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Date > 2023 > September
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Slice of Life

Monthly Chronicles

Monthly Chronicles

Sep Chronicles: Google Bard, Wok, Basket, Drunk September 1-30, 2023

Sep Chronicles: Google Bard, Wok, Basket, Drunk

Location Google Map: Lazi, Siquijor Island, Philippines

September and the Move
With my move to a house, logistics had to be looked after - getting my kitchen furnished, learning new cooking methods, etc. It's busy and exciting.

The Chinese Wok

The Chinese WokThe Chinese Wok
(September 6, 2023) The Chinese wok has always fascinated me especially after traveling Southeast Asia where street food is openly cooked in a wok with dazzling expertise by chefs/cooks whose wok is practically an extension of their bodies.

Settling Down
Now that I've stopped traveling and moved to a house with a kitchen, I decided to settle down and commit to being a householder. This means furbishing my rented house with kitchen things - stove, water dispenser, etc. Now, I could realize my fascination with a Chinese wok.

Wok Material
Which wok to buy? The local market only sells aluminum (Alzheimer's anyone?) and Teflon (cancer anyone?) - no self-respecting chef would use aluminum or Teflon. I went to Youtube for guidance. Apparently, there are a few choices of materials for a wok - stainless steel (great for soups but not for stir frying), cast iron (retains heat and heavy to work with) and lastly, the quintessential Chinese wok made with carbon steel (as popularly used in street food and fast-paced Chinese restaurants). Nearly all chefs default to carbon steel.

Shopee Ordering
I'm in an isolated island. Either I cross the sea to Dumaguete to buy or shop online. I chose Shopee and bought from one shop for a wok, spatula, ladle, bamboo brush and wok cover. The strainer, I bought at a nearby store. The shipping was half the cost of the merchandise and it took almost a week. The cover was flimsy and the wooden handles of the wok-spatula-ladle had no pre-drilled holes and no screw came with it. Otherwise, it was all good.

Wok Seasoning and Maintenance
I learned what needed to be done before using the wok for the first time - proper seasoning to make it non-stick and prevent rusting. Done! There is also a ritual after cooking. Rinse the cook in hot water while scrubbing it with a bamboo brush and then drying - no soap is used. When dry, put it back on the wok on med-heat to dry out all the water (no source for rust to develop) and apply a very thin oil coating (as an insulation from oxidation). Before using the wok again, it needs to be put on high heat until smoke (from the thin coating of oil) is burned off, then put priming oil to coat the wok. Chefs discard this priming oil, but I keep it for future priming (no one ever explained why priming oil is discarded while used oil can be reused). New oil is then added for cooking.

It is a lot of work just to do the ritual.

The Chinese Wok
I know, it's just a mundane wok, but to my giddy excitement, it might as well be a Lamborghini

Lingering Thoughts
Given my limited experience with the wok, in hindsight, instead of buying a 2-burner stove, I should have just purchased a cast-iron single wok burner. This would have saved space, more robust and can generate higher BTUs for proper stir-frying.

Wok-cooking is a whole universe all its own with authoritative chefs dispensing their gospels in Youtube. This blog is a start of more wok adventures.

Bicycle Basket

Bike Basket Bar
(September 7-12, 2023) My bicycle basket has been indispensable for hauling stuff which otherwise would weigh me down - water from the spring source, wet laundry, etc. But the steel passenger seat was too small to support the big basket. The solution was to fabricate a metal bar on the passenger seat to support the entire area of the basket.

Welding Shop
I took the bike to a welding shop where the master-welder cut 3 pieces of metal bars which I would then zip-tie to the bike and basket. He cut the steel bar, drilled 6 holes and even ground the edges for a smoother finish - all for P120 (US$2.00).

Bike Basket Bar
the 3-bar reinforcement on the bike basket

Problem was, the bars were sticking out to the sides and can wound any thigh. I brought it back for re-cutting. Problem was, the welder was always drunk (more on that below). Finally, on the 5th day, I passed by and the steel bars were re-cut. I gave him P40 extra for his trouble.

Bike Basket Bar
my bike basket looks exactly the same as before but underneath, the support is reinforced

Optimized for Payload
Finally, I was able to zip-tie everything together and my bike basket turned 'heavy duty'. For starters, I loaded it with heavy laundry and it held up. Nice!

Drunk Welder

Bike Basket BarFabrication
(September 7-12, 2023) My bicycle basket needed reinforcement to support the heavy load I put on it. I took the bike to a welding shop but it took 5 days to get the job done simply because the master-welder was always drunk - either it was his birthday, a town fiesta or karaoke with the boyz.

I was wondering how he could make a livelihood if goes drunk for consecutive days on end. Marlon, a local friend who was a hard drinker himself, told me that those welders were harder drinkers than him. Whoa!

No Show
On the same day, I was supposed to meet Marlon to go to Siquijor. I waited for him as agreed at 8am. By 8:30, he still wasn't around and I left for home, making other plans. Turned out, he got drunk the night before.

