A hidden beach, in a far far away place

There are some weird places on the island. Driving on unpaved paths through a forest, the only indication that you’re going somewhere is because the leaves are pressed flat from other people walking or driving there before me. Then, suddenly a bamboo fence and some steps behind it going down…

Following a overgrown path I found an abandoned hut, presumably for picnics.

And beyond that, finally a deserted beach. Which looked very nice to swim. Though I didn’t test/check how deep the water was.

I’ll find out some day how swimworthy this place is…

I lost my shirt to a dog…

Earlier this week I had my first ever “serious” accident while driving. I’ve never been involved in any accident involving vehicles. Nothing serious anyway.

Unfortunately all that changed earlier this week while me and my mom were driving on the provincial road on Siquijor. Both on our own motorbikes. I was doing about 53km/h (~32mph) when I crashed into a dog. The stupidest dog in the world I might add. It didn’t need to be there, but it decided it wanted to get hurt…

As you may know, Filipinos do not chain up their dogs in the provinces, not often anyway. So they’re everywhere. On the road, near the road, beaches, yards, in the woods – name a place and you’ll find a dog within 50 meters of you. This particular one was laying on the oncoming traffic lane licking his ass or something. Seeing that, I decided the dog was busy doing something else and I just continued driving, no danger for me or the dog.

When I was maybe 5 meters away the dog suddenly got up and ran in front of my motorbike. I responded immediately by beeping the horn but the dog didn’t respond. Too late to brake or avoid it, I hit it full on just below the ribcage while driving 53-55km/h.

Finally hitting the brake (I think) I fell down, scraped a whole bunch of skin of my left elbow and left lower leg.

Luckily Filipinos are helpful and kind people at heart. Bystanders, along with my mom who drove behind me, came to my aid quickly. Emergency services arrived within 2 minutes and I was rushed to the hospital in a firetruck. The hospital was more of a emergency room. But things were quite functional in there for first aid. They provided some initial treatment like cleaning wounds and starting a file.

I then got rushed to the islands main hospital by ambulance – Along with some other tourists who had an accident earlier, further down the road. One fell of the backseat of her scooter or something 😉

Damages

As mentioned before I have big scrapes on my left elbow and lower left leg. The left side of my torso has a bunch of scrapes and feels banged up. Both my hands are screwed up. My right knee has lost some skin, too.

I noticed later that somehow I have no bruises anywhere… If you can believe that. Even though I banged my shoulder on the pavement, which now feels like someone stomped on it. Probably a pulled muscle or two there… Same for my lower legs and ankles, muscle pain and stiffness all around.

My shirt got shredded, pants scraped and ruined. The sole of my shoe is torn/ripped – I think something from the motorbike caught on it and ripped the rubbery part of the sole and luckily not my foot 🙂

And of-course, my fancy Honda XR150L is all dinged up. Over the whole left side a bunch covers appear scratched, the signal lights and clutch are screwed up and the luggage rack is now without paint. I didn’t take pictures yet and didn’t take a real good look at things there, but it seems the damage is not super bad. At first glance the engine seems intact and scratch free for example, miraculously…

When I can walk properly again I’ll take some photos and probably blog about the repairs – I already have an idea where to get cheap original parts. But for now I’ll just take it easy and be bored at home 🙁
While not super serious, the parts without skin need some time to heal and they hurt like hell sometimes.

Lucky me…

High up a mountain path

Bright sun, blue skies, a few clouds. And some great views. I strayed from the narrow dirt path a bit from time to time to climb some slopes and hills and could see pretty much the whole north side island from up there.

Driving further along the mountain range at the other side I could see the south/east side of things.

I’ll definitely go back here some time with the GoPro and film the ride. It’s a nice route for it.

Honda XR150L first impressions

I remember that before I came to the Philippines I promised myself a big chunky ATV. Because that makes sense in this country with it’s lacking infrastructure. Then I actually got here and it turned out that ATV’s are not a thing in this country at all. They’re hard to get, hard to deal with legally and even harder to not draw all kinds of unwanted attention from Filipinos.

So, last year I bit the bullet and got into riding motorbikes last year. I say ‘bit the bullet’, because I always figured that 2 wheels wasn’t enough for me.
Anyway, in April 2017 I’ve bought a brand new Honda XR150L. And so far it’s been quite a ride, literally. Here is a first impressions kind of thing with some of my thoughts on learning how to drive this motorbike.

So far I’m totally satisfied with it’s capabilities and being a fairly new driver I probably didn’t even come close to pushing its limits yet. Of-course my excuse will be that the engine still has to be ridden in. Also I’m still getting used to driving a manual clutch and all that. However so far it’s been very enjoyable 🙂

Mind you, before getting the XR150L I’d practically never driven a manual clutch before. I drove a Honda XRM125 (below), which is more like a scooter and even shares the same frame as a Honda Wave. But it’s set up for dual-sport riding, similar to the XR150L. You’ll see in the photos that the XRM looks similar to the XR150L from the front, but from behind is more like a scooter.

I did practice a little bit on a Yamaha SZ150 a few days before getting the Honda XR150L. Which, in my brief experience, handles like crap compared to the XR150L. However, it’s a completely different motorbike and at the time I was very new to driving a manual transmission. So not really a fair comparison. Still, I don’t see me buying a motorbike like that anytime soon. Especially now that I have the XR150L.

Driving around

The XR150L drives very light and easy. Accelerates from 0 to 70-80km/h in under 10 seconds if you want it to and feels like it has enough oomph to go over 100km/h with ease. For now I’m fine with doing 60-70km/h though – At lower speeds I enjoy seeing the scenery, too.

It weighs only 129Kg so is fairly easy to deal with in most situations. So far it has been easy to balance and steering appears light and effortless. Which allows for quick reflexes to avoid running goats and potholes if necessary.

