“San Carlos is not as progressive. But what I like about it is its old charm.”After three weeks vacation at my home province in Cebu, I was again on the road for the trip back to Makati. I’ve been looking forward to make this trip not only because I will finally be able to visit the provinces beyond Iloilo as well as pass by Mindoro but also to come back, albeit briefly, San Carlos City in Negros.
San Carlos City is just across Toledo in Cebu. I have very vague recollections of this former town when I passed by here over a decade ago during my trips to and from Bacolod. But what I cannot forget, when naively, at a distance during the approach of the roro what I thought were golf courses (!) were in fact sugarcane fields. Ha!
From Cebu, one can take the bus at the Cebu South Terminal. It is about P65 ($1.5) fare, non aircon, for a 1 and a half hour trip. An alternative is also to take the much crowded but faster van at the Citilink, less than a kilometer from the terminal.
What I like with these kind of terminals is the sheer variety of people going about their lives. Its a watcher’s paradise so to speak: hawkers selling everything, people hurrying or loaded with their dear possessions, dispatchers barking for passengers and tired looking and sleepy guards even if it was already 0900H.
The fastest trip to San Carlos City from Cebu is the fast ferry that plies between the two cities across the TaÃ±on Strait. Either way, its just less than thirty minutes and you’re at your destination already. But it will set you back P200 (around $5). There are two cheaper but slower alternatives: the roro and a regular passenger boat.
Compared with the cities of Dumaguete or Toledo, San Carlos is not as progressive. But what I like about it is its old charm. With its old buildings and low structures (top photo), it seems, you’re at some earlier decade, a time warp.
Public city transport is still dominated by tricycles and for shorter routes, the traysikad, a manually operated transport whose etymology is a compound word derived from Cebuano traysikol (tricycle) + sikad, to kick.
During travels like these, if available, I always opt for these indigenous transport as, other than helping the driver find a living (and very cheap), I like the unhurried pace, the leisurely ride, the comfort of having the seat all to yourself and its just breezy.
After having a quick breakfast at Jollibee (of all things!), I proceeded to the city’s, integrated bus and jeepney terminal and opted for a bus that took the coastal, but longer, route, around 4 hours, instead of the one crossing the island via Salvador Benedicto, around 2 hours.
No other reason but to coast along memory lane.