Thursday, December 8, 2011

Boarding My Cebu to Calbayog Boat

And the fun begins…!

At exactly 6PM, I saw myself eagerly entering the maze that is Pier 1. Y’know, enter the lobby but before reaching the guards head right on a smaller exitway and that is the outside of the building. Then walk to the left tracing the building’s wall until you reach another entrance to re-enter the building so that you could pass your things at the x-ray machines, go to the turnstiles that is entrance for passengers, run back to the other side of the x-ray machine to catch your bag, and voila… the (other) pre-departure area. This is not the same as Ocean Jet’s pre-departure area. This is at the back (that is why passenger need to skirt the building because Ocean Jet has the front area for its sole use). But this place where Cokaliong and other shipping lines use is definitely bigger and brighter. I mean its not as ‘claustrophobic’ and ‘ngit-ngit’ even if non-airconditioned as the other side that is of Ocean Jet’s.

Oh yes, I was excited! Something new to observe, something new to experience! Yey!

Alas, I just got two pictures of this pre-departure area and an employee already told me to go ride the bus. The bus?! Wasn’t I in a seaport eager to ride a ship to Calbayog?! What has a bus got to do with my boat trip?! He smilingly told me the boats are docked a bit of distance from the building so passengers are ferried to their respective boats by bus. He topped that with “its for free sir”! “Oh okay”, so I said and went for the waiting bus hehe. As I exited the building, I saw signage on the iron gates that said “Cokaliong 6:30PM / 6:00PM / 7:00PM Departures”. So buses are taking passengers to various ships in one go (I suppose). Golly the bus darted off as soon as I stepped aboard hahaha. I was not done roaming the pre-departure area, didn’t they want me to see it?!

Oh, my bus went almost near the perimeter gate of Pier 1 (yep, the parking area front of the building) then headed left to trace the pier’s rim. Traffic! So many trucks and other big vehicles passing, crossing along our way and the bus had to make stops or go very slow to give way. Then the employee who also boarded the bus with me started shouting on top of his lungs “Ozamis, Iligan, Dumagute, Dapitan” and some other destinations. Many passengers got off the bus and hustled their way towards some boats. Bus proceeded, turned back then stopped and the employee started wailing again “Maasin, Surigao” and whatever place else that I could not remember. Other passengers also got off our bus. When it proceeded I could count just about seven of us who remained in the bus. When it finally stopped, employee shouted “Calbayog” and all of us went down.

Off the bus, before proceeding the few steps to my boat, I looked around to see where I was in the darkness of night. Haruuuy Mana Linda, I was standing just a few steps to Pier 1’s gate, therefore next to the parking area – just separated by a wire-mesh fence, and just also a few steps (therefore) to the building itself of Pier 1 hehe. Why didn’t they ask me to just walk anyway?! Well hehe, I immediately knew the reason – most passengers have heavy luggage that even those few meters would have been quite a feat for them to walk. Besides, there are so many big vehicles (empty or full) darting from anywhere to everywhere, so that if passengers were walking around, I imagined there’d be chaos of unimaginable proportions for the employees of Cokaliong and the port authorities. So there I was presenting my ticket to young men manning the entrance to the boat (still on the pier’s pavement).

As I proceeded to the stairs, my creative pea of a brain was imagining things – I was saying to myself “QM2, here I board again for my grand Caribbean cruise” whaahehehe!

Reaching the top of the stairs, I faced another set of youngish ship employees again. Ah, this time, they were there to see where I am supposed to go inside this ship. The dude pointed to me that my “bed” was just nearby and to the left. I asked how would I know it’s the one. He said there are numbers on the sides of the bed. I asked if it was down or up (since everything I saw were ‘double decks’). He instead asked me to follow him and he showed me where my “deck” was. Hmm, I recall the lady at the ticket office seemed to have read my mind. The bed assigned to me was on the leftmost side of the ship and the very last on the row. When I looked around, that meant my bed was at the very rear of the ship. Not sure, but I thought I liked it. Bed #12 Deck A was a lower part of a double deck. I couldn’t decide if it was good or not. When I looked around again though, I thought it was good since I could not see anyone occupying the upper beds of this sea of double decks!

So I was settled. But I was undecided if I should feel good or not, if this was like being in a prison or solitary confinement! Why? Because I could see that the nearest occupied bed to me was probably 7 or 8 beds away. Gosh! The dude who showed me to my bed was still around eager to answer more of my questions. So I asked more. But let’s do that in the next story about this wonderful trip, aight?!

1 comment :

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