Tuesday night. Just finished a lot work in the office to cover my 3 day leave.
It was raining a little outside with the rush hour traffic in full swing. And since I’m so excited for the Puraran surf trip just hours away, I just had to stop by El Chupacabra – my favorite watering hole in the whole of Makati. Street tacos and cold cold beer. Man I love El Chupacabra!
BAD IDEA. For one does not leave El Chupacabra sober.
Boom! I woke up at 5:00am. My flight is at 5:45. There’s 7 Missed calls on my phone. Damn I fell asleep! I tried to stay awake but I dozed off on the couch. Wasn’t even drunk when I came home! My friends Cocoy and Frances were already checked-in at the airport and there I was in the couch about to miss an epic surf trip!
I immediately grabbed my things, went out and hailed a taxi. I was thinking positive inside the cab but I was already hating myself if I ever do miss my flight. Alas! When I arrived at the airport, our plane had already left. OUCH. I missed my flight! Imagine that. Missing a flight to one of the best surf spots in the Philippines? How stupid can you be.
Totally hated myself at that point. I was really about to cry! For one, I’ve let my friends down. Second, I will miss an adventure I’ve waited so long to happen. My dreams of surfing Majestics and crossing out the 4th out of my 5 Philippine surfing dream destinations seems to be fading away…
But NO! I wasn’t gonna be left behind. I will go to Puraran no matter what even it means taking a gruelling 14hr bus ride to Virac! I was set on commuting by land but luckily I checked Cebu Pacific’s website when I got home and saw a 2k one way trip to Legazpi on that same day. There were no flights to Virac anymore so I had to take this route. I borrowed a credit card and booked myself the flight (thanks Camille, your Kuya loves you). And wheeeeew. I was back on track! I got lucky there. Two thousand is a small price to pay compared to what I’ll miss.
My flight to Legazpi was at 12nn and I went to the airport early. There’s no way I’m going to miss my flight again. But imagine if I did. Missing a two flights on the same day? I probably would’ve committed suicide right there on NAIA 3. Hang myself using my leash and they can just put my body inside my boardbag. Airport officer 1: “What’s inside that boardbag?”, Airport officer 2: “A dead surfer who had a problem with being on time so he killed himself”, Airport officer 1: Oh that’s sad. Where’s he supposed to be going?”, Airport officer 2: “Virac, Catanduanes home of the Majestic waves. But I guess he’s now just going to the Morgue, Pasay City Hospital.”
Albay Your Side
Touchdown Legazpi Airport! The way now to Puraran is, from Legazpi I’ll be taking a bus going to Tabaco City (just 1hr away) and get off at the Tobaco Port where I’ll be hopping a RORO ferry going to Virac. From Virac it’s a less than an hour land trip to Puraran. Bus to Tabaco is less than a hundred ( I forgot how much the fares are, I’m just glad to be on the road ) and the ferry about 200 pesos plus.
It was rainy bus ride along the Albay countryside so I didn’t get to see the Mayon Volcano right away. I know a lot of friends who are from Legazpi and its great to finally see their hometown even if its just through a bus window.
The last trip for the Virac ferry is at 1pm and I wasn’t going to catch it. I was just told to spend the night in Tabaco and catch the early morning ferry. I was fine with that. But fortunately I decided to still drop by Tabaco Port and ask around. And it’s as if the universe is finally working my way, the Port people told me that I can still go to Virac by way of San Jose! It’s just a town near Virac and all I need to do is wait for a couple of hours for the 4:30pm trip and I can be a Puraran by night! You know what else? There’s free, fast WiFi at the Port. Instragram that shit! My luck is finally coming around!
So the Ferry came and it was the first time I get to ride a RORO. Usually there’s no more ferry trips in the afternoon and this day is one of the rare occasions that a ferry had to go San Andres. It was past 5pm when the Ferry started leaving the Port. As the sun begins to set I was treated to a magnificent view of Mt Mayon in all of its glory. At this time I began to be at ease. I was thankful I made it this far. Come to think of it, one of the highlights of my trip was my misfortune – the aiport hassle, passing thru Albay, seeing Mayon Volcano and most of all this relaxed, scenic ferry ride while the sun sets.
A Scooter and the Stellar Sky
Arriving San Andres nighttime I had to take a tricycle to Virac. And when I got to Virac town local surfer and skate longboarder Ikoy Valles was waiting for me at Cafe de Au, a nice quaint coffee shop in Virac. From there we hopped on his scooter (backride hits, carrying my 5’7 fish on my side) and we traversed up and down the road to Puraran zig zagging up down through the mountainside road. Remember, this was dead at night. Mostly we only had the scooter’s headlight lighting our way.
During this time I kept looking up at the night sky. It was full of stars. The view was amazing. Again one of the sights in this trip that I will remember for a long time.
I finally arrived at the Puraran Surf Beach Resort and guess who welcomed me with beer – my friends Frances Arbie and Ezra Enfondo! Two people I can just absolutely be myself and have fun all the time with. They were drinking and they handed me a bottle of Pale Pilsen while I shared my story. Ezra then gave me a new name. Henceforth I was called TJ “the Journeyman” because of my misadventures. What a journey indeed.
So there I was where I should be. I was hearing the waves and couldn’t been more excited to wake up to the sight of the mighty Majestic. We have four more days in this wonderful island and here ends part 1 of my Catanduanes adventure. Standby for part 2 because me getting there is only a part of this epic trip!