From Siquijor To A Very Sick Whore!

Siquijor(pronounced – ‘sikihaw’).

A mysterious island in the southern Philippines. It was to be The Lola Boys next port of call. They took the ferry from the scruffy, but friendly, port of Tagbilaran and headed on a south easterly course across the Bohol Sea, part of the western Pacific.

Paul adored all this extraneous geographical information. He knew it to be pretentious but he felt it connected him with the seafaring adventurers of old – Drake, Columbus, Magellan and the like.

Not to mention re-invigorating his youthful Tintin spirit. Whilst travelling it invariably didn’t take long for his inner boyhood hero to re-emerge – despite his approaching middle age and still harbouring an infection that had probably troubled most of the seamen he’d just mentioned.

Fairly regularly if they’d had a girl (or boy) in every port!

At his first sight of Siquijor, Paul was entranced.



She rose from the sea enshrouded with a captivating cover of cumulus, making her at once both inviting and inscrutable. It was said many Filipinos were too afraid to visit the island due to her reputation for black magic. It was certainly true there was a tradition of the occult on Siquijor, many shamans still resided in the interior. These ‘healers’ were part of the reason Paul had added the place to his and Andrew’s itinerary. He was secretly hoping one of them may help Andrew quit the fags.

The smoking variety.

To this effect Paul had acted like a witch in the past, but to no avail, he wondered if a witch doctor may do the trick.

On docking at the port of Larena they took a well earned ‘San Miguel’ at a small shack, whilst they waited for the millennial melee to disperse. They were both used to the routine of a disembarkation by now and Paul usually felt like disembowling most of his fellow passengers. More often than not made up of snooty twenty-somethings with their ringed noses in the air and being far too free with their tattooed elbows, as they fought for their rucksacks as if their privileged lives depended on it.

Gap year hippies! Most unhip and sporting similar size gaps between their lugholes!

He knew his infection must be worsening – apparently craziness was a symptom – and he was certainly quick to get mad when the seventh overladen ‘traveller’ nearly knocked him off the quayside with her backpack. She’d obviously forgotten she had it on – or didn’t care. Either or, it was clear that most of the travelling she had done was on the tube. Paul wished at that moment she’d get back underground.

Six feet under it!

‘Oy’, he said in his best cockney, ‘watch it love!’

The pretty blonde just turned and sneered, looking at Paul with a haughty approbation.

Oscar Wilde had been so right when he’d said youth was wasted on the young. Many of them clearly didn’t know what to do with it!

After another beer at ‘Grayson’s’ the panic had died down and Paul felt marginally less bitter. He thought of the young people he knew, who he loved and admired, and remembered it was only a type who behaved so badly – not a generation.

Grayson was the first and later on, the last Cebuan they had met on Siquijor. A charmingly gruff ex-merchant navy man, who had sailed the world. He told them salty tales of his time aboard exploration ships down in the Antarctic. And even saucier stories of his time working on tankers in and out of Rotterdam.

He had been everywhere and then retired to his homeland to run a tiny bar, which covered for a gambling den out back. Middle aged ladies and rough old men rattled their mah jong tiles in the back room, nodding politely to Paul as he made his way past them to the little boy’s room.

It was quite a scene.

After a bumpy trike ride across the island the boys hit the western town of San Juan. Their digs were modest to say the least. The ubiquitous rock hard bed which seemed de rigeur throughout the Philippines, and a toilet with a life of it’s own. It belched and spluttered harder than a Coronavirus patient. The only way to beat the cistern was to turn it off!

But ‘Czars’, (pronounced Caesar’s), was cheap and it had a pool. Even if it didn’t look as if it’d been cleaned since Roman Times. Paul knew at once there would be no morning dip in such a stagnant mess, or his mother may have to dip into mourning.

It looked deadly.

A much healthier option was the ocean.

The sea surrounding Siquijor was crystal clear. It was superb for snorkelling and both Paul and Andrew took advantage. Unfortunately Andrew encountered what he later discovered to be a highly venemous sea snake on his first outing, which slightly curtailed his oceanic adventure.

He never went back in!

Choosing instead to relax and write new lyrics for the act at a superbly positioned coffee shop on the water’s edge.

The small establishment was managed by a Geordie called Kevin.

Once Kevin had established Andrew and Paul’s nationality he had regaled them with tales of his past.

He had been in the navy, worked as a social worker and had been Judy Garland’s daughter’s limo driver for years. Not Liza Minnelli he’d added – apparently he had once pissed her off by calling her Lisa with an ‘s’ instead of Liza with a ‘Z’. When recounting the tale he’d still managed to call her ‘Leeza’.

