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A Day in Calbayog

A Day in Calbayog


A Day in Calbayog
by Rick Smith
Get out the house, anytime of the day, head into town flagging down a tricycle, then flag a 2nd tricycle because the people standing 50 ft away that just got to the streets edge 30 seconds ago, while I been waiting 5 minutes, steal my tricycle. Then get waved off by the next 2 tricycles because they are going on break now. Finally in the Tricycle, tell the driver, “Fruit stand on Rosales Blvd”, his reply “SAAN”?(Where?) LBC Kuya, (kuya a polite reference to the trike driver as you don’t know his name so just “elder Bro”). His reply ANO? (What?) there are 2 LBC in town, so you tell him Rosales Blvd again,
Finally off and running, err pedaling, bump, bump, bump on the roads, Dang I forgot my Ball cap to cushion my head, I’m a bit tall for the trikes here and the bar framing hurts to bump against a bare head.
Unless you have experienced it let’s just say, motor traffic, pedal trike, pedestrian traffic in town is utter controlled Chaos, near misses abound on cars, scooters, pedestrians and other trikes. Street signs like Stop are ignored by all, Rights of Way have no rules but are not so confusing too. Just listen behind you, if you hear uuush,uuush, or the click of a wooden change box lid, then do not step to the left you are being passed. Intersection Rights of Way are basically the bigger vehicle that can cause the most damages has the initial right of way. You may slow down at an intersection but if you stop, allowing cross traffic through, you will wait a long time before given an opening to cross the street.

Young Ladies at the Fruit Stand

Ok finally we are at LBC, the fruit stand I want is just next door. It comes in handy to know landmarks in town. Typical directions from a Filipino is a general wave of the arm in a west, north, south or east direction and the comment “Over there”. While Filipinas normally don’t use their arm to indicate direction they just point their nose, nod their head or point with their lips “over there” again. No street names, no 5 blocks east of here, wala, (nothing) but “over there”.
Ok I want Oranges, ponkan, pineapple, pinya, mangoes, mangga from the stand. Prices are usually marked, so not too hard to figure in piso /kilo. But no matter how many kilo, they usually ask how many pieces sir? So why is the price marked per kilo if you need to be asked how many of each? Oh di bale (never mind). While the clerk gets my fruit, 3 girls standing nearby get ”kano curious”. There are not that many Amerikano in town so the Filipinos are always curious to meet and talk to one, to practice their English on.
Typical greeting is Hey Joe or hello my friend, then the 20 questions begin. Filipinos are supposedly shy in general but it is always overruled by their curiosity.

1. Hey Joe, where you going? LOL I’m here
2. What you do here my friend? I buy fruits
3. Where you from? USA
4. Where in USA? ILLINOIS you know that?,hindi ahh you know Chicago? OOOO Chicago opo

Pretty young lady mixes fruit drinks at downtown fruit stand

5. How long you in Philippines? 2 years
6. ALL that in Calbayog? Yes
7. Where you live here? I tell them my address
8. You got Filipina wife? OO,yes
9. How many kids you got? None in Philippines, but 3 in the states older
10.You don’t like to have kids with Filipina? I can’t make more babies.
11.How you like the Philippines? I love it here in Calbayog Samar
12.You got single friend to give to me? Maybe
13.You have work here? No I’m retired
14.You have pension? Yes I’m on pension
15.How much your pension a month? Enough to be comfortable
16.You share a friend to me please? LOL ok
17.What is your friend’s name? I have many friends
18.He comes here too Philippines? Maybe later
19.You have house or rent? I rent Apartment
20.How much your rent each month? P6000

OK you got the gist they keep asking the more you stand there, so time to trike it home,
Ingat Ka at Paalam


  1. Hi, I’ve just read your conversations and it makes me feel proud to be a Calbayognon…Currently I’m working here in Abu dhabi for almost 7 years now and still want to spend my vacation in Calbayog…I miss the people and the place itself…I heard a mall will be constructed this year and demolition is on going for the project site…At least we have a new place to visit…And that brown out, it really sometimes has its own timings…LOL…By the way, my grandma own a famous smoke fish store there, its called “Ping-ping’s Tinapa”…It really is good…Stay safe…God bless…

