Thursday, April 19, 2012

Into Bataan

Its a peninsular province somewhere on the mid-western fringes of Luzon. What is there to see? Well, supposedly many. This is one of the most historic provinces in the country that fared well in history books during the war years. Remember the death march? Yeah, it started in this place. There are also famed beach resorts in the area. In one of those we just had a team-building a fortnight ago. But this time, I wanted to just roam around the various places, starting with the Dambana Ng Kagitingan or Shrine of Valor, then hop and skip to everywhere else my feet would take me!

How? Ehem, I researched well on this, for about three days prior to the intended weekend of visit. Easiest would have been to take a fast craft from Roxas Blvd. that crosses the Manila Bay. Quick! But good that I called up to ask, because, I discovered, those are not operational at this/these time/s! Even called up the mayor's office of/at Orion, and learned that the main issue these crafts are not anymore running is economics. Yeah, most folks going to/from Bataan find it more practical to take the buses instead. As if to protest, I commented that the fast crafts are faster. The lady I was talking to said yes indeed, but the buses are way cheaper.

Done deal, I had to approach Bataan via the long bus ride from Metro Manila, passing via the NLEX, most of Pampanga, until I reach Balanga City, the capital. This is the only way at the moment, anyway, unless you have the resources to charter a yacht or a helicopter! Gosh!

so early one Saturday morning, I found myself comfortably sitting in the middle of a half-filled Bataan Transit air-conditioned bus from Cubao, that takes about an hour just to be able to exit unto the NLEX. Why? Because it stops at the sight of any human being in the desire to get more passengers. Aruuu, even folks who are obviously not waiting for a ride must be hollered at by the conductor, inviting them to get on the bus bound for San Fernando, Guagua, Dinalupihan and eventually Balanga!

But once we exited the metropolis and entered the NLEX, it was a good fast ride, zooming through almost empty roads. I observed that very early in the mornings, even during Saturdays, there are more vehicles going in the direction of Metro Manila – because this was not a long weekend hehe! Thus, after more than 3 hours on a dawn to early-morning ride along scenic roads, I arrived at Balanga City.

First order of the day, find a ride to the Shrine of Valor. But lets do that next, k?!


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