What a trip! The world still turns!
Today was my first trip into the larger port town of Caticlan since we have moved from Enhanced Community Quarantine (only one family member allowed to shop for supplies) to General Community Quarantine (ECQ and GCQ, respectively).
I’ve been to the smaller town of Malay. I’ve walked there to the west, about a mile from our apartment, to buy a few limited luxuries like a lemon, crackers, and Coke Zero. But shopping with more of a selection is a few miles to the east, in Caticlan. And today, it was time to reup on our supplies.
Supply run to Caticlan
Transportation to town
Like everywhere else in the Philippines, trikes are like taxis and here they are the main mode of transportation if you don’t have your own wheels. It was easy to wave one down and hire the driver.
How, exactly, does one social distance on a trike?
The driver is on the motorcycle, and the attached cart on his bike is to the right. One passenger in front, one in the back. And away you go.
This was quite a trip, too! As in, trippy… surreal.
We were greeted at the door by a guard behind a podium. He checked us with a temp gun and sprayed sanitizer on our hands. We stepped on a wet mat for a “shoe wash” and then we were in.
Imagine – going into a bank with face masks and sunglasses. We did voluntarily remember to remove our hats.
Two guards were at the door, one with a pump shotgun. One of them had opened the door for us. That’s typical inside banks here in the Philippines.
Tedly used the ATM right inside the door. I stood several feet away, in a spot marked on the floor.
Once we had funds, I took some bills up to the counter to exchange them for smaller bills while Tedly waited in the vestibule with the ATM and took this picture below. This is not typical.
I’m the only visitor in the picture, but before my turn at the counter, a man finished up his business and I stood a good 10 feet away in a marked spot.
The standing positions, the plastic, the taped-off chairs, the glistening floors, the cleaning process before entering – and of course, everyone wore a mask.
Bank stop, supply run: Stores and stands
It strikes me how serious everyone takes the novel coronavirus. Unlike what I read from back home.
Even most people in the market wore masks, as well as store keepers, trike drivers, other shoppers. If I saw anyone without a mask, they were a good far distance from anyone else. It was the same in Caticlan that I had seen in Malay earlier this week.
Now, some places in the market and in stores are tight quarters. It’s difficult to squeeze down aisles of small stores. But the construction and design of the markets and small shops cannot be changed without rebuilding.
So, people do the best they can.
Before we entered the produce section of the Caticlan shopping district, gatekeepers sprayed us with more hand sanitizer, just like at the bank. It’s a good idea because people inevitably pick their produce, but how effective is it really when someone can cough between the gate and the vegetable stand?
Still – it is better than nothing and I give the Filipinos in Aklan a lot of credit for their effort, and for taking this pandemic seriously. No one here is bitching about needing a hair cut.
There are no supermarkets as Americans know them in Caticlan (or Malay proper). Instead, there are dozens of mom-and-pop shops, and each store has a different selection of goods.
This means: lots of stops.
Tedly led the way, since he’s done this several times already. He took me to several different stores to get the white sauce, the coffee (only instant is available here), the milk, the bread, the produce, etc.
It was hot. No air-conditioned Giant Eagle or Kroger. Store to store, stand to stand, in the sun, wearing a face mask. In fact, my upper lip was dripping with sweat most of the trip. I don’t think that’s good for the mask…
The supply run was dizzying, and somewhat tiring! Tedly is a shrewd shopper. Every item is evaluated for weight and price, content and need, so the shopping part took a bit of time. Still, he wasn’t as slow as he usually is in a big supermarket. And: I enjoyed it because it was wonderful to be OUT.
We shared a mango shake on our way out of the market area, made at a stand that used real mango and cream that was so cold with ice that a few sips gave me brain freeze.
We grabbed a trike and our last stop on the way out of town was to get rotisserie chicken at a shop called Chooks.
As we recorded expenses when we returned home, I was surprised to see we went to ten different businesses for groceries! We also went to four other businesses for supplies like cleaning goods, and the two take-out stops for the shake and the cooked chicken.
For me, it was a stimulating bank stop and supply run in Caticlan. It felt so good to see more of the world. Seriously.
And yet: I am glad to be back at our temporary ‘home’ at the Hangout Beach Resort. I really do enjoy this quiet, simple life by the sea. For now.
Thanks for reading, “Supply run to Caticlan in the ‘new normal’.”
You might also like:
- Tedly’s first supply run in the Philippines during a pandemic
- Travel trouble on a shopping trip for supplies
- Visit the Earth Vagabonds special COVID-19 page
Earth Vagabonds advocate for travel once borders reopen.