All posts by Ayan Villafuerte

figuring out life since 1984.

three fools, a seatsale and a princess

Puerto Prinsesa

after numerous fateful attempts, i blind booked a ticket to palawan to seal the deal. one night, my sister asked me to book tickets to boracay for my birthday, then gave me her credit card. being the obedient brother that i am, i booked her tickets, and without permission i booked palawan tickets as well. with no money at hand, and no signs of money coming(jobless), i was only holding onto one my lifes guiding principles that “Things  got a way of working out in the end”-no relation at all. just felt like sharing it. lol. plan was to tell my sister after boracay trip. ililibre niya ako sa lahat ng gastos sa boracay e, tas yon susunod na week mgppalawan naman pala ako. bka bawiin yon libre. haha. epic fail though. she did know it.

its two months before the trip and its my first time to save money. first move: never did i touch money given to me last christmas. no divisoria shirt or boardshort even. and even in my meals, i became a forced vegetarian. since its half the price cheaper than pork and chicken dishes in karinderyas. fastfood chain was a no no. no taxis on weekend gimiks kahit gumapang sa pagkalasing. at bawal ang extra ulam. ang extra rice gang isa lang din. lol

in the end, i did come up a little more than 5k. good enough to backpack palawan. =)

this is the first beach trip of the woodies. my crew(parang gangsta lang). we used to live in kingwood, thus woodies. ken is from puerto prinsesa and he was there since last holidays.

me and moy took first flights to palawan, me on zest and the fat one on airphils. funny story in the plane. my parents didn’t know i was headed to palawan. i said im just gonna hike in one of the mountains in rizal. cos if they knew, they’l cut less on my allowance since i can still afford such trip. were on a tight budget as of press time cos a big move of me is in the works and il be needing a good amount of money on that. so we need to save as much as we can. =)

in the airport, i noticed a family who is also from our province and a good friend of erpats. so i sitted in a corner far from them. come boarding time, i saw them lining up so i hurried and while they were taking pictures in the tarmac, i settled quickly onto my seat beside the aisle. then pull my cap down a little and pretended to be asleep. the plane probably sits around a hundred pax. guests continued to pour in and  head to their assigned seats. the two seats beside me were still vacant’ then a slight tap on my shoulders. since i was bowed down i first saw the shoes. i already knew it was them so even before they recognized me(habang kunyari gulat ako) i gave my hi’s and my warmest smile to them. then we chitchatted and then they asked the stewardess to take a picture of us pa. wapak na wapak. walang takas. but i was still hopefful. sabi ko papunta pa lang sila bka sakali dahil sa dami ng mapupuntahan nilang tourist spots at makikilalang tao baka makalimutan nilang nakita nila ako paguwi nila sa probinsya. lol. epic fail again.

ken waited long for this trip, we did too, he pretty much planned out the whole 5 days. we just dropped of our bags then headed straight to the beach, honda bay. nothing spectacular. definitely less beautiful than how they showcased it be. good marketing. best part is Luli Island, the jump board. what made it memorable though is in one of my jumps, i landed directly on a sea urchin. at least 4 spikes pierced through my left foot. i peed on it as per mamang bangkero’s advise. it did nothing though aside from leaving my foot with spikes now added with stench. it did hurt im not gonna be pmacho on that hehe. i took it lightly though and just thought of it like a souvenir of my trip. so i was spiked for the rest of the trip.

what i liked most about Puerto prinsesa is the laid-back feel. people are relaxed. single motors and wranglers can be often seen on the tree-adored streets. you will never feel your in a city. on hot afternoons, i would take naps on the hammock under the mango tree in kens backyard  swayed to sleep by the provincial winds of Puerto. some nights we would hit reggae-themed bars and just chill or billiards. we pretty much covered everything there is to see  in Puerto courtesy of kens old orange wrangler with speakers blasted good ‘ol bob Marley songs. nothing beats fooling around with fools. good times. we met lots of interesting characters too. those two chics with babies. nico who gets high because he likes the “light” feeling so light he couldn’t dare lay hands and kill a cockroach. he talks slo-mo with a grin on his face every time. and their house is like the type of hide-outs of villains you see in pinoy action flicks; high fence, low-roof, few screened windows and a rundown bus parked on the backyard and boy he got decent epektos. kens dad is really cool  and chao long of Bona’s is the shiznit. badjao seafront is hands down the best resto in all of palawan. =) (i think i should get a freebie on that). baybay. mitras place. bakers hill. nichies.

