Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Fun Kalibo To Boracay Run

Done with the Ati-atihan and done with Sampaguita Gardens, it was time for us to move to Boracay. And quite easily! Why? Because our home for the past two days and two nights in Kalibo, the La Esperanza Hotel, sits just a few steps  away from either the bus or the van stations going Caticlan or anywhere else for that matter! Once you emerge out of the hotel to the Landbank ATMs, just a few steps to the right is the Ceres Bus Terminal or a few steps to the left are all others!

I went to check-out Ceres and a companion went to check the vans while others in the pack were still at the showers. During breakfast, we compared notes to wit: we have already missed the airconditioned Ceres bus and will have to wait more than 2 hours more for the next (that was my report hehe); the vans don’t leave until full but many can be hired anytime for a special trip with only the 6 of us on board. Done! We knew our best option!

At the van terminal, we were a bit mobbed by the drivers and dispatchers who wanted to “help” but our witty companion who earlier checked this place out had her sights already focused on one van – the best-looking van – meaning clean and relatively new that we thought won’t have engine trouble along the way. This van was still two vehicles away to be filled up with passengers and eventual departure, but there were already 2 unrelated girls seated inside as passengers. We asked both and they said they would rather wait just to be able to ride this van as it was “dependable” and had good air-conditioning.

I was surprised when our companion said “hop-in everyone and take your desired positions” hehe! The rest of us were starting to wonder when she called out to the driver and said “okay manong, walo na kami, let’s go” and the van really did go! Yey! How was that? Ah, we learned our dear companion talked to this driver earlier, and that the van can be hired at PHP1,000 for a special trip or we can also let a few passengers join the ride paying the PHP100 regular fare while the rest of the 1000 would be divided amongst the 6 of us. Good enough deal!

Spacious ride, we were not cramped, only 8 of us passengers in the van. Driver and the 2 co-passengers were gamely answering our many questions about places and things along the way! Fun and fast!

The jetty port over at Caticlan is getting bigger. Every time I pass this place there is something that has changed, for the better at least. We liked the big lobby, and the old blind men playing folk music and we liked the spacious waiting area – which you are not able to use for long anyway because any minute its already your time to board hehe. Well, there is some improvement on the ticket system, but yes Eduardo, you still pay the boat ticket and the terminal fee separately.

Memories, memories… would I have thought almost exactly 20 years ago that this pantalan would have grown this big and complicated? Way then, it was just a guard house with a notebook with nothing but a single person who could fit inside. That was where we would pay the toll or whatever it was called hehe. One peso! Then we would walk a bit onwards on a dirt path peppered with rocks or stones and hop on the boat of or choice (and there were not many)!

The fun thing on this trip was that all six of us have been to Boracay not once, not twice, not thrice, not just even 5 times but many many times! So we were all laughing with our comparisons at how it was then and now…

We were asked to proceed to the newly arrived and just recently disembarked blue boat. Thus we did, together with some other passengers. And our banter continued recalling those times when boats and boatmen would scrimmage to get passengers on their boats! Agawan, unahan! And there was also a time we would need to ride on little boats to be able to ride the slightly bigger boat that would take us across. THAT was preceded a few years by an era where you had to be carried by the boatmen themselves so you wont get wet! Whahehehe!

“Please wear your life vests sir/ma’am” said a boat hand to interrupt our merry memory trip hehe. So we did, but that made us realize, even as early as 20 years ago, passengers were already told to wear life vests. Not really strictly in early years, but yes, we already had to wear them then! Oh this boat had no outriggers as it was wide flat and made of wood. there went the comparisons again that in the past those were little fishing outrigger boats where there were just planks for a seat. And when it was windy, passengers would usually get wet!

One companion started mimicking how it was in the past by exclaiming “anybody for station 3?, how about station 1?”. Laughter continued as we all knew this time all boats must arrive and dock at the new pier on the island – which we considered as the bummer part since everyone now have to take either tricycles or jeeps going to any of stations 3, 2 or 1 and beyond. Way back then, you just excitedly drop unto the white sand and walk up to your resort of choice. Well, during uncooperative weathers, the little boats of the past could even only approach the island through the other side of the island (was that Bulabog?). Yet, we seemed to be unanimous that we didn’t like that there’s already a pier on the island :)

We were there in no time and first time for everyone to be using this pier on the island. Ngeh! We saw most passengers from our boat rushing towards the queue of tricycles and jeeps. Oh well, Boracay is a changing real fast. Now you have to make a landside ride to reach whichever resort you have booked yourself into. And more so for us, since Chalet Y is way far over at station 1. We decided to take a trike instead of the multicabs, just for the heck of it. All six of us plus our bags in just one tricycle. Kasya! But the driver even said “kulang pa”! Well, we said we’ll pay for how many other spaces he needed to fill. Jusko!

When trike driver asked where we were going I was quickest to answer saying “Station 1, Chalet Y, hindi kami bababa pag hindi ka makarating sa harapan ng resort na yan”! Only him got the joke, and my 5 companions wondered why he was laughing. And I told them that is one irony of staying at the luxurious villas and resorts of station 1. There has to be some walking since the tricycle stops at just a little beyond Pearl Of the Pacific and before Sea Wind because after that the road veers right to the hills and hinter areas of the island – which would be farther away from any of the resorts! No worry though, we like walking in the sand!

Yeah yeah, that infamous little hole on a wall, where there's a concrete path that leads to the beach area but you have to inhale the stench of pure unadulterated human urine at some corners hahaha! That's the area! But…

How cute… one of the male househelps from Chalet Y was standing at that point where our trike stopped. He asked where we were booked, one of us said Chalet Y, and he helped the girls (ah, oops, women) in our group carry their things. Hmp, women, they just always have some automatic perks. Hmp again hehehe!

So we were happily welcomed by the crews of Chalet Y, but let’s do this story later, okay?!


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