Tag Archives: commute

Exploring Bicol by Land: Day 0

Super delayed post on my Bicol adventure… so here goes! 🙂

Two gal pals and I challenged ourselves to take Bicol hardcore on the last week of April. By bus. It’s actually doable given that we did the same with our Ilocos adventure. It’s a 10-hour journey from Manila so it’s best to travel at night to maximize your trip. I was thinking of taking the PNR train ride but it has not resumed operations so bus it was.

We took the 8:30PM bus to Legazpi from the Araneta Cubao Terminal, which was once Rustan’s. Back then, my sister and I will pass through this shopping mecca for the rich just so we’ll be “amoy-mayaman”. It has that distinct shashall  whiff that Ali Mall or SM lacks.  But today, it lost its grandeur when the Ali Mall bus terminal was transferred here as that site is now being developed as a prime residential community.

Sorry I got sidetracked 🙂 We took the Cagsawa Bus Tours for its good feedback from both Trip Advisor and Girl Talk forums.

Details:

Fare: P850 (one-way)    

ETD Manila: 8:30PM  |  Two stopovers of 15-20 minutes each  |   ETA Legazpi: 5:30-6:00AM

Tips:

  • Book your ticket at least three days before your planned trip (I bought ours a week ahead) to make sure you don’t waste precious time. Don’t put yourself through unnecessary hassle. 😉
  • Cagsawa Bus is as good as the feedback on forums but if you want to be socially connected during that 10-hour ride without relying on tres gapang technology, I mean 3G, take the Alps bus; they have WiFi onboard.
  • If you’re a light eater, just bring a sandwich and water before boarding the bus. I felt so ripped off with the cup of instant coffee for P25 at the stopovers.  

Apart from my annoying seatmate who keeps switching on her side as though she was on a bed and not on a bus seat; and the boisterously excited teens in front of my gal pals, the journey to Bicol was uneventful.

And when Mayon Volcano finally came into view, around 5AM you can distinguish the tourists from the locals. Even I can’t hide my amazement at how beautiful it was.  Post cards and photos doesn’t give justice to the magnificence of this gift of nature. From the bus terminal and in most places around Legazpi City, the gorgeous Mayon Volcano is visible. Made me realize how fortunate the locals are to wake up to this beauty every single day.

The good thing is, the condotel where were staying has a fabulous view of Mayon Volcano from the hallway.

We wake up to this gift of nature for two days. Sweet!

We wake up to this gift of nature for two days. Sweet!

So will I recommend Pinehurst Suites? Check the details below.

  • Location: Superb! It’s easy to commute if you stay here as jeeps traverse this road.
  • Security: Thumbs up! As soon as they verified your reservation, you’ll be asked to scan your forefinger  on their biometrics scanner installed at the gate.Very safe indeed. You can just come and go as you please.
  • Room: Superb! The room is spacious and I love the bathroom too!
  • Service: SUCKS! The worst part was breakfast. You can read my review of Pinehurst Suites here. Check the commenter Rowena B., that’s me. 😉 

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I Dare Not Close My Eyes: Mga Kuwentong Shuttle

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This is not taken from the shuttle, of course; it’s at a bus bound for Manila from Vigan. 😛

The horrible traffic I bear with everyday, an hour to two on a very badass day, taught me to find humor in that daily punishment I put myself through. I try my best not to doze the ride off as I spend it observing my co-passengers; some funny and some downright annoying.

Oh, but there are days when I’m so dead to the world that I doze somewhere along Libis and woke up at Buendia already. Thank goodness for the sunnies I wore that day because it perfectly hid how disoriented I was. It took a lot of focusing and re-focusing my eyes to the surroundings outside to realize that had I slept a little longer, I would have completely missed my stop.

These are real shuttle moments I’ve captured in my head and astonishingly remember with such vividness. 😀

The Sleepers / Headbangers

Those who doze off so heavily their heads bang on the window repeatedly; makes me actually concerned if they suffered amnesia after all that headbanging.

That someone actually snores! And that’s merely minutes after the shuttle left the terminal. It may seem unlikely but believe me, it did happen.

And there are those who are so deep in their slumber that poise got defenestrated (I just can’t wait to use this word! I love how it rolls on my tongue 🙂 ) into the traffic mess. Once, a girl in skirt have her legs a little too far apart for my comfort and a little too exciting for the man beside me.

Then there are those who almost lean their head on my shoulder that we’ll get easily mistaken as kami na. All I have to do is stroke his hair tenderly and voila!…  instant boyfriend.

Salonistas

There are those who must be in such hurry that they opted to continue prepping up in the shuttle, you’d think you’re inside a mobile salon.

One girl actually got in with her hair wrapped in a small towel. As if that’s not enough, she towel-dried her hair. All the while thinking she looks cool or whatever. Just between us, I thought her shampoo smelled cheap… ssssh!

Then there are actually those who apply their complete makeup!  Lipstick or gloss should be ok, but the whole shebang? I’m amazed at the skills but must you really do that in public?

