Thursday, December 10, 2009

To The RORO We Go!

My Negros Oriental Tour: San Carlos City to Toledo City
A wonderful lackadaisical afternoon ride at sea. Yes this is, especially on an almost empty ride! I’m not new to RORO (roll-on, roll-off) rides as there are quite a number of these in the islands. But this one was more fun to me as the waters were very calm, the trip did not take so long AND there were few passengers so I had the chance to go just about anywhere on the ship to check things out! Here are my notes… and thoughts of course!

Bus entered Toledo port’s gate and stopped near the guard house and conductor did some paperwork over at a small office. A port staff came to collect the P12 terminal fee from each of us passengers. When he got off, guards waved for the driver to proceed. So, we passengers did not anymore go to the passenger terminal – that means I wasn’t able to see the insides of it hehe. But judging from its externals, this fairly new passenger terminal would probably be a bigger version of that one in Liloan, Santander. Maybe just 5, 6 or 7 times bigger, I think. From the color and material used, it looks to me like a single designer/contractor made both terminals. Meaning? They’re ‘modern’ – orderly and clean, and I hope they remain so for a long time more.

There’s a big expanse of concrete at San Carlos Port, probably equivalent to Cebu’s piers 3 and 4 combined. Thus, especially at about midday (we were there 2:41PM), walking from the guardhouse or the passenger terminal to where the RORO docks will be a bit of punishment for many. I’d guess that should be around 300 to 400 meters walk in blistering hot concrete with no shade or anything like it. Ah, if it were raining, being a port, it’s always a windy place, I would guess anyone will be drenching wet even if they walked with umbrellas. Good my bus went straight for the RORO, so we got off front of it, skirted a bit towards the side and went up the passenger area while our bus entered through that gaping front opening of the ship.

What’s my point here? Well, I saw passengers other than my busmates who also took this trip and they walked from either the gate or the passenger terminal that sits half the distance to where the RORO is docked. Ack! Some of the women were lugging along heavy stuff! Good for some as they were brought to shipside by cars or vans. Am not sure though if all vehicles are allowed to do that since the two that I saw sported red plates. Yep, government-owned vehicles hehe! Plus there was a woman and daughter who were brought to shipside by a policeman via a ‘private’ motorbike (all three not wearing helmets). Obviously, the policeman was the husband and father. Probably, only the privileged few can come to shipside in vehicles, thus, many folks were walking! Anyway…

My seat?! Ah, I just followed passengers going up the RORO. Some settled at seats on the second level (first level is for buses, trucks and all other vehicles) while some proceeded to the 3rd level. I was initially looking for my ‘Seat Number 175’. But, either I couldn’t or was not interested to find it, because I eventually dropped the idea hehe. Why so? Because people seemed to have just settled at any seat or bed they chose, thus, I did too! I chose the aft section of the 3rd level called Deck B where there were numbered beds instead of just seats. At the very end of this floor, there were unnumbered rows of blue plastic seats in the open (with no roof) that looked like a smoking lounge and/or a view deck. There are supposed to be umbrella type canopies but what remained were just the steel braces sans the canvass! That’s where I initially settled.

But I wanted to make the rounds and see whatever I could in this ship and the pier viewed from the ship, right?! Let's do that in the next entry with more pictures and less talk hehe! Promise!

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


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