one day we went to sabang. woke up early only to get stuck when our wrangler front left tire ran on a sharp stone thus a flat tire. our asses were well covered though since ken’s family has sort-of good “connections” in the city. we didnt need to secure permits for the underground river, and best part is we need not to line-up for the boat. despite the long line that day in the port somebody got us a boat all to oursleves =). sweet. highlight of the sabang trip is the boatman. that fukcin funny boatman jun jun. i was laughing the whole tour.

after  five days of fun, sun and good times, we bade adieu to puerto prinsesa despite numerous attempts of ken to block the el nido trip. after several arguments and cold treatment ken finally gave in and drove us to the bus terminal for el nido. he couldnt join the trip since he got plane ticket back to manila the next day.

puerto prinsesa is alluringly different from other cities. it has the city’s going-ons but with a rural’s fresh vibe. it has a busy thouroughfare; a number of nightspots; good beaches; and mountain rock formations.

it is beautiful. they would have not  named it princess for nothing =)

Siquijor Sojourn


sabi ko nga ang Siquijor e parang pelikulang pinoy. kumpleto may drama, may horror, may fantasy, may action..kulang lang love scene.. lol

old churches




and that mystical air of the place. its everything i hope it would be and more.

after psyching up Siquijor its time to explore the island

i woke up early around 6am, headed straight to the pier to catch the sunrise on the mindanao sea. unfortunately clouds loomed above and blocked the sun from peeping on to the island. it was a gloomy morning. i shoot photos of the pier, mangroves and the town streets instead. then i had a cheap breakfast at the public market for less than 100pesos for a fish, pork, veggies and 2 cups of rice.

tapos pumunta na sa paradahan ng mga tricycle para makipagbaratan sa rerentahang motor para maikot ang buong isla sa buong araw. 700pesos. ayos na rin dahil more than 90kms yon circumference ng isla. tas maraming pang sidetrips at may bundok pa.

unang stop namin ni manong sa Das Traum siquijor para mkpagcheck-in. yon malaking kwarto lang ang available that day. di ko na sana kukunin dahil malaki, pero nun sinabing 400 lang, deal na agad. anluwang pwde kang magbasketbol sa loob ng kwarto at sa veranda pwede kang magTennis. haha. tas ikot na.

clockwise. from siquijor-larena-e.villanueva-maria-lazi-sanjuan-siq. Salagdoong beach is really nice. I am crazy about cliff jumpiing  as of lately. and they have it there in Salagdoong. Its fairly high at more than 15ft i guess.

as per jeriks recommendation the best way to travel the island is through a motorcycle and he was right. well-paved roads, fresh air and the scenery, both seascapes and landscapes, were just awesome. some places were eerie, weird but in a cute eccentric way. like the black maria holding a skull or the three crosses on top of the hill.

i love siquijor. i cant pin-point though one exact thing that made me feel that way. im mistified

cebu – larena siquijor ship = 300
Siquijor State U dorm(1night) = 250
motorcycle rent = 700
das traum inn=400
a meal can cost you around 50pesos(karinderya)
no entrance fees in the beaches, falls, churches…
siquijor-dumaguete ship= 100
dumaguete-cebu bus=280

Chasing Coron


the whole wednesday afternoon was spent contemplating whether to head back to Puerto Prinsesa and take a plane back to Manila or to move further north to calamianes. where the island Coron is located, a place which i had been wanting to check-out  for the last 4 years and for some reasons, something would always come up between me and the island. lol. its the last imperative destination on my local list.

