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A lady of the cloth, taking her comfy front seat at a van terminal bound for Bulan, Sorsogon.

theLOOP map_bicol.gif I was already tired and sleepless when I arrived in Daraga, Albay at around 0700H. And God, it was a rather drab morning and wet with the slow but constant drizzle. Nevertheless, I dragged myself to a waiting tricycle before catching a jeepney to Legazpi City where I had a quick breakfast.

This was not the first time that I have been in the city in this kind of weather. But when it’s like this, not seeing Mt. Mayon is depressing. I mean, come on, the only thing that a visitor expects to see here is the majestic cone. But unexpectedly, just before my ride left for Bulan in Sorsogon, the mountain beauty peeked through the clouds, faintly. Its almost indiscernible outline rising into the sky like a bride looking through her veil. For a brief few seconds I was mesmerized before she hid again. Maybe she knew my predicament and consoled me with her appearance? It was enough for me though to see her and have her image cloaked with clouds etched in my mind.

Continue Reading "From wet Legazpi to catching the ferry in Matnog"
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The lounge area of the bus terminal filled with passengers.

theLOOP map_manila.gif It was CHAOS as I excitedly wound my way to the lounge area of the Philtranco bus terminal in Pasay City on the evening of my trip. But what greeted me was the throng of people in various states and disposition as they were awaiting for their bus to arrive. Unfortunately, because it was 30 December and the height of the passenger season, all buses were late for as much as 2 hours.

Philtranco services southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao routes with their main terminal in Pasay City along EDSA.
Tel. No.:
+63 2 832 2456
+63 2 833 1369
+63 2 833 5061
(These are their posted numbers and I can’t always assure that they answer)

With all the things going around, I can’t help but observe:

  • all available seats were filled not only with people but with baggages as well
  • children running and playing around
  • leftover food like Jollibee hamburger wrappers and plastics with some soda spilled on the floor
  • people watching TV patiently trying to make out the sounds above the din while others were animatedly gesticulating, conversing with their companions
  • many were standing, at the sides, while others, seated silently clutching their bags or texting at their cellphones or impatiently checking the time
  • the guard doubling as bus announcer complaining to the people not to blame him for the delay but raise it with the dispatcher
  • various tongues: Bicol, Waray, Tagalog, Cebuano mixed with the laughter, TV, vehicle’s horns and buses’ brakes
  • a bored female passenger amusing herself with self portraits using her cellphone’s camera
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The disappointing first class passenger's lounge.
Continue Reading "The Philtranco bus terminal in Pasay"

I am updating my travel map as there are new destinations that I have visited. When I did the Luzon – Visayas loop via land and sea, I was able to visit for the first time the Panay provinces of Capiz and Aklan. I’m not a beach person but, thank God, due to some roro schedule foul ups, I forayed in Boracay for just an hour, another first. From Caticlan, I then docked at Roxas in Mindoro Oriental

Luzon - Visayas Loop theloop.gif This is the 2nd of 16 installments of the Luzon – Visayas – Luzon Loop series. Click the image on the right to check out the rest of the posts.

Call it madness, call it a masochist’s trip but, after much ruminations, I finally made it: The Luzon – Visayas – Luzon Loop. Of all the days of 2007, I picked the end of the year holiday rush to head for home in Cebu from Makati and back (after 3 weeks) by land and sea. I intentionally didn’t book any plane tickets so that I will be forced to take the land route.

No doubt about it, the trip itself is a bit brutal, taxing, draining and not for the faint of heart as I had to endure almost 30 hours of no sleep negotiating the Bicol – Eastern Visayas leg and partly clinging my butt on an improvised wooden seat without cushion inside a crowded van just so that I can at least make it to Ormoc on time. But despite all these hardships, it was an experience!

Just imagine:

  • 2,600 kilometers
  • 63 hours of total travel time
  • 3 taxis, 2 cars, 5 vans, 5 buses, 3 jeepneys, 4 tricycles, 2 pedicabs, 3 fastcrafts, 3 barges and 2 pumpboats
  • P4,700 total expenses for fare, terminal fee and a dorm type accommodation, and
  • 16 provinces

The loop actually traced the following: Makati City – Laguna – Batangas – Quezon – Camarines Sur – Albay – Sorsogon – Northern Samar – Western Samar – Leyte – Cebu – Negros Occidental – Iloilo – Capiz – Aklan – Oriental Mindoro – Batangas – Makati City.

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Ready… set… go! Me and my gear.

Continue Reading "Doing the Luzon-Visayas Loop: a Masochist’s trip"

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The stunning Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig showing its three tiers.

map_bislig.gif A stunning beauty. That is what I can say of Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig, located in the interior of the vast Picop concession in the province of Surigao del Sur. Dubbed the Little Niagara of the Philippines (why do we always have this penchant in naming places, I don’t know) because it is considered to be the widest waterfall in the country at 95 meters in width. Don’t be fooled of thinking a U-shaped lip with thunderous and voluminous waters surging in the thousands of cubic meters per second like the one found in the US but instead, its a three tiered wonder that from a distance, it just takes your breath away. A fourth level is said to be within the same system but is farther into the rugged forests.

Continue Reading "Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig"