Ride. Rest. Repeat.

Bucket List: Day 3

Waking up just before dawn, we were surprised to see that the weather had turned sour. The wind had kicked up a lot and the rain was pretty strong. Butchoy’s tail end had finally caught up with us. After frantically searching for news about the weather, we decided to push through as scheduled. Donning our rain gear we were off.

The road out of Catbalogan, was very slippery, made much more dangerous by a lot of oil on the road. You could see the rush of the oil carried by the rainwater crossing both lanes of the highway, specifically during downhill turns. This slowed the pace down, better safe than sorry, we still had a looong way to go.

The weather was breaking as we approached the fantastic San Juanico Bridge. I had long aspired to cross the mighty San Juanico (the longest bridge spanning a body of water in the Philippines) ever since I started scooting and here I was literally minutes away from doing it.

The crossing itself was uneventful but the experience was fantastic. We couldn’t really slow down or stop too much since there was traffic crossing the bridge and I don’t think they’d really appreciate 4 scooter riders stopping every 100 meters to take pictures, so we crossed the bridge and made our way to a well deserved brunch at the lovely Rafael Farm care of Bernie Lim.

The next stop was the McArthur Shrine in Palo, Leyte. The shrine commemorates General Douglas McArthur’s promise to the nation made in March, 1942 which he kept on October, 1944 signalling the beginning of the end of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. You get an eerie sense of history just standing there. Overwhelming.

After the McArthur Shrine, Bernie went back home to Catbalogan, Samar since he would not have enough time to get back if he took us all the way to Lilo-an. After bidding farewell to Bernie, we were on our way. The roads to Lilo-an were good with very little construction. The weather also cooperated. The rain had finally stopped but the weather remained cool as we traveled the remaining 150 kilometers to the Port of Lilo-an. Along the way we stopped and checked out the tallest bridge in the Philippines, the Agas Agas bridge. And tall it was. Towering 75 Meters from the forest floor of the mountains of Southern Leyte, the bridge connects two mountains and provides a vital lifeline to those traveling between the islands of Visayas and Mindanao.

After another hour or so of riding we had finally arrived at the Port of Lilo-an, Leyte. This was to be our gateway to Mindanao. We arrived around half past 2 in the afternoon and the next ferry was scheduled to leave at 5 pm. That gave us time to do some minor scooter maintenance and practice creative packing of our bags. We also met another traveler who had also traveled from Manila and was on his way to Butuan. He had traveled alone and had left only the day before. He was going to ride all the way to Butuan as soon as we landed in Surigao. What a guy!

The ferry finally left the terminal at 6:45 in the evening and proceeded, rather slowly to Surigao. The sea was a bit rough and it took us all of 3 hours to get to Surigao City, Northern Mindanao. It was already almost 10 in the evening by the time we landed and we had yet to find our hotel. After locating the Tavern Hotel, we checked in and had our first real meal since brunch in Tacloban City. We were serenaded by a cover band which played 70s tunes while we had our dinner. After that much needed break we retired for the evening happy we had finally made it to Mindanao.

One Response to “Bucket List: Day 3”

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