Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Ultimate Tour of Dumaguete City

We are being driven around Negros Oriental in a 1970’s vintage, jeepy-type vehicle bought by Bill soon after he and Diane arrived at Tambobo. As nothing is wasted here, Diane vows that her vehicle will run until parts can no longer be found and duct tape is obsolete.
Dented, scared, with broken windows, dented bumpers and owner modifications insure that no one will want to steal her vehicle and most likely not ride in it her unless they are being picked up  or taken to at the airport. We are assured from the start that this intrepid little beast has not failed her owner yet and has in fact, gotten her out of sticky and muddy situations throughout the years.

Most of the dash board is missing and none of the gauges work. There is a large blue plastic pitcher hanging in the front which when a chunk of ice is placed at the beginning of a trip, it will hold several water bottles and keep them cool for the ride.
The back seat has been taken out long ago and wooden benches placed in its stead. We are assured that this configuration, can hold up to 8 extra students/riders at a time.
At the beginning of each journey vital fluids must be replaced. Water for the radiator, brake fluid, and so on and so forth. Half way to Tambobo on our arrival trip, when we stopped for fuel, it is discovered that the radiator cap is missing. The Monkey Man buys 10 gallons of water and we proceed to stop at the 2 motorcycle repair shacks in the small town of Diuan in search of a replacement, even a temporary one. Actually getting to Tambobo requires that the jeepanator climb mountains, and it is decided after some discussion to return to Dumaguete for the part lest we boil over. Returning to the outskirts of town, we stop at a tire/parts store. The hood is raised. Low and behold, miracles abound! The attendant spies the cap nestled on the side of the motor, missed by both Diane and Harvey at the gas station 20k back. We all have a good embarrassed laugh. The attendant points out the entirely bald right front tire. Harvey’s eyes grow large as Diane says “it’s ok. It’s been that way for a while. Renato will replace it once we’re home.”

The next day, Renato changes the tire and drives to Siaton, the nearest, biggest - small city to find brake parts. They don’t have them there, so he takes his motorcycle to Dumaguete to buy pads and drum, returns to Siaton to have them repair the brakes and returns the jeep late in the evening.
The week passes by. We begin our farewell journey back to Dumaguete City, whereupon reaching the apex of traffic at the beginning of the Easter weekend, the clutch decides to die. We might could do without 2nd gear, but we really must have 3rd and 4th gear! It is a long religious holiday weekend in a very Catholic country.  If the clutch is not repaired today, then it will not be until Monday until anything can be done. Thus begins the most unique tour the Philippine’s has to offer: Auto Repair Shops and Parts Stores.  The second repair place we grace agrees to try and fix the clutch that day – only if we go out and find the parts for them. The Tricycle Public Transport is hailed, with used master cylinder in hand.

Handing off the part and discussing options

First store doesn't have it
Third store is the charm
Making sure the master cylinder fits
All and all, I wouldn't have traded this tour for the world! We made it back to the airport on time and Diane made it back home to Tombobo Bay.

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