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Carabao Confrontation: A Near Death Experience

Okay, I admit it, “near death experience” is a tad exaggerated, but it was damn scary!

As most of you know, the first book I wrote was about the abysmal driving standards here in the Philippines. It’s available here if you want to read it. And all my other books in digital format may be purchased here at Books2Read. The paperback and audio book versions are only available through Amazon.

Plug over! ๐Ÿ™‚ So here is the story of the carabou., a big heavy water buffalo type thingy.

Thay are Big! They are Heavy!

It all happened on a weekend away. A wonderful trip south to Hinobaan,then onward to Bayawan and Siaton. The last named town is the most southerly point of Negros Island.

We meaning me, my wife Zabrina, the two boys, and our helper Daniel, were en route to Bayawan from Siaton. Dodong, Daniel’s brother, was driving. He is a good driver. He must be otherwise I would not have entrusted my car to him. Darkness had fallen and we got stuck behind a slow-moving truck.

My driver signaled to overtake on the two-lane national highway. It was clear. I could see that from the front passenger seat. As we pulled closer to the front of the slow truck – there it was – a carabao. Dark gray in color perfectly blended into the dark of the unlit highway.

“OMG,” I thought and may have exclaimed. I truly thought we were going to collide with the beast and the rice-threshing machine it was drawing behind it.

Coolly and expertly, my driver slammed the brakes and steered to safety behind the truck once more.ย  Hearts were still palpitating at such a close encounter.

I ask myself, who with any kind of brain would “drive” such a beast at night on a national highway without even as much as a flashlight to warn traffic?

The answer may seem harsh but it’s true – the mass of uneducated, ignorant idiot Filipinos who have no regard for their own safety or the safety of others. It hurts me to say that, but it’s a fact. The incident is sadly typical of so many incidents witnessed every day on the roads of the Philippines.

Having got the “bad stuff” out of the way, allow me to show you the good things that happened on our road trip. It was most enjoyable despite the near death experience.

The boys enjoying the pool at Albors.

Alborsย is a great venue. It has a large swimming pool, a restaurant, great food and a warm ambiance. We were lucky as the accommodation is normally not available and only used by members of Alan’s family. Alan owns Albors. But through a friend, we were permitted to use the one room on site and in reality were treated like family.

We had a day visit to Cove Paradise Beach & Dive Resort. It was okay, a relaxing few hours were spent there. For me, the beach isn’t the best. There were rocks exposed at low tide and too much trash. It has a lovely pool and I’m sure the rooms are good as they don’t come cheap. Pesos 5000 ($100) is the price you pay for the most expensive room.

Leaving there, we headed for Bayawan for BBQ on the Boulevard, reputed to be the longest in Asia, The boulevard is lined with many BBQ outlets and further up seems to have some permanent videoke bars. It was on the way there we had the near death experience with the carabao.

I usually drive, but that weekend decided to have someone else do the driving. He did a great job. Thank you, Dodong! LIfe is too short for going head to head with large beasts ๐Ÿ™‚


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  1. Philip Mutch Philip Mutch

    Hi Stephen, (or if your prefer Steve!!)
    Great article my friend. I am 53 in the throws of semi retirement to Philippines after a life changing 4way bypass late last year. A mate of mine and myself were over in Luzon in February looking at possible places to settle and hired a car (self drive) in order to have a good look around.
    While up in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, I was driving back to the hotel from a friends place (at night) and was travelling at around 70kph on a quiet main road. Suddenly (and I mean suddenly) I noticed a dark silhouette only about 50 mtrs ahead of me which turned out to be a pedal tricycle and side car (cage) with people in it. No lights, no reflective clothing, nothing, just plodding along in the pitch darkness.
    How I managed to miss the ‘idiot’ was a miracle for all concerned and I thank my lucky stars there was nothing coming the other way. My fellow passengers (2 of the 3 were locals) could not believe we didn’t hit them and mentioned it was ‘perfectly normal’ to see this night in night out.
    You’re summation of your caribou experience nailed the attitude here. Lesson? expect the unexpected I guess.

    • Hi Phil! Thanks for the comment. Steve is fine ๐Ÿ™‚ You got it in one – expect the unexpected! You’re a brave man renting a car here lol. Have you found a place to settle yet? And take care of that ticker buddy!

      • Philip Mutch Philip Mutch

        Hi Steve.. Looking at possibly Ilocos Norte if I can find a nice beach shack to rent initially then maybe a mid to long term lease. I’ve done the major cities in many countries so only want to chill from now on. Family friend has recommended a ‘reliable & trustworthy’ solicitor (remains to be seen) that specialises in leases so might sit down for a coffee with him when I’m in Manila in a few months. I’ve driven in many countries Steve, gotta be on your toes over there though ๐Ÿ˜‰ haha

I would love to hear from you

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