No wonder she’d  grown weary.

But Kevin seemed interesting enough, even if some of his anecdotes had a whiff of the ‘Cost Del Bullshit’ about them.

He offered to drive the boys to the other side of the island to swim with the Thresher Sharks and the vast swirling schools of Sardine which teemed in the deep water there.

It was an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Although Andrew did manage to refuse it the following day when he’d gone off the idea. The incident with the sea snake, and the re-surfacing of a near-fatal snorkelling incident off The Gili Isles in Indonesia, (during which he had only just managed to re-surface), had jellied his sea-legs. Which were hardly robust in the best conditions. So Paul embarked with Kevin alone.

The trip did not turn out as promised. The only shark Paul encountered on the expedition had been Kevin.

It transpired that Kevin was on the hunt for sausage.

Not Paul’s kind.

Thankfully!

But Bratwurst of the German kind.

It so happened that before heading to the marine sanctuary, they were to go in search of a small business which stocked charcuterie hidden somewhere in the centre of the island.

After calling at a remote Dragonfruit farm, where the bemused farmers were quite non-plussed by Kevin’s demands for directions, they stopped at several small chicken feed stores.


Kevin once again barked rudely at the proprietors- repeating the words ‘German’ and ‘Sausage’ over and over again. Each time louder, as if volume would make up for his lack of language skills. The search continued until eventually he’d managed to contact the sausage seller, via his mobile, and she agreed to come and meet them at the general store. Which was generally in the middle of nowhere.

After an age the irregular choking of a moped was heard in the distance and two young Filipinos rolled up on their bike. The girl, who was very beautiful, alighted with a dazzling smile and came towards us.

‘Your directions were terrible. Shit! It wasn’t five hundred metres passed the ‘Banta’ Tree was it?! More like two kilometres!’ Kevin shouted hoarsely.

His voice possessed a hoarse, north eastern gravel – Paul had summised that he probably shouted a lot.

The girl laughed.

‘Like five hundred, maybe one kilometre’,  she giggled. Distance obviously wasn’t her thing – politeness certainly was.

The Filipinos hated to lose face, and she was more than a match for the red faced British pensioner who was screaming at her.

She got into the passenger seat as Paul was relegated to the back, just like Lorna Luft, ‘the other daughter of Judy Garland’, as Kevin had described her.

Kevin’s ex-ride. On the left!

They bumped along a dirt track, whilst Kevin continued to moan on about the mileage. The sausage girl held her cool coupled up in the front of Kevin’s banger with him banging on.

Paul, meanwhile, was beginning to have steam coming out of his ears. He could quite happily have mashed Kevin up along with his stupid bangers. He loathed rudeness, especially when accompanied with a racist superiority.

They pulled up on the dusty track next to a bored bull and then hiked the last part of the way, eventually arriving at a hut perched on a hill.

A young boy strummed a guitar, another fiddled with his hose. The whole scenario felt horribly illicit. Like some dodgy drug deal. Maybe President Duterte didn’t approve of German sausage.

He was terribly fussy.

They were shown into a small kitchen where there, finally, nestled in the corner, stood a fridge.

The refrigerator.

It had a small freezer section which, when opened, revealed a small selection of German sausage.

‘How much are they?’ Kevin rasped urgently.

‘All different’ said the sausage girl, ‘look on the board.’

Paul had already noticed the sign on the kitchen wall, but Kevin was obviously short sighted as well as short tempered. He turned to read the menu which listed quite a selection.

Bratwurst and Knackwurst and Bockwurst and Teewurst. Doorbells and sleighbells and Scnitzel with noodles. Brown paper packages tied up with string. These were a few of Kev’s favourite things!

‘What are those?’ he asked. Pointing a a packet of the fattest sausages Paul had ever seen.

‘Bratwurst’ replied the lovely ham hawker.

‘And those litt’l ones?’ asked Kevin in his best Geordie.

‘Knackwurst.’

‘And those long ones?’

‘Teewurst’! She answered now, with just a hint of exasperation.

This went on for at least ten minutes as Kevin ponderously picked his pork!


Eventually his decision was made.

‘I’ll take four of the big ones and eight of the small ones’!

Not a please in sight.

Paul was aghast. Had they really come all this way, and gone through a hard core negotiation on price, only to purchase a dozen bloody bangers?

He was beginning to lose his cool. But as the poor meat vendor held onto hers he did the same. And Paul still thought it kind of his host to be taking him to swim with the sharks.

