July 1-3, 2017
2 Days in Ubay
Location: Ubay (municipality), Bohol (province) Philippines
When Rey dropped me off in Ubay, I had no clue where to stay. The 2 hotels I went to were too pricey for me. I couldn't make a web deal as the decision makers were nowhere. I started asking locals where the cheapest places are. Luckily, I found one still walking distance to the town center - EVD Lodge at P150 for a clean room with ventilation and fan. When I asked for the room key, they gave me a spoon. They lost the key so the room had to be opened by prying the door lock with a spoon. It's more fun in the Philippines!
Main Street Ubay
Having settled on a place to stay, I explored on foot. Ubay is the biggest center in the east end of Bohol, but not quite as big as Tagbilaran. It has no movie house but it offers a jumbotron on the main center where town folks can watch the local program, specially the scheduled Pacquiao fight vs Horn. It has a main bus terminal for all destinations in Bohol and a port with trips to Cebu City and Leyte. With only 2 days before I take the boat for Cebu, I simply roamed about town and met common folks together with the town's influential few.
I got fake Bahalina in Tagbilaran, but in Ubay's market, I found a vendor selling Bahalina coming from its renowned source - Leyte. I tasted a cup and it was good! Shortly before taking the boat for Cebu, I bought a full gallon with me. With the 375ml of Pito-Pito herbal drink I got with me, I combined both to come up with my own cocktail!
Sikwate and Puto Maya
By the market place, I chanced on a painitan selling sikwate (native hot cocoa drink) and puto maya (sticky rice). Whoa! I love these dynamic duo and I go out of my way in any destination to savor these. I became friends with the owner and staff as I would frequent that place. They also gave me helpful tips about Ubay.
I met Dani, a Spanish backpacker, in Anda but somehow, our paths crossed again here in Ubay. He also stayed at EVD Lodge and we'd hang-out for the most part, exchanging insights and sharing travel narratives. I invited him to come along to the grand opening of Pacheco Inn. He left for Leyte as I left for Cebu.
I stumbled upon a newly completed hotel in Ubay - Pacheco Inn. It is by far, the most ambitious hotel in town. It's not too big but it has a modern architecture and amenities at par with big-city hotels. It wasn't open yet, but I met Pachec himself who invited me to attend the grand opening night the following day.
I tagged-along Dani for the event. Ubay's who's who was there - the mayor himself, high ranking Ubal officials and members of Ubay's most prestigious families. I would say it was Oscar Night in Ubay as its stars were all there for the festivity.
I was introduced to the mayor and I explained to him the many things I can do for the city to increase its internet profile. He liked the idea and gave me a standing offer to see him next time I visit Ubay.
I was lavished by flowing wine, lechon, sumptuous food and even karaoke performance by Pachec's dad! It was a memorable fun-filled evening of merry making.
Pacquiao vs Horn
I was also in Ubay for the historic defeat of Manny Pacquiao in the hands of the underdog, Jeff Horn. I saw a lot of illegal headlocking and headbutting by Horn which left Pacquiao bleeding. Although Horn's victory was controversial, I also felt that if Pacquiao had won, it would not be convincing. Why is it that on the 3 live fights I saw of Pacquiao, he always lost - in Gen San against Marquez, in Cebu against Bradley and now here in Ubay against Horn! Next time he fights, I won't watch it live - maybe he'll win!
My 2 days in Ubay was full of surprises. I came there not knowing anyone but I ended up having a conversation with the mayor and touched-off on promising things I can eventually do for the town. I also met Pachec and his family who are one of the town's prominent figures. I also reconnected with Dani, a Spanish traveler who I met in Anda. I wasn't part of any guest list in Ubay, but I ended up attending a lavish hotel opening complete with lechon, wine and karaoke! I got to take with me to Cebu, a full gallon of Bahalina and caught a last-hurrah for the sikwate. Knowing I'll be seeing Jeanne in Cebu, I was able to source kalamay from Jagna for her. All is well in Ubay. For but now, my boat for Cebu awaits. Another adventure beckons.
Reader Comments:Dion Ty
(July 5, 2017) I'm the smiling tindero that served you the cheap yet delicious puto and sikwate... I just looked at your blog and it really amazes me. You've done a great and happy moments with your life. You inspire me to value life and need not to worry because as you wrote, "the universe provides".
Ubay, Bohol, Philippines
Ubay Travel Info / Tips
- Jewel's Nook is the only cafe in town - a/c, serving only espresso P50 but NO WIFI
- you can buy Bahalina (aged, decanted and alcoholic coconut sap) at the Public Market for P75/half gallon
- there are 2 stores serving good P10 sikwate (native chocolate drink) and P10 puto-maya at the Public Market...just ask around
- tricycle ride around the city is only P8/pax
- trisikad ride around the city is only P5/pax
- laundry is only P25/kilo, minimum of 3 kilos, for pick-up after 2 days
- Southern Buses at the Public Market leave Ubay for other parts of Bohol
- market day is Monday
- Ubay-ubay Festival is the town fiesta held every January 28-30
Ubay to Cebu City by boat (as of July 2017)
- M/V J&N Carrier - 10am Monday-Saturday, 12am Sunday
- M/V J&N Ferry - 10pm Sunday-Friday, no Saturday trip
Ubay to Leyte by boat (4-5 hours) (as of July 2017)
- Ubay to Bato
- M/V Lady of Smile (or Lady of Charity or Lady of Guadalupe) - 1pm daily
- MBCA Star Sirius (or Mama Mary or San Isidro 9) - 8:30am daily
- MBCA Neriboy Allen Rey (or Mama Mary Irvin or San Isidro 5 or San Isidro 6) - 10am daily
- Ubay to Hilongos - M/V Leopards Sea Runner or Leopards Adventurer 1, 9am daily
Ubay to Pitogo (Bohol) by boat (as of July 2017)
- MBCA Bobong B - 11am daily
- MBCA Bobong A - 4pm daily
Carlos P. Garcia Island
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