Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why it took me 24 hours to get to Casiguran, Aurora

From a 5 question essay exam in school which I did not even halfed in 3 hours, I went next to pampanga pick up my other baggage. I left pampanga at about 9pm with thinking that I can get to cabanatuan by 12 where I can take the D'liner bus by 1am bound for Dilasag, aurora.


 I have decided to take the San Fernando jump off as I was already close by then. But right when I got there, I was told that there are no more buses at that hour; Cabanatuan buses via sn fernando ply 5pm latest; 

I did not want to go back home as I was that badly wanting to get away. I asked the drivers and passengers instead and was told to head to Arayat and see if I can still catch the last bus. They were confident though I can catch it as, according to them, it's a saturday.

I arrived in Cacutud Arayat at 11:30, sat and waited in the bakery. Finished a whole pack of cigarette, 2 coffee, some pieces of bread.

The tricycle drivers right in that terminal were offering service straight to Nueva Ecija, but I did not bother ask details it will certainly eat a good portion of my budget. What's coming to my mind was hitching from these 10-wheeler delivery trucks, but, my guts aren't as hardcore just yet.

12:30... 1:30... 2:30.. 3:30..4:30..5:30.

After 6 hours, i have noticed this man with a pen and a lengthwise paper. I asked if he's the inspector and he confirmed. I was finally close to resuming the trip. So i carried my bag and waited next to him.

When the Arayat Express bus arrived, it was more than full. There are passengers in the halls and doorways. But, i did not bother. I hung myself and my big bag. Half my body was out of the perimeter of the bus. It wasn't long anyway until I got a seat and napped; Nap in its ultimate definition - mere 10 minutes. The seat was too uncomfortable for even a nap. But anyhow, I got to cabanatuan by past 6 and of course, henceforward, i am not sure what the bus/van schedules are.

Cabanatuan Bus Terminal

Cabanatuan Terminal

The D'Liner bus isn't even there yet. It is said to arrive at 9, and will surely move a few more hours after. I have asked the other baler-bound passengers, and one of them said there's a genesis bus that left 5:30, with 19 available seats, and is probably midway thru.

Meantime, I roamed around the terminal to see if there are other alternatives. There was a van with 3 passengers waiting, but even these passengers look unsure if they'd go for the van. The driver was also asking  
P250 instead of the regular P200. He said he was chartered and don't really ply baler. It was the fiesta of Baler; I'm guessing that some drivers who are Baler locals might have taken a holiday; Plus, since it was a long weekend, all passenger vans are probably waiting for their turn on the return trip.

Anyhow, its almost 9am and the genesis bus is probably very close. More and more passengers are coming, and to my surprise, htere were already a bunch who are lined up for the incoming baler bus. I counted the heads and there's 17 already. Plus, there might have been some passengers that the bus must have picked up along the way. The chances of me getting a seat are very small; and I havent slept for the past 22hours -no way i'll stand or squat in the bus aisle.

Suddenly, I recalled that very close to the terminal, about 100m from the terminal, the arayat express I took dropped passengers in the circumferencial road. The problem is, im not sure if there are passengers who will get off there.I told him how screwed the commuting has been and my plan of catching the genesis baler bus in circumferencial. 

He suggested that I go to jollibee junction instead where the bus will more likely have passengers to drop. Suddenly, even before we finish the conversation, we spotted the baler bound genesis bus. Suddenly, the queu disappeared and people ran into where it is likely to stop. That time, there was more than 30 people already.

Good thing the bus didn't actually stop to where the crowd was. It stopped sumwhere that's closer to me than the crowd. Thank goodness I was the fourth passenger to hop in. I didn't bother choose seat, i sat on the very first available, just to be sure. 

More than 3 hours passed, we finally reached the town of Baler. There's a D'Liner bus to Casiguran but it is scheduled to leave only by 3pm. Instead, I walked towards the pasalubong center and out to the van terminal.

Baler to Casiguran/Dilasag Terminal

There are about 5 pssengers already, including 3 who also came all the way from Manila. They had been waiting since 11am and the thing is, some passengers come but leaves when they get tired waiting. While waiting, i hear the driver fixing the tires. I got bothered, but thought it's rather precautionary, and not repair. Just a bit later. The van filled up and we left. In fact, there were 4more passengers asking to be hitched, but there was no more space.

Not even 15mins of driving passed, and the driver stopped the van for a reason we didn't know.

We moved and just 10 mins further, he stopped again, this time, to buy a lubricant. 

Another 10-15 mins, he bought another kind of lubricant.

Again,10-15 mins later, he fuelled up. It took us less than 30 mins to move past there. I'm not sure what kind of complication it is to fuel up his van but i saw him crafting a makeshift whatever from a can crap.

We moved forward, and another 10-15mins, he stopped again to buy some meat. I thought it's how things there work because baler is the marketplace. And, Inasmuch as I want to get irate, undeniably, I was laughing from within. The whole trip, starting from Pampanga has been so Ironic.

The stopping went on. Again, just few mins, he stopped by a vulcanizing shop to check the wheels for air. When he got back in, on a cheery note, i told him "kuya mangako ka, derecho na tayo ha?"

The rain began to pour and there are some appliances in carton in the top
Load. He had to stop again to
Climb the top load and fix the tarpaulin enclosure.

Less than an hour from there, we started on the rough road. And not even a kilometer away, we had the flat tire. I got kind of frustrated, but thanks to the friendly passengers, we're all having fun. Meanwhile, It seems he's so used to it he nailed the reserve in just about 10mins.

Back on the road, another less than half an hour away, we had to cross a river. Mr driver stopped and thought for a while; He was having doubts whether he can cross it. He stopped, went out and lifted his chair to get to the engine. He pulled one end of the air filter hose, and had the petty passenger at the back of the driver seat hold it until we crossed. What a scene. The monoxide fume was blowing inside the van.

