Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bus Ride, Bacolod to San Carlos Port

My Negros Oriental Tour: Bacolod City to San Carlos City, NegOcc
Homeward bound,yey! To Cebu that is hehe! As expected, at 30-minutes to departure time, I was sure any of the four front seats would have already been occupied. Yep, they were. So I settled at the next available that was right window side of 3rd row. I was not as excited about the scenery along the way since I passed by them yesterday anyway. Ows?! Really now?! Hehe, okay half of me was disappointed I didn’t get a front seat! Yes, I have seen them wonderful views yesterday, but somehow, I still wanted more on this return trip.

“Sir, are you going to Cebu?” came a slender southpaw gay asking. I answered with “yes, why?” and the reply was “boat fare, sir”. Oh okay, so I learned it is paid in Bacolod, on the bus, before departure, even if the ferry crossing will happen yet at San Carlos! I looked at the amount, so I paid P170. I noted too that my seat number on that ferry boat was #175, gosh whatever that was hehe! I have a story about that number, later. For now, how did I know the sisterette was left-handed? Ah well, the pen was on his left hand while the pad of receipts over a clipboard was on the right. And he leaned at the 2nd row backrest with his left elbow – meaning ready to use the backrest as his writing desk. And indeed it was so hahaha!

Just to make sure, I asked if this was just the boat fare. He said yes and told me that the bus conductor will collect the bus fare later. I remarked that I thought he was the conductor. He said he’s an employee of the shipping line. So I asked if he also rides the bus and the ferry all the way to Toledo. He said no and would get off soon as our bus was about ready to depart. I further asked ‘what about those who ride the bus when he’s already gone’? He smiled explaining to me that those passengers will have to pay their boat fare at the Toledo Port or on the RORO itself. I was not done hehe, I still asked so why was he collecting boat fares here when in fact it can be paid over at Toledo or on the boat. Answer… so that everything will be fast in Toledo so as not to delay the boat departure and/or so the boat’s crew will only have to collect a few fares while cruising, as it is more tedious collecting fares on the boat. See?! I learned something again!

What about the clipboard? Ah that came next after my payment. You write your name, age, sex, nationality, place of residence in the PI and your destination. I have seen that same brown paper in many a boat ride I have taken everywhere, but I still asked what it was for. He said it was the ship’s passenger manifest. Sensing, anticipating my next question, the dear sisterette added that there are also similar sheets on the port and on the boat for people to write their info. But I wondered… if you were a passenger who just hopped unto the RORO, paid your fare on the boat, therefore wrote your name on a manifest while already on board and as the boat sailed… if something untoward happened, who would know you were on board that boat? Well, I asked her (oops him) and the reply was “ambot ah, basta ang halin diri ara gid sa manifest”. Ti man! Daw natak-an si Inday with my so many questions hehehe!

Well, the bus haven’t even departed and I already learned many a thing about land (and sea) travel from Bacolod to Cebu! Come to think of it, if I was able to get through the phones of either Cebu Pacific or PAL Express, I wouldn’t have learned about anything above, right?! See?! I learn a lot by roaming this country!

Alright, the bus departed from Bacolod and there was the repeat (reverse?) performance of the wonderful sights I saw yesterday. Yey! Somewhere along the mountains, bus stopped by a little shack. It initially looked to me that they were getting a newly vulcanized spare tire. But passengers started getting off to either hit the john or smoke. I followed suit of course! As I puffed, I wandered around and saw they were hosing something from the little shack to the bus. Was it water or gasoline? Hmm, if it was water, this bus must have the biggest engine radiator on earth as the hose was big and the act took so long to complete. If it was gasoline, and I think I smelled gasoline wafting in the air, I was not ready to imagine and believe that a big transport company like Vallacar Transit (owners of Ceres), has a shack up in the mountains as one of their gas-up stations. Hmm, I wonder!

As it was taking more than a bit, I crossed the road for a better view of the countryside down and beyond (the area is up in the mountains) as other passengers did too. Turned around to get a full view of my air-conditioned bus that seemed fairly new. I almost waved at my inanimate backpack sitting on the third row window side hehe! Then something that alarmed me a bit came into view… written in big red letters were the ‘franchised’ route that this bus can ply… and it said “Bacolod City, Dumaguete City vice-versa”. Uh-oh! So when I returned to hop on the bus, I asked the conductor if there was going to be a bus change in San Carlos. He smiled and told me this bus was taking me all the way to Cebu! Yey, but I still wondered about those big letterings on the side of the bus. Ah maybe its just for aesthetic purposes, or maybe this bus company interchanges its buses at will and that the authorities don’t care. That’s more plausible hehe! At least I don't see the red Bachelor buses of Mindanao in the Visayas hehehe. Yeah, also owned by Vallacar.

Anyway, onwards with the trip, the anticipated fantastic views continued. Hey I had a batter view of some mini rice-terraces this time! Yesterday I did not catch sight of them! Some of the rivers down deep ravines were also clearer on this trip. Whoa coolness and I imagined it must be a grand experience wading in them clean and clear green river waters amongst the mountains. And the breathtaking views of Tanon Straight, Sipaway and Cebu beyond. Ah beautiful. In no time, we were already crossing the city center of San Carlos towards the port.

Hey, our bus not even half-full, did not – yes let’s emphasize that, DID NOT – pass by the big bus station of San Carlos City. I wondered and had been meaning to ask the driver or conductor why so, but it slipped my mind along the way! Now am thinking for you (yes you who is reading this now), if you were trying to catch the air-conditioned Bacolod-to-Cebu bus from San Carlos, where do you go?! It might omit the bus terminal of San Carlos too, like in this trip! OMG, another discovery?! Ah, just go to the port as surely you'll catch it there hehe!

Alright, after exactly an hour and 56 minutes on the road, bus entered the expanse of the San Carlos City Port. We were ready to ride the RORO, yey!

Ah, let’s do that in the next article, shall we?!

If you want to read the chronology of all stories on this tour, click the following:
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
36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65


Post a Comment