Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Siargao Stories: 2002, part 3


After consulting with Sarah and her folks we figured that the camera had been picked up by someone in the hours between 2am (when we got home) and 7am (when we woke up). Not wanting to let this spoil my trip – also following the philosophy that being bummed out wouldn’t bring my camera back – we went off to Cabuntog to report the loss and to Cloud Nine to do the same.

Note that we hadn’t eaten anything since 2pm the previous day. But I really had zero appetite. We told everyone we ran across about the camera loss and went to the tower instead to watch the finals. By about 11am the finals were over and our stomachs had told us they meant to be fed whether we wanted to eat or not.

Lunch at Cloud Nine – damn, that was good food! Over lunch we were also told that Zeny (whose birthday it was that day) had arranged for an island hopping boat trip that afternoon. Woohoo! A quick stop at Sarah’s to get our gear (and put plastic over my remaining camera) and a brief delay trying to sort out our boat transfer back to Surigao for the next day – oh wow, can I just take a break from all the feel good stuff here and say what a supreme hassle it was trying to get Romy to be of ANY help to us?! The man forgot to book our boat transfers… then upon realizing the boats back were full, didn’t know what other alternatives to give us! So, in effect we were STRANDED on the island and would miss our flight back to Manila the next day!!!

Thank God for Zeny who is uber efficient. She clued us in that SEAir was going to have a special chartered flight at 330 pm the next day. She also hooked us up with the digits to call since Useless Romy didn’t know them either.

Tirade over. Time for the island hopping! A whole bunch of us -- including Baler Boys Mako and Olin, and of course Paolo loaded up into “the chariot” and headed over into town to pick up supplies – a cooler of ice and half a case of soft drinks. Then got to the pier, put everything – drinks, surfboards and people -- into an outrigger boat and went off to our first stop: Dako Island. This was my first time ever to leave the area of Cloud Nine, in three years of coming to the island at that.

Dako Island. We didn’t actually land on the island. We dropped anchor in the middle of the ocean near to where to waves were breaking. The boys tossed their boards into the water, jumped in and paddled out to catch the waves. Kaz, Zeny and I dove in after them but we mainly just swam around and talked. A little bit later I was able to borrow a board and I practice paddling (no way was I going to try and catch a ride on that itty bitty board). Somewhere in the middle of this Olin decided to take a few underwater photos of us which came out hilarious!

The thing with swimming in the middle of the ocean is that it’s a. hard to get back into the boat and b. it’s hella tiring just trying to get within reach of the boat! You know those swimming lessons you take where your instructor says “swim up to where I am standing, I promise I wont move” and then they do? That’s exactly what that stupid boat was doing… moving every time we got close enough to catch hold of the outrigger. Needless to say by the time we got everyone into the boat we were all ready to head off to the next island.

Guyam Island (islet actually). In a word: beautiful. There’s a P5 fee to get on the island – which goes towards paying the caretakers. Guyam has 27-kilometers of pure white sand, palm trees and little huts you can rent for a picnic lunch. We didn’t spend a lot of time there… just enough for pictures and fresh coconut juice (you pay P10 and they climb the tree to get you the coconut).

Got back to the pier, went back to Cabuntog. Couldn’t get a hold of the SEAir person so Kaz and I decided to just hop on a habal and head to Pansukian… a good thirty minutes away. The ride itself was boring – until we came upon a woman lying down in the middle of the road. A dirt road mind you. Facedown. In the freakin’ dark! And our driver just veers off to the side and passes her!!!

Kage: Um, aren’t we going to see if she is okay? (Inside: or alive?!)
Driver: She’s probably just drunk


We passed some guy a few seconds later and the driver did tell him to go check on the woman on the road.

We get to Pansukian and find the woman in charge of the SEAir special flight. Yey! Two tickets home! Thing is, they only took cash. And since neither one of us thought we would be needing a lot of it we didnt have enough for two tickets. In fact, pooling our cash together, we were short by like a whole P1000 just to get the tickets... and that meant ZERO cash for anything else (food, transport, BEER)... so yeah, we were royally fucked...

Long story short: when we got back to Sarah's place we asked if anyone could change dollars on the island (no banks or ATMs on the entire island)... cos I had like a spare $50 left over from my South Africa trip. We were going to go to this one woman who owns a store in town but Sarah's mom was kind enough to change the money for us (at a lowered rate of course but at this point I was willing to take any exchange)... and boom... once again we had enough money to not only buy the tickets but to survive the rest of our stay. Wooohoo!!!

That same night – our last on the island – Sarah’s family invited us to have dinner with them. Not as paying guests but as guests of the family. So we did. And it was really nice. I mean this is the thing about Filipinos (especially those in provinces) that I love – how warm and accommodating they are. We couldn’t stay long though cos it was Zeny’s bday and there was going to be a small party at her place… Olin had cooked all these good things for it too.
the party... the drinking... the tequila ... next!


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