Saturday, December 24, 2011

Good Views On A Bus Trip

Where? Which part? Aber?

The truth is it depends on where you are going and what you consider as ‘good views’. In general, asking around may not sometimes suffice. A little bit of research and a little bit of history will get you to decide where you want to sit.

That serious?! Well, I am, and I know some who also are. This is one important matter I always consider when traveling by bus. Not really so I won’t miss this or that view, but more on… so I won’t get bored. Imagine if you were on a long bus trip to Bicol and all you see are fellow passengers who could be anywhere from snacking, snoozing, snoring or smooching! For 14 hours?! Gosh! So, the window seat it is. But which side?

As I said above, it really depends on where you are headed to. But, to help you make that choice, let me share some historical and topographical features I have encountered and noted, that are otherwise taken for granted by many a traveler in these islands.

The Philippines is an archipelago – that only means it is composed of so many islands, 7,100++ in fact. In the past, when our forebears were just starting to settle amongst these islands, they naturally stayed along coastal areas. Sometimes by the river banks. And when possible, along the mouth of a river where it meets the sea. Because those areas were/are conveniently near a food source (fish) and transport to/from other islands. What has this got to do with our topic? Simple. That means the roads that connect settlements (now towns and cities) are generally coastal. That also means the best views while traveling on a bus are the coastal areas. So? Now what?!

Thus, try looking at a map and you will agree with me that on your bus trip to Legaspi, you stay on the left window. You will enjoy the views of the pacific ocean from Sipocot onwards. Going Zambales? Stay on the left window. Ilocos, left too! Cebu City to Bantayan? Stay on the right. Cebu to Dumaguete? Left. Iloilo to Roxas and onwards to Kalibo or Caticlan? Right. Surigao to Butuan to CDO, to Iligan, to Ozamis and even onwards to Dapitan and Dipolog? Right. Iligan to Marawi to Cotabato? Duck and Hide hehehe! Okay, am just joking on this one last route hehe. Its also a left, since the placid lake Sebu will consistently be on that side.

Why coastal? Isn’t the inner view also good? Well, they generally are too, especially if you are amidst farms and plains. However, on uneven terrain (hilly or mountainous), most of these roads are cut out from them such that the mountain or hillside is like a wall, too close to your eyes that it would even make you dizzy! You want proof? Try the left window seat on your trip from Basco to Ivana and onwards as you circle Batan island – and its even just a jeep or van, no buses there yet! But try it and you’ll see proof. Same with your left-window ride from Tagbilaran to Loboc!

There, I gave you some history and topography! And that is from the very own experiences of My Royal Highness hehe!

Of course there are exceptions – when your bus trip must ford inland, usually crossing the island from coast to coast or just about going inland or upland for a destination. The obvious and quick example is going to Baguio where the bus passes by Marcos Highway. On this particular route however, if you cannot be front window, you’d be happier last row window esp if the back portion is still a clear glass panel. The views of the plains and the south china sea (oops West Philippine Sea) are just fantastic back there. Heads up… if you’re continuing that trip all the way to Sagada, be aware that some folks shiver and quaver at the sight of their bus passing via narrow roads atop high ridges and ravines so they would instead watch those violent local DVD movies, if any hehe. Otherwise, they pray the rosary! I’m serious!

You’d also be happy sitting on either window for trips like Taft to Wright (do you know where that is?) as the road passes at one of the small patches of remaining virgin forests in this country. I do think the left side is a bit better because of Olot River. Bacolod to San Carlos via Don Salvador Benedicto is another example, though I have a leaning towards staying on the right (remember the mini-chocolate hills?). The same for trips from Toledo to Cebu, Butuan to Davao. CDO to Malaybalay, even onwards to Valencia and eventually Marbel. But don’t forget the trips from Manila to Tarlac or Manila to Cabanatuan even onwards to Bayombong, Cauayan and eventually Tuguegarao.

Everything above are of course if you were traveling under the daylight.

And hey, speaking of the sun, that should be your other consideration. Some folks like me, prefer sitting by the window under the wash of sunlight. Others (especially those who have this make-believe notion that they’ll ever achieve a skin color similar to bond paper) abhor it. So if you’re one of them, you will want to watch out for the time of day you are traveling and where is east or west and to which direction you are headed. Example: midafternoon sun while traveling along the NLEX is too harsh. But a late afternoon wash while traveling along the Zambales coast is fantastically like no other. Mornings are a marvelous time to travel from Laoag to Claveria. Your grand views of the coastal area on the left is even given more color by sunlight coming from the right. Picturesque! The same time will also mesmerize you at your left side views while traveling from Santander to Badian and Moalboal. Oh, midday or early afternoons are best for the rightside views if you were zooming from Santander to Carcar!

Finally, how do you get to imagine the orientation of your routes or destinations against the sun? Go back to your good old map. Me, I always refer to google maps. Just follow that yellow line (that’s the main road network) and facing your map, remember that east is on the right side and west is on the left, north is up and south is down. It has never changed and I guess never will in your lifetime hehe. Then start imagining your bus running through that yellow line.


Happy travels!

1 comment :

  1. I like this! Very informative but I still have to think and do my own research. I like the challenge!

    Napuntahan mo lahat ang mga lugar na yan? Inggit ako!