Water! Water! Everywhere!

Trip Start Dec 03, 2012
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Trip End Jan 09, 2013


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Where I stayed
Harbour Chateau

Flag of Philippines  , Mimaropa,
Thursday, December 20, 2012

Decisions Decisions
Left Roxas early at 9 am for the port. The Roxas ferry schedules are notoriously unpredictable from what I read from my new German mate. My tricycle had to pass the BBQ joint from last night and yes, the sisters recognized me so I waved back with a grin. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of accommodation near the port. Checking with the booths, I had the option to ride a bangka to Caticlan, Panay (for Boracay) for 5 hours at 11 am or go to Odiongan, Romblon on a 3 hours bangka at 10 am. I went for the latter, not knowing what laid ahead.
 
Staying Dry
It started raining, pouring at times. By the time, every passengers boarded the tiny vessel via a wimpy plank, it was almost 11 am. I was the last few to get on board (remember - women and children first) and it was so packed that I only had space to sit at the back end on stacks of rice bags. Pretty exciting I thought. Wrong! The problem with my "seat" was that I had to sit sideways to the direction we were heading. 

We must had wasted another hour while waiting for the rain to ease or was it for more tickets to be sold? That was not my/our only problem - trying to keep dry was a challenge! So I was seated facing the window openings - shut timber sliders without any screens to view out. I later learnt the wet way the reason why they had all timber sliders shut - to prevent waves from splashing in! But the waves splashed in nonetheless through gaps. I kept myself relatively dry on the rice bags, saved for the occasional freak waves but not so lucky for the passengers on the side benches. Their looks were priceless when rudely woken by waves on their faces.
 
Bangka Hell
Learn this - never believe the travels times given by the local ferry/bus/van operators. Always add another 40% to the travelling times provided. This hell of a bangka trip took 4 hours!  I swear it felt like the longest journey of my life. No views out of the bangka. Rocking like a mad roller coaster. People retching and vomiting (usually the kids). Sick bags were distributed. I began feeling sick. I checked my time - %#$@#!! Barely 1 hour had passed. My heart sank like an anchor. I had to mentally prepare myself so I kept two of the sick bags. 
 
Sick Bags
The time ticked cruelly slow. I could just barely look out to the entrance of the bangka - a alternate scene of sky and sea. It just went on and on and on... By the third hour, I finally saw a glimpse of coastline with a mountainous background. Hung in there for another hour before we finally arrived at the port of Odiongan, Romblon. The sense of relief was unbelievable as I stepped on solid ground off the plank bridge, leaving behind a battled bangka now littered with bags on puke. To make matters worse, my stomach upset was now making a return. My two tiny pastry buns that I had for breakfast was probably the reason why I didn't projectile vomit in the bangka.
 
Harbour Chateau
It was almost 330 pm when I checked in at Harbour Chateau (5 mins away from port) for 600 php (includes air-con, hot water shower) and had the whole beach to myself, well almost. 20-30 minutes walk from here to the town market where you can find cheap eats and abundance of fruit stalls. Jeepneys to other towns on Tablas Island are also located here. I have yet to pronounce the name right - Odiongan - Or Jong Gan. Pretty tricky pronunciation. Another one is Roxas - Raw Hars. 
 
Last Night on Earth
Odiongan is quite a peaceful laid back town, although not much of sights. My room however was like a spawning ground for mosquitoes. Despite two mosquito coils and massive spraying of insecticide, the army of bloodsuckers kept marching in. I wondered if the Mayan's end of the world calender this midnight might just come true. Either I get sucked dry by mosquitoes or I am the grim reaper to the bloody suckers. 50 dead mosquitoes on my bed and still counting...
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