The night before we were to leave Camotes Island and head back to Cebu City, the Philippines’ 2nd biggest city, I was trying to be optimistic. Dark heavy clouds were hanging all day over very calm seas. I was enjoying the new surroundings. We left Tudela, checking out of Mayor Roger Baquerpo’s R&N Resort. The multicab we earlier hired at the port was back to pick us up. Another PhP700 that will take us from Puertobello to the town of Poro.
Now, imagine yourself staying at a Caribbean-inspired villa, perched on a cliff. And the view before you is the expanse of a very still ocean, as blue as the sky. That was how it was! We checked in at the luxurious My Little Island Resort. My reason for this was simple. Our fast-track (boat) departs at 6 AM and the resort is just 10-15 minutes away from the port. The resort also offers transportation services (for free) – to and from the port! The pink building is nestled atop the hill, with no other establishments nearby. No shanties, no small stores, just hundreds and hundreds of trees and a deserted road.
Outside of a tour, staying in the resort offers peace and tranquility; the chance to do absolutely nothing, as there really is nothing to do there, except watch TV, or taking a dip at their lovely swimming pool which is open for use at all times, even in the wee hours of the evening. Our room was a classy hub, fully equipped with ref, aircon, cable television, a bathtub, polished wooden floors, a veranda that has a magnificent view of the rolling greens below, and the ocean. From my deck, I could see the island of Bantayan. The restaurant has limited service. The reason being, the concierge who checked us in, was also the cook, the waiter, the “sales manager” (his words) – and (drum roll, please) the driver! Though there were half a dozen items at the menu, each viand would PhP200 – excluding rice or drinks! Guests don’t have much choice, but to patronize the restaurant since there’s absolutely nowhere to go for food! This has turned out to be a very expensive place!
At 7:30PM, I received a call from the desk, asking me if I wanted to have our dinner already. This was an unusual practice of course, but – hey, ok! This hotel, with all its amenities and heady ambiance only has a single staff! An hour prior, there was a succession of lightning and thunder. The wind was blowing hard and I was getting worried. I knew I was gonna be safe there, but I was concerned about our boat ride in the morning. I was praying: let it all fall down, blow harder, so that by 6AM, the skies would have ended its fury. This exactly was the reason why my mother never returned in her birth place for decades!
At 4 in the morning, the weather has calmed down! Though it was a relief, I felt that something was bound to go wrong. True enough, upon our arrival at the Port of Poro, our fast-track was nowhere in sight! It did reach the shores yesterday. Unfortunately, it allegedly bumped into something while “parking”! Damn! We needed to get out of the island since we had an outgoing flight from Cebu City early the next morning! We were going to miss our flight if we stayed! Besides, I didn’t feel like paying for an extra night (PhP2,200) – or for a P200 meal!
After a few minutes of indecision, I learned that there was another option. We could travel to another port in the town of San Francisco, then take a pumpboat that will travel to Danao City (1-hour north of Cebu City). Amidst obvious overloading, I decided to go for it! There was probably half the population of Camotes in that boat! I was cramped and uncomfortable in my space! There was a tyke kicking my back. The lady beside me was breastfeeding her neonate! There were sacks over sacks of whatever's being loaded, as well as a school of live pigs and goats on board! The boat was so congested; even the little walking spaces at the sides were all taken! It was surreal! After 2 ½ hours of uncomfortable silence (I forced myself to finish the book I was reading to take my mind off my penitence, errr I mean, discomfort.), we reached the shores of Danao City. Back to civilization! We had our breakfast at a nearby Gaisano-Jollibee, then took a fiera that would take us to SM Cebu!