    • Thank you Jerrwen for checking out my site. I try to portray Calbayog the way I see it and be as honest as possible. Yes they are building a Centro Mall next to Chow King downtown, right on the corner. It is getting near completion and I will have updated pictures of it in a few posts. Also if you read more of the stories on my site you will see that the old wet market downtown is being torn down and a Gaisano Mall will soon be in its place. The new wet market is in Rawis. I will have pictures of the new market in my next post. Next to the new market is also the new bus terminals and a Robinson Mall is scheduled to be put up there, but the construction has not yet begun. So hopefully soon we will have 2 major malls here plus some smaller shopping centers. Justmar has expanded already and a few new restaurants have been erected here. Have you been back in the 7 years that you have been gone? You say that you “still WANT to spend my vacation in Calbayog”. Have you? Many things have changed in only the past 2 1/2 years that I have been here, so if you have not been here for 7 years, things are really different. Please continue to check out my site for any updates. If you have a story you would like to share about Calbayog or if you have suggestions to make the site better for everyone to learn about Calbayog, please let me know. You can send any story you would like to share to my e-mail: . Thanks again for taking the time to check out the site and especially thanks for taking time to send a comment.

      • Rick I was very surprised at your electric bill you just quoted P5K with all that stuff?? We have one small ref. one small AC, one desktop computer and occasionally a few CFA lights and llast Bill was just under P7000 and the one before was over P6000. secondly I think you quoted about P6k for an apartment. I was paying P8500 for a house in Angeles in 2004-6! wonder what a house would cost to rent inCalbayog. you got any ideas?
        I had not been on TitP in some months and wanted to get on Thur (nite) but we had a blackout from 11:30Am to about 7PM byt whch time I was kinda wiped out and sick so hit the sack Friday morning we were in Calbayog at the jollibee. I had wanted to contac one of yall, but no way to do it Friday.
        Some things I’d prefer not to post here 🙂 but at the moment I have no other choice. I dont know when I’ll get back thereeither, rather sporatic. Any suggestions?

        • So I see that “gbc” and “Gary Corell” are one in the same, or at least using the same e-mail address. I guess the name change is why I had to re-approve the message before it got posted.
          Gary that amount you pay for you electric seems pretty high because my payment is similar to the one that Rick is paying. We have a refrigerator, a freezer, my PC (with surge protector), an a/c, 3 TV’s, 6 electric fans, an occasional appliance and of course all the lights (including a night light outside and 1 inside that are on all night long) and our bill rarely gets to P5000, except during the summer months when we use the a/c more. Even then it usually doesn’t exceed P6000. We have at least 1 electric fan running 24/7 (usually 2), except during the not so common right now brown outs.
          So I’m wondering, are you talking about an electric bill here in Calbayog? I think I would check into that if it is. The only time our bill was that high was our first bill with all the extra one time fees added on.
          I have been to Rick’s apartment a couple of times and I think he has a nice apartment and that seems to be a good price for it. I’m sure that when Rick sees your question about the apartment prices, he will be able to answer it. He is very knowledgeable in that area, certainly more knowledgeable than I am for such things.

        • First, Calbayog is not like Angeles, few tourists here, I know of no rental houses and have not heard of any in 2 1/2 years living here. Most foreigners here live here or rent year around and do 6 mos here 6 months at home. My rent has been P6000 a month for 2 1/2 years had to sign a 1 year lease. My last electric bill we just paid, P4758 was the exact total, We have cousins here in our compound that only run a small air con at night and are tight on their electric use their bills hardly get over P3000 and their apartment is a 2 story bigger than mine in total square footage with a 2nd floor outside balcony , their rent P10,000 a month.

          • We looked at a house to rent in Calbayog back in December 2011. I think it might have been in Matobato. I don’t remember the price but the woman that was renting it wanted to leave her dogs and cats there. NO THANKS! It was a bit of a dump anyways.

