Ed and I had really planned to stay only a few days. R and family, J and family, and my mom were scheduled to stay 5 days, but for me, I thought that would be too long. For one thing, it would have become really expensive for us because everything on the island had dollar signs attached to their prices, and another, we wanted to be home to make sure arrangements would go as planned for when they (R and family) arrived.
The weather wasn’t very cooperative. We awoke once again to rain and cold. We finished packing and checked out, forgoing breakfast because we thought we could grab a bite at the Caticlan Jetty Port. J and Kb would be having theirs at Two Seasons. On the tricycle ride to the port I was amazed once again at the rural-ness of the community. It definitely did not coincide with my mental image of a world-class tourism destination.
The banca trip which was supposed to take only 5 minutes, took almost 30 minutes because when the boat was being maneuvered into the landing dock at Caticlan, the anchor line had somehow gotten caught in its propeller and for some reason, none of the young crewmen knew how to fix it. So anyway, I guess this was just one of those days which God made so that we would be reminded that we are only human.
From Caticlan, we took a bus to Iloilo, a five-and-a-half hour trip with one stopover at Kalibo. On the way, Ed explained to me that Kalibo was actually the original port of entry for Boracay and that was why the city was more developed than Caticlan. It made sense.. but I still had to ask why there was only one dock in Caticlan, since it was THE ONLY banca port in the whole area. (Read our delay experience story in my next post.)
Iloilo turned out to be an interesting city. Improvements-wise, it already has two flyovers, (the only provincial city with) two SM Malls, an international airport and lots of taxis. Our taxi driver took us to this pension house in the middle of the downtown area, just walking distance from Big R – it was called Ong Bun Pension House. Unfortunately, this being a Saturday, all the standard rooms had been taken and the smallest one available was a family-type room.. and there weren’t any other pension houses nearby. (My brain instantly goes, WHY???) Bright side was, as we walked to Big R for dinner, we spotted a day spa just next to the pension house, and had a relaxing massage just before turning in.
The next day, Sunday, we flew from Iloilo to Davao City and rode a bus to Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. (pictures from my camera will be posted soon)
All-in-all, the trip from Caticlan to Bukidnon took a little over 30 hours, including the overnight stay in Iloilo. On our part, we took this route for several reasons. The most important one was that we wanted to save. We spent P3,500 per person for this leg of the trip as compared to what we would have spent if we took the plane from Caticlan to Manila and Manila to Cagayan de Oro, which would have cost about P6,000 each (but would have gotten us home in one day). The second reason was so that we would be familiar with the “backpacker’s route”, one which is becoming increasingly popular these days. The third reason was so that we could at least have an idea how to promote Boracay to travelers coming from Cagayan de Oro and Mindanao. Even as I write this, I already have a package tour in the making. Hopefully, it will be released by October this year.
So as my title goes, I hope this is the start of a new beginning for my tour operations. First we’d expanded to Davao, then Bohol and Cebu, then Surigao, then Palawan and now Boracay. Where to next?