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!
I checked out of George's Guesthouse (by leaving the key on the table because there was nobody at the reception) and walked out
Where I had dinner from yesterday
A few inter-city buses were parked at the village center
Alfredo's Inn (L), Sagada Guesthouse (2nd from right), Gandu Yan Inn (R) -- plenty of accommodation near the bus station (Panorama shot comprised of 4 photos)
I boarded the first bus to Baguio leaving at 7am (ticket cost ₱200/$5/€3.5)
The bus left on time. Since I was still sleepy, I decided to keep shooting using my phone as I was in no mood to take my DSLR out.
Good morning to you too
Very misty at this time
This was the last photo I took before I fell asleep
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 didn't dare open the window as it was freezing cold outside, so I shot all these behind the not-so-clean glass
Mostly rocky rivers in these parts
We arrived at some town/village
Where we were
There was more beauty to behold
We kept going higher and higher
From a market we stopped at
A lot of the passengers were villagers or farmers getting down at various markets to sell their produce
The stretches of sunshine didn't last too long
We stopped here for a few minutes for a snack/toilet break
The dark clouds gave way to sunlight
There weren't many bad stretches on this highway, for the most part, it was a lovely journey!
And after nearly six hours, we were in Baguio
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 terminal was very busy as this being a hugely student populated town (and Holy Week), many of the buses to the various neighbouring provinces were running full
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.
Taken at 4:51pm. We mostly travelled through impoverished towns and small villages.
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.
Hey guess what nut jobs, the world didn't end after all!
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 was just glad to see a room so I could dump my bags and stretch my legs!
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.
Looking at the menu, the tulips made sense... the hotel owner was Dutch
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.
It was a sandy road from The Red Tulip Hotel to the San Angelo street (where the Hotel 24 sign is)
The walk from San Angelos St. to the main Fields Avenue road was around a 1 minute long
Angeles Beach Club hotel, one of the more posher hotels in Angeles City
This was the jeepney terminal...
And I initially looked at hotels on this road, San Narciso street. Hotel Tiger looked atrocious both inside and outside...
... so PJ Inn was the one I had selected. But they were late to reply back with my room enquiry and by the time they did, they were full. So I had to book at Red Tulip Hotel for 3 nights (they gave it to me for ₱800/$18/€13 per night)
The jeepney terminal was up this road, a 2 minute walk from here. I figured, after I was done with the festivities of Good Friday in San Fernando, I could easily catch a ride from here back to Manila.
I walked back to the main road
I had dinner from this Turkish restaurant yesterday night, good shawarmas!
I decided to hop over to SM Clark mall to pass some time
This road leads to the Clark Freeport zone and Clark airport
My friend Aimee told me AOL once had an office in the Freeport zone
The plan was to first check out SM Clark and then head to the Freeport zone for all the duty free shops
But as I walked towards the mall...
Closed! (Panorama shot comprised of 5 shots)
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.
So I walked to the jeepney terminal to find out where to board the jeepneys going to San Fernando and the timings
This guy told me to come to this pick-up point tomorrow morning to go to San Fernando. Yes, he was quite joyful to be in the photograph.
Decided to check out Fields Avenue
I was stopped by another one of those "Hey foreign guy with DSLR, take photo of us!". Guess which was the girl who requested it.
This was Walking Street (don't know why they call it such but still allow vehicles in!)
Here too, the scene wasn't any different -- just about everything was closed!
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 went to that locksmith who was fortunately open. He tightened one of my tripod legs with an Allen key as I had misplaced mine. He wouldn't accept the ₱10 I was ready to pay him either
I walked back on to Walking Street. Only a few places were open and had the usual sight of geriatrics drinking away with their Filipina companions
Pretty cool entrance
I walked back to my side of town and felt the urge to have some ice cream.
Iglesia ni Cristo church
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!
Previous posts in this series:
Philippines 2011: Day 3 – Sagada’s Lumiang burial cave, Sumaguing cave, Hanging Coffins of Echo valley
Philippines 2011: Day 3 – Banaue town; heading to Sagada via Bontoc
Philippines 2011: Day 2 – Banaue rice terraces; trekking to Batad village
Philippines 2011: Day 1 — Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Fort Bonifacio
Philippines 2011: Flying over South China Sea for the first time
Other posts in this series:
Philippines 2011: Day 6 – Good Friday in San Fernando, San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites
Philippines 2011: Day 7 – Leaving Angeles City for Manila, Mall of Asia
Philippines 2011: Day 8 – Manila tour: Rizal Park, Intramuros, Manila Cathedral, China Town
Philippines 2011: Day 9 – Cebu: Fort San Pedro, Basilica of Santo Niño, Taoist Temple
Philippines 2011: Day 10 – Bohol tour: Chocolate Hills, Loboc river cruise, Tarsiers, churches
Philippines 2011: Day 11 – Arriving in Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Philippines 2011: Day 12 – Puerto Princesa Underground River tour, Palawan
Philippines 2011: Day 13 – Puerto Princesa to El Nido by bus
Philippines 2011: Day 14 – El Nido island hopping tour A and sunset at Las Cabanas beach, Palawan
Philippines 2011: Back to Manila, shopping, and my final thoughts about the country (Last post)