I’ve completed sufficient touring to know what works and what doesn’t for me, and you already know what I’ve realized in recent times? The factor that causes me essentially the most stress is getting from A to B. The extra connections it includes, the extra wound up I turn out to be. It’s one main motive why I’ve transitioned to a slow travel style, and THE motive why I’ve elected to base myself on one island per week throughout my month-long trip in the Philippines. I’d a lot slightly spend my time having fun with one place and attending to comprehend it extra totally than losing half a day touring between islands and stressing about it, you already know?

Nonetheless, typically you’ll be able to’t get round long-ass journey days. And when touring round Southeast Asia or different third world international locations, you must go in anticipating connections to take for much longer than they need to, buses to not go away on time, being overcharged, and having to attend til sufficient individuals present up earlier than your transport will go awayamongst different annoyances.

I discover it actually helps me if I’m going in half-expecting every thing to go mistaken in a roundabout way. This helped get me by means of a very tough welcome to the Philippines final week which appeared a bit of one thing like this:

philippines sunset
Simply kidding, it truly appeared nothing like this wonderful sundown.

My journey started with an eight hour flight from Sydney to Manila. Being assigned a center seat on a no-frills finances airline objectively blows, however fortunately I used to be in a position to snag the open aisle seat subsequent to me and spent the time studying, writing, and dozing off to music. Who wants in-flight leisure?

eight hours become 9 with a slight delay after which a bizarre little snafu upon touchdown. We had been about to land, like actually 1-2 seconds from touching the bottom, when the airplane all of the sudden jerked upward and carried us away from the airport. For the following jiffy I frantically glanced across the airplane, eyeing passengers equally as baffled as I used to be and flight attendants who appeared unfazed. A couple of minutes later, they introduced that we’d be making an attempt a distinct strategy into Manila.

?!?!?!?!?????

Properly alright, certain, that’s completely regular *cough*. Our delay had my blood stress rising as a result of I had one other connection to make that night from Manila to Cebu. Lacking that connection would imply forfeiting my resort in Cebu for the evening, reserving a brand new one in Manila, enduring the additional airport schlep I’d been making an attempt to keep away from, and certain not attending to Maya in time the following day to make the final boat out to Malapascua island (subsequently lacking one other booked resort and having to pay for a brand new one elsewhere). HELLO STRESS PARTY.

flight to philippines
Hmm, not so certain about you, Cebu Pacific…

‘salright, I did good by permitting three hours between flights which meant I had sufficient time to make the second flight even with the delay. Whew!

Don’t fear although, as soon as I arrived in Cebu I received totally ripped off on a taxi to my resort. I discovered later that they charged me greater than double what the conventional value ought to have been. Observe to self: ALWAYS go together with a metered taxi!

My room on the Gran Tierra Suites in Cebu value $20 and contained the flattest, least-cushioned mattress I’ve ever slept on. I used to be exhausted sufficient to sleep at the least half the evening by means of, nevertheless it wasn’t nice.

philippines motorbike

The following morning I ordered a Seize Taxi (Southeast Asia’s model of Uber) to take me to North Bus Station. I didn’t get ripped off this time, hooray!

Nonetheless, I made the silly resolution to hop on the non-AC bus as a substitute of the AC bus. Why would I do such a silly factor? As a result of I’d heard the non-AC bus makes much less stops for bathroom and snack breaks, and this one was additionally leaving sooner which I believed would get me to the boat a bit of earlier.

Ha! Ha. Ha. No matter anything, I ought to have thought to stay with the vacationers. Vacationers all the time take the air conditioned bus. Vacationers on this route are practically all the time going to Maya to catch the boat to Malapascua. If I keep on with others going the identical route, I’m assured to get on a ship to the island right this moment even when it means splitting a non-public boat between us after the final public boat has departed.

However what did I do as a substitute? I subjected myself to a sweaty journey with locals heading wherever BUT Malapascua, on a bus that stopped each jiffy to select up new passengers. I’d snagged a coveted seat within the entrance of the bus to curb my sporadic movement illness, however that plan backfired once I witnessed firsthand our bus working over a canine in the course of the street. I want I used to be kidding or exaggerating, however I positively noticed the canine cleansing itself on the street, then going underneath the bus, then yelping as we ran it over. And I gave the impression to be the one one remotely traumatized by this!

philippines dog
Not the canine we ran over, however one in every of many canines I’ve seen on this nation.

