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*All photos are mine. Please don’t copy or use without my permission
As stated in my previous post, I unexpectedly went on a short but enlightening trip to Leyte. Although the reasons for the trip have been anything but fun (talk about a research drama), we still ended up having a great time. That’s what life is about, after all. You get ups and downs, but if you take the time to appreciate all the positive things that happened, they make all those downs seem worth it.
May 20, 2015 (Wednesday)
Our short trip to Leyte started with a quick flight from Manila to Cebu. There is actually a direct flight from Manila to Tacloban City which is just three hours away from Naval, but where’s the fun in that? Personally, I prefer to get on those boats to and from the Visayas since it provides a better sense of adventure with the added personal favorite of being absolutely cheaper than planes.
I booked a flight with Cebu Pacific a few days before since it isn’t as expensive but, per usual, CebPac flights get delayed so my brother and I stayed for a good half hour in the afternoon waiting for our boarding schedule. CebPac always gets crap for delays, it’s almost an expected feedback from passengers. Maybe they should try listening to their passengers for once and surprise us with on-schedule flights.
We arrived in Cebu at 2:25 pm and were surprised to find out the taxi lane at MCIA (Mactan Cebu International Airport) was moved closer to the arrival area. Wow! They finally realized they should do that. Good for them! It’s basically just a turn away from the arrivals gate and you’ll see people waiting for taxis. Fortunately for us, we’re the only ones there (maybe we were the only ones who noticed the new taxi lane area?)
From the MCIA, we went straight to Pier Uno (Pier 1). It cost roughly around Php200. We could have gone cheaper by riding on a jeepney but we needed to escape from the urban heat (Manila is smoldering hot + Cebu is still relatively hot at this time), so we relished in the cold comfort of taxi aircon.
At Pier Uno, we booked a ticket to Ormoc City with Weesam for Php 550. Weesam is a transportation company for boats to and from Leyte. There are several others in Pier Uno like Supercat but Weesam is cheaper.
The trip took about three hours. We left at 4:30pm and arrived at 7:30pm in Ormoc.
Since transportation to Biliran takes roughly 2 hours from Ormoc, there are hardly any vans left that would still travel late at night. We were tired from the trips so we decided to stay overnight at Ormoc and go around town.
Ormoc is really nice. It’s a quiet city, very different from Cebu and is especially different from Manila. I didn’t have to worry about my cellphones or bags because the place is quiet. It’s very homey and laid-back, plus the transportation costs & food are cheap. We stayed at Christina’s pension house where a room with a large bed for two cost only Php 800.
May 21, 2015 (Thursday)
My brother and I woke up early to catch the 7am van trip to Biliran. The tricycle for the ride from the hostel to the terminal cost only Php 20. Since the trip is at 7am and we were there 30 mins early, we are a hearty breakfast in one of the small kitchen stalls nearby. A full meal cost us only a total of Php 40 (rice, hot chocolate, tibial and pansit for the two of us).
The van trip from Ormoc to Naval cost Php 260 for the two of us so that’s only Php130 each. Since the trip takes two hours, we used it as opportunity to catch some more shuteye.
Upon arriving at Naval, we booked 2 nights in a hostel for only Php 1700 so that’s Php 850 a night.
We didn’t have to worry about food because food is cheap around town. Naval is a very small town and getting around town by pot-pot or bicycle-drawn carriages cost only Php 10. It’s actually easy to explore since the town is small and easy to get around in. We’re fortunate everyone else also speaks Bisaya so there weren’t any language barriers.
My research partner Sir Roland greeted us at Naval State University where I proceeded with data gathering for our research.
At lunch, Sir Roland and his friends took us to Marvin’s Beach Resort. There we had a hearty lunch of seafood. Meals cost around Php 110 each, excluding rice and drinks. We were so full, I wanted to sleep but, of course, I can’t so for the name of research we went back to the University.
By 5:30pm, we went to Bethany Hills to catch a mountain view of the town. Unfortunately, we arrived too late and the night was already dark. The place is still amazing because unlike Cebu City’s Tops, Bethany Hills has a lovely garden and landscape area. They even had a rice terrace and are constructing an infinity pool, all of which unfortunately weren’t captured on camera because it was too dark.
We didn’t have to worry about spending for dinner because as luck would have it, we were invited to a barangay fiesta and fiesta almost always means free food! And, yes, we did have free food care of Sir Roland’s work colleague.
May 22, 2015 (Friday)
My brother and I took the time to really explore the town in the day time. There were lots of cheap places to eat and shop and people are very friendly. People talked of the earthquake last night but, fortunately, it was just brief and weak.
May 23, 2015 (Saturday)
On Saturday afternoon, we organized a focus-group discussion for the students as part of our research.
By afternoon, we went to Marvin’s once again for dinner. We had so much to discuss we ended up talking until late. We mainly discussed the research and concluded that it would be unprofessional to present at MELTA with research data inconsistent with what is stated at the abstract. To break away from the stress, Sir Roland proposed we go around Naval the next day to check out the waterfalls and the hot springs.
May 24, 2015 (Sunday)
We got up early for the tour around the town. Miss Reggie picked us up with her car and we went straight to Tinago Falls.
Needless to say the view is absolutely stunning!
Naturally, it wouldn’t be enough to simply enjoy the view. So off we went for a dip.
After enjoying the lovely waters of Tinago Falls, we went to Barangay Mainit to enjoy their hot springs.
After a very stressful week of data gathering, the week somehow ended with a refreshing outlook – a retrospection, one might say – that, indeed, the world simply turns around and life goes on. No matter how stressful or how tedious, there is always something beautiful to love and appreciate. Most often, life manages to make you smile and all you have to do is open your eyes and mind to the opportunity. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of saying yes to happiness and raising a middle finger to everything else. The beauty of nature is simply around the corner and I guess it’s true, when they say, a glimpse of nature wipes the tears away (or something like that).
Thank you Mother Nature. You’re absolutely beautiful.
Thank you Sir Roland for allowing us to explore your beautiful town.
We will miss you Naval and we look forward to witness your beauty once again.
Fuck you and your unethical research methods Sir A.