Bacolod City Shopping Spree Gets Off to Shaky Start

My asawa is observing a birthday soon. To celebrate, we planned to visit the “City of Smiles,”Bacolod, but our shopping spree in Bacolod City gets off to a shaky start as I feared we would not even make it on time to the Super Cat Ferry in Iloilo that would whisk us to our destination. My spouse and I have been married for almost 15 years and despite nine years of that marriage spent in the United States, my Fililpina wife still embraces “Filipino Time” on more occasions than I care to recall.

2GO ferry in Iloilo

 

 

 

The first Super Cat from Iloilo City to Bacolod City leaves at 7:30 am. A couple of times the night before we left on our shopping expedition, I stressed to my spouse that we needed to leave at 5:45 am from our home at “The Farm” in Guimaras if we wanted to make the first trip. The second ferry to Bacolod would not leave until 10:30 am, three hours later.

We didn’t leave until 6:05 am the next morning, 20 minutes later than I had hoped we would depart. After catching a tricycle ride with Mario at our subdivision’s trike stand, we made it to the jeepney stop that would take us to Jordan Wharf where we would catch a banca boat to Ortiz Dock in Iloilo City. We then needed to travel by trike to the 2Go ticket office to purchase our tickets.

I had wanted to buy our tickets in advance the day before since we were already in Iloilo buying our monthly supply of groceries at the SM Hypermarket but changed my mind, since I was confident we would make it to the ferry dock early enough to buy our tickets the next day. At this point, it looked like I should have gone with my earlier plan.

We arrived at Ortiz Dock at 7:05 which only gave us 25 minutes to reach the ticket office and board the ferry. While you might think that the Super Cat might also be observing “Filipino Time” the Super Cat we took in April to Bacolod began boarding at 7:35 am, only five minutes late.

 

Ortiz Dock, getting off the pump boat

Ortiz Dock in Iloilo City

 

We hopped on a trike and instructed our driver to take us to the 2Go Super Cat Ferry office. About five minutes later the driver pulled up to where the office had been located.

“It moved!” our driver announced, “where do you want me to go?”

“I want you to go to the ticket office!” I exclaimed, stress level rising and knowing that if we had left earlier, as I had planned, my blood pressure wouldn’t be spiking now.

So the driver pulled up to the 2Go office, at least where the outlet used to be located, and a gentleman on the now empty lot pointed off in the distance indicating the Super Cat’s new location. We took off, time running out.

We finally arrived at the new passenger terminal building at 7:20 am and saw a long line at the 2Go ticket office. We manged to buy our tickets at around 7:35 and rushed inside where security quickly checked our bag. We started to go outside but noticed a large contingent of people seated inside. The ferry was late. It was delayed from Bacolod City and wouldn’t arrive until 8:00 am.

I plunked my butt down and noticed the banner I’ve posted below.

 

new ferry terminal open in iloilo city

 

In the back of my pea-sized brain I recalled reading something about a new ferry terminal from Iloilo City to Guimaras. The new facility had opened the day after the inauguration blessing, this very day that we had chosen to go to Bacolod. That explained why our tricycle driver was confused along with his passengers.

 

Ocean jet ferry in Iloilo

 

A new outfit, Ocean Jet, was already boarding passengers at 7:30 am, but when I checked their prices online later, they were charging a flat 500 pesos for all passenger classes. I decided to take a chance on the Economy Class on the way to Bacolod City for 280 pesos each but regretted that decision later as it was quite warm and humid on our hour long trip. For 350 pesos we could have gone in the air con Tourist Class and if we had purchased a round trip ticket, for P610, we could have ridden in air con comfort for only P310 each.

 

windy day at the ferry terminal in iloilo

 

It was quite a windy day, as evidenced by the passengers from Bacolod leaving the Ocean Jet ferry. My wife informed me that it would not be wise to travel in February or March because the winds during that time of year would make ferry travel even more difficult. She can swim and I can’t so I think I will follow her advice especially with the dismal accident record of ferry accidents in the Philippines which have cost thousands of peoples their lives.

 

my asawa boarding the supercat ferry to bacolod

 

But we finally boarded the Super Cat around 8:00 and my asawa wanted me to take her picture as she stepped onto the ramp, signifying the beginning of our shopping expedition to Bacolod City. That’s her again in the next photo relaxing in the blue plastic chairs the economy class offered. She was comfortable and if we had gotten window seats, I might have been able to pick up a breeze as it was quite windy that day.

