I was at it again! This time, not the full loop as what I did before. When I was going home for the holidays from Makati to Cebu last month, I decided to go via the torturous and draining western land route:
- Makati City
- Batangas City
- Calapan (Oriental Mindoro)
- Roxas (Oriental Mindoro)
- Caticlan (Aklan)
- Iloilo City
- Bacolod City
- San Carlos City (via Don Salvador Benedicto)
- Toledo City (Cebu)
- Talisay City (Cebu)
This is a little bit shorter than the punishing eastern route via Bicol but no less tiring. To avoid the rush and traffic, I picked to travel on Christmas Day, 25 December. Despite the inconveniences, the sleepless journey and often unforeseen events and circumstances, I still like to do this kind of travels. One just has to endure!
It’s an amazement that South Super Highway traffic was smooth considering that the previous day, as seen from TV, it was bumper to bumper and terminals were full of departing passengers. Except for an intersection in Lipa, the highway to the Batangas City pier was also unclogged. When I reached the terminal, it was less than 10% full, a relief as sometimes, I get agitated with long lines and boarding times.
It’s my third time to pass by Oriental Mindoro. The province is the main transit point between Luzon and the Visayas via two wharves: Calapan in the north and Roxas in the southeastern side. Really, for travels like this where reaching home is the goal, side trips are kept to a minimum and in the Mindoro leg of this trip, I had only one thing in mind, to arrive in Roxas in the evening in time for the 4 hour ferry ride to Caticlan which is the jump off point for Boracay.
Not much can be seen along the highway except for expansive rice fields that seem to stretch out into the foothills. Think of the extensive rice paddies in Central Luzon and you will get the idea. Mt. Halcon is also a sight to behold, looming in the distance, sometimes clear and sometimes cloud covered. Near the municipalities of Naujan and Pola, there are occasional glimpses of Lake Naujan. Other than that, the usual uninteresting town centers, endless roads and the blinding headlights of incoming vehicles at night.