This is probably not the best entry to talk about clear sunny skies, crashing waves, sand and palm trees or a blissfully peaceful day at the beach because en route we had stumbled into what one would call unchartered territory. No kidding. *Sweat beads all around*
What started out as an innocent joyride turned out to be the roadtrip from hell.
We wanted to enjoy a cool weekend getaway on the shores of Moalboal. Right.
Now… on to our MEGA FAIL version of the trip.
First off, we would take the opportunity to say that this was the first time Jake and Belle messed up real good— and still having the battle scars in our minds to prove it.
Everything started out peachy as pie. We headed out at about 10 in the morning so once noontime hit we could bask in the sun out on the beach sippin’ some gin and juice without the gin.
We could have easily taken a bus or v-hire or something like that but noooo we had to drive all the way down there ourselves “to save money” and “to experience some first-hand awesomeness”. Sure. Our 2 ½ hr car ride from Cebu City inside a vintage 1979 VW Beetle escalated into a 7 hr whatever-the-f***-that-was. Why? How? Let’s see…
1. At the Y-junction in Carcar City, we took a wrong turn. Instead of going west, we headed down the eastern side passing towns of Sibonga, Argao and Dalaguete. We never really noticed the fluke until we realized just how far we’ve gone.
Jake: What the? I think we’re going the wrong way.
Belle: Erm. I coulda sworn we turned left for Moalboal before.
Jake: When you said you wanted to go to Moalboal you must’ve meant Santander (the southernmost tip of Cebu). It looks like we’ll be there in a bit.
Belle: The trisikad driver awhile back nodded his head when I asked him! I SWEAR IT WAS LEFT.
After all, it was RIGHT.
Traveler’s Tip #1: Print out a map or go out and buy one before heading off to wherever regardless of “risk factor”. Once you bust out the guessing games, you’re in for trouble.
2. In Dalaguete, we came across a sign that screamed out SHORT-CUT!!! (for us anyway). Something like a Dalaguete-Badian Mountain Highway… perfecto! We were too lazy to retrace our steps all the way back to Carcar so we figured crossing east to west would be a brilliant idea.
Note: Moalboal is situated in between the Badian and Alcantara towns.
At first it was a so-called stroke of genius going that way. If I say now that the view was absolutely ripped off a postcard… then I’m full of crap. Because it was more than that.
Imagine driving into a whole new world full of pine trees, rocky cliffs, mountain ridges, glorious peaks and troughs, thick flora… and if you looked down you could see bustling brooks snaking in and out of the foliage.
Belle: Can you hear it? I swear there’s a waterfall nearby!
Jake: I might need a defibrillator. *glazed eyes*
Little did we know that if we kept moving forward, we’d be totally doomed. It never even occurred to us why the only vehicles that went through there were huge trucks or the occasional lonely motorcycle. People began giving us the weirdest looks.
Traveler’s Tip #2: Watch out for other cars. You the only one? Goodbye and goodluck.
3. At the end of the “Highway”, we came across a Public Market… with an unusually small number of people around. They didn’t look at us weirdly anymore… they stared at us like we were plain mental. Like we were frothing and rabid. They should have aptly named that “Road to Nowhere Public Market”… because when we asked around, they had no idea where to point us to.
Despite baskets of various appetizing vegetables the likes of cabbages, squash, carrots, root crops and etc., our stomachs churned at the possibility of being so lost it wasn’t even funny anymore. You can kick is in the face now because in all stupidity, we did not think of going back the way we came and instead continued on to wherever the asphalted road was going.
Traveler’s Tip #3: Learn to distinguish looks of astonishment from stares of pure horror. This could cue you on when to start worrying… a great deal.
4. On and on we went until we ran out of good asphalted road. Uh oh. Red light blinking, alarm going off, can you smell Twilight Zone? For miles, all we had was each other and the dirt road to keep us company. A couple of inches left and we’d have spiraled down the mountain as the road was impossibly close to the edge. Houses were scarce. People were scarcer.
Belle: There’s no signal on the phone. If we died here, no one would know.
Jake: I’ll run out of gas in a bit. Start laughing.
5. We might’ve reached Mantalongon, the “Vegetable Basket” of Dalaguete but we’ll never know. As far as we’re concerned, having checked google earth/maps/whatever now, we did NOT pass through the entire highway and instead took a wrong turn somewhere (amidst all the forks we bumped into.) The map doesn’t even recognize it yet.
Belle: Left? Right? Left? Right? Up? Down? Sideways? Yey.
6. We broke out in cold sweat when VolksMegan’s gasoline meter inched bit by angry bit towards EMPTY. Nevermind the main highway. We needed to find a place which sold gas… in the middle of nowhereland at that. And fast! A good (bad) number of things would have gone seriously wrong keeping in mind how old that car was. Why hello there, first scary thing on the list… Oh God help us. Finally, we came by a small sari2x store which turned out to be a life saver.
Traveler’s Tip #4: No matter where you might end up in this island, there will always be vendors selling gasoline in 1-L Coke bottles. Chillax. Enjoy. (And we say that now.)
7. Surprisingly, we didn’t feel like the urge to use the loo, eat, hydrate, rest… and everything else in between. Maybe all the nervous ticks were enough to keep us preoccupied.
8. Within that span of roughly 5 hrs of seemingly hopeless snaking around in the mountains, we managed to experience the entire spectrum of human emotion. From abnormally laughing too much, to adrenaline rushes all the way to asthma attacks. To make the long story short, we can’t keep track of how many times we asked for directions and followed complete strangers everywhere just to get a glimpse of a road sign or even a good asphalted road which pointed toward civilization.
Traveler’s Tip #5: Always be optimistic. This way, if you are traveling with a companion you wouldn’t be forced into hearing all sorts of “disturbing” end-of-the-world confessions or tricked into giving out the entirety of your inheritance to him/her.
Traveler’s Tip #6: Great travel buddies are golden! They are there to keep you grounded, slap you with reality checks and share whatever miserable/quirky/epic situation you are stuck in. They also make inappropriate nervous jokes that keep you sane and entertained at least. Thank you, great travel buddy!
9. When we finally got hold of some good road, we heaved out all the carbon dioxide which was probably trapped the whole time in our lungs just holding our breaths. And I suddenly felt like I haven’t peed in centuries. Just seeing those road markers which indicated how many more miles to a certain town made us want to dash out the car and slobber the thing with kisses.
It took a while before the main highway unfolded before our eyes like a red carpet and we were Brangelina! And when we spied the sign which spelled out “<– BADIAN / MOALBOAL –>”, you can’t imagine all the noise inside the car. You just can’t! Okay, I guess you can.
Our misadventure doesn’t end there though. The trip is one massive rollercoaster and you’ll find out why… if you read the Moalboal entry! *Teehee* On to the next one!
P.S. A shout-out of heroic proportions to our lovely VolksMegan. If you can zone in our brainwaves, please accept our heartfelt apologies for what we made you go through. (This was not the first time!) If it weren’t for you, we would probably be taming the fields out in the mountains somewhere and never hear of internet or blogging or a haircut ever again. We love you, you gorgeous beetle!
To be continued…