so after sitting on a rock in a cove 2km north of el nido town, i walked back to our cottage to inspect if theres enough moolah left to continue travelling up north. and i had barely enough to stretch for 3 more days including transportations, accomodations, tours etc. but being the stubbornly carefree that i am, i was certain to set out the next day and just take it from there. i know il figure something out anyway.

so we went to the pier that night to inquire on tickets. with some twist of fate, i got a bargain from the security guard, scoring 800pesos less than the regular rate of 2,200.  it was a good sign.

i was early at the pier next morning, instead of riding the banca “joe”, which was full to the brim, i was asked to ride the other banca “welia”.  we sailed around 10. tada, maria, canadian guy and me were the only tourist on board. there were more crews than passengers. i bumped into tada and maria in el nido, theyre from a town next to munich in germany but currently calls hongkong their home.

it was some sort of like an expensive, long island-hopping tour sans water activities.  we passed by different islets of el nido and after lunchtime we sashayed between islets of calamianes peninsula. it was a quiet sail under the clear blue sky over the azul sulu sea. it was nice that it sailed along waters near land so we got to see all those beautiful islands. it was a smooth 6hr ride.

we touchdown coron minutes after 4pm. our boat docked at seadive resort, instead of the pier. it was big let-down as we passed-by houses on stilts built under murky, littered waters. definitely not the picture of coron i had in mind. we scoured the town streets for affordable accommodation. i opted to stay at seabreeze for their 350peso-room while tada and maria went for a more expensive lodge.

we met up at coron galeri the following morning. its a lot cheaper to share a boat so thats what we did. it costed us 650pesos each for the island tour. we went with another swedish girl and a filipino couple on the tour. the limestone cliffs are beautiful and so are the lagoons. it resembles to those in el nido only i favor the ones in el nido more. the lunch was so good. rice wrapped in banana leaf, lechon kawali, salad, grilled fresh big fish plus watermelons and bananas. damn good.

we toured kayangan lake, twin lagoons, reefs, an island and a beach. the sun was out and scorching the whole time. snorkling at the coral gardens was definitely a treat.

that night, i bade goodbye to tada and maria as i was hitting home the next morning.

i left coron 10x darker and 10x happier. it is definitely one of those hassle-free, most relaxed trip i ever had.

i am happy to finally set foot on coron. its the last on my list. long awaited. i can say now that i am already contented with the places i visited in our country. i can now travel outside =)

Dmgte Qcky

on my way back to Cebu, i took a different route. instead of taking the 1-ride siquijor(larena)-cebu ship that leaves at midnight, i took the ferry bound for dumaguete worth hundred pesos and one hour. i arrived in dumaguete at 2pm.

i took a tricycle from pier to ceres bus terminal. 10 pesos. earliest bus bound for cebu leaves at 10pm. i got 8 hours to kill. so i did the thing im avoiding the most, which is contacting my friend kim. she lives in manila but she’s in their house in dumaguete for the holidays.alam ko nang di ako makakauwi ng cebu that night pagnkpagmeet ako kay kim. which is bad because carla flew-in cebu that noon for sinulog. at dahil madali naman ako mapilit at kaladkarin, yon na nga ang nangyari. i called kim and they picked me up at the boulevard around 4. good thing i was able to take pictures around the city before they arrived.

i was drinking with my guards on. i cant drink too much because im hitting the high road that night and its going to be a not-so-short trip, 5-6hrs. so i did pass on some of my turns on the alcohol. while most friends of mine like to catch a few drinks before riding the bus, i despise it. i like taking long bus rides and gulping down beer is a pastime but doing it simultaneously? bad. i did it a couple of times in the past. i almost threw-out. wasted is probably the apt word to describe the feeling. but then again, knowing my self-control ability, something bad was bound to happen that night. and so it did. after bottles of beer and tanduay at kims house..then to her friends house i got drunk.

i was persistent in going home, cebu. so they dropped me a couple of minutes before the bus departure at the terminal. i told them they can go home, il just wait since the bus is leaving in 10mins,and theyre all drunk that time. so they left.

