Bound for Bontoc

03 Apr

To experience this lovely view from our homestay…

…the challenging must be faced, namely EDSA.  This highway is the longest and most congested in the country, and it’s not just the road that’s jam-packed and choked with fumes.  The coaches are rammed full and people don’t give an inch and will gladly push against those seated, then barge their way off with little regard to fellow passengers or politeness.  To make matters worse, a pirated version of Kingsman:  The Golden Circle was playing throughout the trip.

It was a hot messy chaos,which is what happens when big businesses and all the coach stations decide to take up location in one area.   After eating siomai from the local Chowking, we took to avoiding the sun and hanging around in the local malls, whilst waiting for out bus. It was a shame to see the police doing nothing about the flagrant flaunting of stolen phones. by pickpockets wanting to make some quick money.  I counted 11 people with both hands full of phones offering them to the passing crowds.  No wonder there are so many phone shops in the malls.  Finally it was time to go, past all the passengers queuing without a ticket (if which their were many), hoping for a seat so they could get to their loved ones for the Easter weekend.

Travelling at night means a lack of photo opportunities but at least the journey goes quicker with that welcome but uncomfortable sleep.  The light was with us in time to see the Banaue rice terraces – sometimes called the eight wonder of the world  – which were impressive, although a bit too touristy compared to where we were going.  I was too tired and impressed with the view to take photos but the photos we took further up the road showcase the beauty of the region.  Much more interesting was this bizarre photo. which was our introduction to Bontoc and raises so many questions.  As did the amount of police and army milling about, until it was mentioned that there are rumours that primitive terrorist group ISIS may be making a move up north after being thrown back into the sea in Mindanao.

Our last ride to destination, Maligcong, involved the usual squeeze into a jeepney, this blue beast seats two in the front plus a driver and sixteen squeezed into the back along with rabbits, cement and anything else that fits.  Then of course is the roof where anything and anyone else late goes.  All of us are then are bumped further up the mountain, to the soundtrack of a straining engine.  It’s an intimate ride yet sadly the windows were too small for me to look out with, as is often the case, whic goes some way to explaining why my posture is so bad.

Finally after 15 hours of travelling, we made it and were not disappointed.  On first glance the beauty of the place was well worth the trip as was a room with our own bathroom, always a pleasant sight.  Despite all the effort of travel, it had already been a fun experience and after a brief freshen up, it was time to explore the area, more of which, soon.


Posted by on 03/04/2018 in The Philippines, Travel


Tags: , , , ,

28 responses to “Bound for Bontoc

  1. Jill Weatherholt

    03/04/2018 at 06:39

    Oh my word! That house! I hope no one was inside. Thanks for sharing your fantastic photos, Ste. J. I’ll look forward to more.


    • Ste J

      03/04/2018 at 06:50

      It certainly woke me up seeing that. I didn’t really have time to find out about it as coffee and the Jeepney were calling. I love the mystery of it though.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. shadowoperator

    03/04/2018 at 13:00

    I guess I’ve gotten old. I’m an armchair traveler now, and you are one of my favorite people to watch travel. Do not dismiss ISIS. Take care that you are where they aren’t. I’m glad you were able to get around for Easter, but do remember that religious holidays are their favorite times to hit, along with national festivals. Hope you guys had a good time, and I’m looking forward to seeing your other photos. You must spend a fortune in film!


    • Ste J

      03/04/2018 at 14:24

      I do love a good travel, I won’t dismiss ISIS, fear not, with any luck the armed forces will have a handle on it just like last time, which was an impressive operation or so I hear. Our time was well spent and it was good to stretch my legs again in the wider world. More travels will be coming in the next couple of months as well!


  3. Cody McCullough

    03/04/2018 at 13:23

    Glad to see that you made it to your destination. Looks like a cool place. Long days of travel usually make me cranky, but I get over that quickly if the destination is worth the effort. Have fun exploring.


    • Ste J

      03/04/2018 at 14:16

      Exactly, all the stress just washes off and you realise it was all worth it. I have more jaunts planned as well so looking forward to showing off more places.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Carolyn Page

    03/04/2018 at 13:41

    Phew; glad you both made it…
    That was quite a sobering read; no wonder you enjoy the calm of the country versus city!


    • Ste J

      03/04/2018 at 14:19

      Popping to Metro Manila is all well and good but after that it usually becomes a chaos of different transport and it will need some serious study to work out where everything is. That clean air was worth it though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Carolyn Page

        03/04/2018 at 20:28

        Coincidentally, we are watching the ‘Jack Irish’ series on Netflix. They show quite a few scenes of Manila Metro – looks quite hectic. Is this the case?


        • Ste J

          04/04/2018 at 06:13

          Yes, absolutely. My first introduction to Manila was on a Good Friday and I was taken aback with how quiet it was. As soon as Easter was done and we went again it was a seething mass of people. It gets insane at the rush hours but is manageable otherwise.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Alastair Savage

    03/04/2018 at 14:36

    I remember getting the bus to Delphi and looking forward to seeing the views on the way, until the woman next to me drew the curtain across the window to block out the sun. Sigh.
    Is that really a house turned over on its side?


    • Ste J

      04/04/2018 at 06:34

      It’s the only problem with travelling alone, some people don’t even ask bt just fling that curtain across. In a trip last year, we were told to shut the curtains at night so bandits would have less chance to see us. Yes, that really is a house, it was an unexpected sight but made me feel better after that grim waking up on a bus feeling that you get.


      • Alastair Savage

        04/04/2018 at 13:55

        Ah it’s the old beat the bandits by drawing the curtain trick!


        • Ste J

          05/04/2018 at 06:37

          One day they will successfully catch up to the coach, astride their ACME rockets.


  6. imambertan

    03/04/2018 at 18:38

    been wanting to go there


    • Ste J

      04/04/2018 at 06:30

      It’s well worth the trip, I am planning to post some more photos tomorrow, if you need your appetite whetted even more.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Clare Pooley

    04/04/2018 at 09:01

    What a journey!


  8. Sarah

    04/04/2018 at 17:37

    Just Wow! Incredible scenery, character-building travel and a house that’s found itself on the wrong side of precarious – all the ingredients for a great Easter break.


    • Ste J

      05/04/2018 at 07:10

      It was quite a surreal moment seeing the house and wondering if it was a dream. After a few photos the rest of the place distracted me and the café with cheap cheap sweets was reminiscent of one of those old sweet shops back home, I spent time browsing that and getting high off looking at all the sugar.


  9. macjam47

    05/04/2018 at 09:08

    Wow! What a journey you had, but glad it was worth the trek.


    • Ste J

      05/04/2018 at 09:15

      The challenges of the travelling and the waiting were well worth it. I do enjoy travel when I can sleep through a lot of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. LuAnn

    08/04/2018 at 20:24

    Getting to your final destination sounds like a test of patience, and a lot like what we have been experiencing this trip.


    • Ste J

      11/04/2018 at 07:11

      I can imagine your experiences being similar to mine. It is crazy what we will do to experience the good places but it is usually more than worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Resa

    14/04/2018 at 05:28

    Do you ever feel like bringing Crissy back home to England?
    I know it’s a wonderful adventure. However, there may come a time when you are subjected to an endless loop of “Louie Louie”, pirated from the Kingsman.
    Isis is not an adventure.


    • Ste J

      15/04/2018 at 18:58

      We are planning a visit at some point within the year, as for moving back there, we are undecided on what we want specifically yet but have lots of ideas floating about. You are right about ISIS, they are unfortunately still with us but losing more of their foothold which is nice to see.

      Liked by 1 person


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