Date: 23rd May, 2013
I had some fun in Boracay these past three days, but I was kind of happy to leave the island. The humidity, the lack of proper sleep because of the same, and the sand… ugh, my body yearned for a proper shower and a thorough shampoo rinse. It was time to head back to ‘the city’.
I checked out from Frendz Resort, and made my way to boat jetty. I took a tricycle taxi, and for once paid the local fare of 25 pesos for the ride.
Although I flew into Caticlan airport when coming to Boracay, my Air Asia flight to Clark was going to be from Kalibo airport, located in the north of Aklan province — which is an hour plus drive from Caticlan. Not to worry as there are several van taxis just outside Caticlan jetty. Most of them charge the same ₱175 for the journey.
Still, we arrived at Kalibo airport with enough time to check in. I didn’t feel like going in just yet, so I had my lunch from a restaurant right across from the airport.
I had requested my hotel for a pick-up from the airport.
As soon as I had checked in, I asked the hotel receptionist to to inquire about the trek to Mt. Pinatubo, which is what I planned to do tomorrow. Unfortunately, the receptionist later called to my room after speaking to their the travel agent and told me there weren’t any tours planned for tomorrow as nobody else had inquired about the Mt. Pinatubo trek today.
Disappointed to hear that, I stepped out and tried my luck at a few other travel agencies and tour operators. Same story, and one even told me I was “late”. The season it seems was winding down. (Second time I heard that on this trip :-(). The agencies told me they need at least 4 people to justify a trip as it’s a long trek. The only other way I could go to Mt. Pinatubo was if I was willing to cough up the entire ₱3800 pesos — which is what it costs per trip. Some places said ₱4000 pesos, so around ₱1000 per person — which is what I was hoping to pay.
That was too high (obviously) and I was hesitant to go to such terrain all by myself or with only a guide in tow. Also, one of the travel agents informed me if it rains tomorrow, then we can’t do the trek. I wasn’t going to risk all that for the kind of money they were charging.
Disappointed, I walked to SM City to get some comfort food.
There were quite a few eateries at SM City but I spotted a busy vendor selling beef shawarmas for ₱58 and they looked yum. I also picked up a 2pc chicken+rice KFC meal for ₱129. Then dropped by a 7-Eleven and picked a Coors beer (₱40) and a Magnum ice cream (₱58).
Date: 24th May, 2013
The next morning I woke up to a call from one of the travel agents I approached yesterday regarding the tour to Mt. Pinatubo and she informed me they still didn’t get anybody else for today’s trip. So my only choice was to go alone and pay for the whole trip which would cost nearly ₱4000 (Rs.5600/$92/€68). I said no, because that’s just too much money for one guy to spend for a trek.
I was disappointed. I really want to see this — but now I couldn’t. It didn’t help it rained today morning either :-/ Yet another sign I came to Philippines a bit late. The only consolation, I told myself, is that Angeles City is only 1.5 hours by bus from Manila. I could even do a trip to Mt. Pinatubo by joining a tour group from Manila.
I had the Magnum ice cream for my breakfast, did some work and stepped out after the rain stopped. The sun was out again and I decided to have an early lunch. I checked out a few restaurant along the main road, but ended up at an English pub.
I left when the rains stopped. I spend the rest of the afternoon in the room working. The wi-fi was really good, so I had to make the most out of it.
I stepped out again in the evening to get some fresh air because for some reason, it got a little claustrophobic inside the room. Maybe it was the lack of ventilation or the fact that some of the tiles in my room were not placed properly (there was a slight bump in the floor) which gave me a feeling of vertigo.
Date: 25th May, 2013
The next morning, I decided to head back to Bulacan because Janet told me there’s a van service going straight from the Dau bus terminal to Bulacan.
I collected my bags from the hotel and said my goodbyes. As I stepped out, I met the driver who picked me up from the airport the day before and asked if the hotel could drop me to the Mabalacat Bus Terminal in Dau, a few minutes drive away. He gladly offered to!
Anyway, I told him I had to go to Bulacan and he knew exactly where to drop me. I got off, thanked him for getting me to the right station, tipped him, and I boarded a van taxi to Bulacan. I got down at Caypombo as Janet told me to, and I walked to her place. I decided to spend the night at Janet’s house as I developed a slight cold. I figured it would be better to stay somewhere I could eat right and had access to hot water when needed.
Date: 26th May, 2013
After that, Janet dropped me off at a bus station and guided me to where I had to board my bus going Legazpi tonight.
This being Manila, there’s no shortage of malls and there was one by Ayala just across the road. I hung around the malls and ate an early dinner before resuming my walk.
I boarded my bus to Legazpi when it was time. I didn’t want to ride an expensive air-conditioned bus to Legazpi city because the regular buses just serve me fine. But this had wi-fi on board — which didn’t seem to work! I tried connecting, but no luck what so ever. None of this bothered me as much as the freezing air-conditioning. I was (unfortunately) wearing floaters and I soon regretted not wearing shoes. My feet were so damn cold and even though I had a hooded sweatshirt on, I still felt cold! 🙁
Long story short, the night ride to Legazpi was far from pleasant. I could barely catch any sleep. And with a runny nose, this cold environment wasn’t helping any one bit.
None the less, I was beginning the second leg of my journey.
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