and the moment i hit the bleachers, 5 minutes before they allow passengers to hop in the bus, i fell asleep. i woke up 10:30. bus left at 10. so i waited for the next bus, departing at 11:30. naalimpungatan ako alas dose na. it happened 3 more times.  half-awake, can barely open my eyes, can barely stand, dizzy. i was laying down  with the bleachers as my bed and my backpack as my pillow. around 4:30 i regained my consciousness.. but this time i was determined to catch the next bus which leaves at 5. i bought a cup of steamy, hot, spicy noodles and mint candies to awaken my senses. i hopped in the bus as soon as it was parked.
it was a long 7-hour-ride. 220pesos. i was struggling the whole time. struggled to sleep. struggled to not throw out. i was wasted. i never alighted during bus stops. i had the slightest concern about what would my 50-something grannie seatmate would say about me sleeping on my sit na parang kawayan psway-sway left and right. hehe. sigurado inis na inis yon sa kin. kasi kung ako may katabing ganun, ssemplangin ko pra di na galaw ng galaw.haha

lasing talaga. ansakit ng ulo ko. dumating ako sa cebu after lunch. it was one of the worst bus rides. tas sa hapon meet si carla. ngpamassage tas gimik na ulit nun gabi sa cebu.

Daze in Dumaguete

this trip to dumaguete was unplanned. the decision was abrupt.i was suppose to travel not until the next day. but since i was caught up with so many things that time, i decided to escape from it altogether. i snapped out. so me. some say its say its spontaneiety =)

i packed all my 6-month stuff in a heartbeat that afternoon. im leaving cebu for good. im going back to manila. but instead of heading straight to manila i decided to sidetrip in dumaguete. so i dropped my luggages in a freight company before i, don and ken hit the road.

we rushed through the rainy afternoon traffic in downtown cebu that noon. we catched the last trip to dumaguete in the south bus terminal which departed at 5pm.

it was raining and dark clouds loomed above. ken was throwing tantrums. he hated thats its not in the itinerary. he was also worried travelling under bad weather moreso crossing the turbulent sea to reach negros.

despite the bad weather condition, it was a smooth ride. we arrived in dumaguete minutes past 10. fare was 200 including barge.

my good friend markito fetched us in downtown, we took a quick grub, threw our bags in the car then we headed out. it was a friday night.

dumaguete is very much unlike other key cities. its clean and laidback. first stop was hayahay. its reggae-themed. i heard its the top night-out destination in the city. beer is cheap at 35 and dumaguete special which is seafoods in white cocomilk sauce was great. then we hopped to zanzibar. crowd was mostly kolehiyalas. forgot the beer price though. then strolled in the strip of bars along the boulevard.

it was around 2am and bars were closing down. markito decided to buy some booze then just head out to a beach resort. it was a 20-minute drive to eldorado in dauin. we were subjected to rent a room. 2k. eventhough were only interested to stay at the beach and drink til sun-up. but the heavy drinking and the 5-hour bus ride took its toll and by 4am were cramped up in the double bed wasted. don slept on the floor.

don and i woke up early, 8, to shoot around the resort. it is a pretty, small mexican-themed resort. it housed a couple of birds(parrots, lovebirds etc) a pool and a beach that has siquijor and apo island as backdrop.

around 11am we hit the city. markito toured us around. siliman etc. we ate at this karinderya which serves damn good lutong bahay bisaya. paklay, lechon etc. very good and cheap. we then headed out to buglasan festival. we pretty much strolled all the city streets.

we went to the boulevard that noon. secured a table in one of the bars fronting the boulevard were the festival parade passed through. no better way to catch the festivities with a camera in your right and a pint of ice-cold beer in your left. though i disagree with the beer at first since were still nursing our hangovers but markito just cant be stopped. were leavin that same noon for bacolod so markito pulled out that one-for-the-road punchline. with the alcohol in our systems, we then watched the tennis city-meet finals. his nephew was playing. we cheered. nephew won.

around 5pm. markito dropped us at the bus terminal for bacolod.