Philippines Travel: Out of the mountains

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Between finishers

Found out at 4am why my room was so cheap. Right outside my window was the starting line for a marathon race, and the first thing I heard was the bullhorn announcement that the race was about to begin, at 4:15! Once all the runners were off, I drifted back into a restful sleep…but then the first to complete the 5K ‘beginners race’ started trickling in, with all the fanfare and announcements, so it was time to get up.

Had coffee and bumped into a German woman named Christie who was on the jeepney the day before. She was headed to Manila to catch a flight to Thailand, and since I was thinking of heading down out of the hills, I tagged along with her. It was useful that she had already figured out the bus times and connections and all, so we hopped into a Sagada-Baguio third class bus, and rolled down the highway.

This was a real local bus….lots of stops, tiny seats, and tons of people with boxes and bags, etc. It was quite an experience, but I’m glad to prefer the luxury class buses with reclining seats, etc.

The ride was somewhat uneventful, but mostly because the entire route was fog locked! Occasionally, there was a gap and I could see down into the valley beside the road…often several hundred feet down…and see a house clinging to the cliffside as the precipitous falloff continued. I have heard that this valley is thousands of feet deep, so maybe it was just as well that I could not see as the bus careened around corners and over blind rises.

Got back to Baguio, and on a whim I checked the Hotel Veniz to see if my charger was still there. No luck…the had no record of the cleaning lady turning it in, and the reception clerk checked the room and it wasn’t there either. Some lucky guest found it, I’m sure. I’m glad I checked, however: I would have wondered forever if it was still there.

Then went to the Victory Tours bus line to get the luxury bus to Manila…the overnight sleeper, only to discover that ALL the buses to Manila are booked solid until 5:20AM! And Christie has a departing flight at 6AM…and it’s a 5 hour ride just to the bus station. She convinced the ticketing lady to make room for two people on the 9:10PM bus (no idea how she did that!) so now I’m in an internet cafe, getting ready for a horrible night’s sleep on an ice cold bus to Manila, where I will arrive at 2:30 AM and try to find my way to the bus that will take me to Mindoro Island. But at least the weather promises to be good, and I’ve made my reservation at the Pandan Island Resort.

Sun and surf await. Stay tuned!

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