Just when I thought I’m used to seeing such, I saw this girl a few months back, slather lotion on her legs. I don’t know what possessed this woman to do it. Nakakalokah!  I almost offered to wax her hairy legs. 😛

And I think this one beats all those others. Picture an average-looking guy with tattoos on his nape and the sides of his neck. Astig, right? Until he brings out pressed powder and actually used it. I felt my eyes widen in surprise. And when he fished something out from his slingbag again, I can’t conceal my amusement anymore. It was a cherry Chapstick. As they say, sa panahon ngayon, ruler na lang ang straight.

Chatterbuds

Those who have companions are lucky to have someone  to chat the terrible traffic away. But it gets pretty annoying when the person beside you talks so emphatically to her companion that every hand gesticulation rubs your arm or your side annoyingly.

And there are those who talk about their lives that by the time you alight the shuttle, you can actually empathize with them already.

Lovers in Shuttle

There are those who are so lovey dovey I almost want to puke. I was unfortunately sitting beside this couple and the guy has his arm around the girl’s waist so his forearm will be kind of resting on my side, which is so bloody annoying because he’s sweaty and I feel like it’s drenching my side. ewww.

Some even have their fight inside the shuttle. It’s like watching a live soap. It’s crazy. One of the very few times I’m thankful to be single.

Picnickers

Nothing wrong with eating in the shuttle for as long as you don’t litter, you don’t bring a whole picnic basket and most of all, you don’t open a bag of anything cheese flavored chips. Imagine the horror of that patda smell (patay na daga) that you have to bear for a few minutes before your olfactory senses get numbed.

With all of these encounters, plus the skyrocketing gasoline prices, carpark fee and horrible holiday traffic, I don’t think I will ever drive a car to the office. Oh yes, and I have to get a real driver’s license first; I feel like I’m not ready to let go of my student’s license yet. 😛

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Thoughts on the Go

The commute to work takes more than an hour and I rather not spend it fidgeting and doing palatak because doing it won’t ease up the traffic anyway. So I just incessantly input my thoughts via the nifty WordPress app for mobile phones. While at it, I have to constantly remind myself not to blurt out to the girl beside me to ‘Please stop flipping your cheaply rebonded hair on my face’. I know so because the ends look like our walis at home. *raised eyebrow*

  1. On the Panamanian diplomat declared as persona non grata; that ‘punishment’ would have had more kick if he got  Claudined (bashed and tongue-lashed in public) and Raymarted (ganged up and punched repeatedly) while being escorted to the airport. Just suggesting! 😉
  2.  I’m not sure whether I should be happy that the shuttle I rode on has a tv onboard or be annoyed because it is tuned in to a news channel and it recapped PacMom’s birthday celebration.
  3. I don’t know whether it was the glaring sun that hit my eye or her gown.  Can’t her children be sued at least (wag na ‘jailed‘ as I initially suggested) for letting her go out like that?
  4. Or can a well-meaning authority issue a restraining order for those gaudy gowns? I get it. They’re the nouveau rich. They can pretty much buy ANYTHING they want, do WHATEVER they want. But these are questions that really baffled me:
    • How many birds sacrificed their lives for that hideous gown that almost defaced the Philippine flag just because it’s red, blue and white?
    • Who created that gaudy, flamboyantly garish gown?
    • What the hell was that designer thinking? Or not thinking? Hello! Project Runway Philippines is on tv. Please! You can learn pointers there.
    • Is he aware that he’s designing a gown for a 63 year old woman and not a two year old? Then again, if I were that kid, I am so not wearing that gown even if they deprive me of milk for weeks.
    • When those gaudy gowns were brought in for a final fit, were the people with PacMom able to keep a straight face? Or did they just put on their best poker faces and then subsequently excused themselves and threw up?
    • Wasn’t there somebody brave enough to make a stand against those awfully pathetic gowns?
    • Can you please put your money to good use? Hire an image consultant. Pronto!

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Commuting Around Ilocos Sur: Vigan (Night 2)

After we attacked our empanada, it was an uneventful two-hour ride from Laoag to Vigan. We just took in the coolness of the bus and succumbed to some much needed power nap before reaching the last leg of our adventure.

Around 630PM, we were finally in Vigan. We rode the trike to Grandpa’s Inn and as we saw our room, we forgot how tired we were because our room was just so gorgeous and cozy.

Grandpa's Inn has mixed reviews but we really loved our short stay here.

We finally felt like humans again after a nice warm bath and we decided to head out for dinner. And this is after we battled the urge to stay and finish Aga Muhlach’s movie on cable. Because he is still my ultimate crush until now. Who cares if the media says he’s getting chubby? I like flesh on my men. The dimples are add-ons I so would not mind at all. (.^__^.)

It was as we were strolling this street when the 50ish man sneaked up on me. Kerrrazzy dude.

