On the buses

Trip Start Feb 15, 2006
Trip End Feb 14, 2007

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Flag of Philippines  ,
Thursday, April 6, 2006

It seems that we have friends in high places in the Philippine tourism board (sorry, not you Mick) - thanks to our next door neighbour Jason who was out here last year. No sooner had the plane landed than "Gill and Alan" were welcomed with garlands and our luggage whisked through customs - so quickly in fact that I had to have my hand baggage re-scanned so as to get back into the airport to get some Pesos for the taxi.

Mick had booked us into the Makati Shangri La from three nights hence, so we made our way there to do a little bit of smooth talking and dump our cases because Gill had planned another away day into nowhere. (when we arrived in Thailand we knew where we were sleeping for two nights only - this time it was even more dramatic - our first night was hopefully going to be on a bus!)

After our taxi had had the four mirror bomb check and the sniffer dog had ignored our smelly socks, we were allowed into the fortress Shangri La - a swift repack in the luggage room - and we were on the streets of a very security conscious Manila.

Later, our contact in high places, Clare, called us on the jungle phone and we had dinner and she gave us a four point guide to the Philippines - 1. we don't walk anywhere 2. we eat rice and sugar with everything 3. we don't use the international sign when asking for the bill or they bring you a pen and notebook 4. the unit of distance is hours and minutes.

She had booked us on the overnight bus to Banaue and drove us to the bus terminal. - so far, so good in fact very good. Things took a quick turn for the worse when we found our seats on the bus - in the middle of the bench right at the back. The locals felt sorry for us as they arranged their overnight belongings on those comfy looking two by two seats between the wheels. Don't worry said this red indian looking woman - "you WILL arrive in Banaue"

The bus stopped every couple of hours or so which was just as well as my seat sprung vertical on one particularly large bump and stayed there - the reclining knob had fallen off long ago and I was really worried that my elephant riding back would go into spasm again.

Zero sleep - but with no problems from the back we arrived in the mountain province of Ifugao at 7:30 am - ready for nothing.
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