Puerto Princesa Airport is very small and basic. Seremban-bus-station-is-bigger-kinda basic. It is so small that the departure and arrival gates are literally next to each other. They don’t really check your boarding pass nor validate your identification. Even when I already boarded the plane. I like the simplicity of the system already. Or maybe it’s a domestic flight, the staff just don’t care to do thorough checking.
So one part of the journey is done. Now I need to find a van to get to El Nido. It’s another 6-7 hours of van ride. I hate long distance road trip. It’s very tiring. It’s even more tiring when you are not the driver. I walked out of the airport and looked out for the chartered vans that bring tourists to El Nido. The common ones available online like Daytripper are fully booked. Lucky I managed to find a vacant van from a random provider. So, hello to 7 hours of sleep. Or so I thought.
The van made quite a number of stops. Stop means ‘hey wake up dude, we’re at R&R if you want to buy snacks or go pee’ in my road trip vocabulary list. There’s this thing with sleeping in a car ride-you’ll be automatically waken up from your sleep when the car stops. No matter how good your dream was, if you’re finally catching your sought after rainbow unicorn, or you’re couple inches away from kissing the perfectly sculpted lips of your crush, your brain doesn’t care. Turned out the van still has few vacant seats and my driver just want to fill up the spots. Hence all the stops. I totally understand that. After all, he is just a normal human being searching for more income for his family. I would go that extend too for my family. But dude, you stopped at Jollibee just because someone wanted to eat Chickenjoy? Can’t you see that I’m struggling to sleep here? Seriously. I admit I was a bit grumpy and cranky during the ride.
Once in a while, I woke up to the loud chatters from backseat. I slept almost the entire first half of trip nonetheless. Few hours along the journey, the driver made a stop at a small eating place. The entire place is made up from bamboo. And look at what I found.
And there’s also halal food. With a logo some more. I couldn’t stand myself from laughing when I saw these signs. Of course the halal sign is very doubtful. I ended up eating Mee Sedap Goreng instead. Apparently they have that in their menu.
We continued the long ride after eating. I was still tired and can’t wait to reach El Nido. But now, I just wanted to sleep. Of course the other passengers at the back needed to continue their chats. I forced myself to sleep, but I could not. Next thing I know, I was listening to people chatting in Tagalog for almost 3 hours. I swear I would have joined them should I able to speak the language. But I know, phrases I learnt from my colleagues in office would put me in trouble instead. Anong pangalan mo, gago? Oh they taught me some other words that I’d rather not write here.
El Nido, here I am.