Date: 20th April 2011
I got up at 5:30am, and had to freshen up using water from the hot shower as the tap water was freezing cold!
But I ended up waking up just half-an-hour later when I briefly opened my eyes. I just had to take my camera out now and take a few shots of the terrain I was passing through.
I arrived at Baguio just past 1pm. Where the bus stopped was at some lot inside a shopping complex. Didn’t look like a main bus station or anything, so I asked around how I could get to Angeles City. The locals told me I would have to go to another bus depot near SM Supermall and catch a bus from there. So, in a taxi I went.
Riding through Baguio, you could see why Baguio is a predominantly a ‘university town’. Students from all across the North come to Baguio for higher education as it’s the only developed city in this hilly region of North Philippines.
I never had any plans of staying in Baguio because I didn’t find any of the attractions worthy of spending a night here. A short 5 minute ride later (which cost less than ₱100), I was at the bus terminal very near to SM Supermall — the only major mall in the city.
I asked for buses going to Angeles City and was instructed to board any of the buses going to Dau. I bought my ticket (₱290/$6/€4.7) from one of the private bus companies that operates the route and dumped my backpack on my seat. I had a few minutes before the bus departed so I quickly stepped out and went to the nearby Jollibee to pick up some lunch (Jollibee is there wherever you need it!)
The bus left at 2pm and I had my lunch watching a very charitable man give away gifts and cash to Filipinos on TV. As the TV signal strength weakened, they put on the usual pirated copies of low-budget action films (first, an unheard of horror movie starring a really fat Val Kilmer).
I didn’t take many photographs on this leg of the journey — mostly because there wasn’t a whole lot of scenery worth capturing. It rained a little bit and the bus moved slowly because from here on, we were going downhill and it was quite misty outside.
After a few hours, it got really cold inside the bus as the air-conditioning was truly working. I had to wear my jacket and use my camera bag for additional warmth.
You know it’s an impoverished part of the country when you see the locals rejoicing with banners when one of their residents become a lawyer. Saw a few of those.
Soon after one B-grade movie ended, they put on another. This time a Tagalog dub of a Thai action movie starring a popular Thai actress whom I cannot name at all because I only remember seeing the ‘making of’ this film on a show on NHK. Sigh.
I kept wondering how much longer I had to sit in this bus. By sunset, the bus had stopped in the city of Tarlac — and it stayed there for some time. And by now, there weren’t many passengers in the bus. I stepped down to ask if this was where I need to get down but the driver who was taking a break said “no”. I went back in and waited for the bus to move again.
And move on it did. We were on McArthur Highway by nightfall and I again wondered just how much longer I had to go to get to Angeles City.
Around 7:30pm, we finally reached a very busy Dau bus terminal. From there, I got into a trike and asked him to take me to my hotel. The journey took another 10 minutes (he charged ₱110) but I finally got to Red Tulip Hotel. I chose this hotel because I didn’t want a place on Fields Avenue, near all the nightclubs that go late into the night, and Red Tulip Hotel looked like it was a safe distance away. But that was as per the map on their website. In reality, it was a little too far from the main jeepney hub. But more on that later.
I had spent more than 12 hours today just sitting in buses. I was tired, so I quickly stepped out to have dinner at 9pm and then went to sleep immediately after getting back. For the first time this week, I didn’t have to wake up early tomorrow!
Day 5 – 21st April 2011
I don’t know how many hours I slept, but I slept well. Lord knows I needed the rest after the last three days! I switched on the television and watched the news reports of how crowded EDSA was yesterday night, with everyone rushing to get out of Manila. In some ways, I guess it was a good idea to arrive a bit early.
By the time I got out of bed, freshened up and made my way down for
breakfastbrunch, it was noon.
I ate lazily, chatted with the waitresses who asked me where I was from and where all I had been to in Philippines so far. Then I went online for a bit after brunch and only at around 2pm did I finally decide to step out of the hotel! I wanted to take it easy for once.
A security guard came up to me as I took the above photograph, and he told me the mall was closed today and tomorrow, being Good Friday. I asked him how far the Clark Duty Free was from here and he said around 8kms and he told me there’s a high possibility that would be closed today as well.
I sighed and walked towards the jeepney drivers nearby and asked them if the Clark Duty Free was open today but they confirmed it saying it was a holiday today.
But I wondered if it was just because it was in the afternoon.
As I reviewed my shots, I noticed they were all quite dark and that I couldn’t change my shutter speed now. It was stuck at 1/1250! Grrh, I hate it when things like this happen, and that too just before a big event like tomorrow’s crucifixion ceremony! I had no choice but to continue shooting with it.
I walked back to my side of town and felt the urge to have some ice cream.
Bought my ice cream from a convenience store at a Petron station on this side of Perimeter road, which houses a few more nightclubs, and little else.
Once back in my room, I fiddled with my camera for nearly an hour, switching it on and off, taking the battery out multiple times. Fed up, I went online to find a solution. Saw a few threads on such issues and then felt like an idiot after reading the ‘solution’. I had accidentally pressed the ‘Lock’ button near the dial which stuck the shutter speed at the last setting.
Anyway. After ‘fixing’ my problem, I sat in the room and worked on a few photos to upload and stepped out only for dinner. I went back to the Turkish restaurant as I miss Middle Eastern food and I wanted to make the most of the authentic food available as much as possible. (The restaurant was run by Turks)
At night, there were a lot more people out and about, but it still didn’t look like this is the most action Angeles City usually sees. So yeah, if you are coming to Angeles City purely for the nightlife, Holy Week isn’t the best time for that 🙂 Some of the nightclubs were still closed.
Back in the room, I packed my camera bags, kept all my batteries for charging, cleaned my lenses, set my alarm, and went to bed. Tomorrow was going to be the big day, and I couldn’t wait for it to begin!
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