As they got back to the main road which circumnavigated the island Kevin seemed rather pleased with himself.

‘I’ll try them out tonight for supper and if they’re any good I’ll come back and get some for me sausage and chips night. You and Andrew will be coming won’t you!’

It was more an order than a question.

‘Of course’, Paul said. Though he really couldn’t give a sausage. He was more interested in the sardines he’d been promised.

As they turned a sharp corner with slightly too much speed, the fabulously blue Pacific flooded the horizon. White horses danced atop an azure racetrack. It was what Paul had been waiting for.

But suddenly all bets were off.

‘No. They’ll be no snorkelling today,’ Kevin announced. ‘It’s too rough. I thought as much.’

Paul’s temper was beginning to sizzle – like twelve sausages in a pan.

‘I’ll take you to the marine sanctuary anyway as we’ve gotta go past on the way to the hyper market.’

They stopped at the aforementioned sanctuary for a few minutes, where Paul’s chauffeur pointed out where they would have been able to swim had conditions permitted. Kevin then went off and shouted at a couple of the guides who were laying on hammocks, chilling out on their day off.

Paul escaped for a moment, saying he needed a piss. Really he was so pissed off with Kevin he needed some escape.

He made his way along the virgin sand towards a mangrove swamp and took a few moments to let off steam. The situation was beautiful so it was quite easy.

He then returned to the car and drove with Kevin to the ‘hypermarket’.


He didn’t look inside Kev’s basket he was not interested. Instead he bought himself a beer and a two quid bottle of gin to take back to Andrew. By the time they had made a complete circle of the island the beer, and half of the gin had been finished.

‘Did you have a good time?, asked Andrew. ‘What were the sharks like?’

‘We didn’t see them’ Paul replied dryly. ‘We went on a sausage hunt instead. Want some gin?’

‘What d’you mean?’ asked Paul’s puzzled partner. But Kevin had come back into the shack after decanting his produce and was eyeing up Andrew’s beer bottles on the table. Ale he had purchased from the shop outside as Kevin’s gaff had been closed.

‘You both want another beer?’ he growled.

It was not a question!

They accepted the threat and Paul went and sat at a table on the beach to begin his blog. He could hear Kevin’s monologue rasping along the beach as Andrew sat and laughed in the right places.

Paul then listened as Kevin broke off from his sausage speech and berated a young member of his Filipino staff concerning the price of the lager he’d sent her to purchase.

‘Why is it more than last week? D’you know what I’ve spent? Take it back and tell them I don’t want it. Is it the colour of me skin? Tell them I won’t buy anymore’ etc.etc.

This went on for far too long. Paul could not see the young girl but he imagined her reaction. Indeed, Andrew had told him later that the poor thing had almost burst into tears.

‘Right that’s it’, Paul said, ‘he can stick his sausages up his arse. Rude bastard. I’m not going.’

‘I don’t wanna go either’, said Andrew, ‘I don’t even want sausages and chips. And he’s telling everyone we’re gonna do a bloody cabaret!’

‘Fuck him!’ Paul snarled. And the decision was made.

The next night, when it got to the sausageing hour, the heavens just happened to open. A torrential downpour direct from nature’s gravy boat flooded the entire town for hours. And to make matters better, there was a blackout. The power went down for as far as the eye could see.

Paul and Andrew sat undercover with a flickering candle and just the sound of the rain pelting down like liquid bullets against the tin roof.

There was no karaoke.

No Phil Collins blaring out.

No sausage night!

Against all odds there was just silence.

And the odd toad coming out of his hole to step up to the plate and give a loud croak.

It was bliss.

The following morning, Paul and Andrew bounced along Siquijor’s interior in a tricycle, making their way to the port. Paul’s prostate was rattling along with the non-existent suspension, as he attempted to suspend himself using the handgrips on the cab’s roof. They were about to head north, and he could feel his infection doing the same –  straight for his kidneys. Shit, he knew he would have to do something when they got to Cebu City. At least there would be a doctor there – preferable to the ‘Tenko’ like clinic he had avoided on Siquijor.

They got to Cebu City after nearly five hours on the ferry. At least the waters had been calmer than Paul’s.

The city was most unappealing – it’s inhabitants less so. They were so likeable. All of Cebu City’s citizens Paul and Andrew came across were polite and happy. Each one could not do enough to make them welcome.

