Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Travel of Twists and Turns

I welcomed summer with a bang this year by packing my bags for a long trip to the north with my friends. Contrary to the smooth journey I imagined while planning our travel itinerary, our first destination turned out to be a ten hour long road trip of strangers filled with twists and turns in the middle of dark road.

Waiting at the airport baggage lounge.

We arrived in Manila by eleven in the morning after an almost two hour flight. We took aboard to a bus and then to the popular street transport called padyak, a bike with sidecar, going to the bus terminal.

We never expected that riding to a padyak, with our big and heavy bags on top load, we would be charting the narrow streets of this urban jungle and then crossing a few highways among swift cars. The sun was scorching and the polluted air was open. Nonetheless, we were amused and just laughed it out.

When we finally reached the bus terminal in Pasay City with beads of sweat on our foreheads, we were shocked by the long queue of passengers for bus ticket. We were calculating an arrival to destination by dinner time, so it was quiet frustrating to read the sign board that the next trip will be by five late noon.

The good thing was a samaritan tipped us to wait by the area called chance passenger. Not all out bound buses are filled with passengers by the time it departs and through being chance passengers, it meant we just filled the few vacant seats of those out bound buses. So, we knew the strategy.

We wish a happy road trip.

The travel going out the metropolitan was smooth. I saw some of the household names of places I only heard in the idiot box, notably towns of Bulacan and Pampanga. The roads side by side the barren fields were wide and there was no sign of traffic jam along.

It was getting dark as we stopped by Tarlac City for a quick snacks, muscle stretch and nature relief. After fifteen minutes or so, we were all seated inside the bus when the conductor announced that we needed to transfer to another bus because of mechanical troubles. 

The delay caused some angst among passengers as we had to haul out our baggages and wait again for the next bus, but we were thankful enough that the difficulty was discovered early and danger was avoided.

It was dark when we arrived in Pangasinan Province and I was a bit excited because I knew it was the hopping point to our final destination and it would take just over an hour. But my excitement was popped like a bubble after we wasted another long hour on the way because of the jampacked traffic caused by road repair. Alright, time to view that funny movie on board or take a nap.

Now showing on board.

There was drizzle as we stopped over the last town before our final destination to feed our hungry stomach and freshen up our faces. On the windy road later, we could already view a dotting spots of light beyond the cliff like a constellation of stars in the dark sky. As we stepped out on the unholy hours of about one in the dusky dawn, we were greeted by the chilly wind and we knew we were in the City of Baguio at last. 

It was a long drive filled with surprising breakdowns and unexpected delays, but it was definitely one of my most unforgettable road trips I had. After all, as the old wisdom says: Focus on the journey, not on the destination.