from my journal November 10, 2006
When GMA announced the opening of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway, I was beyond myself in excitement. The year it opened I went to Boracay twice, and twice again the year after that; riding buses, getting drunk at the ROROs trying to drown the strangled-cat voices of travelers who insist on abusing the RORO’s videoke machine.
Earlier this year, I made it all the way to Southern Mindanao tracing the Nautical Highway, spending a couple of days checking out some of the major destinations in the Visayas; places I’ve already been to but have never forgotten.
I stayed overnight at one of the resorts in Guimaras (Villa Igang), had breakfast at Ted’s Oldtimer in Iloilo City and then proceeded to Bacolod City to have a quick lunch at Manukan Country. I then rode the bus from Bacolod all the way to Dumaguete City. I made a quick side-trip to Siquijor via fastcraft but didn’t have any encounters with its notorious black magic practitioners. Coming back from Siquijor I visited Silliman University of course and had my fill at their canteen. I then boarded another ferry, this time taking me to Dapitan, the place where Rizal was exiled, I didn’t even stop for coffee as I was too excited to experience my friend’s hospitality* in Cagayan De Oro.
*The hospitality turned out to be a face numbing experience with something called Tanduay and an introduction to Pinakurat. Manila folks, you simply must try this “suka” it’s available at Market Market. It’s almost a crime not to.
So I got into a van bound for Ozamis City where another ferry awaits that would take me to Iligan City. The van was filled with the stench of travellers and that unbelievable man who was lugging a 29 inch tv propped on his lap. The ferry from Ozamis to Iligan was too short for comfort. I boarded a bus that was already on the ferry and immediately, when the ferry reached the other side, my bus was already zooming down another road, this time to CDO.
CDO passed by in a drunken stupor. Before I knew it, it was already dawn and I was sleeping in my friend’s girlfriend’s room (the girlfriend is somewhere else of course) and it was time for another bus that would take me to Butuan City, where my journey ended with 4 days of pure mahjong bliss and the roaring of a PAL plane taking me back to Manila.
[ad#link468]It has always astounded me that there are a lot of folks who have yet to discover places outside of Manila. Everytime I talk about a certain place, Cebu for example, and I get a blank stare, I immediately ask the person if he has been anywhere outside of Luzon. More often than not, I get a negative answer. I then ask how old he is. I always get a confused reaction when I ask this last question.
That question is not about condescension nor is it meant to ridicule the person. I ask that question so I can gauge how many years the person has left before marriage or any other form of prison cramps his mobility factor. When a person is already in a state of responsibility, travel becomes limited, one way or another. The wife and/or the children will now have to be considered when making travel plans.
I often wonder why some folks are not too keen on discovering what lies beyond the bend, or whether the road he must have traveled a thousand times on the way to his house stretches on and on. I think that everyone should have at least a semblance of curiosity when they see an open highway or the sea’s horizon, or at the minimum wonder as to what lies beyond the setting sun. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me.