Sunday, November 9, 2008

Romblon, Philippine Islands: The Trip

"It's all worth it!" That was all I could say about my Romblon trip.

I went to Romblon 3 weeks ago on an assignment for a contract I got from an environmentalist group, headed by my brother. I had to interview people and write articles for their website. Thought its going to be an easy job, but I nearly backed out when I realized how long I had to travel by boat, what with all the sea mishaps I have been hearing from the news. But then again, the sense of adventure comes first, as always.

The Trip

It was a very tedious trip, and my brother and I took almost all the means of transportation there could possibly be (except air plane). From Quezon City, we took Jam Transit for a 2 hour bus ride to Batangas Pier. We were at the port early to make sure we get tickets, or suffer waiting for the next day for the next trip. And we spent four hours (!) waiting to be boarded the boat to Odiongan, since there was no boat going directly to Romblon Island that day.

At 5 PM, we were finally on-board a Montenegro Shipping Line boat. (For information on the trips, you may browse was expecting an airconditioned boat, with upholstered seats. Wrong. What we had is a big boat with rows and rows of double-decked beds, with a kaputt aircon, but was likewise clean. It was a very long, uncomfortable trip, and i wondered how it can be so humid, even with the breeze coming from the ocean, and i slept badly. It felt uncomfortable sleeping at the top of a double bed, in a huge place, with hundreds of people you dont know. Nonetheless, it was a safe trip, with my lack of sleep as the only bad thing that happened (Thank God! and thanks to Montenegro Lines too.).

We reached Odiongan at 2 am, and with my brother's prodding, i had to run, half asleep, to the exit of the boat, before everybody wakes up. Upon docking, we were among the first ones who had to run to where the buses and jeepneys were parked. We boarded an old mini-bus, with around 50 passenger capacity. I was glad we got there ahead of most, because that's the only bus going to San Agustin, where we will take another boat, and if we missed it, we would have to wait for many hours for the next bus, and we would miss the boat to Romblon Island too. But I tell you, it wasnt at all fun running half asleep. Not at all.

Another 2 hours bus trip, and we reached San Agustin, where we had to line up for ticket for the boat going to Romblon Island. At 4:30, with me still half asleep, we boarded MV Querubin which left at 5 am. It was a 45min to 1 hour trip but from the boat, you can see the really nice view of San Agustin. It was very refreshing to see really green mountains, and very clear water, amidst a backdrop of sunrise. It was simply beautiful and my headache from the lack of sleep almost disappeared. But I didnt know it was only a preview of how beautiful Romblon is.

Romblon Island, Finally

We reached Romblon at around 6am. We walked took the tricycle to SIKAT (the environmentalist organization, which is into marine conservation) office/staff house. I chatted briefly with the SIKAT staff before I passed out into a really deep sleep.

I woke up at 1 o'clock, just in time for lunch. After lunch, I was completely up and running, like a newly overhauled machine.

I was ready to work.

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