big "switch-on". A 10 minute firework display commences afterwards. The Baywalk was crowded but i would estimate that there were close to 50,000 people there and one could not get near the place by car or motorbike after 6pm. Because of the possibility of people getting drunk beer was not served until 10 pm at all the restaurants.
If you want a good view of the proceedings try eating at Puerto Pension House or Sunlight Guest Hotel which offers great views of Baywalk and the Bay.
Because of rainy weather on the 1st December this year it was delayed until the 2nd December.
ARE YOU IN TOWN FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE ?
Well, if you are , head down to Baywalk where many of the town's residents enjoy the bringing in of the New Year. There will be live bands, plenty to eat and drink from the many food stalls and small restaurants. You may find it quite difficult to find a table because of the crowds. There is a huge Xmas tree which is beautifully lit up, but actually it is a metal contraption which is decorated in green. On the stroke of midnight the fireworks will begin and the revelry will continue until the break of day!
WAS MAD MAX HERE ?
Looking like something out of the Mad Max movies,this contraption is used for catching stray dogs, although i have not seen it in use for quite a while because nowadays the dog catcher uses a pick-up with an enclosure on the back. I am not so sure of the system now but a few years ago the dogs were taken to the dog pound and the owner had 3 days to retrieve them before they were given to the crocodile farm for the crocs to have a snack. I know that they are no longer fed to the crocs as some people complained, so i do not know what happens now. Maybe they are put to sleep. The dog catcher is out on the streets most nights in Puerto Princesa rounding up the strays.
THE BASURERO HAS HIS OWN BIKE
The basurero is the GARBAGE COLLECTOR and in this part of the country many of them have their own bicycle with a contraption attached to the back, which consists of a wooden carrier and two bamboo or metal poles which are attached behind the seat by slotting them in to two larger pipes/tubes. At the top of the poles there is a square frame that an old sack is attached, and then it is filled up with plastic or other useful items that the basurero can collect and sell for recycling.
LIFE OF A BASURERO
Usually the basurero will be at the bottom of the heap, meaning he is from a squatter family, probably has had no education and has no hope of finding a regular job. Unfortunately there are squatters who live near us and we see boys as young as 10 years old cycle by with their sacks full of plastic. Some of them also have a home made wooden cart on two wheels that they will push around the streets. This will be strong enough to carry metal, glass and other heavy objects. They will normally go out at night when it is cooler, and they will scour the streets with their trained eyes for discarded objects that are useless to the previous owners. They will also go through garbage cans searching for metal, plastic, bottles and electronic hardware. This is taken for free and costs nothing, but quite often the ones with the cart will have a small scale and shouts out when he is outside a household if the resident has any plastic etc. In this case he will weigh them and pay a few pesos for each kilo. Of course many households like ours are happy to give our garbage without receiving payment. Every month or so, when the basurero has collected enough recyclable trash he will take it to the main dealer who will pay him and then it is shipped off to Manila in large containers. They usually work in groups and share the proceeds.
Although these people have a hard life they are doing a wonderful job of keeping the streets clean and sorting out junk for recycling. Otherwise the city garbage truck will come along , collect the garbage and offload it in the city dump.
What a welcome!
Never before I have I experience such a welcome from anywhere I have been. I actually had tears in my eyes, as the people waved and danced their hearts out. Even the security guards and taxi drivers got involved.
There was a lot of people dancing a routine to Psy songs like Gangnam Style and Gentleman, and it was funny. Watch my video, it shows the welcome.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Women's Travel
- Adventure Travel
TURO-TURO STALLS--POINT,POINT , a quick bite
You will not walk too far without seeing a turo-turo stall, where there will be many pots containing food that is already cooked. Usually a portion served with rice costs around 40 pesos, and can be served on a plate or carried home in a plastic bag. The food , of course is all Filipino favorites, and the stands can be open as early as 6 am with breakfast items such as fried eggs, longanista sausage and of course rice.
Turo-Turo means point, point!!!
THE BANGKA, SMALL AND LARGE
Wherever you go in the Philippines you will come across bangkas (outriggers) by the sea. Both sides or sometimes just one side of the main hull will have lateral supports, usually made from bamboo. The two supports will help stabalise the boat which will be mainly used for fishing. Outriggers will normally have an engine except for the smaller ones which the locals use paddles and can move at quite a speed, and can cope in rough seas. An experienced boatman will be able to paddle on one side only if he is by himself. Originally outriggers were first used in the south eastern Pacific and were used to reach such places as New Zealand and the Polynesian Islands
Small bangkas can be 2 meters long, but larger ones are up to 20 meters and can go out to sea fishing for up to 3 weeks at a time.
PULANG ITLOG NA MAALAT
In English---salted red eggs!!! The eggs have an intense flavor, salty taste and a grainy yolk and are often eaten with mangoes or tomatoes and vinegar. . This is a local favorite and can be found on sale at most markets.
The duck's eggs are made salty by soaking them in brine and are then painted red to distinguish them from normal eggs!! TRY ONE, THEY ARE DELICIOUS!!!
Local people usually do not use the same vinegar as we use in the West but they produce their own from the sap of the coconut tree. The liquid is collected and strained through a cloth before adding sugar. The mixture is then pasteurized for 20 minutes at 65 degrees celcius before being poured into containers (usually plastic coke bottles). Then it is left to ferment for a week or so. You can actually drink the liquid before it ferments and it is quite delicious but once it starts fermenting you can get a little drunk on it. You will see it on sale at most markets for around 40 pesos for 1.5 liters.
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