On another ocassion, he asked me to help him with his immigration papers. I spent a day researching. When the arranged time came for a meeting, he showed up drunk.

Lingering Thoughts
This drunkeness and inability to deliver plagues Siquijor (of course, not everyone). It's frustrating but it doesn't even feel right for me to complain. If I can't stomach it, I can just leave Siquijor. This is their town, it's their tradition and this is how things are done. Period.

I have a lingering speculation though why these things happen. When you know there is prosperity at the end of the tunnel, you keep your motivation high and work hard. However, if there is hopelessness, if you know that no matter how hard you work, you will remain where you are, you leave the country and work abroad as an OFW (overseas Filipino worker) - and a great number have done so. However, to those who are unable to leave, they only see an economic deadend remaining on this country. Why work hard? Why strive for excellence? Just do what you have to do to keep afloat and drink yourself out of your misery until you wake up the following day to repeat the cycle. I say misery because I don't know of anyone who is happy in life yet gets himself drunk every night - no one.

Why is this happening? It's easy to blame them. But if you look at the big picture, it's actually shitty politics at all levels of government - graft, corruption, nepotism, color-coding (being identified with your politics). The system was so designed to keep the masses poor, uneducated and disempowered. This way, politicians get away with everything.

Correcting Google Bard

Language A.I.s

ChatGPT4, Google Bard, Microsoft Bing, Opera Aria

Correcting Google Bard
(September 28, 2023) Google Bard is Google's cutting-edge Large Language Model in Artificial Intelligence. It is trained on a massive dataset of text and code, can generate different creative text formats and will try its best to answer questions based on everything that's out there on the internet. It's a formidable learning tool.

But on one of my Q&As with Bard, it said something not quite right and I corrected it. It realized its mistake and apologized. Whoa! I corrected Google's super-computer?


Lingering Thoughts
I know, it's silly, but it's my 'proud moment' of the day. I'm like a little kid who won a prize. I'll come to my senses later, but for now, I'll soak it in. LOL

Ending Thoughts
September has been characterized by learning new things and somehow, veering away from the readings/writings of yoga. I've committed myself to being a householder (settling down and no more travels) and getting busy in my new kitchen (I lived for 7 months in a small room) and learning new things - how to cook in a wok, wok recipes and doing new and exciting things in a wok. I learned from the huge selections of Youtube videos, as presented by lay culinary enthusiasts to renowned chefs. It's amazing how the world's knowledge is now at your fingertips. There is no excuse not to learn anything that interests you.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

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More on Lazi:

Lazi Local Info
  1. Resorts - Lazi has some beach/dive resorts on its west coast - Gabayan Riviera, Lazi Beach Club, Bahura Dive Resort. However, the popular area for tourist resorts are in San Juan
  2. Transport - Lazi is the junction where the jeeps begin their clockwise route (Lazi-San Juan-Siquijor Port) or the counter clockwise route (Lazi-Maria-Larena Port). Because the jeeps are rare with about 2 to 3 trips/day only in the morning, it's practical to just have a motorcycle here in Siquijor. With its affordability (a brand new Rusi motorbike is as low as P45k), people just buy motorcycles...especially those who live up in the mountains.
  3. The Boulevard - Lazi's main draw is its seaside cobblestone promenade. When the sun goes down, people gather here for eats, drinks, open-air, harbor view and the sunset
  4. Lazi Port - Kho Shipping, the shipping line operating from Lazi Port, has stopped its service to Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Dumaguete, Tagbilaran and Cebu. Passengers can go to Siquijor Port or Larena Port for boat services out of Siquijor Island

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 - 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,,, 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 - 8:20 am, at Siquijor Port
    To Tagbilaran: P800/tourist & open air, 2 hours (arrive 10:20 am), P1200/business class
    To Cebu (Pier 1): P1600/tourist & open air, 4 hours (arrive 12:40 am), P2400/business class
  2. Lite Ferries - at Larena Port, no Senior Citizen discount for online ticket purchase
    To Tagbilaran: T-Th-Sun, 3 hours, depart 7 pm - arrive 10 pm, P475/standard (Tourist, PHP 750)
    To Cebu: T-Th-Sun, 10 hours, depart 7 pm - arrive 5 am, PHP 605/standard (Senior P484), Tourist, PHP 770
  3. Apekoptravel - at Larena Port to Tagbilaran: 1:00 pm, xxx hours, P750
    Reserve through call or text: Cleare - 0938 283 4760 | Grace - 0936 534 6564 | Jessel - 0961 759 6711, Pay via G-Cash: +63-917-880-1464, Email:, Facebook messenger: Apekoptravel. Enter your birthday and nationality to get discounts: 0 to 3 years old free, 4 to 9 years old will have 20% discount, 10 years old and above full price, Filipino Senior Citizens will also have 20% discount

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.


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

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