Saturday, September 21, 2002

Siargao Stories: 2002

(fair warning: this is going to be a really long series as I did this as a daily travel journal. but in the interest of armchair traveling, i've cut it down into five segments.)
Siargao Stories:
September 26 to 29, 2002

Kaz and I meet up at the airport at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m. for our flight from Manila to Cebu. Nothing much happens so I’ll skip the rest of this part and take you straight to us at the Surigao airport where our Provincial Office contact takes us to the pier for the last leg of our trip – the boat ride to Siargao.

The boat is small but fast. And, thankfully, airconditioned. I say that only because our seats were below deck so you can just imagine what it would have been like to sit there for two hours without any source of air. We got to our seats and lo and behold – they were playing a Westlife VCD on the tv!

Kaz: They aren’t going to play that vcd for the whole trip are they?
Kage: Two hours of Westlife. In a boat. Welcome to hell.

But once the boat pulled out of the dock they switched over to a real movie. Something with lots of guns, biochemical warfare and, of all possible action has-beens, Dolph Lungdren.

Kage: I don’t know if this is better or worse than having to watch Westlife.
Kaz: Let’s nap instead.

So we did.

We land in Siargao at 430pm. We get off the dock. And our contact person on the island is not there to meet us. Fuck. I get the local version of a motorcycle called the habal-habal to take us to Cloud Nine, where I figure most of the people are going to be (it’s where the competition is held). Kaz had never been on a motorcycle. And these babies have extra long seats to accommodate more than one passenger. In fact, last year there were four of us plus the driver on one of those puppies.


We were there for an adventure right? So off we went for a twenty minute habal-habal ride to Cloud Nine. Basically, we get to Cloud Nine and I see people I’d met two years ago. One of them is this sweet girl Zeny who works for the Department of Tourism. Introductions all around and much discussion about where the hell Kaz and I are supposed to be staying. Zeny suggests that we head over with them to Cabuntog resort which is where the secretariat office is always located (its also where the nightly parties are held but that’s another part of this story). To cut this portion short since not a lot of excitement happens we eventually do hook up with our contact (Romy) at Cabuntog. We sit on the beach with our feet in the sand drinking ice cold San Miguels and are told that for one night we will be staying at one place then we’ll be moved to where we really are supposed to be staying for the rest of our trip. A little complicated but... no worries.

We have dinner at White Sand then head over to Gaga’s place to unload our things, wash up and get ready for the night’s festivities at Cabuntog. We meet up with some people I’d met before like Ana and her (then) boyfriend Alex and some of the other local surfers… not really friends friends but not really acquaintances. You know? They’re fun to be with and really nice people to boot. They introduced us to the other people they are hanging out with. Among them were these two guys from Santa Cruz California – Django and Joel. They’d been to the country before so they kind of knew what being in the Philippines was about. Turns out Django is a lifeguard and Joel is studying astrophysics. They had another friend Matt with them but we didn’t get to meet him that night. Anyway, we sat on the beach facing the stage where some band is about to play. As cover bands go, it was a pretty bad band. So we didn’t listen to them much really.

We met this one other guy Nigel who was super funny. The kind of person who just exudes stoke. He’s this student who managed to find a program that allows him to study in other countries and have those units credited. He’d been in Siargao for like two weeks already I think. About Nigel… hmmm… it’s hard to explain but the way I told Kaz was that he’s the kind of person you want to stick in your back pocket and bring home with you. He had this great vibe going on. And the way he talked about his family made you want to meet them cos they sound so cool.

By like midnight, maybe a little past it, Kaz and I were tired. We’d been traveling all day. So we decided to just turn in so we could be more rested for the next day. Someone gave us a ride back to Gaga’s place and wouldn’t you know it… the door was locked and we didn’t have a key. Hahahahaha. So we sat out by the shore for a while and waited for people to come home. We didn’t have to wait for long though. Man, that was good sleep. I had a pounding headache from the beer and the being tired. But I slept really well. I assume Kaz did too cos she was out like a light.
And thus ended day one on the island.

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