Monday, May 16, 2011

Ilocos and Cebu trips 1

My planned vacation would just have been to Ilocos but I made last minute changes and decided to also visit Cebu....

My first stop was at the NAIA terminal 2 in a bustling Manila, where my PAL flight from Singapore taxied. I arrived at the airport way too early which was 4AM to be exact. I will be meeting Ate Mars at NAIA 3 at around 6AM and MJ, who played host, will meet us at around 7AM. When I alighted the plane, I immediately went to the immigration area which was full packed as other airlines also arrived. So it took me a bit forever and since I had a bit of colds, the situation was not that helpful. I felt a bit exhausted and my eyes were straining. When it was my time to meet the officer, she signaled something then I noticed I had a masked on my face. Good thing the officer was really friendly and it was a quick verification. When I was out or the airport, I had to go meet Ate Mars and I didn't want to hire a taxi, so I went to the airport police to ask about the free shuttle. I waited for the shuttle for almost 30 minutes already but yielded nothing so I decided to go out of the terminal and look for a jeepney, a Philippine public transport inspired from the World War 2 military jeep and we call it jeep for short. I got lost upon looking my way out and good thing when I was about to enter another gate, there was an airport guard who was kind enough to help me with the direction.... I got out of the airport eventually, then rode a jeep. I was not familiar of the place and just told the driver that I was going to NAIA 2. He then told me that I have to alight and there was a tricycle waiting. The tricycle just zoomed after I suited myself rear seat. We plied a busy street and since I do not want to call any attention of some sort, I had to take off my mask. I couldn't see any smoke or dust but my throat was a bit itchy as if I have inhaled something foreign. The driver then told us that we have reached NAIA 2. I did not talk much, I just followed the other passengers because they looked like airport laborers. It was a long walk as the tricycles were not allowed to enter the departure or the arrival area. I arrived NAIA 2 around 5:30 AM and Ate Mars will be arriving soon. The security check at the airport was really tight, and I was surprised why they got a Category 2. Anyway, after I passed the security, I looked for some place to settle and wait. The airport was a bit cold, and even if I wore a jacket, my nose was feeling the torture. When the clock struck 6, Cebu Pacific flight from Cebu arrived and the waiting was over. After a few minutes, I saw Ate Mars and called her attention by waving my right hand. We did the usual beso-beso - for Filipinos, its like a check to check greeting :D Ate mars told me that she had messaged MJ already and she was coming. We then looked for a place to wait, still inside the airport. We just talked and talked about dogs, house and lot and investment stuff. Then MJ told us that she just arrived at the airport and on my way out, I saw her, so I hurried my steps to a run and called her name out loud. Ate mars, then followed suit and everyone hugged :D We then went to look for a bus going to the MRT. It was a short ride traversing the Roxas going to Taft. Then we rode the MRT going to Quezon City where, MJ reside. MJ and her housemate mommy Zhet rented a simple room at Philam village in Quezon City. The ride was smooth and we were able to get good seats. It was not a peak hour but the train was almost filled. Our initial plan was to actually go immediately to Ilocos but since it was a bit hectic, we decided to go to Ilocos on a night bus. Yes a bus which will take 9 hours :P When we arrived at MJ's place, we met mommy Zhet and simply introduced ourselves and greeted each other. Since we did not have breakfast, and I was a bit sleepy, I asked MJ that I'd like to have an hour nap before we go out and eat.

It was 9AM and I had to wash my face. Everyone was like awake and waited for me. MJ, Tmars, and I went out to have breakfast. We ate beef mushroom with rice (rice was overflowing for it was free). After that simple breakfast, we went back to MJ's place. We were planning to go get our tickets later but then we needed to have some rest. We just decided to go to the bus station at around 12.

Manila was hot and I guess hotter than Singapore. I did not mind much because I also wanted to get a tan. I just applied a bit of Nivea Sun lotion for protection against sun burn. We planned to buy the tickets first, so we hired a taxi and when we arrived at the station, the teller told us that they do not accept reservations - which was a crazy thought because it's pretty unusual to not have one for a bus company. Anyway, the teller assured us that there are lots of buses and that they had a trip going to Ilocos at an hour interval. Since Trinoma was a bit far, we hired another taxi and believe me, it was hot. The fact that the taxi was just parked from a far and had his air-condition off, the cab was an oven. No more complaints since we were in a hurry. We arrived Trinoma and strolled the mall. We ate ice cream crepe which was really delicious. We checked for some nice shades and found them very expensive. It was a bit of window shopping that took place. We got tired traversing the mall so we decided to just go back to Philam village. But before that, we bought some snacks at a grocery inside Philam. After that, we decided to just take the 4PM bus sked so we had all good two hours to nap.

We found ourselves waking up around 4PM. And I was second to the last to take a shower. MJ was still in her dreamland. Eveyone finished quite fast including me and then MJ. We left Phil-am just on time going to the bus station and the sun was still hot and mighty. We wanted to eat so we went to this pancit malabon food bar. I had deep fried bangus or milk fish with pancit malabon and rice - which was really tasty. After we finished our early dinner, we rode a taxi going to the bus station. There was a no queue at all and found ourselves directed by the the bus personnel and we found random seats inside the bus which was about to go.... After 5 minutes of waiting, the bus torched its engine and the journey to Ilocos has started.

After almost 10 hours of sleep, we arrived at Vigan the capital city of Ilocos Sur. It was still dawn so have to get a simple accommodation near the historical town center and the tricycle brought us at the Vigan riverside inn. There, we slept for three hours before we started our Vigan city tour conducted by us =)) Yeah, we did not hire any tour operator, as it was a free and easy Vigan tour which spelt adventure to us.

(To be continued....)