You can't get there from here...
Trip Start Feb 19, 2012
8Trip End Mar 22, 2012
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Where I stayed
Tahanan Sa Isok Marinduque
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Today we checked out of our hotel, walked across the street and checked into the Rainbow hotel. I found out that the room comes with breakfast and free wi-fi in the lobby...nice.
We started out today planning to buy airline tickets to Tuguegarao in Northern Luzon. We went back to the travel office that Nick took us to yesterday and were in the process of buying the tickets but I kept hearing Dave trying to make sure that from Tuguegarao we could get to Sagada. In fact, he didn't seem to care about getting to Tuguegarao, where there were some caves that we both thought sounded great for exploring. He wanted to go to Sagada where the Ifuego built their layers of rice patty terraces. I didn't really think he would find those all that interesting so I was a little surprised to see him more interested in the terraces than the caves. It appeared that getting to Sagada from Tuguegarao was a lot more difficult than we thought so we decided not to fly to Tuguegarao. Instead we were going to take a bus from Manila to Banaue near Sagada. The travel agent couldn't book the bus for us because the bus owners do not want to work with the travel agency, meaning we would have to do it ourselves. So, we thanked the agent and told him we would be back later to buy tickets to Palawan province. We felt a little bad that he managed to talk us out of buying tickets to Tuguegarao but, he said he would rather have us come back happy than
to have us come back mad.
When looking into bus tickets to Banaue we found that the bus only left at night. Dave didn't relish the thought of staying if Manila all day tomorrow, he wanted to leave in the morning. He was bored with Manila and was ready to go somewhere else. We spent half a day trying to find a bus that would leave tomorrow morning but, were unsuccessful. We ended up deciding not to go north right now but, to go to Marinduque instead...the island where they have the privately owned caves with large pythons living in them. To get to Marinduque we take a bus to Lucena (3 hrs) and then take a ferry to Marinduque. The ferry goes to Marinduque a number of times daily so we could leave Manila in the morning and still get to Marinduque in plenty of time to do something.
I think Dave got discouraged from all the scheduling difficulties...he's frustrated with the idea that we might have to go back and forth to Manila because it's not a tourist town...very few street vendors...points of interest are spread out more...you can't walk to everything. I started reading to Dave about things that did sound interesting in Manila and he realized that though we can't walk to everything, there are some other things we might like to see and do in Manila. So, I think maybe he will get over his frustration and get back into the adventurous track.
While we were out researching how to get to different locations, we did discover the Robinson Supermarket, inside the Robinson Mall, filled with a huge assortment of produce. We had fun looking at all the varieties of rice, fruits, fish, etc... the mall itself is huge and it was bustling with people. I suspect a lot of people go to the mall because it is air-conditioned and a great way to keep cool during the hot part of the day.
We had dinner at the Adriatico Cafe...Adriatico is the name of the street...serving pasta. I had
Putanesca which was good but, still not as good as the Putanesca I had at the little restaurant...wish I remembered to write down the name of the restaurant when we were there...at Ganges on Salt Island in the Canadian Gulf Islands. That has become my measurement for good
Thu, Feb 23, 2012
We got up this morning and went down to the Mezzanine for breakfast. I ordered something called
Tocino...knowing only that it was some kind of pork...that came with scrambled eggs, melon and rice. Tocino turned out to be marinated pork fat, cut into small little bite-sized strips and was surprisingly good for being pure fat..so much for me trying to eat light on this trip. Dave had broiled milk fish, also good...tasted a little like mackerel.
We grabbed a taxi to the bus terminal for Jam Liner, which goes to Lucena. Speaking of bus terminals, we found that because of privatization of bus services in the Philippines, there is a bus terminal for each privately owned bus line...that means you have to figure out which bus line goes to the location you are headed for and then go to their bus terminal...and, of course, they are spread all over the place. What makes it even more difficult is that they don't publish their bus schedules anywhere because they don't really have a schedule. They wait around until they have enough people on the bus to make it worth their time and then they go. It's not real clear what bus line goes where and if you ask someone, you'll get about three different answers. Yesterday, we took matters into our own hands...sort of...and had a taxi drive us around to find out which bus lines went to Lucena and how often the buses ran so we would know where to go this morning.
We were lucky that when we got to the terminal there was a bus already filling up for Lucena and it left soon after we got on board. This bus had free wi-fi...they must have been using Satellite service because it also had TV. I didn't use it much though because it would make me car sick to try to use it while the bus was on the go. It did allow me to read everyone's replies to my first entry though. Thanks all for commenting...it's nice to get comments because it keeps me connected to everyone. The bus ride was about three hours and it took us right to the ferry terminal...and we were lucky again. The ferry left within 15 minutes after we bought our tickets. We found that you have to pay a terminal fee as well as a fee for the boat...I think this is because the boats are all privately owned and the terminal is either government run or privately owned...I haven't figured that out yet...so you have to pay each of them.
we take a jeepney to the town of Boac, another 15 minutes. We asked for directions to the Tahanan sa Isok hotel where we were able to get a room. The people are very friendly here. We are getting some interested stares though. Today's trip we have not seen one foreigner. I don't think they get many tourists to this island. The room is a little sparse but clean and the staff friendly and helpful. We saw a couple of mosquitoes flying around the room so I broke out my handy mosquito netting and hung it up around the bed so we could sleep tonight. It was already starting to get dark when we got to the room so we washed up and went out to seek a restaurant. I suggested we eat at the restaurant for the hotel. Dave waqnted to see what was in town but we found that almost everything was closed except a few little stalls where there seems to be an open market. I suggested we eat at the hotel again.
and we walked back to the hotel. I ordered Tsingang fish, not knowing what I was going to get.
It turned out to be some kind of fish soup..the broth was a little on the sour side. I probably wouldn't order it again but, now I can say I know what it is. Dave ordered a chicken Adobo but, they cut up the chicken bones and all into chunks. So, we had to pick out chunks of bone as we ate the chicken. We both felt like we struck out on dinner tonight. Oh well, it was bound to happen some time. We just hope tomorrow's dinner will be a little better.
Fri, Feb 24, 2012
Today we head out in search of the Bathala Caves some privately owned caves where it is reported to have pythons. Will we see any...?