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The 'Bad Guy' of Siquijor Feb 15, 2023

The 'Bad Guy' of Siquijor

Location Google Map: LTO, Siquijor Poblacion, Siquijor Island, Philippines

Unappreciated and Misunderstood
It's not what you think! This is about the district head of Siquijor's LTO - a public servant with lofty goals for the greater good of his province. But since his intentions are neither seen nor understood, his righteous actions are unappreciated. With unwavering resolve, he forges through, knowing fully well he can only be seen as the Bad Guy.

Mr. Gerlad J. Dominguez
with Siquijor's LTO District chief, Mr. Gerlad J. Dominguez

The Goal
In the brief conversation I've had with Mr. Gerlad J. Dominguez (while getting my license processed), he intimated that whenever people from Siquijor venture out of the island and into the bigger cities like Dumaguete or Cebu, they are marginalized as simple-minded people from the small island. He wanted that discrimination to end. Rightfully so!!!

The Means
So, how do you do that? Given his capacity and authority as District Chief of Siquijor's LTO, he ensures that there is no corruption (meaning people cannot bribe anyone to get preferential treatment), no fixers (so that people who came first are served first) and full compliance to policy by everyone (people have to pass the tests, present proper documents, pay due fines, etc.).

Gone are the ways when the staff look the other way over transgressions. It's not always money. On a small island, nearly everyone is related. How do you say no to a relative? That's very hard given the local tradition and culture.

The Backlash
Because people are not used to proper governance, and what they see is simply the regimented adherence to standards and policy that they find inconvenient, Mr. Gerlad J. Dominguez is widely criticized as being 'strict' - as though it's a crime.

In the context of the local tradition, I even find the word strict to be a compliment - because everybody gets away with everything if you have the means or the connection. As the late Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore's founding father and global elder statesman) once said, "Filipinos don't need more democracy. They need more discipline."

The Validation
Word got through the grapevine until a few people in high places began to notice. Secret operatives came to the district to verify. Sure enough, the clean and efficient operations were validated and the Seal of Excellence was awarded to the district. Did it change people's minds? Of course not!

Seal of Excellence
the Seal of Excellence award for Siquijor's LTO

Playing God?
Is Mr. Gerlad J. Dominguez being strict needlessly? Is he strict because he wants to put a squeeze on people simply because he can play God? This is a fair question in Philippine context when nearly everyone with a modicum of authority acts like the big swinging dick in town. In fact, this behavior is the norm and not the exception.

Well, let me narrate my personal LTO odyssey. I did my homework and came prepared with all the needed documents and certificates. My application went through like a breeze. There was no unnecessay delay, there were no fixers, no one who deliberately blocked the process (as a prelude to grease money), and at the end of the day, I got my license. Not only did I renew my license, I also got a new one issued with the addition of the motorcycle feature. In ONE day!!!

If any of the staff wanted to play God, they would have blocked the process needlessly just to give me a hard time even if all my documents were in order. Anyone who tried to secure any government document is well aware of this exasperating ordeal. I didn't go through that. No one played God, no one gave me a hard time.

Ending Thoughts
It's interesting to note that people who are quick to complain about corruption, nepotism, fixers and inept governance are the very same ones who complain just as quickly if the proper measures are applied to them. In short, they want the law applied to everyone except to them - they want to be entitled.

What Mr. Gerlad J. Dominguez is doing is such a tough and thankless job. Consider this. It would be so much easier, so much more lucrative, to simply accept 'soft money' to grease the process - you end up being popular and you have a wad of cash in your wallet at the end of the day. It's so easy to slide down this slippery road. I've seen idealists slide down and never made it back up again.

But to stay the course, to completely stamp out corruption, to remove fixers, to strictly comply with policy, to be the target of criticism...at the end of the day, you end up poor and unpopular despite your noble intentions. This is not a job for men of weak character or frail moral fabric. It takes a man of unwavering resolve to forge through.

