Saturday, 31 March 2012

Discovering the Fish Farms

First morning walk about started at the Marine Police HQ

where the inspection went very well.

Next, a wander along the beach to the south where the local Sea Fishermen were just landing the catch,

and securing their boats.

A modest haul I was told but among about 20 kilos of fish there
was this whopper, which I for one wouldn't have minded on a line or better still in the pan,

weighing in at 7 and a half Kgs.

Further along a construction gang were hard at it continuing building sea defences.

Like most I have seen many of these 'joggled concrete block' defences, but for the first time seen the mould. In UK for instance the blocks would be made in factory or yard but here the lads were wiring the sections together ready for the next fill.

A little more desolate this side it was thought best to alter course to the north,

where nets were drying in the sun,

and where the Fish Farms were situated.

Some complete with their own stand of Palm Trees,

with even a few bearing Dates.

I have always been fascinated by anything to do with fish, so this area, apart from the likelihood of a few birds, was going to be of particular interest.

Particularly the Bamboo Punts skilfully propelled by the fishermen.

Looking across the terrain, the mountains beyond looked interesting as well but a little too far I fancy.

The birds were there alright, starting with a few Little Egrets already looking like roosting, but nothing new to add to the list.

Little Egret

Great White Egret (which wasn't expecting my visit)

plus a decent size flock of small Waders.

When landed, alongside another considerable number, they proved to be

Kentish Plover

and worthy of a 'count' which was over 200. Hands up all those who would like to see 200 Kentish Plover at Ferry Bridge, or even better a

Pacific Golden Plover

these 2 being part of a group of 15. In addition there were 3 Greenshank (only Common unfortunately), a single Green Sandpiper, what looked to be about 50 Black-winged Stilt in flight and very distant (I didn't catch up with these despite a search) plus a lone Grey Plover in flight.

This local man seemed oblivious of all of this

as he laid his traps, but next to be seen what was for me 'bird of the day'.

I don't remember ever seeing such a beautifully marked

Little Ringed Plover
I hope the reader enjoys it as much as I did!

Again time to watch the sun sink behind the waves and the Sand Crabs digging their own burrows. This is a special place indeed which I will not be wanting to leave.

Friday, 30 March 2012

A Beef-Eater in Vigan

Busy Street Scene dominated by the Tri-cycle Tuk-Tuk

Another transit day as I endeavour to get a little further north, this time to the town of Vigan. Welcome days as they are usually relaxing while giving a chance to view Philippines life as you pass by, so here follow a few pictures along the 3 hour journey.

It wasn't until we had driven past the 'pink ones' that it dawned on me that each town has its own colour taxis - Green for Santiago.

A few miles south of Candon my new mates bordered the bus on their way to the Festival there.

'Fifth Grade' school students who were all (except for the boy who remained aloof) were full of life and fun and described their schooling as the best thing they had.

During that all to short part of the journey, there were endless questions about England and myself particularly those which seem most important throughout, how old are you? and why no companion. I would have thought it obvious that the answer to the first is 26, while my stock answer to the latter is "no companion, no arguments" which so far has brought laughter to all. I promised these young ladies, when they asked me not to forget them, that these photos would go out to the world. My 'rider' to the images is, if these young people are an example of Filipino Youth then the future of the country is in Very Good Hands. Bless you all and thank you for your company!

Maroon in Candon.

The Cathedral, Candon.

More estuaries were starting to appear the further north we got, but not a lot of birds.

Yellow for Burgos.

The Peanut Lady boards the bus, and 'what lovely peanuts'!

March is the beginning of Summer in the Philippines, the end of the school year and time to head for the beach.

All along the way, especially outside of private houses, there was also the chance to enjoy Halo, Halo delicious mixed fruits, concocted in a multitude of ways, and synonymous with the season.

Some lovely suburban houses, if you're into that sort of thing.

On arrival, the bus stopped directly outside of the Fire Station where I was met by the Officer of the Watch. Telling him of my mission, he made a few suggestions saying there was little point staying in the town. He summoned a Tuk Tuk, agreed a price and set me on my way.

On the way, the bike needed 'bunkering' so stopping at the first petrol station the driver did just that. Not the most exciting reading this week you may say, but take a closer look for something unusual.

Not even during my travels in Colombia and Venezuela have I seen a Petrol Pump Attendant 'fully tooled up'. Pistol on his right hip and a belt full of ammo! It was interesting to note that a nearby sign read, "Please Switch Off Your Mobile Phone".

Playa de Oro
Named from the Gold Dust that was first sifted from the sands here by the Spanish Conquistadors, which then continued for centuries afterward.

The moment I spied this place just one thing sprung to mind.

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair, warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air.
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light my head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night.

So I called up the Captain, "Please bring me my wine".
He said, "We haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine".
And still those voices are calling from far away, wake you up in the middle of the night
just to hear them say...
Welcome to the Hotel California , such a lovely place (such a lovely place) such a lovely face.
The're livin' it up at the Hotel California what a nice surprise bring your alibis.

Structure and views from my new Temporary Home, but feel a longer stay than intended coming on already!
There was time for a wander along the deserted beach, and with

The Sun rapidly sinking

below the horizon of the South China Sea

it was time to sit on the equally 'human free' sea-wall armed with a San Miguel and take in the aura.

The Planets unfortunately don't seem to be showing in this shot, but from here there are fantastic views of Venus above the New Moon and Jupiter below. With a stage set even The Floyd couldn't conjure up what better way to end the day, i-Pod in place, the Marshalls plugged in,

Air Stratocaster in hand I wandered through Stairway to Heaven (appropriate) & Rock 'n' Roll both Zeppelin plus Hearts of Lothian and Clutching At Straws both Marillion, singing at the top of my voice. The 2 passers-bye must have thought "the lunatic is on the grass" but no matter, I hadn't felt quite like this since Hostel Colombia, Puerto Lopez, Ecuador in 2010 where I almost went to live. So I said to the Captain, "please bring me my wine" - hic"!