Ryan Adams -- no B on Ryan, yes -- sang to me the whole night from Vigan City to Manila about love being hell and self-notes about not dying. I woke up at the back of a van and morning light streamed in through the plastic windows. Half an hour later and I’m back home, throwing dirty shirts to the laundry bin from my backpack and putting a fresh batch of clean ones in.
I tried to relax but can’t seem to. A few hours from now would be the second leg of my trip. From Northern Luzon, I was now bound to Northern Mindanao; and I ain’t gonna take no plane to get there.
The plan was to take the nautical highway from Batangas Port all the way to Dapitan Port. My mind buzzes and instantly shuts down just thinking about the trip. I have never done anything like this since I saw the sun shine with my two very own eyes.
Butterflies rioted around my stomach as I boarded a bus bound for Cubao. I met my travel buddy, C of JuanderfulPinoy and together we sealed our fate as we entered the doors of a Batangas-bound bus.
I’m really not the talk-a-minute type of guy especially when I’m traveling. I prefer to just sit, look and observe. C, however, was the complete opposite. He chatters non-stop about everything under the sun and it took a bit of time before I adjusted to his character. Like five minutes later and my mouth started producing sounds.An hour and a half earlier than expected and we were at the port of Batangas, signing passenger manifestos and purchasing tickets to Calapan, Oriental Mindoro.
The sun bade its final goodbyes as our ferry rode the early evening. The blue hour didn’t last an hour and darkness crept. I waited for the multitude of stars but instead got darkness.
I always prefer riding the ferry at night; I love hearing the roar of the waves and the whine of the wind in the dark with nothing but a cacophony of stars overhead. This time however, thick clouds ruined my night ride.
Two hours later and we disembarked at Calapan. I didn’t even have a chance to say hello to the city before we were ushered like hostages into a van that would take us to Roxas where our next ferry awaits.
I hate van rides. Passengers are packed like sardines, squeezing every possible square inch for ass-space. Uncomfortably cramped, you can’t even see outside due to the heavy window tint. Worst of all, once a passenger boards down, every one else needs to go down as well. It was two freakin’ hours of hell.
It was almost midnight when we arrived at Roxas, Oriental Mindoro. Our stomachs were already protesting so we looked for the nearest grub and quickly gobbled servings of a strangely sweet variation of Bicol Express. With a few more minutes to spare, I took the luxury of grabbing a twelve-peso coffee from manang.
I haven’t been to Boracay and C quickly suggested that we take a sidetrip to the famed beach tomorrow and maybe even spend a night there if we can find a cheap enough accommodation.
And the trip started to mutate into a life of its own; it’s not point A to point B anymore, now we wanted to see what’s between those two points.
The ferry launched from port and the first day ended. We looked for the most comfortable seats, secured our bags and tried to sleep. It’s gonna be six long hours before we see land again.
Ryan Adams was moaning about how he was gonna die lonely and sad when the ferry moaned in unison with the tortured singer. I opened my eyes, went outside and let Aklan greet me a good morning.
Transfer Routes, Fares & Timetables:
8 hours - Ilocos Sur to Metro Manila via Rented Van
1.5 hours - Cubao Bus Station to Batangas Port via Bus: Php175.00
2 hours - Batangas Port to Calapan City Port via RORO Ferry: Php472.00
2 hours - Calapan City Port to Roxas Port via Van: Php0.00 (Inclusive from the Ferry Fee)
6 hours - Roxas Port to Caticlan Port via RORO Ferry: Php400.00