I HAVE BEEN LOOKING forward for a long time to travel the whole island of Cebu in a long and continuous journey. When I was a young man and plenty of time then, that was more than twenty-five years ago, I used to go out to the far reaches of the province to the north and into the south, yet I was not able to complete that dream trip.
Then on June 28 and 29, 2009, my life-long dream of going on a circumferential trip were fulfilled when my employer tasked me, along with Omar Pace and Eddie Alberca, to distribute packages to all the district hospitals and properties of the Cebu Provincial Government.
We started from Bakilid, Mandaue City on June 28 at five in the morning on board a Mitsubishi Delica. