|March 3-4, 2012|
This article isn’t about itineraries and budgeting. This is about one of the many lessons LIFE teaches us! This is about an experience!
Last March 3-4, a group of ten individuals representing the islands of Leyte, Cebu and Negros gathered together for the first Visayan Trekkers Forum—Friendship Trek of the Visayans. We were mostly strangers to each other but we were all one in the spirit of unity and camaraderie among Visayan trekkers. The master planner was Gian Carlo Jubela (Cebu). The itinerary architect was Jack Daniel Cerrada (Bacolod). The other participants were Yuri (Leyte/Cebu), Neil (Leyte/Cebu), Duyduy (Cebu), Ed (Cebu), Kathy (Cebu/Negros), Mitch (Cebu), Jigz (Negros) and me (Leyte). We were to embark on a trek in Tanagong Dagat in Silay City, Negros Occidental.
1900hrs (March 2): ETD for Bacolod via Tabuelan (Cebu City North Bus Terminal)
I was the first to receive the bad news—the last trip (on March 2) to Bacolod from Cebu (via Tabuelan) was cancelled due to low tide in Escalante City. Then came Gian and the six other Cebu contingents of the first VTF-FTV. It didn’t matter much to me because I would have been just as glad to spend another weekend at the crags of Cantabaco if we had had to cancel our Tinagong-Dagat trek. But everyone was already in the climbing mood so we had to find another way to sail across Tañon Straight onto Negros Occidental. We had the option to depart from Toledo City to San Carlos City but we would have been way behind our itinerary. Luckily, we had a very quick decision maker in our group. Duyduy (Dodi) was able to fish information from some people at the Cebu City North Bus Terminal that another barge plies the Tabuelan-Escalante route even during low tide. We trusted that information and quickly decided to charter one of the V-hires at the terminal and that was our first ETD. Then the whole adventure unfolded!
Sunday afternoon we headed for Bacolod and upon our arrival at the bus terminal, we were told by the ticket agent to just ‘come back’ an hour before the trip. They wouldn’t allow reservation. We used the extra time we had in Bacolod hunting for the best dinner in town. We supped on the most expensive meal we had during the entire trip—Cansi. The food was great but some of us still thought it was a bit overpriced! When we got back to the bus terminal, we were told by the same ticket agent that the last trip (8:30 pm) was already FULL! We were about to just go for the early morning bus trip via Toledo but we would have been late for work the following day. So our Mr Negotiator again found a way to get us back to Cebu before the working week started. We all agreed to just sit in the aisle of the 8:30 pm bus. We got back home around 3am (Monday) and still found the time to exchange a few jokes on Facebook before we all turned in.
In what I just shared, it was not my intention to highlight how overpriced the Cansi was, nor how stupid the management of Ceres Bus Lines was. I want to stress the value of teamwork and quick decision making in an expedition. If we had had pessimistic companions, Day 0 would have ended with remarks like ‘How sure are you that there really is a barge there in Tabuelan?’; ‘Do you think there would no longer be low tide on our way back?’; ‘What if we don’t catch the barge?’ and ultimately, the note that says ‘Let’s all go home, the mountain will always be there’. Imagine what great FUN we would have missed out on! Imagine what companionship and friendship we would have forgone!