Like many similar motorbikes the XR150L has no gear indicator, which means you have to listen to the engine and judge when to shift on how the engine pulls and behaves. It took me a day or so to figure out a somewhat decent shift pattern – When to shift down while slowing down and so on. I’m still working on making that more smooth.

I learned to drive on the Honda XRM125, which has a gear indicator. So it took me a while for me to stop looking for which gear I was in.

Similarly there is no fuel gauge. I figured that would be an issue, but I have my phone calculate the fuel milage and use the trip odometer to measure when to get fuel. Should I screw that up, there is the 3.5L reserve tank.
So far I’ve been doing about 50km/L and that number is going up – Even though I took to the mountains for the last few days. So I guess my driving is improving?

The bigger frame of the XR150L is much more suitable for me as a person than the XRM125 was. Which had me slouch much more and more easily. Which for longer drives was not comfortable. I’m a fairly big guy and the XRM125 was just too small for me.

Transmission

Getting used to the manual transmission was my biggest issue with the XR150L. Not the XR150L’s fault of-course. Just me not knowing how to deal with it. After a few days I got used to it and now comfortably drive around. I do have to get used to the clutch a bit more. When to use it and what it’s exact capabilities are. But I’ll get there eventually.

Over the past few days I’ve been driving over some mountains on crap roads and that went fine. Shifting down when necessary instead of powering through in high gear. Having 150cc in the engine compared to the XRM125 the XR150L is notably more powerful.

First impressions

I have the standard wheel setup. 19 inch rim front and 17 inch rim in the back. Enduro tires, not too stubby but good for gravel and regular roads. The bigger tire on the back makes for more comfortable riding I think. A thing I already discovered when I replaced the rear tire on the XRM125. But with this bigger XR150L it seems even more notable on rocky roads. The suspension is great on this thing.

My first impressions are that I definitely bought a cool bike that I like a lot. Both for looks and capabilities. It seems perfectly capable of my casually adventurous driving without being overly complex to deal with. And once I get fully comfortable with the clutch it will be even more so.

The only thing I (sort of) miss so far, or rather wish the XR150L had, is a USB charging port near the speedometer and little bit bigger and lockable compartment.

Everyone has a smartphone or GPS these days. Why not let me charge it while driving. And the tiny tool compartment. Fine for tools, obviously. But it doesn’t lock and is already filled to the brim when the toolkit is in there. Not very useful for anything else.

Neither is a dealbreaker of-course. It just seems to make more sense, to me at least, to add a USB port and include a little larger compartment.

Soon I’ll figure out how to put the GoPro Hero5 on there. I’ll need some mounts and stuff to make it fit properly and I can bore you with occasional riding videos again!

Annoying ex-girlfriend? How to deal with it…

Recently I broke up with my girlfriend. The simple truth is that I didn’t love her anymore. I hadn’t loved her for a while. I’ve tried to rekindle the love. But the feeling was gone. Plain and simple. So after a while I decided it was time to move on and I broke up with her.

I sent her on her way after some talking and discussion about the why and how and a few more times the why. Filipinas love drama. Anyway, she left the next morning in a defeated mood and went back home. We had the notion of staying friends, which was fine with me, and I thought that was that.

In the past few weeks she’s on and off pestering me everywhere she can. And she’s being a right bitch about just about everything in every way she can. Facts twisted, truths twisted, memories ruined. I’m made out to be the bad guy and everything I ever did for her seems to have been a wasted effort.

Maybe that’s her way of dealing with things? I don’t know, and honestly I don’t care. But go bother someone else, please?

She’s obviously bitter or angry. Maybe even sad. I sort of get that. But come on – Be mature about it and try to move on. She could get a job, or do something useful with her time instead of wasting it on pestering the ex-boyfriend with bullshit and an attempted guilt trip. It’s merely annoying and resulted in me blocking her everywhere I can.

So; blocked on Facebook, Facebook chat and banned from my Facebook page. Muted and ignored on WhatsApp. SMS/txt messages and phone calls are set to be silent and ignored. Removed from Instagram. I made a rule in my email to delete her emails should she send any.

But it doesn’t end there… Now she found my old dating site profile, which I’m no longer using and she can see that it’s been inactive. But she sent me a message there anyway. How bored can a person be to make it their mission to find any and every angle to try and annoy me?

Her last sms sent recently (before I set that to ignore, too) said so much as that she could do without me just fine –

Then why don’t you? Get a life!

So that’s the current situation. What to do about such a girl? Ignore, ignore ignore and then ignore it some more. There really is no sensible argument that will fix any of it. But I’m so tempted every time to “defend” myself or set the record straight, but I’ll only make it worse once I bite. So I don’t.

Ignore, block and spam everything and maybe some day she’ll give up… 🙁 *sigh*

Eight bananas please

I like bananas, but not by the kilos. So often I buy just a few, 4 or 8 bananas. Turns out that was a bit more difficult than it should be.

Me: Hello.
Salesguy: Hi.
Me: 8 bananas please.
Salesguy: Yes!
tears one banana of the bunch
Salesguy: 8.
Me: Yes, but I want 8 bananas, 8 pieces.
Salesguy: Yes, 8.
Me: This is one banana, I want 7 more.
Salesguy: 8 Kilo?
Me: No, just 8 bananas.
Salesguy: Yes, 8.

The sales guy didn’t speak english, or not very good.

Exploring more of Siquijor Island

I have this app on my phone, maps.me. Usually it works pretty good. But many roads are just not on there for this island. Not sure why, so far it’s been very reliable elsewhere in the Philippines.

Anyway, while the map keeps telling me there is no road – Clearly there is.

Going down the hill there is a small barangay where fishermen live. And a rocky beach with crystal clear waters.