backpacking.Mindanao

the story started with a free ticket, a fake ID, and one poor, adventure”ful” ass. yes, thats mine me.

i never intended to visit this side of Mindanao. eastern side.

plainly because its the favorite setting of news men when reporting on kidnappings and bombings. and as much as i would want to appear on tv or newspaper, well, certainly,  not on these circumstances.

but, during one stormy afternoon. Nic of www.pinoyontheroad.com gave away his round-trip ticket to Zamboanga. and being the happy-go-lucky cheapskate, adventure”ful” ass that i am. i said yes, even before my brain comprehended what it entailed. you know, like, actually, going to this side of Mindanao and be, physically, in those backdrops  i only see on Tv Patrol.

since i am not fully knowledgeable about the geography of  this part of the country, i googled some maps and to my surprise horror, Zamboanga city is apparently 1 centimeter away from Basilan, an inch away from Jolo etc etc.

scared? terrified.

i kept this trip a secret since i do not want anyone to worry about my travel stupidity. you know, incase, there are, actually, people who feel that way.

all i said at home was i’m going out for a shoot and hike in Bicol. and that i’l be gone for a few days.

the day before the travel, my stupidity, apparently, started to kick in(mala “Liu Kang’s flying kick). and it did scare the hell out of me.

after all, it is the first time i am travelling with a different name and a fake ID to a place i had only seen glimpses of during 2-minute-Newsflashes or excerpts from TV Patrol or sometimes on a front page of a newspaper. not very enticing, right?

but i knew that if i let this opportunity pass by, i will never be able to get myself there, ever.

and since i love giving myself a good scare, at times. i single-handedly braved this trip.

i had two options Zamboanga-Basilan-Tawi tawi and Basilan-Zamboanga-north-west-south Mindanao. i followed the latter.

so how did it go, you say? well, i am back in Manila and still alive, obviously, so thats good news… right? oh yeah, of course it is. =)

few highlights:

-the airport scene that played in my head prior to my flight wherein some suspicious men with shades and sahal would follow me and my every move until finally cornering me outside the airport in Zamboanga didnt actually happened. buang.

-was able to fly with a different name and a fake ID. i dont advise this though =)

-zamboanga is the sh*t. i would walk in the streets back to my hostel past midnight, drunk, its safe.

-even my new-found friends in Zamboanga got scared to go with me in Malamawi in Basilan.

-Merloquet falls is charming. Malamawi is the best beach in the south( but thats just me). Tinuy-an Falls looks better in photos(opinion ko lang din yan). Had a good swim in Hinatuan enchanted river. failed to get awed by Glan… for the second time.

-dont camp by the beach when a storm is brewing.

-Greenwindows dormitel in Davao is the best backpack accomodation in the PI( wasnt paid to say that, but if you guys are reading this, i wouldnt mind a free sleep next time.) affordable at 188. its clean. safe. airconditioned. =)

-buses in western Mindanao are better than those on the eastern side.

-10,000pesos is enough to circumnavigate the main island of Mindanao( ala true blue explorer.lol)

-satti is delicious. and so is knickerbucker.

-slept in a bus for several nights to save on accomodation. sayang. pangBeer din yon. lol

-things will not always go smoothly. there will always be that one stranger who will fukc things up.

-if you want friends, first, be a friend.

-i dream of time when people would go to Mindanao without hesitance, just pure excitement.