It was scenic, yes, but it was boring, tiring and “dugyut-”ing. It’s okay I just kept in mind the quote from Don WIlliams, Jr., “The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”
Day 23 of ISANG DAAN Journey
I was on my 23rd Day of my ISANG DAAN Journey and I need to be in Manila on Day 24 (Feb 24) for the 3-day unexpected trip to Cebu City. The nice, clean and chick Summit Circle Hotel was waiting for me (not to mention my most awaited body massage) but I have to undergo a tiring process first. (If you got 3minutes, do read the following so as to somehow know how ISANG DAAN Journey looks and feels like).
21-HOUR ROAD TRIP
I really wish I was traveling in Spain to be enjoying its island with car hire in Menorca but I was in the Philippines traversing the difficult and mountainous road of Quirino and Aurora Provinces. If you are familiar with the area, these provinces are hilly and are always the victims of tropical storms making their progress difficult and on-and-off. I can easily try a different and paved route but I chose this so as to see the condition of the roads. A friend of mine asked me why I have to do that; I said, so I will know when people ask.
I was already awake at 5:00am because I have to be at Maddela main road to catch the one and only bus trip to Aurora at 7:00am. Coming from Maddela Waterfalls I rode the motorbike to Maddela town proper. Sir Jun Movilla invited me for a quick breakfast and offered to bring me to the bus stop over.
I rode the bus to Aurora. The trip was smooth and the air is fresh until we cross Aurora Province. Aurora is known for illegal logging, remember the news about Aurora’s landslide? To say that the road was bumpy and muddy is an understatement- its close to no road at all.
The 3.5-hour bus traverse will never again happen! To make it worst, the sight of these “raped” trees and mountains are depressing too. I wonder who these people are? What does DENR and the Local Government doing in this wide-open crimes?
Finally we arrived at Dinadiawan, Dipaculao, Aurora. This little town is a stop-over for lunch as the bus. This is also a fork road- those turning to the left is towards the town of Casiguran while Baler (the capital town) is to the right.
Dinadiawan has a very nice stretch of cream and white beach. No one was swimming when I checked it out but I saw some resorts being developed in the area.
After lunch I was stuck in Dinadiawan for another 2.5hours before I was able to hail a van going to Baler, Aurora. That was the longest waiting I did so far during this ISANG DAAN trip. I was bored to death and all I want to do was get back home. I also learned that the route we just took sometimes takes 5-7hours specially when its raining hard. One told me that once, the bus was stuck for almost 2 days.
I would to describe myself, I am sticky, dirty, stinky, tired, wasted and haggard.
Hailed a passenger van to Baler.
Finally arrived at Baler, one of the surfers paradise in the Philippines. I really want to paddle out and ride some waves but tiredness swept in and I was contended to just watch surf riders do their thing. All I can do was tweet, “You have to learn PATIENCE from the surfers. \m’ (shaka) from Baler!” and “No, I didn’t surf. I’m too tired of the looooong ride from Quirino. I want to have a good night rest.”
I rode a bus to San Jose, Nueva Ecija. Arrived at San Jose 8:30pm, ate lugaw before waiting again for an aircon bus to Manila which arrived at 11:00pm.
2:00am, February 24
Whew! I’m still alive. Took a bath and washed my clothes in my friend’s place and slept around 4:00am.
LESSON LEARNED: Take the better and safer route.
___ ___ ___
This is how I ended my Northern Luzon Journey as part of ISANG DAAN. By Day 23 I was done visiting all the provinces of Northern Luzon.
#ISANGDAAN is a personal journey and challenge to backpack around the Philippines the cheapest way possible for 100 days. “Isang Daan” is a Filipino term that can mean either “one way” or “one hundred.”
If you want to follow my steps, I have an interactive map- ISANGDAAN Journey map.