That evening, they hit the casino. As per usual in such insalubrious gaming halls some of it’s guests were on an entirely different game. As Paul and Andrew hit the slot machines they were surrounded by a plethora of prostitutes hoping they would fill their slots with a little cash too. Paul found it rather fun. They were pleasant girls and he brought a couple of them a beer, much to Andrew’s chagrin, as he loathed being bothered whilst playing slots.

Especially by those selling theirs!

But after Paul explained to them that they weren’t quite his type, they left. After a long while though. They seemed to enjoy the company. And Paul didn’t mind. They were prettier to look at than the balance on his machine which went down quicker than any of his companions had had a chance to.

The next day Paul woke in agony. His kidneys seemed rather annoyed with him that he hadn’t made the effort to have them seen to earlier. He now knew it to have been a mistake too.

He went, accompanied by Andrew, to the pharmacy to get another course of antibiotics. Quite wisely, the pharmacist would not give them to him without a doctor’s prescription. Not even for a bung, which was not always the case in the part of the world in which they were travelling. She instead directed Paul to the local ‘A & E’ where she said they would help him.

Paul was loathe to disturb the emergency room, especially on Sunday, but his kidneys had other ideas, and eventually screamed him into submission.

The nurse at the hospital was wonderful. He directed Paul to a back street clinic across the road. Although it had appeared a touch ‘Vera Drake’, the young GP had been superb. He examined Paul, thoroughly, and made his diagnosis. Not only would Paul need some anti-biotics – he would also need a strong intravenous, intra-muscular dose immediately too. Paul was unamused, until the doc added that his partner would need to be treated as well, as ‘she’ had obviously passed the infection back to Paul.

‘It’s a he’, Paul corrected the GP, in case that made a difference. The GP, named Bimbo, beamed.

‘Oh great. Good.’ He smiled,’I am gay too.’

‘Oh lovely,’ Paul replied. ‘You must come and work in England.’He continued inexplicably.

‘Oh yes. I would like to’ said the handsome young Filipino.

They giggled again and Bimbo wrote out the instructions for the hospital, who he said would be more than happy to give the injection.

Back at the ‘A & E’ department, worryingly sandwiched between spluttering patients, Paul and Andrew sat and awaited their turn. As a fat woman on a trolley, her ankles black and struggling for breath, was wheeled past, they were approached by the same young male nurse who had sent them to the clinic.

He had read Dr Bimbo’s instructions and was ready to go into action.

‘I’ll go first’ said Paul to his partner, ‘after all, you did give it to me!’

‘I’ll start with you’ the nurse said to Andrew, who looked at Paul and laughed.

‘This is going to be very painful’ the young medic continued.

Andrew stopped laughing.

‘Lift up your shorts’ he continued with an evil smile.

‘I thought we were having it in the arm’, Paul piped up.

‘No. Too painful’ reassured the youthful professional, ‘better in the leg. It must go into the muscle.’

With this he lifted what seemed to be a giant hyperdermic needle into view, with what looked like a gallon of liquid antibiotic attached, and proceeded to inject it steadily into Andrew’s left quadricep.

All of this in full view of an audience of amused locals who watched in utter fascination as the pain began to make it’s way to Andrew’s eek.

‘Does it hurt?’ Paul asked.

‘Just a bit’ replied Andrew with courageous mendacity. His eyes watering whilst he laughed.

‘You next,’ chuckled the armed security guard to Paul, as he too looked on, overtaken with an almost devilish hilarity.

As the potion began to make itself known to Paul’s body, he too felt the agony Andrew had experienced. He wished he hadn’t watched the whole process, as he now knew exactly how much more was to come. At last he felt the dressing being applied and he knew it was over.

Almost.

Both of them attempted to stand, but couldn’t, as they were experiencing what felt like the worst cramp in the world, making it well thigh impossible.

‘Sit for a while’, the sadistic nurse laughed. They did as they were told. They were both laughing in agony – it was all they could do.

It took an age for the pain to deaden until they were left with just a dead leg each. They limped from the taxi into their hotel.

Jefferson, the charming security guard, took one look at them and burst into fits of laughter.

‘Good night at the casino’ he roared. ‘Good to get cure early yeah?’ He guffawed.

He obviously thought Paul and Andrew had partaken of the tarts wares the previous evening. Apparently they both had the tell-tale ‘Gonorrhoeal Limp’. A complaint obviously well known in local parts and now well known to have affected their parts.

They spent their remaining time in Cebu City with everyone thinking more than just their numbers had come up at the casino.

From Siquijor to sicky whores – it had been quite a journey.

Paul only hoped the medication kicked in, and soon.

He’d had enough of thinking about curing sausage to last a lifetime!

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