When we did our Backpack Photography Banaue 101, we took the GV Florida and was surprised to find that there are actually sleeper bus here in the Philippines. I had my share of riding a sleeper bus when I was in Laos, journeying from Pakse to Vientiane and finding them here made me excited. We were joking then that we should try for the heck of it. Being in Tuguegarao, we now had a valid reason to try it out on our way home. So after a day of spelunking in Callao and Sierra Cave, we trooped back to our hotel and prepared for the ride home via GV Florida’s Sleeper Bus to Manila.
It seems I’ve been scaling deeper up north a lot lately and I really don’t mind. It’s time to get past the ever popular Ilocos region and cross the border just a step to Cagayan Region and explore the next town of Claveria. Known as the gateway to the Babuyanes Islands, Claveria is a small town with its livelihood revolving around fishing. First time I went here during the Lakbay Norte 2, we rode through here under heavy rain but it didn’t dampen the magnificent rock formations the place holds. So I went back with a few friends and discovered a lot more.
It’s my first trip to Hong Kong. And it’s funny because I’ve been to other parts of Asia but not in Hong Kong. It’s one of those countries visited by Filipinos when they first go out of country much like Singapore and the Filipino community is strong there. Probably because I’m not much enamored with a city full of sky scrapers that’s why it’s not on top of my list. But I was given a chance to visit the place so I kept an open mind as always when visiting a place for the first time. I didn’t have any specific itinerary for our free time but just allowed myself to see where my feet would take me this time.
I really had a pleasant stay in the Champasak Region of Laos. I was able to visit some of the waterfalls of Bolaven Plateau, visit the UNESCO Ruins of Wat Phu and has a pleasant stroll around the city of Pakse. On the night of the third day, it was time to head to Vientiane. I already booked my bus ride the day before to make sure I already have good seats. The main VIP bus station is near the Dao Heung Market about 2km from the city center. But after strolling around the City I found that there is another VIP Bus Station nearby which is walking distance from my guesthouse just along the same side of the tourism office near the Sedone River.
The Philippines has a longer coastline even that of the USA and its geography is composed of many separate islands. To visit other islands, sea travel is one of the most common and cheap way to travel. The Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH) or commonly known as the RORO (Roll-on, Roll-off) Highway was opened by the government. It’s a transportation structure spanning 919 kilometers of land and 137 nautical miles connecting the islands through a virtual highway via RORO-capable sea vessels. Even though air travel is getting affordable nowadays, land-and-sea travel is still popular amongst common people and to destinations with very little air traffic. In my recent visit to Marinduque with friends Oggie and Allan, we took the RORO Highway and here’s my first hand experience on going this route.
(Updated June 26, 2011) Once in a while, I miss long road trips. Riding at the bus for hours on the road. Come night you rest comfortably at your seat and let the rocking motion of the bus cradle you to sleep. That may also be one reason what drew me back in Sagada last I went there. It’s the road journey itself. And the highlands is the perfect destination for it. Even if the bus doesn’t have air conditioning, most times packed on their crammed little seats, the cool mountain air blowing from the window, the bucolic back country panoramas sliding in front of your eyes is enough to satiate my crave to hit the road and travel.