Today self did not expect to actually enter a sugar central. But, having secured a taxi, she decided to test her adventurous spirit — to the max.
Do you know where First Famers is, she asked the driver.
Yes, ma’am! quoth he with alacrity.
Then take me there!
After haggling over his fee (He’d never ever had to take anyone to a sugar central before), we were off! But first we passed the Talisay ukay-ukay (open-air market), and self hit on a REALLY GOOD STRATEGY: she made the taxi driver walk around with her, and when she wanted to buy something, she would hand the clothes to him and tell him to make tawad (haggle). Obviously, this was a very good strategy, for she was able to secure a pair of rubber tsinelas (still in the wrapping, with very pristine soles) for 30 pesos (69 US cents). Later, when she is back in her room (at the moment, she is availing of the free and extremely fast wi-fi in Café Uma) she will take a picture.
Anyhoo, at the entrance to First Farmers, self and the taxi were stopped at the gate by two extremely serious-looking security guards. They simply would not believe self was a Villanueva. Especially because she had arrived in a taxi. A taxi from Bacolod. Driven by a man who looked extremely tetch-y. She had to whip out her Stanford Alumni Membership Card (She could have shown them her California drivers license, but that would have revealed her age. Self, you are soooo vain!)
The guards immediately got on the phone and she had to wait in the taxi for almost half an hour. She asked who the manager was, and they said it was “something something Montinola.” Montinola! Self immediately thought of her Assumption classmate, Gianna Montinola, and said: “Let me talk to him. He’s probably the brother of my dearest good friend since kindergarten, Ms. Gianna Montinola.” Further blah blah blah on the phone. Finally, they waved us through. The driver, let self tell ya, was completely completely unmanned and wanted to go straight back to Bacolod, but self threatened not to pay him.
So, there was self, pulling up to the Assistant Manager’s Office. Of all things, they insisted she be escorted around by someone, who turned out to be the Assistant Manager himself. They gave her a hard hat to wear (blue). As self looks extremely ugly in a hard hat, she refused to have her picture taken. But here are a few of the pictures she did end up taking:
The First Farmers sugar central began operation in 1964.
The processed sugar is packed into bags which are sewn shut and then stored in this cavernous warehouse. Amazingly, there is not an ant problem.
The sugar before it’s sewn into sacks. It was WARM. Amazing. Self did not, of course, eat the whole glass. That would have added xxx pounds to her weight. And she’s supposedly on a diet.
This is the molasses before it’s further processed into sugar. Amazing: the engineer pulled a spigot and let the brown liquid seep onto a thin pane of glass, and that’s how self tasted it — by running a finger along the glass.
There’s so much more, but self will need to rest now.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.