Table of contents
- 1Trip planning and ticket purchasing
- 2Manila (transit)
- 3Busuanga, Coron
- 3.2Tangat Island diving (Tangat Island), Busuanga
- 3.2.1The first day
- 3.2.2The second day
- 4Ferry Coron — El Nido
- 5El Nido
- 5.2The weather
- 5.3Diving in El Nido
- 6El Nido — Puerto-Princesa
- 7Puerto Princesa, transit
- 8.1Arrival and accomodation
- 8.2Diving and Whale Shark Watching
- 8.3Cafe in Dumaguete
- 10.2Sightseeings of Iligan
- 11Iligan — Cagayan de Oro
- 12Cagayan de Oro
- 13Bohol island
- 14Legaspi (Legazpi)
- 15.1Diving at San Miguel island
We ignored the inscription in an electronic ticket “to be in the terminal 4 hours before the departure” and it was right. Our ferry set off at 7:30 and we had no desire to wake up at 3:30 in order to nid-nod for 4 hours in a departure lounge. The reception-girl told us that it was more than enough to leave the hotel at 6 o ‘clock. And so we did. We put an alarm-clock at 5:30.
At 6 o ‘clock we sat at the reception of the hotel, the tricycle came over. When we asked: “how much for the three of us to get to SuperFerry terminal» he barked something unarticulate. I said 70 php. He said Ok. The city is small and everything is close, so if you have just one rucksack you can easily walk to Superferry terminal. Well you can walk to the aiport as well…
On entering the terminal you should pay fee. Well it’s an obligatory thing in Philippines they can’t get away without a fee. It costs 15 php to enter the terminal. We looked at our electronic tickets, fixed the tokens. Then we went through a personal inspection just like in airport. X-ray control didn’t work and they asked to open our bags. We went through. Then they suddenly found a knife in Karastel’s bag which he should checked seperately and he may take it after coming to Iligan. So we checked the knife. He started to write out a receipt for a knife and asked for our tickets. He stared at our tickets like a stuck pig. Then said: “These are electronic tickets and you should go to the office and change them for original tickets”. Here we go! Those two goblins saw our tickets, let us in and didn’t say anything.
I wonder if this story with a knife hadn’t happen would they allow us to enter a ferry the last minute?!
SuperFerry office locats outsite the terminal on a street at the main entrance. You should write in the name of a card-holder who bought these tickes, it’s duration and sign it. But they don’t ask for a passport so this means anyone can do this. And then they exchange the elecronic tickets to original tickets printed on a matrix printer. These tickets look like those we had earlier for long distance trains.
They didn’t ask for our passports neither before the embarkment nor after the embarkment.
While we were waiting for the imbarkation to a ferry we had breakfast here (chicken fillet au gratin – 50 php, boiled egg – 10 php, instant coffee — 15 php) and registered. Well actually the taken security measures gave us a nudge that either ferry is the most unfortunate kind of transport or we’re going to the unfortunate place. :-). After the inspection we were registered, they took a picture of everyone on a web-cam. Before going to the ferry we were made to put our bags before the gangway for the cynological inspection. A group of guys in camouflage gear with tommy-guns, looking like Somalian pirates, observed everything gloomly (where are we going?! :cry:). As we got it later dogs were looking for explosives.
We had the cheapest tickes (692 php with taxes), accomodation on RED1-A. It is a huge drafty deck without air-conditioning with two rows of two-story beds stuffed with, mildly saying, not really well-to-do people. It is like our couchette car but with a bigger capacity. According to the layout hanging on the wall i counted that it’s possible to accomodate more than 1000 people on our deck.
It was a medley of all kinds of people: a lot of Moslems (probably from Mindanao), lots of people were with large trunks, boxes and even with furniture and plunder, it looked like some people were on the road for quite some time, some butt-naked kids were running all around, well everything as it should be. It’s Asia. We didn’t see any european on a ferry at all. So what to say about our deck.
One deck higher there was the same deck as ours + cafe (beer – 60 php, a lump of tuna + vegetables – 140 i think). Another deck higher there was a deck with air-conditioning with reception and the official representative of the company. It was a tourist class. And it was nice in here. 10-seated bunkrooms. A lot of bunkrooms were totally vacant. We asked if it was possible for us to move in here, they told us that we should pay extra 300 per person. But we didn’t do this because we were soon to come the place of destination. On that deck there was a small nice well air conditioned and almost always empty cafe (beer costed — 65 php).
Higher there was an — air-deck. The highest open iron deck where you can wander on and look around.
The first impression of approaching Iligan was that we came to some cloacae. While approaching the shore the water turns from blue colour into a colour of tea with milk. Probably it’s by virtue of cement plant, located near-by. I assume that it’s also because rather a large river runs into the sea in this place.
The clouds overrun from the shore and it rained heavily. We came alongside. Butt-naked kids swim under the ship from both it’s sides. The passengers from the upper decks throw them small change. The kids try to catch the money, if they can’t do this, they dive into the muddy water and manage miraculously to fish the money out and put it behind the cheek. A kind of entertainment. It is such a gloomy scene.
Crows of porters line up in two ranks alongside the quay. At one point the gangway descents and the show starts. The porters take the gangway by storm and spread out the decks in search of passangers who need help. They rush like crazy between the crowd and trunks, jesticulate, yell and grab some bags. How do they specify that quickly who needs their help and how do they know what bags to take – it remained an enigma for me. Well that was like HELL!
Considering the fact that about 1000 people were leaving the ferry all the people carried bags and boxes and the gangway was narrow, however crazy porters were running all over the place as a result it took us about an hour or even hour and a half to descent from the ferry.
The city does not make a pleasant impression either. As soon as you leave the sea terminal the beggars start to bother. We see a door of some miraculously occured in here tour-office and make haste to hide in there from the street beggars. We try to explain to the people working in here that we need a hotel somewhere near-by. The conversation gets kinda complicated, they discuss something, argue and it’s incomprehensible why the question about a hotel arouses a discord.
We find a shabby schematic map on a reception desk with marked hotels on it and we go to ook at these hotels. The first hotel turned out to be in 5 minute walk. The receptionist listlessly showed me a room. I decide that we should go and look for something else and we go to Jalexiss Inn. According to the map this hotel is also near-by and we find it in 10minutes. This hotels looks more comfortable than the former one, the prices are ridiculous and we decided to take separate rooms and live like self-respecting human beings.
A single room with a hot tub and air-conditioner costs 530 php. Double costs about 700 php. Except us there is no one else in the hotel. The tourism is so-so in here. Wel actually there is no tourism. Locals watch us like some kind of a show.
That very evening luckily for us we managed to get acquainted with a girl in a small shop, that suggested to become our guide for tomorrow. When we asked how much would it cost us she said that she didn’t need anything and that she was going to close her shop tomorrow and would show everything to us. «Some luck!»we thought. We agreed on meeting tomorrow morning at 8 am and go to see the waterfalls on a public transport (jeepney). According to her words jeepney is the cheapest transport in here. And if it was not easy for us to pore over the itineraries,then it would be easy to do it with her and we would get to see everything budget – friendly.
Next day she came by car! We were overtaken by with surprise! What is more it was not her car, she managed to take a car of her sister’s husband or somebody else! To boot she bought her girl-friends with her!
So it was not clear who came to look at whom. Looks like a show «european tourist is in town» it’s gonna be fansier than waterfalls for us.