Siquijor is lucky to have such a public servant. The likes of Mr. Gerlad J. Dominguez don't happen often. And when it happens, it doesn't last too long either - he can be sacked by higher-ups or the influencial few who don't like the boat being rocked. Cheers to the unsung heroes of Siquijor, cheers to you, sir! May you live long and prosper.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
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More on Siquijor Poblacion:

Siquijor Poblacion Info
  1. Resorts - there are beach resorts in Siquijor Poblacion but the popular resort destination is San Juan.
  2. Transport - from Siquijor Poblacion, jeep, tricycle and motorcycle rides are available. There are local jeeps that ply the couter-clockwise route to San Juan and end up in Lazi. From Lazi, another jeep takes the continuing counter-clockwise route to Maria, ending up in Larena. Between Larena and Siquijor, only tricycles are available. Tricycles charge between PHP 20-40 until San Juan Poblacion. Tricycles and motorcycles can be contracted privately at higher fees.
  3. Siquijor Port - Siquijor Poblacion is the capital of Siquijor Island. It has the Siquijor Port which is the port of most inter-island ferries plying the Siquijor route. The other port is Larena Port.

More on Siquijor Island:

Siquijor Island Local Info

Jeeps - there are only 2 routes for jeeps within Siquijor Island - and they are rare. Most people have their own motorcycle transport.

  1. Siquijor Port to Lazi - last trip leaves at 3pm from station near market
  2. Lazi to Siquijor Port - jeeps depart from the Lazi Port area. 5 jeeps, the last trip at 12:30 pm. Lazi to San Juan, P50.
  3. Larena Port to Lazi - jeeps are unpredictable. As of this writing, there is only 1 jeep plying the Larena-Lazi route. This jeep leaves Larena for Lazi at 9:50am. After that, no more jeep. You'll have to take a tricycle to Siquijor Pob for jeeps going to Lazi
  4. Lazi to Larena Port - 6am (daily) and 9 am (M-Th)

Food - these were suggested by a local to me

  1. Lechon manok & liempo - roasted pork belly and chicken at Joel's in Siquijor Poblacion. I've tried this myself...yummy, even if the chicken was no longer hot
  2. Bibingka - sweetened rice cake by Fidy's Bibingka (P30) in Sawang, Maria. I've come back for this and I buy for other people as well as 'pasalubong' - they love this
  3. Siopao - at the Rosita store near Thrifty (P25) in Siquijor Poblacion
  4. Peanut butter - by Rene. Just ask around in Siquijor Poblacion. It's popular
  5. Torta - sweet cakish bread at the Thrifty story in Siquijor Poblacion
Siquijor Island Map
Siquijor
Siquijor - Dumaguete Boat Trips (as of Jan 2023)
  1. Montenegro Lines - at Siquijor Port, P234.00/pax, P169/bicycle, 7:30am/10:00am/2:00pm/4:30pm

  2. Montenegro Lines, Siquijor to Dumaguete

  3. Aleson Shipping - at Siquijor Port, 6 am and 6 pm daily, 1:30 pm M-Sat, Regular P200.00/pax, Aircon P250.00/pax

  4. Aleson Shipping, Dumaguete to Siquijor

  5. Ocean Jet - 40 mins,at Siquijor Port, 0919.066.5964, www.oceanjet.net, marketing@ocenajet.net, 6:00am/6:00pm, P350/pax (tourist/open air), P580/pax (business class)

    Ocean Jet


Siquijor - Tagbilaran - Cebu City Boat Trips (as of Jan 2023)

En route to Cebu City, the ferries usually make a stop-over to Tagbilaran (Bohol) to pick-up more passengers or unload.

