Surviving The Long Trip To Catanduanes.

I started going to Catanduanes since I was just months old. The plane ticket at that time, as my mom said, was less than a hundred bucks. They told me I was so lucky that at that time, whenever I feel like going or, if I was needed to be there, me and whoever that's gonna babysit me (which is usually my ever strict but caring Tita Mila) are gonna be riding the plane. It only takes an hour or so to arrive at Virac, the said province's main city.

But that was ages ago. The plane ticket now costs almost three thousand pesos and not all people can easily let go of that amount if they have another option, a cheaper one. It will take longer, but you can also find comfort in it too.

There are a lot of buses or bus lines to choose from if you're going to Catanduanes. The most popular now is REGINA SHIPPING LINES or RSL. They have buses and ferry boats. Air conditioned buses or ordinary. Their terminal is really near our house in Cubao and they also have other terminals. Anyway, there are also other bus like DLTB Co. and ALPS that caters to the people who wants the most comfortable buses. If you're alright with ordinary buses, there are also other options.

The usual rate in RSL buses directly to from Manila Virac will be 825php + Insurance. You can get a student and senior citizen discount, just show your I.D when buying the ticket. The ordinary bus, if I am not mistaken ranges to 450php to 500+php. The thing I like the most in RSL is that they make you feel like your trip will just gonna fine and your luggage are also in good hands. Which, for me, is a big factor especially that almost 12 hours sitting in the bus isn't a joke.

The bus usually leaves at 5pm. There are also 4pm ride but it's the early trip. 7pm trip is rare, but if there is, it's the last trip.

Anyway, whenever I go home to Catanduanes, here are the things I do to make sure I'll have a comfortable trip.

1. The night before the departure, I usually don't sleep or if I do, I sleep less. 

Yep. It became a habit. Being sleepless while on a long trip makes you feel sleepy, so you don't have a choice but to sleep. Then you wouldn't really have to worry what to do or just sit there looking at the road like an idiot. I feel satisfied whenever I wake up whenever the bus is on a bus stop for us to eat, then I'll sleep again. Until I wake up and we're already in the port, Awesome!

2. I contain the things I carry in a bigger luggage than small ones. 

Whenever I go home, I only have 2 or 3 things with me. One trolley wherein I put all of my clothes, shoes and other things. Then a back pack or a shoulder bag wherein I put my personal belongings and when there's more than two, it's either a box with pasalubongs or just things I have to bring. I believe that it's better to just bring one big luggage because it's practical. The bigger ones go to the compartment under the bus and the smaller ones go with you inside the bus. If you're worried that you won't get to carry the bigger luggage, the good thing about this trip is that you'll never miss a porter in every stop. They are the official porters of either Tabaco or Virac. You can just give them 10 php to 20php by carrying your things for you.

3. I always choose RSL's Aircon bus + I always get the direct ride to Virac. 

Given that I was actually riding a bus home because I have been saving money for the trip, I am still willing to pay a little bit more for the comfort that an airconditioned bus can give me. The adjustable and reclining seats, the clean environment, the bigger seats and center way. I can sleep better when it;s cold. There's this choice that you can just choose to be dropped off to TABACO PORT where everybody is headed. And choosing the direct ride to Virac, I don't have to put down my luggage from the compartment of the bus because the bus itself will carry it inside the ferry boat, I just have to worry for myself.

4. I think it's less hassle if you're just gonna buy food at the food stop that buses stops at.

We have this habit before of cooking ulam + bringing rice so that we can eat at the bus and that we can save more because it's cheaper rather than the food in the food stop. But since I learned how to travel alone, I felt that it will be less of a burden to not bring anything with me, to just eat at the food stop then go on with the long trip. I mean, I don't have to carry anything anymore, I get to choose what to eat (because sometimes, I feel so damn sleepy that I'd rather just sleep than eat) and if I would be bringing any food with me, it would be a bottle of drink and boiled eggs. Yep, I love eating boiled eggs while travelling.

After almost 12 hours bus ride, the buses will arrive at the TABACO PORT before 7am. Everyone should be out of the buses already and buy the ticket. There's two ferryboat in the port. If you're on RSL bus, choose the RSL ferryboat. It leaves at 7:30am while the other buses and trucks are under.

Airconditioned: 290php
Ordinary: 220php.

Then there's the other ferryboat that leaves at 7:00am but the ride is longer because they are directly going to Virac. RSL, on the other hand, will be heading to another town of Catanduanes that's why it's only 3 hours in the sea or less. I don't know how much the ticket costs on this one but I think it's still cheaper.

Again, you can get a discount if you'll show your senior citizen I.D or student I.D!

My view from the ferryboat while waiting for the sunrise. I took this on the right side of the boat, the Mayon Volcano was on the left side. I think that the Mayon Volcano is already over rated so I took a photo at the other side instead.

Yep. We were on the ordinary part of the ferry boat. I was gonna buy the ticket for the air conditioned but my Tita bought us the ordinary ones instead. I did not complain anymore since it's really not that hot. There's television wherein you can watch or just sleep. And I did the latter.

After three hours on the sea, we arrived at our destination. I don't really understand why other people are always in a hurry to go down even if the ferry boat's not even in the port yet. I mean, we can all go down, chill! So I just let them be in the knot with a lot of people. Before the boat stopped, they are calling the drivers of the trucks and buses to come down first.

Here's the Calolbon port. From there, we'll ride the bus again where our luggage are in. The bus would bring us to Virac within twenty minutes because that's where we're gonna ride bus, jeep or vans going to our respective towns. They also have a terminal there.

At Calolbon port going to our bus that will bring us to Virac.

After arriving to Virac, I am used to drivers already recognizing me even though I don't recognize them. They wull get my luggage for me then will escort me to their van. The trip will be two hour tops. It used to be three hours, but because of the better road, it got faster. The fare depends on what you ride on. Van costs 80php from Virac to Panganiba, our town.

Before, the van will automatically bring you in front of your door steps, but then a town terminal was made that we all have to get out there and call someone to fetch us if we have a heavy luggage.

So yeah, all in all, the trip is almost 24 hours. 

I really enjoy long trips. I find comfort in being in a cold place for so long and anticipating the place where I will be. All in all, the trip was fun. I was with my Lola, Tito and Tita when I went home for Fiesta so I wasn't really bored on the way.

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