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Fri. May 14th, 2021

Shopping at home online vs. going out to the city

Excursions to nearby Iloilo City via motorized wooden-hulled banca boats ended January 1, 2021. MARINA, the Maritime arm of the Philippine Department of Transportation, banned the banca boats, pump boats. The ban, announced years in advance, was part of a modernization program to replace the wooden-hulled vessels. October 2015 saw the loss of nine souls in the tragic capsizing of the Tawash on the Iloilo Strait. Furthermore, the August 3, 2019 catastrophe on the Iloilo Strait resulted in 31 people losing their lives during high winds and stormy seas. 

Wait Time at Guimaras Iloilo City Docks

Because of the misfortunes, the modernization program replaced the 60 wooden-hulled boats with fiberglass and steel-hulled boats. Guimaras has two main ports. There’s one in Jordan and another in Buenavista.

We use the Jordan Wharf, about 20 minutes or so from our home in Guimaras. In contrast to the 60 boats that used to operate, now only around 10 vessels ply passengers for both docks.

Therefore, it can take up to four hours to get a ride from Guimaras to Iloilo City. We have a friend whose daughter went to the Jordan port at 10 am and was not able to board a vessel to Iloilo City until 2 pm. Moreover, the actual trip to the city only takes about 10 minutes on a fast craft.

While I’m able to avail of the “senior” rule, allowing senior’s priority to board, the three fiberglass boats in Jordan only allow five seniors at a time to board.

The fast craft from Yohan Express is now operating. Its schedule maintains it leaves Jordan every two hours. RORO, Roll-on, Roll-off ferries also function but will not always take passengers every trip. Sometimes the ROROs will only accommodate large trucks and no passenger vehicles.

We never take our Ford Ranger and have had better luck in riding as a passenger on a RORO. However, the wait time can be an hour or longer.

Getting a return trip to Guimaras is often a “hit-or-miss” affair. As my wife opined on our last trip, it’s “stressful” now to go to Iloilo.

I agreed.

In addition, the outbound pass requirement due to the so-called “pandemic” and subsequent screening in Guimaras upon our return from the city, also add to the stress levels.

Fleeing the City

Consequently, while we used to travel to Iloilo City about three times a month, we haven’t made any trips thus far in February. We made two trips in January. One trip was an attempt to make my Annual Report as a foreigner that took over two hours to get my receipt. Another trip was to stock up on dog food for our eight canines. We also stocked up on necessary supplies at S&R.

I haven’t gone to Iloilo City in about three weeks now.

My more patient spouse, however, went to Jaro, Iloilo, a couple of weeks ago with a female friend from Guimaras. Their only purpose for the trip was to check out a plant show. I stayed at home.

Our Aurora Blue Ford Ranger XLT’s truck bed was full of plants upon my wife’s return. Our 12,500 square meter property is loaded with plants and flowers.

My better half had to wait about an hour to board a RORO as a passenger. My wife had to wait 30 minutes for a fiberglass-hulled boat at Parola Wharf in Iloilo City to return home.

“Shopee Saves Iloilo City Shopping Sprees”

While I do miss the “comfort food” I could purchase at S&R, I now rely on Shopee to fill the gap. Shopee is a Singaporean-based company that focuses on e-commerce. Shopee began in Singapore in 2015. It later expanded to Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Brazil.

Moreover, I’ve been ordering 20-kilo bags of “Good Boy” Adult Dog Food for our dogs from Shopee. The price per 20-kilo bag is 1,165 pesos, the same as we pay at Ace. The package comes from Manila. Of course, the shipping fee of 498 pesos adds to the purchase price.

However, each bag last 11 days and it saves us the trouble of going to Iloilo City. Our local venues in Guimaras sell a more expensive brand at 2,000 pesos per 20 kilos but our dogs do not like it. Moreover, if you factor in what we have to pay our porters at each wharf plus transportation costs, it’s worth the Shopee delivery fee.

Of course, other items have much smaller delivery fees such as two cans of Progresso New England Clam Chowder that we used to buy at S&R. The shipping fee for that is 115 pesos. It cost 350 pesos for two cans, about 100 pesos more than S&R. While it’s not a necessity, I enjoy this “comfort food.”

Mark Delivers for J&T Express

In fact, I have a delivery today. I just got a text message from J&T Express. Mark will call me when he is at our front gate. J&T Express delivers our packages. Mark is our usual courier and he does a splendid job.

The dog food also gets delivered right to our front gate. There’s no more hassling with navigating the Iloilo Strait. The only place we were able to buy this dog food before was at the Ace Hardware stores in Iloilo. In addition, Ace would occasionally be out of stock of our puppies’ favorite food.

(Mark has already called and is at our gate. I meet Mark at our gate. I now have my two cans of Progresso New England Clam Chowder in excellent condition.)

“Shopee Saves on my Asawa’s Coffee”

My asawa loves Super Charcoal Roasted White Coffee. It’s her favorite. The coffee is 100 pesos cheaper for a 30-count bag than what we get at S&R.

The shipping fee for all three bag I ordered is 120 pesos. We actually save money on this one versus S&R.

Hormel Chili with Beans, Hormel Chicken Tamales in Chili Sauce, a 32-pack of Act II Buttered Popcorn, and Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter are some of the “comfort foods” I’ve recently ordered.

It’s convenient not having to make the trip to Iloilo City and much less stressful.

Agent will handle ACR-I Card Renewal

Furthermore, I’ve arranged with an authorized accredited agent of the Bureau of Immigration to handle the renewal of my ACR-I Card that expires in April. For a processing fee of 2,500 pesos for my agent, everything will be handled for me. My agent lives in Guimaras, also. While I will still have to pay around 3,700 pesos for the renewal itself, it’s worth it to me.

Moreover, for an old geezer like me it’s more convenient and less hassle. I’m all about making life easier during my “golden years” in paradise.

Frankly, I’m as happy as a turd in a toilet bowl.

Graphics courtesy of Shopee

By The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 21 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Malinois called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people over the years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

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