  1. Ocean Jet - 2 hours, 8:20am, at Siquijor Port
    To Tagbilaran: P800/tourist & open air, P1200/business class
    To Cebu: ?
  2. Lite Ferries - at Larena Port, no Senior Citizen discount for online ticket purchase
    To Tagbilaran: T-Th-Sun, 7pm, 3 hours, P475/standard (Tourist, PHP 750)
    To Cebu: T-Th-Sun, 7pm, 10 hours, PHP 605/standard (Tourist, PHP 770)


Siquijor - Plaridel Boat Trips (as of Jan 2023)
  1. Lite Ferries - at Larena Port, T-Th-Sun, 2:00 am, 5 hours, PHP?


Siquijor - Cebu (Liloan) - Cebu City BUS Trip (as of Jan 2023)

There is only one bus plying this route - Sugbo Urban. Tourist class coach, a/c, comfortable, Sun-Fri (these dates keep changing). P420 for bus, P275 for ferry to Liloan. Larena Port around 5 am, makes a clockwise roundtrip around Siquijor Island - Larena, Enrique Villanueva, Maria, Lazi (stops at Lazi market for breakfast and leaves 6:50 am), San Juan, Siquijor (arrives 8am, P50 from Lazi to Siquijor Poblacion) and catches the 1pm ferry at Larena Port (Sundays at 3 pm) for Liloan, Cebu and resumes its land route. Arrives Cebu City (South Bus Terminal) 10 pm.

Sugbo Urban is the cheapest and most convenient way because it goes around the island (clockwise) along the circumferential road, passing through - Enrique Villanueva, Maria, Lazi, San Juan, Siquijor...and back to Larena where it takes the ferry at 1 pm. This saves you the hassle and high transport cost of a tricycle. Besides, it's a long trip from the other side of the island to be taking by tricycle.


Sugbo Urban

Sugbo Urban

Suggested Destinations After Siquijor Island

These are the nearest popular destinations from Siquijor by boat

  1. Bohol - Bohol is an island northeast Siquijor. Tourist attractions are Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Monkey, Loboc River Cruise, Beaches of Panglao, whale sharks (recent offering), freediving (recent offering)
  2. Cebu - Cebu City is the usual gateway into the Visayas. But in Cebu Island itself, there are many offerings - Whale Sharks of Oslob, sardine run at Moalboal,Thresher Shark of Malapascua
  3. Dapitan (Zamboanga del Norte) - I haven't been there but a lot of island ferries ply this port. There must be something here.
  4. Dumaguete - Dumaguete is a small charming progressive coastal town in Negros Oriental. Cafe and restaurants line the famous Boulevard Boardwalk. Tourist attractions include Japanese Shrine, Casaroro Falls, snorkeling along the southern coastline (Dauin, Masaplod Norte, etc), Balinsasayao Twin Lakes
  5. Plaridel (Misamis Occidental, Mindanao) - I haven't been there but a lot of island ferries ply this port. There must be something here.

