The invite to Iligan City’s Waterfalling Adventure 1.0 that occurs alongside with the city’s Diyandi Festival came just a month before its appointed date. There was no time to book a sale flight so I resorted to finding the cheapest airfare to Cebu via Tigerair Philippines and leapfrogging to Iligan City through a RORO ferry.
The early part of the my day was spent checking Mactan Island; eating at Zubuchon, walking through Mactan Shrine and ferrying all the way to the Olango Wildlife Sanctuary. I never thought traffic jams occur in Cebu City and I arrived at its pier with only a few minutes to spare.
I quickly wolfed down an early dinner of cheap pork barbeques and a couple of puso (rice wrapped in palm leaves) through the eateries at the port entrance before hastily boarding the Cokaliong ferry that would bring me to my destination. Evening quickly descended as I ascended the steps towards my assigned bed.
The cheapest ticket to Iligan City cost Php880.00 plus a terminal fee of Php10.00. My room, is actually not a room. It’s an open-aired dormitory-type quarters comprising of steel double-decker beds fitted with foam mattresses. It’s actually not bad since they also provide free blankets.
While waiting for the ferry to set sail, I roamed about the place as is my usual custom. The ferry looked ordinary from the outside although it doesn’t look as run-down as most ROROs I’ve boarded before. Once inside, I was surprised at how nice it actually was. Cokaliong’s ferries are swanky!
Its interiors are clean, well-maintained and actually beautifully decorated. I proceeded to the dining galley and was taken at how nicely furnished it was. A far cry from the usual spartan settings of most RORO ferries.
Reclining premium seats are also available at the air-conditioned part of the ferry. But these are much more expensive than my current accommodation, so no go for me here. Besides, I’m thinking it would be much more comfortable to spend the overnight journey on a bed rather than on a chair, no matter how comfortable it looks.
I proceeded to the ship store where one can buy all sorts of snacks and what-nots. As expected they’re selling items at very expensive prices. I bought a large instant chicken mami and it set me back Php50.00. In hindsight, I should’ve just bought a Jollibee meal with me on board.
With nothing else to do, I secured my bags and bedded down for the night. The ferry rocked with the waves as we passed through the Bohol Sea. Tarpaulins were lowered to keep sea spray from coming in, which made the entire deck uncomfortably hot.
It was a long night but eventually, light poured in through the deck, we were finally at Ozamiz City. I peered outside and saw bamboo bridgeways made for fishpens along the shoreline. The weather was still gray from last night’s weather.
I thought we’d only be stopping for a few minutes so I didn’t bother going down the port. It turned out we’d be there for an hour. Dang, I should’ve alighted and got myself a meal, my stomach was already staging a bloody protest.
The ride to Iligan from Ozamiz City took a couple more hours. With nothing to do and a very limited budget, I suppressed the complaints coming from my tummy and simply enjoyed the view from our deck.
The green waters of Iligan’s port and a gang of rowdy swimming kids greeted my arrival. They were waiting for passengers to drop some coins in the water, to which they would dive down to retrieve. It looks like they were having fun, but I bet it’s a hard way to eke out a living.
Heavy ropes were cast ashore to secure the ferry and the kids totally forgot about the coins. They all held on to the ropes and as the ship moved, the rope tightened and they were pushed up from the water. They held on as long as they could but eventually they all dropped back to the sea. The crowd cheered, I guess it’s Welcome to Iligan City for me too!