We successfully crossed but suddenly thought the passenger can't hold it the whole time. So, he spoke and said we'll have to stop by his house so he can tweak it a bit. I'm so thankful my travelling has really improved my tolerance in such things. I just cracked a joke and said he will have to serve us our dinner if we do, since we're almost starving. 

We then reached his house, and minutes after, were surprised a semi ripe papaya came out and was portioned for each of the 11 passengers. It took him half an hour to finish up (including a short shower to clean up), while i took some 10 minutes in the beach, back of his house.

While we munch and work out our stress level, he was working on a PVC pipe - cut it in half and connected it inside the air filter and then tied it up somewhere. But not even minutes after we resumed, he stopped again, got off, and took the pvc pipe. He just put the air filter back in its original casting. He probably realized we had children inside the van.

We resumed and shortly, yet, another super rough road. As expected, we caught another flat tire. He pulled another reserve, and finished the work in an even faster 10 mins I guess. As always, as soon as he got off to work it out, I went to a nearby beach to click some pictures.

There was nobody in the gate or close that they could hear me, so I walked forward and saw a group round some table. I asked for rates, and the rooms were 500/night. I did not have any plans other than just to ask so I did not bother scrutinize the facilities. I walked towards the beach for some pictures alongside the caretaker. Just 2 shots so far, i heard some yelling from the gate. I thought it wa my co passengers calling me to leave, but when I got in the gate, it was another care taker, who suddenly asked why I went in without their permission. I told him there is nobody around the gate, nor in their information desk. And as I was surprised at being asked such question in the context of a resort, I just left without minding him.

Anyway, we got back in the van as we're ready to move (for the next challenge).

There was no more reserved tire, so he dropped us at what he claims is a restaurant, while he drove back somewhere to drop his car at the vulcanizing shop to repair the tires. That took us almost an hour; enough for the passengers to gather around and talk about what's going on. This time, more of the passengers have developed hopeless frustration. Little did we know he was on another table having dinner. 

A commuter stop

Some road heading to Casiguran, Aurora

By this time, it was already dark. We hit the steep rough roads and turns and while it could be frightening, especially its raining hard at the same time, we were all just too tired and sleep already. I guess everybody had fallen sleep then. I wanted to give open up some chat just to keep him awake, but at that time, and after all, it is not for me to make an effort, so I slept just as well. 

At about 9pm forward, 4 of us travellers would once in a while ask how far we are still; the 3 are getting impatient, while the other passengers we've gone very comfortable with already are trying to keep up the spirit.  In a short while, Mia, the passenger beside me in the front seat said, we are close. Breathing gone back down to normal..

A little further, one passenger is getting off. Mr driver stepped out to get the passenger's baggage from the top load. It was going more than 20 mins already and we wondered why it is taking a while. I thought Mr driver had assisted the passenger with the baggages all the way to her house. Then, one of the passengers spotted him eating. 

When he came back, i asked him, again with a bubbly tone, why he had not told us he'll be eating so we could have had coffee too. He excused himself in that he has gone very sleepy and tired already. I didn't talk furter.

Just a little further again, there was a roadblock. An Electric post has fallen. 
And everyone's completely MAD! Some passengers were very quick to calling their known tricycle drivers so they could be picked up. We've asked mr driver to get trikes for us too so we can move on. 

More and more vehicles arriving, and around half an hour waiting, an ambulance came. Everyone had to think very quickly. Suddenly, the drivers thought about pushing the wires so the van can pass. Luckily, we managed to cross.

Fallen post a 4 kilometers before reaching the town of Casiguran, Aurora

Just close to 10-15 minutes later, we're finally in casiguran aurora. Ate Baby, one of the passengers we've been friends with already, had contacted her son so he can scout a lodge for us. We met his Son at TMB and my 3 co-travellers immediately went up to cleanup.

Meantime, I spent some 15minutes talk with ate baby. As she's more than tired, she bid goodbye and to keep texting.

the town of Casiguran, Aurora in the morning

see here for casapsapan and motyong beaches in casiguran, aurora
just after casiguran is the last town of aurora, dilasag, where I had another mishap heading to Palanan, Isabela


  1. grabe! bilib ako sa patience mo at ng mga kasama mo sa van...kakaibang adventure 'to! natawa ako dun sa hindi kayo sinabihan na kakain cya.. hahaha!!! kudos to you Ian! i enjoyed reading this post...

    1. dude.. matatawa ka talaga. ako nga, di ko magawang mainis dahil natatawa ako sa nangyayari. si manong driver, parang wala lang talaga sa kanya.. nakuha pa nya magoffer ng service for the ff day..

  2. Wow! Habang binabasa ko to parang ako yung nainis sa haba ng byahe at natatawa rin. Astig si manong driver haha! Pero at least nakarating kayo ng safe.

  3. epic trip sir, though looks like it was worth it. ayos ba mag-stay sa TMB? planning to visit late november, medyo sparse on info sa net on accomodations in casiguran. tia!

    1. ok nman... the room was 1k good for 4.. so around P250 lang sya per head. Laging walang koryente sa town, pero, may generator naman sila. Rip off kasi yung sa casapsapan beach.. may daytrip ka nalang dun. Rent ka nalang ng trike...

    2. Nice blog sir Ian :)


    3. Mashado nga ngang expensive yung sa Casapsapan Beach. Nice Pwede palang per head ang rate sa TMB :)) BTW, grabeng patience ito ha. Kakaaliw si Manong Driver na kumakain di man lang nagsabi ;P

  4. Hi ian.. I was with you that time..

  5. meranup ya i koyang!!!! hahaha!


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