May 19, 2007

Tupad Bulata, Sipalay 1

Another milestone was set in our department: everyone (including the duty residents and our chief service consultant went to the jewel of the sugar isle, Sipalay.) When I mean milestone, I mean that this is the first time everyone went out for a vacation.

Sipalay is one of the remotest cities south of Bacolod. It is in fact 40 kilometers away from the next town, Cauayan. During the 70s, the place was swarming with NPA insurgents and political overlords. The road then was rough, unpaved and rarely used. It was a no-man's land. But now, after being discovered by Germans and with the roads paved with the smoothest asphalt, Sipalay has now positioned itself as the unspoilt paradise of Negros. Today, many Negrenses are willing to travel long hours just to reach this place. Unfortunately, what God has blest this area with good marine life, man in his greed has burned the hills and the mountains leaving them bare and brown. That's what I saw during the zig-zagging roadtrip to Sipalay- entire hills have been replanted with cogon grass and banana plants. It's a sad sad sight, which is probably why the city and all the corru... umm correct political families therein (Familia "Psycho"-path) have only been trumpeting their marine areas.

Anyway, we reached the pitstop after a circuitous route made up of the roughest dirt road imagined, steep inclines, and a wonderful backdrop of dried up rice paddies and thatch houses. Our group was very concerned of the state of our "kansi" cauldron. Kansi as a soup is delicious, but when dribbled over bags and stuff, it turns into the most noxious gunk. Good thing it only splattered on the floor, and thank goodness it wasn't my car. Heh-heh-heh.

When we arrived at the compound, I realized we arrived at the edge of paradise. The house was a two-story California beach villa nestled among the tall coconut trees 10 meters from the seashore.

The owner, a local architect, has good taste structure-wise and interior-wise. His resort-house is compact and yet it has the feel of being in a 3-star resort. His was far away from the usual nipa-&-sawali versions and other bamboo-clad nativist huts that one usually finds in small time resorts like this. Well, being an architect helped a lot. The floors were stone-tiled, the stairs and upper quarters lined with polished hard wood floors, the bathroom was huge that someone even commented that she could dance inside, the kitchen was easily accessible, the porch opened to the sea and the sala with its French glass windows and Barbados-style furnitures makes the whole set-up very relaxing.

The whole group brought in their bags and chilled out at the porch. Most of us just sat down at the pebble-washed porch breathing in the fresh salt air, listening to the swish of the coconut fronds, and doing exactly NOTHING. Nothing productive. Nothing utilitarian. It was sheer bliss. It sure soothed us to think that at this one moment, we can sit down and do what neanderthals did thousand of years before- sleep and eat. Rather than frizzle our brains with esoteric pathophysiologies and worry if our patient is still alive, that day was a day to let our hair down... and it was only the beginning.

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