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Slice of Life
A Culture of Noise 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

Being Festive
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
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.

A Culture of Noise
3 karaoke bars set side by side
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.

No Karaoke?
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.

Ending Thoughts
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?"

--- TheLoneRider

Reader Comments:

Greg HutchinsonOutback Greg Australia
Tribal Adventures
(Apr 6, 2017) Now you know why I'm based in Busuanga and not Boracay

Fritz BlackburnFritz New Zealand
Travel Parenting
(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...

Kwanyin AngKwanyin Ang
(Apr 5, 2017) NOISIC!

Rachel ConsingRachel Philippines
(Apr 5, 2017) So true. Even in public vehicles and some business establishments

Google Map Camotes Islands, Cebu, Philippines

tourist attractions in Camotes Island tourist attractions
  • Lake Danao Park in Camotes Island Lake Danao Park - inland twin lakes in San Francisco
  • Santiago Bay Beach in Camotes Island Santiago Bay Beach - stretch of fine white sand with a cluster of beach resorts
  • Buho Rock in Camotes Island Buho Rock - dive boards perched from a high rock outcropping, Poro
  • Tulang Diot in Camotes Island Tulang Diot - white sand beach on a tiny island just 10 minutes by boat from the main Camotes Island
  • Busay Falls in Camotes Island Busay Falls - groomed plunge pool, dirt trail walk with 2 stream crossings, Tudela
  • Capasanan Spring in Camotes Island Capasanan Spring - crystal clear open spring water source in San Jose, Poro. Free
  • Hagnaon Spring in Camotes Island Hagnaon Spring - clean drinking water coming out of the rocks, dipping pool you might share with carabaos in San Jose, Poro. Free
caves in Camotes Island caves
  • Timubo Cave in Camotes Island Timubo Cave - groomed trail inside cave with lights, swimming inside, limited penetration
  • Bukilat Cave in Camotes Island Bukilat Cave - cathedral-like caverns, top lighting from cave openings, high tide swimming
  • Holy Crystal Cave in Camotes Island Holy Crystal Cave - cave formation glitters, human bones, limited penetration
  • Paraiso Cave in Camotes Island Paraiso Cave
places in Camotes Island important spots
  • San Francisco San Francisco - town center, wet market, municipal hall, eateries, live music, bar, Baywalk
  • Poro Poro - town center of Poro Municipality, port to Cebu City and Danao
  • Tudela Tudela - town center of Tudela Municipality
  • Pilar Pilar - town center of Pilar in the island of Ponson Island
  • Consuelo Wharf Consuelo Wharf - port for Danao ships
  • Poro Port Poro Port - port for Danao and Cebu City ships
hotels in Camotes Island resort hotel

Camotes Island FYI / Tips

Camotes Island Cost Index

(US$1 = Php 49.82 as of Jan 15, 2017)
Cebu City to Camotes Island
  • via Poro - from Pier One in Cebu City, take the Ocean Jet for Poro, 2 hours, daily trip - 6am and 3pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).
  • 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

  1. 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
  2. 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,, 0918.898.2188
  • Cokaliong - Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 7pm, Sun 12pm, 6 hours, (035)225.3599
Danao to Camotes Island
  • via Consuelo - at the Danao 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).
  • 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

  • via Consuelo - 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).
  • via Poro - take the Super Shuttle Ferry in Poro (Camotes) for the Danao Port, P?/pax, 3 hours, daily trip - 5:00am and 1:00pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).
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Camotes Islands Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. Daghang Salamat (Many Thanks) Camotes Islands, Goodbye Apr 6, 2017
  2. A Culture of Noise Apr 5, 2017
  3. Exploring Tulang Diot (Little Island) Apr 2, 2017
  4. In Search of the Hidden Beach Apr 1, 2017
  5. Pizza-Making Party in Camotes Islands Mar 25, 2017
  6. Zesto and Exploited Child Labor Mar 20, 2017
  7. The Bayot (Gay) Construction Worker Mar 20, 2017
  8. Yoga Calisthenics in Camotes Islands Mar 3, 2017
  9. Bathing with the Carabaos at Hagnaon Spring, Camotes Islands Feb 28, 2017
  10. Taking a Dip at Capasanan Spring, Camotes Islands Feb 28, 2017
  11. Exploring Bukilat Cave, Camotes Islands Feb 28, 2017
  12. Exploring Tudela and Busay Falls, Camotes Islands Feb 21, 2017
  13. Settling Down in Camotes Islands Feb 19, 2017
  14. Clam Chowder Pizza from Scratch on a Rice Cooker Feb 15, 2017
  15. Exploring Timubo Cave of Camotes Islands Feb 9, 2017
  16. Exploring Holy Crystal Cave of Camotes Islands Feb 9, 2017
  17. Exploring Camotes Islands of Cebu Jan 13-14, 2017
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