Monday, October 27, 2008

At The Dumaguete Port Going Siquijor

The tricycle driver brought me to my ferry ride on a familiar route I did not at all expect. I took the ride from the front of Negros Oriental High School. So, I imagined the driver would go back to Aldecoa Road and take that route to the pier’s gate – which I thought was the better way. Instead, he went straight down this highway (Diego De La Vina) – which becomes Rizal Avenue at its intersection with to Silliman Avenue, forded Silliman Ave., then headed left by Silliman Hall towards the pier’s main gate on Flores Ave. Hmm, I was not sure if that was shorter – though I think it was rather quick. Anyway…

On getting off from the trike, I walked towards the “ticket booth” (described yesterday, remember?) to buy my ticket as reserved. How does this happen? Interestingly simple, actually! The lady there gave me the passenger manifest (where I am supposed to have written my name yesterday). I was to pay the fare (she was already writing my ticket) if I found my name on that manifest-cum-reservation-sheet. I did not! Perplexed I told her, I couldn’t find my name. Then she showed me another sheet where my name was. That was easy to spot… ugliest handwriting I could see would be mine… and this was a breeze!

I was asked to walk towards the terminal building and was told I would find another “window” where I would have to pay the terminal fee. That was easy… other passengers were also queuing up there and the glass pane had signages that it was for terminal fees. Next I was asked to finally proceed and enter the building that is the actual and real terminal building. Hmm, I imagined that if it were raining, the paying for tickets and terminal fees must have been an issue for me. Those two booths I just transacted with were generally open-air places with very little to keep me from getting wet if it were raining heavily. Anyway…

At The Terminal Building. Hmm, I was happily surprised that upon entering the building, the very first thing that confronted me was an x-ray machine manned by the ports authority folks. Just like at airports I thought. In fact better than some of the airports in this country that don’t even have this kind of equipment. But there was no removing of footwear nor was there removing of cellular phones and coins to be placed in a plastic tray. I happily passed through. Now what?!

After the x-ray, what faced me were colored plastic seats like those at the Old Manila Domestic Airport or other older provincial airports or those at the ugly Batangas Pier. Pretty regular really. So this was the waiting lounge! And so, I took a seat to wait it out. The announcements were clearly audible and understandable – if you are bisaya anyway!

Sensing that there was no boarding call yet, I opted to check out the surroundings of this waiting area. First to invite my attention was some kind of a magazine rack with reading materials. I thought they were the news dailies but when I went nearer, what I saw were free take-away pamphlets that described the country’s “Nautical Highway”. Interesting read! Since I was sure I wouldn’t finish reading the pamphlet in this place alone, I stuffed one into my daypack.

Of course the place also has comfort rooms and there is even a room that serves as a nursery and nursing room for breastfeeding mothers. I peeked in and the toys, reading materials and other paraphernalia were good enough. I thought that was sweet of the government providing this kind of facility. I hope there’d be something like this in all public places or conveniences.

Hey, instinct told me that there must have been something wrong. It was just a few minutes from my scheduled departure time but I could not see any indication that my boat was about to be boarded nor could I see any activity that indicated relation to Delta fast ferries. And I could not see anything that looked like a fast-ferry where my eyes can see. There was a small table being manned by what looked to me like an employee of one of the boats. So I asked… just as I thought, there was something wrong!

Boarding my Delta fast-craft was never to happen anywhere in this area. Good I asked or the ferry would have left me! Gosh!

For a chronology of stories on this trip, click the following article numbers:

01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18
19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35


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