This day started off so very innocuous, all we had to do was catch the direct regular ferry from Dumaguete over to Cebu City on the island of Cebu in order that we then could catch our pre-booked flight for the following day to take us to Puerto Princesca on the island of Palawan— easy eh! Well this was pretty much what we thought until, that is, we reached the counter of our particular ferry company and the lady there told us that our ferry had broken down and there was no replacement!
I have left a space simply to let that sink in folks as this was indeed pretty serious news.
We got back up off the floor which was no easy feat as in our shock we had fallen over backwards with our backpacks on so we were flailing about in our attempt to regain the vertical position we looked like a couple of stranded tortoises breakdancing. Clearly seeing the extent of our distress the lady gave us an alternative routing, bearing in mind this is the Philippines our re-route sounded like something off Wacky Races. We were to first grab a Cyclo Taxi and get him to take us to a nearby local ferry, this ferry only ran a couple of times a day so we would have to set off soon, should it not be full this ferry would then take us over to Cebu island where we would then catch a local bus to then take us to Cebu City bus station and from there we could catch a taxi to our hotel, still as yet unbooked.
Well off we went somewhat disgruntled but not deterred, this was simply an obstacle to be overcome (he says now … lol). Not sure if I was perspiring from the heat or the worry either way we soon achieved objective number one and grabbed a somewhat surprised Cyclo guy. We did not even offer to barter but his price was not unduly expensive anyhow so off we ‘sped’. When you are in a hurry everything journey seems to take an age and this was no exception it seemed that everything stood in our way … beggars, old folk, other Cyclos and even goats were being thrown into our path sometimes literally! We finally reached the port though which was more of a ramshackle building leaning by the sea and it seemed to be bursting at the rafters with passengers carrying all manner of goods but cocks did seem to be the luggage of choice, perhaps a travel cock I assume which every well-to-do young hoodlum seemed to be carrying. We booked our tickets and were happy that they actually had some but not for the very next trip ours would be the one after. We had no idea how this would affect our chances of catching the bus but no-one seemed unduly worried so why should we be …. well because we are English so of course we worried big-style! Our flight was depending upon us being there! We waited and waited for a good while then it was our turn – hoorah! We boarded the vessel which had definitely seen better days along with many other passengers and their cocks and such other items of luggage. Then it zipped or rather chugged along over the waves but at last we were moving … okay sometimes it seemed that we were moving in the wrong direction but slowly and surely the Isle of Cebu grew bigger and bigger as we approached it.
We finally reached land though then readied ourselves for the bus but again we seemed to have missed the very next one available so had to wait but we finally boarded a bus which at least had the right name on the front and so off we went Northwards towards the capital city of Cebu. The drive was a long one, a very long one through many a town and village. The thing which stands out in my mind from the journey was the number of basketball courts but also the number of bakeries and fast food joints. and funnily enough the people along the way reflected these two main pastimes with many being slim and lithe and others being more rotund and generally having a foodstuff (or two) sticking from their mouth! The thing which amazed my wife more was just how beautiful the island of Cebu was, we had never really wanted to go whale shark watching at Oslob – which we passed – as they feed the sharks but it would have been nice to see the island in a less hurried fashion than we were doing via the bus. Late afternoon though soon turned into early evening when we finally reached what looked like the outskirts of Cebu city and at last we entered the bus station. Along the way we had sorted a hotel for us to hook up onto and now all we needed was a taxi to take us there and this took quite a while to get a taxi driver and then to make him understand where we wanted to go but we were actually nearing our goal. Life was wonderful again and we almost had success in our grubby mits. No there is no postscript to say that we then had another downturn in our fortunes, not at all, we reached our hotel – okay it was late and okay we were tired beyond belief but this is sometimes how they roll over here and sometimes even if you are English and somewhat anal in your approach to timetable difficulties, sometimes you just have to roll with it. The postscript I suppose is that we had no idea what our Plan B would have been but if you have not had to use it – who gives a sh!t … lol.