Friday, December 30, 2011

Dipolog, Here Comes I

Just a week after I arrived from Cotabato City, I was off to Mindanao again! This time to the twin cities of the south, that is Dipolog and Dapitan, on the way to Dakak! Hmm, I just noticed now, this trip teems with the letter “D”!

My flight said ETD: 1045H, but at exactly 1030H, there we were, all passengers seated, doors already closed and the stewardesses already doing their safety demonstration. Does not hurt to be ahead of schedule, does it?! Instead of waiting too long at the departure lounge, this was definitely better! And at exactly 1039H, there we were lifting off Runway 13, heading towards Merville, ParaƱaque hehe. Well, it was up over the expansive Laguna Lake and ever southwards towards the lower end of this archipelago. Gloomy morning but I liked it. Sun not too harsh on the eyes as I watched anything worth watching down below.

Hey I wondered where we could have been at an hour into the flight. I remember taking this picture as I liked the long stretch of white coastlines. Negros Oriental? Probably somewhere there, below Dumaguete. Across that long stretch of light colored shoreline is a little island that also beckoned. Familiar, but I was not sure where. Probably Apo Island. It too has stretches of white beaches in their very own coves. Wonderful this country really! And don’t we wish we’d be able to visit them all beautiful islands in our lifetime! I asked a seatmate what that island might be. No idea. I asked the stewardess. She just smiled and plainly said “I don’t know, sir”! Well, I stuck to my ‘empirical hallucinations’ and ‘inferential guessing games’ (me ganun?!) then finalized my analysis that we were flying over the sea that is the confluence between Cebu, Siquijor and Negros or just a little south past that. Nah, I did not have to see a map of the country, most of it are already printed hi-resolution on both sides of my brain hehe!

Corroborating evidence? Five minutes more into the flight, I sensed we were starting a descent, and I saw another smaller island also laced in white. Ah I did not ask anyone what the name of the island might be. I knew I wouldn’t get any answer anyway. I guessed that would probably have been Aliguay Island (also called Aligway). Beautiful round island that looks like a green pancake with white edges viewed from up in the air! Makes sense if I imagine a commercial airliner’s flight path from Manila to Dipolog. We would have passed by Cebu, Siquijor, Southern Negros, then circle the area near Dapitan Bay and dive down to Dipolog. Well, the plane started banking left (which meant we were approaching Dipolog airport) and in another 5 minutes, there we were approaching Dipolog’s runway. Easy to see that we were on a big island btw. The creamy color of the water tells me it is a big river emptying out into the sea on a sporadically rainy day.

Well hello Dipolog! Here comes My Royal Highness!

Touchdown was passing almost literally above the city’s residential and commercial areas. Plus that wonderful seaside stretch of concrete that I know they call a “boulevard”. We’ll touch more of that later, since it was part of my list on things to see! Nice enough airport. I know even from afar that it looks just like most old airports in the country (arrivals on one end and departures on the other). It has a 2nd level though, and they look like office spaces than anything else. But the roof (that looks new) tastefully attempts a muslim look. The shape I mean. It is characteristically southern style. Well, why not, this is Zamboanga Del Norte after all!

Without any check-in baggage, I was first to emerge out the arrivals area. And hey, was it easy to find my limousine service? Look at him flashing my name! Would have been a miracle not to find him. right?I Just threw my backpack inside the vehicle and immediately lighted up a cig. I was thinking we were waiting for other passengers. When my stick was done, driver asked “should we go now, sir?” and all I could muster was “ha? no other passengers? Just me?”, to which he said “opo”! Gosh! The surprise naturally became an embarrassment. I learned something anyway: next time I should ask if driver is expecting other passengers so I won’t waste time smoking around when we could already go hehe!

Now now… see the picture? That is a Ford Expedition. A big car undoubtedly, right? That is what they sent to fetch me with a Madonna concert album playing. And look at the driver’s tattooed leg with a foot in house-slippers that hardly could reach the accelerator hahaha! He gamely joked with me about it and he said he’s been used to reaching for it and the brakes hehe. I did not anymore tell that it is supposed to be a law to wear shoes while driving. But, I think these vehicle manufacturers should post a height requirement for driving big vehicles. Haaay hehehe! That was fun! And we zoomed right through the city towards my hotel… Hotel Camila 2 at P840/night with complimentary airport pick-up with a driver who could grow taller because he keeps stretching his body to reach the accelerator hehe. But let’s do more of this hotel in a separate whole article, aight?. Yey!

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