On the day that we left for the island of Malapascua (mainly to see the much ballyhooed thresher shark), I still had time to go to work since the flight wasn’t until after lunch. After we said goodbye on-air, I rushed home to pack (believe it or not I hadn’t packed yet), then rushed to the cats to groom them, feed them, and to leave enough food while we’re gone, then sped off to the airport with enough time to spare.
The plane left Manila around 1:30 pm. After a quick flight, the plane finally landed and off we went on our latest travel adventure. The tunnel from the plane to the airport was a great metaphor for the trip. It was like I didn’t know what mysteries and goodies lay ahead of the dark tunnel.
Then I saw a poster of our destination: Malapascua Island. I’ve never been to Cebu for a vacation. I’ve been there many times before but always for work – for the Ad Congress, some hostings, and the album tour for our CD (don’t ask!). That was the first time I ever went there purely for holiday purposes.
I had no idea how the place looked like, how we’ll get there, and how long the travel ahead of us still lay in wait, like a predator ready to pounce on some unsuspecting morsel. Phase 1 was done (the plane ride). Phase 2 was the shortest (the taxi ride). It only took about 15 minutes from the airport to the bus terminal.
When we got to the bus terminal, Phase 3 ensued (the bus ride). We had to run after the bus because it was rolling out of the terminal already when we arrived. The timing was perfect because had we missed it, we would’ve had to wait for another bus to be filled up. And as it turned out, we were already late as it was. We left the bus terminal roughly around 3:30 pm.
At first I was having fun, despite the bus being cramped and generally crappy (and did I mention it had no aircon?), snapping away at the sights that I saw around Cebu, feeling like a travel photographer out on assignment.
But the novelty soon wore VERY thin. Especially when I found out that I’d have to stay in that crapfest of a bus for at least 4 HOURS. Boy, was I upset. I thought it was just a quick hour ride to the port or something. But 4 hours?!? Oh well, I started getting bored faster than a preemie having a quickie with Jessica Alba. But I must say, the bus may have been the pits, but the ride was anything but boring. It felt like a surreal movie at times. It would be sunny one moment, then stormy the next. We would all pull down the windows and simmer in all the odors of the passengers, their cargo, and their animals (yes, there were animals). The cast was always changing, with people getting on and getting off at different points, vendors selling things that sounded like tundur and bulbul – I kid you not!!!
Day quickly turned into night and we were still on the road and Madonna was quite right when she said, “Time goes by so slowly for those who wait…” I started watching every nut and bolt on the bus, every scratch, every grafitti, every sign (all of which I couldn’t understand). The sign below is Greek to me. # 2 reads to me as: Give your ticket to the cat for inspection. # 3 reads to me as: Kung may reklamo ka, batukan ang mga empleyado.
The trip got weirder and weirder as the sky got darker and darker. One Kodak moment (in my case “Nikon moment”), could only be described by reading the title I gave the photo:
“Two Sweaty Men On The Bus Showing Me Their Big Angry Cocks”
The next phase (the boat ride) I have no pictures of, mainly because it was pitch black in the port. There were no lights at all; thank goodness we brought flashlights. We met a friendly British guy on the bus (who was with a girl “friend” he “picked-up” in the Philippines) and they missed their boat because we got there at almost 9 pm and the last boat left at 5:30. We decided to let them ride with us since our boat was chartered by the resort. The girl “friend” was whining the whole time, complaining to us that she didn’t want to go to some remote island in the middle of nowhere and wanted to go to some fancy resort in the city instead.
Just when I thought the never-ending travel was over, there was one last phase (the motorcycle ride). I had to angkas behind the sweaty and “fragrant” manong for a 15-minute ride from the beach to the resort. Not being very experienced with motorbikes, I didn’t know that letting my feet dangle on both sides was a BAD idea. The manong banked right, and my right foot hit the ground hard, hitting a rock, and I ended up with a bleeding shin and a numb leg that I couldn’t feel until the next morning.
We got to the resort at almost 10 pm, drained, exhausted, and starving. We gobbled down the food (it was yummy grilled squid), then went to our room, took a shower and scraped away what felt like an inch-thick layer of grime, then off to dreamland. We decided to take the budget room for the first night, since our first day was practically done, so we didn’t want to spend too much for a done day. It was budget mainly because there was no aircon, no hot water, a shared bathroom, and you sleep with a kulambo so you don’t become skeeter buffet.
Next post, you see the resort in daylight and Malapascua! Once our backs hit the bed, it was literally and figuratively, lights out.
(To be continued…)