          • I don’t blame u, that would not be happening.

  2. I love it there too and wish I could be there now but like Gary I have a few years to go. My wife and son are there so I have an emotional connection but I also like the size of the city. It’s not so big as to be overwhelming but big enough you can usually find what you need. My wife gets nervous when I go out by myself but I’ve only felt uncomfortable once in Calbayog. We were waiting for the ferry and a worker at the pier was staring intensely at my wife and I. It was not a friendly stare. My wife noticed and mentioned it to me. I had already noticed but didn’t say anything to her, not wishing to escalate things. I gave the guy a friendly nod and that seemed to put him off a bit so he went on about his business. I suppose that could happen anywhere.

    • A lot of times if you let someone know that you notice them, even if they had bad intentions, that will make them second guess and sometimes forget the whole thing.

  3. I love it too and wish I could be there full time but that has to wait a few more years. I echo John in hoping they can get the brownouts fixed and get a decent grocery store. I would add decent Internet to my wish list but the entire country has lousy Internet so I might be asking too much. I also echo Rick in that I like the quiet, easy going lifestyle Crime is much lower than Angeles City and I have never felt nervous in Calbayog and I can’t say that in Angeles. We don’t even have bars on the windows of our house in San Joaquin while we do have them at our place in AC along with barbed wire on the walls that surround the house.
    Quite simply, I love Samar and its people.

    • I wish for a better Internet also and I also never felt nervous in Calbayog. I’ve been downtown alone at dark and still didn’t feel nervous.

  4. You guys crack me up, lol. Now if I had 40 pesos for every conversation I’ve had like that…

    • Would you be a rich man or would you have like 80 pesos? I think the latter for me.

      • Well, I was basing it on the current exchange rate. A few years ago I’d be set for life, lol…Seems no matter where I go if there are a few minutes alone with a Filipino then that typical conversation arises. I don’t mind though. I kind of enjoy it.

        • I guess when you don’t get out in the world it’s just natural to be curious about things you don’t see everyday and when you get an opportunity to ask questions, you do.

          • I suppose to the average Filipino we are ‘something else’. We travel halfway around the world for various reasons and end up in the Philippines. They probably find it hard to believe anybody wants to come to the Philippines willfully, lol.

          • Especially when there are so many of them trying to get out.

          • I don’t see it as wondering why the Kano come here, or that Filipinos want out so bad, Mostly Filipinos are so full of pride for their country,heritage,culture,they easily understand why we want to move here, plus they believe we are all rich,lol. Personally after 2 years here, i don’t want to ever move back to USA, I like the slow steady pace,people of Calbayog, not to touristy, too just a lousy place to visit, great place to live,at least for me.

          • Well Rick obviously I like it too because I’m still here. Despite all the brownouts and other crap, I’m still here. There are worst places to live and more expensive. I really would like for them to fix the brown out problem and the supermarket problem though. I can’t even get a dill pickle around here.

  5. Never would have thought of that, i guess 2 years here and nothing bad said by the filipinos i might as well be polite till the end of my patients, or just bring Flor everywhere, then the girls don’t ask me questions but the lalaki ask her then LOL.

    • Yeah, when I go out with Lita, they always ask her, not me. Of course when I’m alone, I’m not as communicative as you seem to be. I just walk to where I want to go and rarely talk to anyone. Mostly I’m just acknowledging their greetings. I guess that makes me pretty unsociable, but there are times when I talk up a storm and people wish I would shut up. I never know when that moment will be either.

      • Could it be when you drink 8 Mountain Dews? lol

        • It could be. I’ll monitor it next time I drink that many. They were the small 7oz bottles though.

  6. John, those 20 questions are just cannon fodder for them and provides an entire day of gossip for many. Maybe if you responded in German initially, they would give up after 2 or 3 questions. lol

    • Hear that Rick? Give that a try next time. If you don’t speak another language, just make one up.

Texan in the Philippines