 

my asawa sitting in the economy section of the supercat ferry

 

Some passengers were enjoying a movie but with the glare bouncing off the set, I couldn’t watch it even if I wanted. It was a movie from the Lord of the Rings trilogy but which episode, I couldn’t figure out and really didn’t care. I amused myself by looking out the window and looking for any good photo opportunities. But cloudy skies and occasional rain didn’t provide me with a decent light for a good shot, so I waited for our arrival in Bacolod City where we would take a taxi downtown to visit the Check Inn Pension House which was recommended by one of my faithful readers, Pantera. 

 

riding economy class in the supercat ferry to bacolod

 

Our Bacolod City shopping spree gets off to a shaky start but we were finally on our way. It would be a three day visit to the “City of Smiles”where we encountered older workers employed at major retail outlets, a novelty in the Philippines where age discrimination runs rampant; shopping meccas like Bacolod SM City, a duo of teen thugs that were casing “The Kano” and a scammer that approached my wife looking for,what else, money to help out a sick relative in the hospital. More on our adventures in Bacolod City coming up.

6 comments

  1. Dave,
    It looks like your ferry is a lot newer than the one in the ferry accident off of Leyte. You would think with all the accidents the government would clamp down on the ferry companies. But with the way things are here, its not surprising that they continue.

    1. The ferries I’ve noticed at Iloilo do seem to be in pretty good shape, Papa Duck.
      Yeah, the government makes a ruckus for a few days and investigates the ferry companies just like they do bus companies involved in fatal accidents but the accidents continue to happen.

  2. Hello Dave, just finished reading last week your blogs from 2009 to 2011 and always enjoyed it,hoped you and maam melinda have enjoyed your stay there.It seems that you handled it very well regarding the scams,the thug teens etc.., felt bad about those things happening on our country,sorry for that.cant wait for your next blogs..Take care sir.

    1. Thanks for checking out those older stories, Pantera. I sincerely appreciate it.

      No need to apologize for the scammers and thugs we have encountered since our retirement here over five years ago; there’s plenty of those back in the States and most of them are politicians. 😉

      Well, I don’t know how well I handle the situations but I can guarantee you the voice of reason, my asawa, is always at my side calming me down when necessary.

  3. You are really starting to do a lot more things it sounds, Dave.

    I would think, that with all the talented concrete construction people they have there, someone would maybe think of replacing the “stairs” there at Ortiz dock, and maybe even install a handrail on just one side even, but I guess as long as something still resembles a step, that wont happen, kinda like the Roman ruins.

    I was wandering Dave, how fast did your ferry go?
    We took the same kind of ferry from Cebu to Bohol a couple years ago. Since Bohol looked to be quite close, when standing on the Cebu side, I figured that with the distance and riding something with the word JETcat in it, we would be to Bohol in just a matter of minutes,,,I was once again wrong on that.We left Cebu and was going along at what seemed to be the speed I could row a row-boat for about 45 minutes, then finally the RPM’s came up and I figured OK, lets see how fast as JETcat can go, but my excitement was extremely brief once I saw we were only going now about as fast now as a boat with an souped-up electric trolling motor. Far off to the side, out of our wake, I saw a small one-man fishing boat pass us once, even. Maybe there is a speed limit or something was all I could figure, as to why we went so SLOW the whole time, but my first jetCAT experience was much more CAT than jet, but at least it didnt sink, so all was well.

    1. Yep, you’re right, Bill S, we are doing a lot more things and we have a trip to Palawan planned for this Christmas. We’ve been waiting five years for the chance to travel around the Philippines and since my asawa has a brother in Palawan along with a slew of nieces and nephews, I thought Palawan, with the Underground River and beaches, would be a good place to check out.

      The stairs at Ortiz are in atrocious shape and I ALWAYS have to have the pump boat crew help me. The stairs at the alternate dock when the weather is bad, Parola, are even worse. Thankfully, the Jordan Wharf we use in Guimaras was renovated several years ago and the steps to the boats are in great shape and big enough for my large kano feet.

      It took our ferry one hour to go 23 nautical miles, Bill, and on the way home it took 90 minutes. I’ve talked to expats who have taken the same SuperCat from Iloilo City to Bacolod City and made it in 45 minutes. Quite windy on the way over but the waters were calm on the way back so I don’t know why it took longer to return.

      Jet? I spoke to an Aussie friend yesterday who took the same SuperCat we did. The OceanJet left before the SuperCat. As the SuperCat pulled up to the dock in Bacolod, the OceanJet was seen still off in the distance.

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