Blogs

Siquijor Blogs
Siquijor Island
  1. January Chronicles: Bandilaan Meditation January 2024
  2. My January Yoga Practice: A Journal January 31, 2024
  3. Jan 2024: Squid, Balangawan, Margarita Pizza January 2024
  4. December Chronicles: Yuletide Season December 30, 2023
  5. December Snapshots: Bolo Bolo Dip, Christmas Lunch, Tuba Denizens, Friends Forever, Men Working, Cow / Crow December 1-30, 2023
  6. Eggplant Bulad Pizza December 20, 2023
  7. Canghaling Cave November 14, 2023
  8. Kings and Queens November 13, 2023
  9. Barangay Vote-Buying October 22, 2023
  10. Real Estate Mapping October 1, 2023
  11. Learning Cebuano: Oct October 1-31, 2023
  12. Oct Food Hack: Pizza, Kinilaw, Coconut Bread, Fish Okuy, Carrot Omelette,Lemon-Grass Tea October 2023
  13. Sep Snapshots: Fisherman, Granny, Pedicure, Big Fish, Garbage September 1-30, 2023
  14. Sep Food Hack: Fish Tinola, Ratatouille, Chayote Omelette, Flat Bread September 2023
  15. Together Forever Sep 11, 2023
  16. The Cigarette Talk Sep 1, 2023
  17. Siquijor Star Meditation Center Aug 31, 2023
  18. The Lost Dogs of Siquijor Aug 27, 2023
  19. Moving to a Bungalow! Aug 22, 2023
  20. Aug Chronicles: CDO produce August 31, 2023
  21. Aug Snapshots: Pan de Sal, Palpitate, Taho, Tuna, Pineapple August 1-31, 2023
  22. [an error occurred while processing this directive]
  23. July Chronicles July 31, 2023
  24. July Snapshots July 1-31, 2023
  25. Learning Cebuano: July July 1-31, 2023
  26. June Chronicles June 31, 2023
  27. June Snapshots June 1-31, 2023
  28. Learning Cebuano: June June 1-31, 2023
  29. May Chronicles May 31, 2023
  30. May Snapshots May 1-31, 2023
  31. Learning Cebuano May 1-31, 2023
  32. In Search of a Cool Climate May 25, 2023
  33. The 64 km Bike Ride May 16, 2023
  34. Lazi Fiesta May 15, 2023
  35. The Boulevard Opening May 5, 2023
  36. April Snapshots April 1-30, 2023
  37. Learning Cebuano...Again! April 1-30, 2023
  38. Kris Visits Siquijor Mar 17 - Apr 15, 2023
  39. Exploring Siquijor with Marky Mar 25 - Apr 11, 2023
  40. Siquijor Healing Festival April 5-8, 2023
  41. The Talk at United Church of Christ April 2, 2023
  42. Mar Snapshots Mar 1-31, 2023
  43. Vigil for the Ghost Ship of Siquijor March 31, 2023
  44. Judging an Essay on Gender Equality Mar 29, 2023
  45. The Thief, the Shaman, the Elves and the Police Mar 20, 2023
  46. Finally Acquiring the Motorbike Mar 18, 2023
  47. Bitcoin Blunder Mar 15, 2023
  48. Maria's Unsung Beaches Mar 11, 2023
  49. Lagaan Falls Mar 9, 2023
  50. Tibhong Spring Water Source Mar 8, 2023
  51. Bolo-Bolo Natural Spring Mar 2, 2023
  52. Reasons to Get a Wife March 1, 2023
  53. Feb Snapshots Feb 28, 2023
  54. Camagung-Ong Natural Spring Feb 28, 2023
  55. Heeeere's Johnnie! Feb 26, 2023
  56. Manifesting a Motorbike from Thin Air? Feb 18, 2023
  57. The 'Bad Guy' of Siquijor Feb 15, 2023
  58. Amazement from Drivers License Renewal in Siquijor Feb 15, 2023
  59. Locong Falls Feb 9, 2023
  60. Inguinal Hernia? Goodbye ABS! Feb 4, 2023
  61. Jan Snapshots January 31, 2023
  62. In Search of Tubod Cold Spring Jan 27, 2023
  63. 1:4:2:3 Nadi Shodana Jan 26, 2023
  64. Lazi's Boulevard Jan 22, 2023
  65. Lazi: A Monthly Stay Jan 21, 2023
  66. 7 Days in Maria, Siquijor Jan 14-21, 2023
  67. Capilay Spring Jan 17, 2023
  68. Siquijor: In Search of Resonance Jan 9-14, 2023
  69. Riding Around Siquijor's 86km Coastal Road Apr 3, 2012
  70. Exploring the Cantabon Cave of Siquijor Feb 23, 2012
  71. Jovee and Missy's Excellent Adventure Nov 6-7, 2010
  72. Freediving in Siquijor's Marine Sancturaries Apr 23-24, 2010
  73. Island Tour of Siquijor Apr 22, 2010
  74. Kram's Siquijor Wedding Apr 21, 2010

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