Find us on Google+ Love Mindanao: My Journey Back Home | 13 Days of Summer Concluded

My Journey Back Home | 13 Days of Summer Concluded

My 2013 summer erratic travel from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao gave me a lot of  challenging experiences that pushed me to my limits only to reaffirm  my passion and love to discover places in less traveled roads in the Philippines. The provinces of BatangasNueva VizcayaLeyteBiliran and Surigao del Norte surprised me with their best kept secret travel destinations that made my summer of 2013 very special.

I have never thought that after tapping on my last destination for this travel series, this journey would still continue to amaze me with extra few discoveries.

I was about to put an end to this summer escapade by returning to Manila, but the popping challenges in this travel series were just endless.  My almost perfect itinerary was put into  jeopardy when  major airlines in Tacloban City were all fully booked  that fell on the 11th day of my jaunt leaving me with no other choice but to take the butt numbing HELL-Y BUS RIDE to reach my last pit stop.

Throw Me Up! 

Coming from my cheap accommodation in the city, Casa de Tacloban, I decided to catch the earliest bus bound for Pasay at the New Terminal of Tacloban City that was scheduled to depart at  7:00 in the morning. I was just lucky to get a window seat in a fully occupied DLTB bus. The first phase of our ride took us the whole day before we reached the port of Allen in Northern Samar.

At the port of Allen, the bus was loaded into a RORO boat crossing the sea towards Matnog Sorsogon. We paid Php 25.00 for the terminal fee.

While  on standby, I climbed at the top deck of the ferry boat where I got fascinated with the local children known as the "coin divers". 

These children would ask you to drop coins into the water and they will competitively swim after it under. For some it was entertaining, but for me, it was a little disturbing. I just can't accept the fact that these children have to risk their lives chasing coins that serves as a form of entertainment for others. The practice was just exceptionally BRUTAL for me!

But it was undeniable that these young coin divers have fascinated me with their endurance, creativity and courage to jump from a 30-foot board, fitting the qualification for the sports of diving, which put me to wonder why the Philippines have not been successful in water sports for the longest time given that we have so many potential lads flaunting it publicly. Maybe the Philippine Sports Commission is just so blind not to see our true champions or simply they are investing on the wrong bet or spending the budget somewhere else.

Out of nowhere, a small child approached me making a deal, asking if  should I throw a 5-peso coin out to the water he would jump from the highest deck of the ferry to recover it as his payment. Of course I refused as I felt disgusted on such practice. But the guy behind me cut through, sealing the deal with the child to jump artistically for a 5-peso coin thrown. Seeing the child did a back flip was just exhilarating to watch especially dropping on a perfect upside down dive from the 20-foot  deck of the ferry boat. It bothers me to think that poverty in the Philippines has been lurking in the saddest way pushing some of our youth to do the extreme just to survive.

The End is Just The Beginning of Another Adventure!

It was already dark and time for dinner when we reached Matnog, Sorsogon . I just can’t believe that the carinderia where we had a stopover have a miny tiny small servings of their viands that will cost you Php 60.00 plus Php 15.00 for less than a cup of rice. It’s a little over priced for a food was outrageously preserved in a sea of cooking oil. So instead of risking of getting a heart attack, I just stick with the doughnuts I bought at the pier.

I never thought that traveling from Leyte to Manila would be this long and tiring. My only consolation could have been seeing the country side of Bicol but it was already dark when we traversed the region. I would feel a little better if I had just a quick glimpse of the almost perfect cone shape volcano, Mt. Mayon. This means, I really need to go back purposely for a trip in Region 5 in the Philippines.

We arrived in Manila around 8:00 in the morning. Wasted and can't feel the muscles on my legs, I spent the whole day just sleeping the moment my back felt my bed to recover my strength.

During the last day of my stay in Manila , I have just decided to treat myself with some sweets and had a box of my favorite doughnuts, Krispy Kreme (the glazed one) and just hang around the mall, looking at the merchandise displayed on various shops' windows since my allotted budget was already wiped out to the last centavo.

Good thing I have only brought with me some coins on my pocket or else I would be tempted to splurge on unnecessary things. This was the travel tip I always remember whenever I go to a mall, NEVER bring your cards and too much money with you or you will find yourself bankrupt the next day.

