Saturday, May 28, 2011

150 Pesos

150 pesos quickly became my magic number in Iloilo. 150 pesos is roughly equal to $3.50 in whatever major dollar currency I feel like using since the US, Canadian and Aussie dollars are all so similar these days (which is very good for me).
My first 150 pesos that I had to deal with every day was the payment for a single fan room in a pension house (aka cheap hotel) in the city centre of Iloilo. It actually was nicer than I thought it would be and had lots of cleaning staff keeping things in order. The only problem was that there were too many people smoking in the common area and halls and my room didn't have access to fresh air so my health deteriorated over the course of the week I was there.
I have friends in Iloilo but in a year a lot can change. The major construction projects around town have finished and the city is an a bit more of a serious anti-jaywalking campaign and trying to bring a little more order to the busiest intersections. I've also noticed how dark the city is. There are not a lot of streetlights, and even the ones that exist seem pretty weak. In the city centre most things shut down shortly after dark and since it's all small shops, it all gets shuttered up and emit very little light. No biggie though. Pickpocketting is probably the biggest problem in Iloilo and not violent crime.
The 2nd 150 pesos spent was for each hour of massage at the promo rate at one of the parlours here. I swore in Australia I was just gonna get massages to death once I got back here but in the end I only had a couple but at that rate I recommend 2 hours at a time....
150 pesos is also the post-midnight entry fee to the nightclub MO2 in Smallville. How could I resist when I'm still pretty much the only young white male in Iloilo? Ok, dancing is still not my thing, but I went wandering around Smallville (the small nightlife area) on a Saturday night in an attempt to accidently run into people I knew before. It worked because I did find an ex-teacher I knew and worked with before. The school has long since gone bankrupt and shut down so tracking down the remains of the scattered staff was not really an option, hence the stalking in Smallville...
I've been worried about trying to maintain my weight now that I've travelled again. I gained a bit before I left Australia but it's so easy to lose that I have to keep trying to stuff myself. So I came to learn that 150 pesos is also roughly the price of 2 meals of fried chicken and rice with a bottle of coke at Andoks. Can't complain about that, but my local addiction is mango shakes so I probably more often spent 150 pesos for 3 large mango shakes from the “Thirsty” stands scattered about town and in the malls.
I also went to see the new Pirates movie and that cost a little less than 150 pesos also.
The only thing that cost me more than 150 pesos was revisiting the dentist. I went back to the same one I had when I was here a year ago and had not been to a dentist since so figured I might as well have a checkup and cleaning. They were surprised to see me and I was immediately served. Think a dentist can't be any good if they aren't busy? Remember that this is the land of nurses, physical therapists and it seems like dentists too from the number of practices you pass by in a day. Filipinos seem to love being employed in anything medical. The concentration of pharmacies in town is crazy too. Of course that is a good thing for me since I had to stock up on a bunch of stuff to take to mom. I feel more and more like an international courier (extraordinaire) with every passing day ;)
A week passed in Iloilo far to fast and it was good to catch up with some old couchsurfing friends as well. Many others were missing though as they've since departed for various positions overseas. Maybe I'll just have to track them down too :) I don't know why but I liked being in Iloilo. It's not really a place you'd recommend to anyone travelling through the Philippines but it seems to be my place now. I really didn't want to leave...


At 10:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you gained SOME more weight while you were here...Please try not to lose any of it?


black maaaambaaah-aaahhh... ;)


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