Calle Crisologo at night is just as charming as I imagined it to be. It was years since I last visited but it still feels like the first time. As I was taking photos of my friends, I was so shocked when a late-50ish foreigner sneaked up on me. He took me by the armpits, I almost coughed out a crisp curse that we Filipinos are so known for. Good thing I wasn’t holding my tripod, else I would have smacked him good with it. But he seemed like he’s just doing a Just for Gags on me so I let it pass.

We strolled the stretch of Calle Crisologo to find some decent dinner.

We finally had our dinner at Trellis, which happened to have a live acoustic band that night. They were ok, except for some of their song choices and occasions when it seemed like they have their own lyrics. We generally enjoyed their gig though.

The walk back to Grandpa's Inn. Lovely night!

Details: 

Trike fare from terminal to inn (Php50/3)

Php 17

Accommodation with free breakfast (Php2230/3)

744

Tip (Php150/3)

50

TOTAL

811

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Commuting Around Ilocos Norte: Pagudpud (Day 2)

We actually consented that he be included because he won't stop clowning around. You rock, dude! -- fr Lai's camera

We waited an eternity for our breakfast to be served at Apo Idon so we took it as a chance to enjoy the beach that glorious morning and snap more photos of Saud.

We hired the same trike driver, Manong Vicente who bought us to Saud the day before, for our Pagudpud tour. Trike tours are the way to go if you’re too few to rent a van or simply on a budget. Pagudpud trike tours are divided into North and South tours and costs Php600 each. We decided to take both because we have come this far already and we don’t want regrets later.

North Tour:

  • Kabigan Falls
  • Patapat Viaduct
  • Agua Grande
  • Paraiso ni Anton
  • Timangtang Rock
  • Bantay Abot Cave
  • Dos Hermanos Island
  • Maira-ira Beach (Blue Lagoon)

South Tour:

  • Bangui Windmills
  • Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
  • Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
As with the previous post, please check the gallery at the bottom of the page for more photos and tips. 🙂

Tips:

  • If you’re coming from Saud, it is best to start with the North tour.
  • Best to start at least by 7AM at Kabigan Falls before the sun unleashes its ferocious rays in the afternoon. Note that this is a 30-minute hike from the entrance and you will appreciate starting out early.
  • Manong Vicente’s contact number: +639262735210
  • Be wary of those posting van tours in forums. Some have been scammed into depositing money as reservation. And yes, they vanished into oblivion after.

A little side note. Onboard the trike, Ivy and I were inside, with Lai as the backrider. I am amazed that she managed to doze without falling off the seat. Seriously! And as we chatted much later on, I uncovered the mystery of the perplexed looks we got as our trike passed by. Lai was afraid of getting sunburned that she draped her shawl from the head, totally covering her upper body. I can only imagine how she must have looked like that time. 😀

We finished the tour around 230PM and Manong Vicente dropped us off across the highway (Burgos) where we will wait for a bus bound for Laoag. At this time, our last decent meal was breakfast at Apo Idon. Though we snacked on tupig and soda at the little shack after our hike to the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, we just about consumed what we ate after all the stair-climbing at the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse.

As famished as we were, we still hoped for a GWM bus to pass by as it goes directly to Vigan. But since we rather not waste time waiting, we hopped aboard the first bus that passed by and it’s bound for Laoag.

Some 1.5 hours later, we arrived at the Laoag terminal. We rode the trike and headed straight to the public market to buy some of our pasalubongs.  I never realized just how cramped we were in the trike until I turned my head towards Ivy and saw that there was just enough space for her face and her ginormous backpack. I was thinking maybe she will suffocate if she faced front and so she turned her head slightly toward me for some air. That image is forever etched in my memory until Alzheimer’s strike me. 😀

We finished shopping in 30 minutes and grabbed some empanada (by the roadside lest we drop dead from hunger and sheer exhaustion); then hired a trike to take us to the Partas bus terminal.

Just minutes after settling ourselves, we attacked our empanada like wolves (or PG, as in patay-gutom. LOL). I finished mine in roughly 5 minutes while Ivy finished hers in probably 10 minutes. Mind you, the empanada is not that huge… made me wonder really. Did I eat that fast or was she that slow? Our friends will say, it’s the latter 😉

Tip:

Bagnet is cheaper in Laoag (in my experience, that is). A kilo of bagnet in Laoag costs Php400 (I haggled it down to Php390, as I bought 2 kilos; not much but I’m good with it 😉 ) In Vigan, it retails for Php420/kilo.

Details:

Trike tour + tip <Php 600×2=(1200+100)/3>

Php434

Kabigan Falls Tour guide (Php 150/3)

50

Enivornmental fee: Timangtang Rock

10

Entrance Fee: Agua Grande

25

Bus fare (Burgos to Laoag)

50

Trike from terminal to Laoag Public Market (Php33/3)

11

Trike from market to Partas terminal (Php33/3)

11

Bus fare (Laoag to Vigan)

133

TOTAL           

724

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