Apr 5, 2017
A Culture of Noise
GPS waypoint: 10°38'44.1"N 124°22'58.9"E
Location: Camotes Islands, Cebu (province), Philippines
Filipinos embrace a festive culture characterized by music and fanfare. Silence is simply not part of the local culture - it is looked upon as lonely and undesirable. They celebrate fiestas and parties at the drop of a hat. In keeping up with that festive feel, the culture deems it necessary to always have a background music - anywhere and everywhere.
In Manila, and the rest of the country for that matter, the music is cranked-up to nauseating levels that pervades all sectors - the malls play loud music, the jeeps play loud music, the karaoke bars play it loud, the neighbors play loud music...everywhere you go, you are assaulted by loud blaring noise. You cannot escape it. Add to that the noise of motorbikes with its cut-off mufflers! We're not talking loud music anymore, but noise pollution that taxes the sanity. Now, its widespread contagion reflects something already dysfunctional in the culture.
Camotes Islands, as much as I love this place, is perhaps the perfect example. Camotes would have been perfect if not for its excessive noise. So far, given all the places I've traveled around the world, no place tops Camotes for noise - it's one of the reasons I'm leaving Camotes. This is the first time I'm pushed out of a place due to its noise level.
At Baywalk, there are 3 karaoke bars side-by-side of each other playing tunes at full blast. Imagine 3 guys talking, all of them yelling at each other at close range. On weekends, a live band plays at Carlito's Pizza and together with the 3 karaoke bars, it's mind-boggling to be at that center where all that noise converge. Even at Kayla Me where I hang out, it's almost impossible to keep a conversation from all that noise. When I go to Baywalk early in the morning, the t-shirt guys are already playing loud Bonjovi music. Then the Julie's Bakeshop truck comes along with its looping trademark song on a public address system. When I go to my guesthouse, the karaoke across my room plays blaringly loud music within earshot of the next barangay. Even my construction earmuffs are no match. Even with municipal regulations to limit karaoke until 10pm, my guesthouse played it as late at 12:30am at one time. When my friends went up to Altavista to view a remote land they just bought in one of the peaks, we heard loud music played from a distant house. In Camotes, there is no escape from the noise.
Am I against karaoke? Of course not! I know how good it feels to belt out a song. I sing out a tune too every once in a while. What I'm saying is that the noise simply need to be managed. When a visiting Vietnamese friend came to Camotes to see me, while we were at Baywalk on a weekend with all 3 karaoke bars playing and a live band at Carlito's Pizza playing at full blast, he gave me a look that painted bewilderment. But he was polite. He simply uttered that in Vietnam, the karaoke bars are contained indoors where they don't bother the public at large.
Carlito's Pizza Live Band
Am I against live bands in public? NO! I look forward to weekends because of it. Personally, the live band is a good thing. Lolong, the owner, performs a great public service by making the music available to the locals who have no money for beer. But if the 3 karaoke bars play side-by-side with the band, all hell breaks loose. There simply has to be a system in place to manage the sound level.
At the back of my head, I wonder. Is it just me? When I asked the locals if all this noise bothers them, their question was, "What noise?"
Reader Comments:Greg Hutchinson
(Apr 6, 2017) Now you know why I'm based in Busuanga and not Boracay
(Apr 5, 2017) yes, very true. In the old days Filipinos sang and played guitar, and nothing was noisy, all dopey quality of heart. Today, its all alcohol and karaoke. The Filipino soul has retreated to where there still are ancient trees, like off-road Mambukal. ..Silence is what I miss most in the modern Philippines. Sometimes I find it in a break between roosters' crows at 3 am, -- or else when frogs sing loudly in strong rain...
(Apr 5, 2017) NOISIC!
(Apr 5, 2017) So true. Even in public vehicles and some business establishments
Camotes Islands, Cebu, Philippines
Camotes Island FYI / Tips
- Camotes Islands is a group of islands composed of 4 municipalities:
- San Francisco - this is the biggest municipality covering the West major island. Its town center is the busiest with the market, eating places, live music and the Baywalk. The beach resort clusters, however, are concentrated in Santiago Bay, Mangodlong and Esperanza
- Poro - Poro is on the other big island to the East. It has its own port and the town center is likewise busy
- the busy area where most of the social gatherings take place, eating places, is located at the Baywalk area of San Francisco, 30 mins by motorcycle from the Consuelo Port. Travellers usually stay in their resort outside the Baywalk
- the resorts in Camotes Island are scattered around the island. There are none around the Baywalk area of San Francisco
- perhaps the only downside to Camotes Island is the inescapable deafening sound of karaoke - it is played very loud and it's everywhere. In Baywalk, there are 3 karaoke bars beside each other going full blast all at the same time
Camotes Island Cost Index(US$1 = Php 49.82 as of Jan 15, 2017)
- PHP 100 habal-habal ride from Consuelo Port to San Francisco
- PHP 55 Pale Pilsen beer
- PHP 10/pax regular fare for habal-habal within San Francisco
- PHP 500/tour habal-habal rate for island tour up to 2 pax
- PHP 800/tour tricycle rate for island tour up to 4 pax
Cebu City to Camotes Island
- via Consuelo - from Cebu City, take the northbound bus passing through Danao and get off at the Danao Port. At the Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
Camotes Islands to Cebu City
- Poro - Cebu City (fastest and most direct) - go to Poro and take the 8am or 5pm Ocean Jet to Pier One in Cebu City, P380/pax/aircon, 2 hours
- Consuelo - Danao - Cebu City - go to Consuelo (San Francisco) and take the Jomalia Shipping boat to Danao, P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only). From Danao, take the Ceres Bus to Cebu City
Cebu City to Dumaguete, Negros Oriental by Boat
- George and Peter Lines - Mon/Thur/Sat/Sun 10pm, (035)225.4337, 0922.557.1023
- Oceanjet - via Tagbilaran, daily 6am, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0918.898.2188
- Cokaliong - Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 7pm, Sun 12pm, 6 hours, (035)225.3599
Danao to Camotes Island
- via Poro - at the Danao Port, take the Super Shuttle Ferry for Poro (Camotes), P?/pax, 3 hours, daily trip - 9:00am and 5:00pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).
Camotes Island to Danao
Camotes Islands Blogs by TheLoneRider
- Daghang Salamat (Many Thanks) Camotes Islands, Goodbye Apr 6, 2017
- A Culture of Noise Apr 5, 2017
- Exploring Tulang Diot (Little Island) Apr 2, 2017
- In Search of the Hidden Beach Apr 1, 2017
- Pizza-Making Party in Camotes Islands Mar 25, 2017
- Zesto and Exploited Child Labor Mar 20, 2017
- The Bayot (Gay) Construction Worker Mar 20, 2017
- Yoga Calisthenics in Camotes Islands Mar 3, 2017
- Bathing with the Carabaos at Hagnaon Spring, Camotes Islands Feb 28, 2017
- Taking a Dip at Capasanan Spring, Camotes Islands Feb 28, 2017
- Exploring Bukilat Cave, Camotes Islands Feb 28, 2017
- Exploring Tudela and Busay Falls, Camotes Islands Feb 21, 2017
- Settling Down in Camotes Islands Feb 19, 2017
- Clam Chowder Pizza from Scratch on a Rice Cooker Feb 15, 2017
- Exploring Timubo Cave of Camotes Islands Feb 9, 2017
- Exploring Holy Crystal Cave of Camotes Islands Feb 9, 2017
- Exploring Camotes Islands of Cebu Jan 13-14, 2017
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