I never wanted the next morning to come but it was time to head back to Mindanao. It was a mixed emotion leaving Luzon as I wish to spend more time to see my other friends that I have not seen for a long time . But my privilege vacation was limited and it was time to admit that every journey has its end and this summer trip has finally reached its conclusion . Salamat Visayas, Salamat Luzon!

From the Bottom of My Heart!

I would like to give my sincerest thanks to all the friends I have met on the road, my family whom I only meet every quarter of the year and to all those people with kind hearts who helped me along the way especially on times of my need and of course to all those crazy believers who kept on following my journey through my blog

And to some anonymous donors who continued on providing me with my travel essentials and wishing me well on my journeys and keeping my feet on the road to scoop all those stories and experience the wonders in all corners of the Philippines. My love is for all of you . 

Pointers for Travelers: Tacloban to Manila vis-a-vis

1. There are several buses bound for Pasay or Cubao from the New Tacloban Bus Terminal. The fare is Php 1200.00. Book weeks or days ahead especially during peak seasons like holidays, weekends and summer season. You can choose from the following bus companies.

Bus Operators

Contact Nos.

DLTB Co. Bus

Eagle Star 
Ali Mall Cubao
02 523-8944
Ultra Bus
02 325-4980/0922.859.2388
02 321-2529/327-9502
Super Five

2. As much as possible bring your pack lunch/dinner/ snacks and water. The cafeteria on bus stops will give you a heart attack with their over priced saturated and salty food.

3. Bring extra cushion or pillow to support your neck and your head.

4. Pack extra medicine, there are none along the way. Tissue roll is a must as well.

5. Bring plastic bags for your vomit, you'll never know when it will happen.

6. Travel light . Just bring the essentials needed. Prepare dry fit clothes if you have, easy to wash and easy to dry as well.


  1. Great article, bud! Had i known you'll be in Manila, I'd be glad to meet you.

  2. I think traveling through bus is tiring but I am pretty sure that's all worth it coming from a fulfilling trip like that! looking forward for more adventures in the future sir Ervin, keep it up!

  3. I was able to visit Tacloban before but via plane. The bus ride must have been exciting but I'm sure you got energized by the box of Krispy Kreme donut when you got back.

  4. A nice insight on the sports comittee ou country has..
    Your probably right, we have many talents and skills, that run arround untapped, and often times spoilt and used by other countries.
    That coin diver is just one of the many that clearly has some skills.
    It had been a nice series, I've followed through though not regularly.
    It certainly felt like you've brought us with you..

    Way to go!

  5. Such an exhausting but a very productive journey back home. I salute you for deploring those 'penny divers' acts. Child abuse yun. Bro, medyo mahal din pala ang bus fare from Tacloban to Pasay.

  6. Sad that I wasn't able to meet you while staying in Manila, nonetheless hangout with you while in Leyte. Then again, I will look into your summer escapade posts, for my future travels. Oh, and as for the kids. I've experienced the same while aboard a ferry from Camiguin to CDO. They were spectacular, yet we all know it's tasking and risky.

  7. the kid shot is amazing! it looks perfect plus him in the water shot looks so good his skin with the water looks stunning. he deserved much more than 5 peso haha Maybe we can see you doing that as well i bet you've done so many practise hehe xx

  8. I love the second pic, the "THROW ME UP." You are such a good photographer! =)

  9. I envy you. I haven't tried traveling from one place to another in a very short time.

  10. I've also witnessed kids who do some stunts from a bridge to the sea for an exchange of food or money. Nevertheless, I don't like that idea. They should be in schools. By the way, you're a wise traveler for being much adept in budgeting.

  11. I always enjoy your travel stories simply because I wish I had the time and drive to do the same myself! For now, I have to content myself to reading your tales and living the adventures here :)

  12. wow! I envy you for having the privilege to travel that long. For a full-time mom like me I can no longer do that, that's why I miss my previous work where I get to travel a lot. Anyway, so good to know that you've done what you want and as you go back to Mindanao, just bring with you all the fond memories of this fond travel. If you happen to got back in Luzon and visit Laguna, just tag me and hope I can be of help.