This is about island hopping in the central Philippines; The Eastern Visayas islands of Cebu, Leyte, Samar and back to Manila on Luzon Island.
This article is part of a diary based travelogue from a six month journey in 1985 to several countries in East and South East Asia: Japan, Taiwan, China, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
Sunday 21.4.1985, San Carlos – Toledo – Cebu City
Last night we agreed that my Filippino amigos should come over to my place to say goodbye. I was taking the morning ferry to Toledo on Cebu Island. Will came alone and told me that May way at home crying, and that she last night had said she had fallen in love with me.
Oh yes. I wrote a little greeting on a Norwegian postcard to each one of them and gave them a Norwegian 10-Kroner coin as souvenir. We had earlier exchanged addresses and promised to write letters. In addition I promised to send a couple of the pictures I took on the beach. Our memories should in other words be kept.
The boat cost me 20 pesos on second class for a transfer of almost two hours. The bus from Toledo toCebu City cost 12 and took close to an hour, in a wild devilish speed.
I easily found my hotel in Cebu City:
- TOWN & COUNTRY. Jones Street, close to the YMCA. Alright place, but the price is not the cheapest in town (44.8 for a single) and the hotel is situated a bit too far out of the city – a bit too short for a jeepney-ride and a bit too long for an easy walk. The room had three beds and a fan
I did not do much that afternoon and evening. I relaxed in my room and walked a little bit in the streets around the hotel.
Monday 22.4.1985, Cebu City
I hardly did any sightseeing, but I took a picture of the cross Fernando Magellan planted when he landed here in 1521 on his round the world voyage. A voyage he did not finish himself as he was killed here on Cebu Island.
I had a very hard time cashing on my traveller’s cheques. The rate was either too low or the bank personnel wouldn’t accept my old passport signature. I was told that a Swede recently had forged and deceived a couple of banks here in Cebu City so the boys were on high alert. The Swede was caught and I managed to exchange my cheques in the end.
Tonight I was thinking of going downtown to find Kenny. I found him in the hotel where we sort of had agreed to meet the last time I saw him. He wanted to sleep another couple of hours to be fit for fight, so I continued to find a place to eat. By coincidence I popped into the same Dutch pastor I had met previously and he pointed the way to a good place.
After the meal I found my way to the bar (go-go type) where I had agreed to meet Ken. “Our Place” was nice, and had a good atmosphere. I did however fancy going to an in-disco in town. The Inner Circlehad been recommended by May. This was the first and only disco she had been, on her eighteenth birthday actually. The place was really stylish. A bit expensive with 30 pesos entrance fee, but on the other hand that gave 2 free beers. It was a typical disco by Western top standard, but I was a bit shocked when I entered the toilet. There was a guy handing me soap and a towel when I was going to wash my hands – what a luxury.
But I came alone and there were only couples present so I drank my two beers and returned to the first place. On the way a torrential rainfall made me soaked, but the girls were nice and gave me a towel. We two boys stayed until closing time at two and went home alone.
Tuesday 23.4.1985 Cebu City – Ormoc
I had the night before been unsure about staying another night in Cebu, but decided to leave today. The boat to Ormoc on Leyte Island was not leaving until ten in the evening so I had a lot of time to kill. I survived in a way, writ-ing a letter, my diary and going to the cinema.
Wednesday 24.4.1985, Ormoc – Tacloban
I arrived in Ormoc already at 0330 after five and a half hours on a ship (42 pesos). I didn’t bother to wait till it got light to see Ormoc, so I joined a corresponding bus to the provincial capital of Tacloban (2h, 20P).
- WANDERER’S LODGING HOME, Rizal Avenue, to the right across the street from the bus station. 25P for a single room with fan and double bed. Clean and a pleasant staff.
I went to bed and slept a couple of hours. Then I walked around town an-other two hours before the heat chased me back in again. I slept and relaxed for the better part of the afternoon.
I the evening I went out and tried some of the local disco-bars – they were not that good. The best wasSawali Disco, while I at Azotea met a girl and talked with her, nice girl. I went home around two after having agreed to meet her the next day.
Thursday 25.4.1985, Tacloban
I had to do something to make the day pass. So I took a San-Juan jeepney to White Beach. I paid half a peso to get in (!) only to find a brown beach. Besides a heavy rainfall forced me to return home early.
I had last night agreed to meet a girl for dinner. Unfortunately we did not find each other at the agreed place, or she didn’t turn out. I therefore went to eat alone. Excellent food – “Asiatic restaurant”. One of the waitresses was very eager at filling my glass of water. We exchanged glances and I smiled a couple of times. She turned shyly away. When I was about to leave she came up and asked for my address. I was pretty surprised but saw no problems exchanging addresses.
I also asked her out after closing time. When I returned to pick her up I was told that her brother would accompany her. Earlier that evening I had to ask her aunt to take her out. Tradition. The brother even brought along two-three friends and I had to (damned all) pay the entire party, even though only 3 USD. Anyway, I had fun and even had an opportunity to kiss her on the dance floor. But that was all. The disco was called Stone Age and was good.
We went home around one o’clock, that is I wasn’t tired and dropped by the Azotea for a beer.
Friday 26.4.1985, Tacloban – Legazpi
It turned out that the buses to Allen on North Samar either went very early in the morning or in the evening. I therefore got an extra day in Tacloban. Fortunately the girl from yesterday was able to get a couple of hours free in the afternoon so we went on a picnic to White Beach. There was a watch-dog with her this time as well – her cousin. She was a nice girl however. We had a good time – when it didn’t rain.
Philtranco Bus Lines had buses all the way to Manila. I was now told that they did not go to Allen, only to a ferry landing a distance from here. They would arrive there sometime in the middle of the night. Because of that, and because Allen didn’t seem on paper to be so interesting I joined the bus toLegazpi in southern Luzon. That’s where I was heading anyway so it was just fine after all. (9 pesos for a non-a/c bus). After my serious considerations I finally took that bus and slept semi-well that night.
Saturday 27.4.1985, Legazpi
I came to the ferry very early, but the ship wasn’t leaving until around nine (33 pesos). I met a New-Zealander on the boat. As we were the only foreigners and travellers by “profession” we naturally got in contact. He was going to Legazpi as well, so we found a hotel and checked into a double room.
- RITZ PENSION HOUSE; 157 Penaranda Avenue. The room was quite clean, but the shower and toilet was dirty. Two price classes, with or without fan. We took the one without and pain 33 altogether for our double.
The evening was of the quiet type. I and two others I met, a German girl and a Norwegian-Swedish boy (whom I’d met at the IYAC in Hong Kong) dined together.
There wasn’t much night life in Legazpi it seemed.
Sunday 28.4.1985, Legazpi – Cagzawa – Mayon – Manila
I got up before five because Chris from New Zealand and I wanted to take a look on the volcano Mayon. This remarkable volcano is still active and is of course the number one (and only) tourist attraction of Legazpi.
We took a jeepney to Cagzawa, some lava-destroyed ruins near the foot of the mountain and had an excellent view. This early in the morning there were no clouds around the top.
It is possible to climb to the top, but we neither had the time nor the will to do it.
The two of us plus Suzanne from Germany then took a bus to Manila. It took 13 hours and it was really lovely to have a shower at the
- MALATE PENSIONNE when we arrived. Same place as last time.
I did nothing more that evening, I was too tired.
The introduction to this journey to East and South East Asia.
Previous chapter: Island hopping in the central Philippines: The Western and Central Visayas islands of Panay and Negros
Next chapter: Manila and the first part of the northern Philippines