Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and a perfect time indeed for a little rest and relaxation. My trip will take me eventually to the sunny beaches of world-renowned Boracay Island and the hidden treasure of nearby Nabas, Aklan. While the conventional way of getting there is via plane to either Caticlan-Godofredo P. Ramos Airport or Kalibo International Airport, I decided to do a little adventure and actually jump ports from island to island. The start of my journey took me to Buendia bus terminal of Ceres Transit, a Negrénse bus company plying the route of Manila to Batangas. The good thing about Ceres Transit is that it actually takes me directly to Batangas International Port. It was early morning, at about 4am when the bus departed Buendia and went via South Luzon Expressway. There was not much of a view to see since it is still dark but I was able to amuse myself with the glowing lights of Nuvali in Sta. Rosa City which is poised to be a premiere financial center of Southern Luzon.
In less than two hours and after some forty winks, I was able to reach Batangas International Port. Seeing goto and lomi houses along the way made me hungry but the nearest one is some few kilometers away from Port Terminal II so I contented myself with the ever loyal 7′Eleven. This 7′Eleven branch inside the Terminal surprised me a bit since I was not expecting to see one. After a bite of hotdog and a cup of coffee, I was off. I took a ride via Besta Shipping Lines which would give me a wonderful opportunity to take a picture of Verde Island Passage that a ride in a fastcraft like SuperCat would not give me. Montenegro Shipping Lines is the best one to take in this route since they have free wi-fi onboard for those who get easily bored but they are already full. Do not expect fancy accomodation with Besta since it is quite low-cost for one’s standards.
Batangas International Port is a bustling seaport but the scenery was calm and relaxing. There seems to be a limitless number of ships that are on the horizon waiting to dock by the seaside. Apart from its function as an international container port, the area also host to industrial centers including a coal-fired power plant. This port is one of the most organized one I ever saw around the country, more nicely organized than that of Manila International Port. The air has an aroma of saltiness that just wakes me up from lazy slumber. Just as I though everyone was Calapan City-bound, I saw a group of foreigners who went aboard the ship. In a bit of inquiry, they are on their way to Puerto Galera as a little segway to their final destination, Boracay Island. Little does anyone know, there are foreigners who prefer to take this route not only to have it cheap but also a chance for sightseeing.
While reaching out for a piece of chocolate in my bag, I daw a small boat by the ship. On the boat are people that seems to be begging something from the passengers. This scenery is nothing new in ports around the country. A lady suddenly approached to sell her bagful of panocha for a hundred bucks. Being an ignorant being that I am to a number of Tagalog culinary terms, I asked here what is. The vendor looked at me in disbelief as if I should know what panocha is and I actually discovered it is what I call bandi or the sugar-coated peanuts formed into circular disks. I bought her bagful and threw out a couple for the folks at the boat by the wayside. It was a bit of Christmas treat from a bit cash-strapped me. As I was taking pictures of the port area, the boat sounded the whistle, the signal that I must find my seat for the boat will be departing.
More photos available for the curious eyes at the Photo Blog.