I Do Hope The Boat Is On Time

Trip Start Oct 02, 2012
Trip End Mar 31, 2014

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Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Friday, November 16, 2012

Our time in the Philippines is starting to run out so we sit down to pick what will be our final destination. We decide on the island of Siquijor as it is pretty small and we hear that there are lots of cool things to look at there. Next job, how to get there!? We look online at the various ferry times from Tagbilaran (Bohol's port) to Siquijor, and decide to go as early as possible. So after a 30min tricycle-death-drive we arrive at the port at 7:15am expecting to depart at 8am. However, upon arrival we are disappointed to see our ferry has been cancelled. Nooooooo! There are only two ferries a day and the next one doesn't leave until 6pm. We have nowhere to stay in this dirty port town and debate what we should do next. We could go back to Alona beach, but it would just mean doing this all over again when we need to return to Cebu. We could wait in Tagbilaran for 10 hours until the evening ferry to Siquijor. Or we could head back to Cebu now and spend a few more days there. After our previous stint in Cebu, we weren't desperate to go back and a sunny beach is calling to us. So we decide to pass the 10 hours in Tagbilaran - another busy, dirty city. We get our tickets for the evening boat and store our bags in a not-so-safe locker before heading out into the hustle and bustle in search of breakfast and entertainment.

Through blind luck we find a wonderful little cafe designed like a diner and take a seat. The waitress brings over menus and an ordering pad - at the foot of the pad is a note explaining most of the staff are deaf, so it is easier to write your order. Anna has some delicious french toast, whilst Ian opts for some hard cheese wrapped in a pancake/omelette accompanied by a bread bun. Not the greatest breakfast he has ever eaten and he sits there glumly. Once we have eaten we look at the time to see how much time we have killed so far. It is still only 9am. So we decide to have another drink and Ian orders a mango pie and icecream as a second breakfast. It is much better than the first. Before it becomes necessary to roll Ian out of the cafe, we leave and head for the mall. It's shut. We kill an hour sitting in the only spot of greenery for miles around then having a little wander. We follow the wandering by hitting an internet cafe for a bit before heading back to the mall. It's open and it has a cinema. The new James Bond is showing so we buy tickets for 1.50! and settle down for a few hours of explosions. It is empty apart from one sleeping man and us. As the film begins, more people come in and most of them also seem to go to sleep. Its very strange, we think people buy a ticket just to have somewhere cool to nap in the afternoon!? People are still entering 30 mins before the movie ends, but we don't mind as it has made passing three hours very enjoyable and cheap. Back in the light we find (more) food before ambling back to the port. 10 hours wasted. No problem.

We get more excited on our approach to the dock, having chosen somewhere to stay in Siquijor with our own beachhut, and can't wait for our weekend of sun, beach and exploring the small island. As we step back inside our dreams are smashed. Again. The board once again reads 'cancelled'. We stand there, gutted. We are angry, sad, tired, homeless and without a back up plan. The 10 hours we have just wasted have been for nothing and now our whole day feels wasted. Our bags are still in the locker though, which is a quite a nice surprise as the crisp packets are harder to get into than the flimsy lock attached to this rotting cupboard. We get our tickets refunded and stand in the middle of the terminal looking lost. Finally we pull ourselves together and figure out our next move. Sadly, we have to abandon Siquijor but it's the right thing to do. So our only real option is to go back to Cebu city and take a bus to somewhere on/or just off Cebu Island in the morning. Anna remembers that we had been looking at a place just off the northern tip of Cebu before we changed plans after speaking to AussieJeff. It is called Malapascua and it could well be the sugar to sweeten the disappointment of today. First things first though, we need to get out of this stinking town and get to Cebu before we become stranded here.

An hour later and we are cruising to Cebu in an air conditioned ice-box. People really love to be very cold in hot countries!? Arriving back in Cebu we return to our old haunt of Pacific Penisionne and do some quick research on Malapascua, we really have to pick up each others spirits just to consider making the effort of another early rise and long journey tomorrow. Today has been a trial. It has been long, frustrating and very disappointing. It is a reminder to us that although travelling can be amazing, it can also be very difficult, even in a country that speaks english. Tomorrow is a new day though, and the white sands of Malapascua await us.
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