Refugee style

Manila Travel Blog

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The Philippines was more difficult to get around than any other country I have ever visited.  The level of organization was mindbogglingly low.  Information booths and travel agents were a foreign concept.  Even in the big resort mecca of Boracay there was only one travel agent and they only dealt with flights. The ferry schedules are difficult to come by at when you do find one it is probably wrong.  Even at the ferry terminals they could usually not tell find out how to do multi leg trips. I did not have very much time so I did not want to take the risk of getting stuck on an island somewhere and have to wait a week for the next ferry to leave.  This meant that for the most part we stuck to flight since they were pretty cheap anyways.
  But there were problems there too.  All flights only go to or from the major hubs or Manila or Cebu.  The main budget airline, Cebu Pacific, does not accept international credit cards on the internet and can be very difficult to get a hold of on the phone.

We thought we would try to island hop via ferries from Boracay to Donsol.  We thought our best bet was to turn up at the terminal and see what we could figure out.  We asked around but got nothing but blank looks.  There was a big boat leaving to Manila so we decided to take that and then fly down.  I think elementary school children could come up with a better system for buying tickets than how these people were doing it.
  There was a girls sitting at a table with dozens of people surrounding her.   everyone wrote their name on a paper and this was stacked up in front of her.  She hand wrote lengthly tickets and did the cash transactions.  It took a couple minutes per person, the boat was leaving in ten minutes and there were at least fifty people still waiting.  The boat was delayed 45 minutes to get those last people their tickets.

When we walked onto the boat we were shocked.  It looked like a refugee boat.  The floors were covered with bodies strewn on cardboard.  There were rows of metal bunks with not mats teeming with sleepers.  We investigated the boat and found that there were no chair anywhere except for in the cafeteria.  We went in there and sat for a few hours and had a bite.  After getting bored with that we went to claim some greasy floor space on the deck.  And we laid there for the better part of the fifteen hour journey.  I was still able to sleep because I am used to that kind of thing but Brenden was not too impressed.

Travbuddies: Brenden (Can)
kickasstunner says:
I very much agree with the first line of this entry! hahah...it's really soooo hard. ;)
Posted on: Jun 21, 2008
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Manila
photo by: Deats