The journey was a traveler’s worst nightmare. I was already at the airport’s boarding gate but the plane left without me. I rebooked the flight and waited several hours inside the NAIA Terminal III. When we were at last on board the plane and I was ready to heave my sigh of relief, an announcement was made that the flight was cancelled. It took me another day, and more hours of delay before I was finally able to set foot on Busuanga, a sleepy town in Palawan.
I was on assignment for a cover story with InFlight Traveller magazine, a glossy that has been around since before I was probably born and I was giddy with excitement. I was to cover Busuanga, one of Palawan’s overshadowed destination. Armed with a bagful of camera gear and one sturdy tripod, I never knew how challenging the trip would be.
From the Busuanga airport, where I thought things would finally go right, I boarded a motorbike which broke down right in the middle of nowhere. And to make matters worse, there was absolutely no phone signal to contact the resort I was to stay in. With no other choice, I flagged a rumbling truck and hitched a ride all the way to the Puerto del Sol Resort in Busuanga.
Passing up on lunch, together with M, the writer for the piece, we headed to Black Island to get the ball rolling. As soon as we wrapped up the shoot, the weather turned sour and rain exploded from the once sunny sky. We waited it out and as soon as we were ready to depart, our boat conked out about a hundred meters from shore, making us paddle all the way back to the island. Great luck indeed. It however paved the way for a night shoot. We set up some logs on a cozy part of the island and turned it into a warm bonfire.
The next day finally went without incident, or so I thought. We covered some islands around Busuanga, Calumbayan, North Cay and Pass Islands. It was quite an eye-opener; I never knew this town has its own island-hopping adventure that can rival its more popular neighbor, Coron, . I thought the day ended without incident, until it was reported to us that the boat we rode in some hours before broke down right after.
Bad luck struck again as I went to the town of Coron to cover Mt. Tapyas. Its cross, which fell from the hazards of typhoon Yolanda has been re-erected and we wanted to see what changed. It was all easy, well if you count climbing 724 steps up to a mountain easy, that is until we rode a motorcycle back to Puerto del Sol; another flat tire.
I was really getting really agitated by this time. What the heck was wrong with this trip?
My last day at Busuanga shone bright and I was finally able to tour and photograph Huma Island Resort. It seemed much more beautiful the second time around. With almost an hour left after returning back, I hurriedly rode another motorbike, hiked for some minutes and took a total of five photos of the Concepcion Falls, another gem hidden in the town.
With no time to swim, or even have lunch, I immediately jumped to the car that would take me back to the airport. I kept praying that I would make it, being really pressed for time and considering my luck the past few days, but my fortune has finally turned. I made it with a few minutes to spare.
This is the most trying trip I’d ever had, bar none. The circumstances and the awful luck I’d had was simply unexplainable. Before this, I had never been left by a plane, I’d never encountered a motorbike flat tire and has never been on a boat that broke down.
But I endured everything, and I’m just glad that my writer and editor were such understanding souls. With all those things, the end product created an awesome article and I was even able to grace the cover of the magazine (my third one, yey!). It was all worth all the bad luck thrown out at me.
This issue of InFlight Traveller is now out on major bookstores nationwide for Php150.00 only. Grab a copy y’all.