Philippines Travel: Headed Home

Well, it’s been a fantastic month getting to know the Philippines. Saw a lot, chatted with lots of people, explored different places and learned a LOT about this island nation. But it’s good to be headed home, also….I feel ready for my own bed, some other clothes, and some familiar food.

But before I go; my last travel report.

After John motored off to get on the ferry, I headed up to the Action Gecko cottages for my last night on Camiguin. I discovered that you don’t always get what you pay for…it was the most expensive accommodation I had during my entire visit, and other than being very scenic, it was one of the most uncomfortable! Mosquito infested, but if I slept under the mozzie net, it was too hot to sleep. No a/c, just a fan that made a lot of racket. And the wood borer bugs in the rafters kept dropping sawdust on the bed all night, so when I woke up the next day I was tired, hot and covered with grit.

So I decided to head back to Gingoog and have one last night in the hotel near the bus station where I had stayed before. The ferry ride was interesting….it left about 45 minutes late. I was not sure why we were waiting, but then about 300 school kids on some sort of trip came on board. The ferry was so jammed that there was barely even standing room….it was my first experience with a truly ‘overloaded’ ferry. Fortunately, the seas were calm and we made it across to the mainland, but wow: I could sure see how ferries capsize in this country!

The ride from the terminal to Gingoog was wonderful! Wide open roads, clear skies (but with a few raindrops, no biggie), lots of people who smiled as I rode by, and that great feeling of being on the road on a scooter. Got back to Gingoog, checked in, and took a nice, long refreshing nap before heading out to John’s to return the bike and have a beer.

Today, we drove over to Butuan to the airport where I got my ticket to Cebu for the night. Stopped at the Mindanao National Museum to see some presentations about the prehistory of this island: lots of traders (Chinese, Balinese, Indonesian) before Magellan got here (and was killed by a local chief). Then off to the airport to wait for my flight.

It’s been a great visit. Some of the things I will remember:

-I’m very glad that the dogs here are familiar with car horns. They ALWAYS retreat back to the shoulder of the road when they start to cross out in front of you, and you blow your horn!

-Kids here are really sweet. They smile, and they tend to follow you in packs, yelling out “Hey Joe!” Yesterday, one kid followed me for about 3 blocks, calling out to me as I walked. Finally he rushed up to me, grabbed my hand, rubbed it on the top of his head, then ran all the way back home. Not sure what that was about.

-Some other kids followed me as I walked along, then when I turned into a cemetery, they hesitated before they continued along. Meanwhile, I had turned a corner, then sprinted a little bit and hid behind a crypt. The kids were certainly walking on eggshells when they turned the corner and I had apparently vanished! (Of course, I leapt out and gave them a scare…which was followed by their raucous laughter).

-It’s curious how afraid of their own countrymen many Filippinos are. On Luzon, the flatlanders are fearful of the mountain folks, on the Islands, they are superstitious about the other islands, and everyone is fearful of the Mindanoans.

-Things are cheap here! Many peoples travel blogs keep a day-by-day expense record…I think it’s to celebrate how cheap the country is. For me, I know what I took out of ATMs, and what I used my credit card on. For the 30 days I have been here, my average expense for absolutely everything (board, food, travel, etc) has been under $50 a day. Wow.

-Riding on top of the jeepneys is the best way to travel.

-Filippinos are so very family oriented. The most common question I got….from absolutely everyone I met…was “Are you travelling alone? Where is your family??”

That’s about it. Here’s a photo dump from my last days.

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