When the journey becomes the destination

A passenger looks through the bus window at the Lucena bus terminal

It was already 3 AM and my patience was running thin. Cat naps in between mosquito bite curses and asking, waiting for news of a bus going to Kalibo or direct to Iloilo and the feeling of helplessness, of waiting for nothing. What am I doing here? Why am I inflicting this on myself? I wasn’t part of an Amazing Race episode but, I was on a trip to home. Taking the plane to Cebu from Manila was the best option. But there I was, stranded in Caticlan, with her population still deep in slumber and no transportation available.

Traveling from Caticlan to Kalibo via van for hire. The pre-dawn trip was eerie and haunting but enjoyable. CLICK TO ENLARGE

It was a good seventeen hours, yes, 1-7, more than half a day, since I last boarded the bus in Makati bound for Batangas City, then a fastcraft to Calapan in Mindoro, a vhire to Roxas, Mindoro Oriental.

A six hour ferry ride to Caticlan and from there, should be another bus to Iloilo, a fastcraft to Bacolod, then another bus to San Carlos at the other side of Negros to board the last ferry bound for Toledo City in Cebu. Dizzying, don’t you agree? But to reach Talisay City in Cebu, my home, I still have to take one, last and final bus ride. And a tricycle.

A vendor selling vegetables during a brief bus stop in Atok, Benguet

Am I a masochist? A person who takes pleasure in pain? A disciple of the Marquis de Sade? No, I’m just an ordinary traveler who takes pleasure in doing it the hard and long way.

Habal-habal driver at a roadside in Davao City

My first taste of such kind of trip was way back in college, second year to be exact and my classmate Ian, who hails from Ormoc, invited me to take the bus with him via Bicol. That time, I’ve already have travels of my own but a day or two on the bus? That was wicked! And memorable as the one we took broke down in Atimonan, Quezon, at a remote barangay that we have to spend six hours waiting for the replacement parts.

But oh, boy, the sight of Mt. Mayon before the break of dawn when we arrived in Bicol was just mesmerizing that even until now, I can still picture it at the back of my head, two decades later.

I’ve been to far more longer trips: Manila – Laoag – Cagayan – Manila, Manila – Bicol – Samar – Leyte – Cebu – Negros, Panay – Mindoro – Batangas – Manila, Manila – Negros, Iloilo – Cuyo – Coron – Manila, Davao – Cagayan de Oro – Ozamiz – Dipolog – Siocon and back, Manila – Bangkok – Malaysia – Singapore – Manila… and I can just rattle off more places and destinations.

Before the boat sailed to Coron from Cuyo

It’s addicting. I’m addicted. Nevermind if I am having difficulty at times, lugging a backpack, camera and laptop. Of experiencing disappointments, meeting people, enjoying the scenery and food. But most important of all, these long trips afford me to think deeper, to plan or just staring out into the distance as the world just passes by.

Travel is not all about reaching the destination but making the journey the destination itself!

This is my entry to this month’s edition of the Pinoy Travel Bloggers’s Blog Carnival hosted by Kara Santos with the theme Travel is the destination.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I’m open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

7 Comments

  1. The Pinoy Explorer
    December 16, 2011 @ 13:27

    I have been wanting to do land travels and stop in interesting provinces. Cool post!

  2. Bonzenti [Con Tour]
    December 16, 2011 @ 14:14

    Mas grabe kaayo imo experience master. Have not yet experience long hours of travel, aside from boat from Cagayan de Oro to Manila. That was awesome experience. :-).

  3. Cmsbox77
    December 18, 2011 @ 7:36

    Hello, your blog looks very nice and I want to exchange your website link, can I?
    My blog address is:http://www.dodolooks.com/
    I have added your link to my blog, thank you.

  4. What a Journey it has Been… « Travel-Up
    December 19, 2011 @ 11:00

    […] taking a trip to the remote islands of Cuyo in Palawan through Negros and Iloilo. In his post “When the journey becomes the destination,” Estan describes how addicting it is to travel the “long and hard way.” “Never […]

  5. Francis Balgos
    December 21, 2011 @ 9:21

    I’ve been to a few long trips on the road too..
    Its
    back breaking..
    back aching..
    tear dropping..
    frustrating..
    and all the other nega stuff..

    But I agree that the travel itself is an adventure.
    Catching glimpse of towns you’ll only pass by once.
    Watching landscapes and stunning scenery’s.

    Its all worth it at the end of the day! 🙂

  6. Kara / Travel Up
    December 21, 2011 @ 21:37

    Great insights on long travel. The masochist’s loop from Luzon-Visayas and land travel to Cuyo sound really brutal, but interesting. Galing! Thanks for the entry to the blog carnival 🙂

  7. Estan, Ang Langyaw (@LangyawMedia)
    July 9, 2014 @ 17:31

    When the journey becomes the destination http://t.co/lWgyNsFi9L http://t.co/wEZSM9t1kU

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