My desire to travel was home-grown. I am not even thinking of going out of the country then let alone work overseas even though I am all up for it profession wise.
When after working in a Level 4 hospital for almost five years and dealing with doctors with attitudes for a year I decided to quit and do something else. That something else was to travel around the Philippines and my target then was Mindanao. The second largest and southern most part of the Philippines which has 6 regions with 24 provinces and 19 ethnic groups, a very diverse island and it’s part of the 7,107 islands of the Philippines.
I spent almost 6 months traveling the island without a real plan of where I would end up. My meter then was not where I am going but how much funds I have to keep me going. I left work and spent all my savings to go around the south of the Philippines with very little knowledge of the language (I only speak Tagalog then and I thought everybody there speaks another language) and only knew a handful of people who didn’t know I was going there.
If you read or watch the news, Mindanao had series of insurgencies then (and now) that travel was not really encouraged especially for a young, female, single traveler but I came out unscathed so it was not so bad. Sometimes you need to be there to know and I did and I knew.
SupperFerry … Sakay na!
To save money, I decided I will take the ship to Davao. We still have no budget airlines then and I kinda like the idea of being at sea, walking around and meeting people. Was actually thinking of “The Love Boat” TV show then when all the fun happens aboard a ship (for those who were not born then check out the link). Though no Love happened and it was not the fancy trip I was expecting — karaoke was not yet an “in” thing then 😦 but I did met interesting people.
I packed all the essentials and since I am traveling local, it won’t be too bad to miss one or two items, I can always get them in the store.
Tickets bought, I think I paid around P 1,200 ($30) — I am taking a cabin, all 3rd class berths were already taken and all that was left was a cabin berth with another person. So I took it and my life started to change.
3 days and 2 nights
To get to Davao, I traveled 3 days and 2 nights with 2 stop-over before I finally reached my port of destination.
The ship left around noon and the following morning we docked at the Province of Iloilo and stayed until noon after all the passengers were let off and on, then we departed for General Santos City – the Tuna capital of the Philippines.
The second night at sea was rough. That open sea between Iloilo and GenSan was treacherous. The wave was making me dizzy, I was rolling in my bed and I heard people were sick. I was not sick because I stopped eating after I had 2 days of all beef meals, it was too much. I was dizzy with the crazy thought of our boat sinking and I won’t survive (that was pre-Titanic movie). Well actually we had a few sea tragedy killing many people due to both nature and man-made causes in the Philippines so I knew it can happen. Eventually we passed the big waves and it was smooth sailing until we docked at the Tuna capital. We had time, we were allowed to go down and see the area around the port.
It was my first time to see Tuna as big as me and it was a sight to marvel. There were plenty of fishes that one would think where all these go and maybe there are many rich fisherman in GenSan than anywhere in the country – or so I thought (more on that in my future blogs). The fishes if not sold locally are exported to Japan and other neighboring countries.
I had enough of that Tuna when I finally arrived in Davao where it is more patronized than meat and after 3 days in the ship with only beef I welcomed the fish with open arms.
Travel Info (Present time)
If you want to know and visit GenSan