Fellow solo vacationers, you’ll really feel me on this one: isn’t it the worst when you could have all of your baggage on you and it is advisable pee? I’ve lengthy since mastered the schlep to the airport lavatory with cumbersome carry-on luggage, nevertheless it’s a distinct sport totally when each you and all of your stuff is on a crowded bus traversing some international land, and the bus stops for a bathroom break for an indeterminate period of time. Would I’ve time to alleviate my bladder, purchase a snack, and replenish my water? Ought to I danger leaving my 11kg digicam bag underneath my seat, or lug the rattling factor with me and danger dropping my coveted entrance seat? This may all be a non-issue if I had been touring with somebody who may watch my bag and ensure the motive force doesn’t take off with out me, however by myself it turns into a stress set off that I don’t notably need to take care of. So I didn’t, and I sat on the bus for five hours with my luggage, holding my bladder, nursing a light headache from dehydration.

which philippines island
Doing all of it for the seashore hammocks!

I used to be the final one to get off the bus, on the final cease on the route in Maya. I purchased my boat ticket to Malapascua and beelined for the closest vendor promoting water and snacks. Then I headed right down to the waterfront the place I noticed a ship full of people that I thought had been all of the vacationers from the AC bus that beat us to Maya. I figured I’d simply be part of them and we’d all be on our merry option to Malapascua, however the native boat individuals (for lack of a greater time period) escorted me to the ready space to attend for the following boat which they insisted would depart in a half hour.

As we approached the 4pm last-boat cutoff and nobody else joined me ready, I spotted that I used to be in all probability going to get scammed into paying out the ass to get to Malapascua right this moment as a substitute of ready til morning when extra passengers would present up. The way in which boats (and typically buses) work within the Philippines is that they wait till a sure variety of persons are on board earlier than they resolve it’s price making the journey – and in case you don’t need to wait, you’ll be able to comply with pay a bit extra to go away sooner.

I knew this was a typical incidence within the Philippines, and particularly that the going rip-off right here is to get vacationers to pay extra to go away sooner, solely to have a bunch of locals soar onboard with out paying. However to benefit from a single lady like this? I imply, I completely may have joined the final boat – it stayed anchored for at the least 5 minutes whereas I used to be within the ready space. They needed to have identified that in the event that they saved me off the boat, I’d pay extra to go away on the following boat which after all wouldn’t be wherever close to full because it was late within the day. I ought to have insisted on taking the sooner one!

So as a substitute of paying 100 pesos for the conventional boat, I paid 800 for my very own non-public boat to Malapascua. That’s nonetheless underneath $20, which isn’t completely horrible. And since I used to be half-expecting to get scammed anyway, all I may do was bow my head and say, properly performed. I completely referred to as them out on scamming me, however they saved taking part in it off saying there was “no time” with the opposite boat, which is clearly bullshit. I may have protested, argued, refused to pay – however (and right here’s a enjoyable little reality about me) I actually hate making a fuss over issues. I’m on no account a pushover, I simply decide my battles very fastidiously and pleasure myself on calmly making do with no matter state of affairs is thrust upon me. Making a stink over an additional $14 on this situation felt each foolish and futile to me, so I refrained.

philippines travel
Bangka boat for one.

Recent off my non-public boat, I set foot on Malapascua feeling so extremely relieved to have lastly made it that I truly let some man carry my cumbersome backpack all the way in which to the resort realizing full properly he may cost no matter he felt like (which ended up being solely 100 pesos / $2, fortunately). I wasn’t within the temper to play my typical *Stubbornly Attempt To Discover Your Method With out Asking For Assist* sport, and that turned out to be an excellent factor as a result of the boat let me off someplace completely different than the same old spot which I’d had mapped out in my notes.

AND THEN I MADE IT TO EVOLUTION DIVING RESORT AND HAD THE BEST TIME EVER! (Keep tuned for extra on Malapascua in future posts!)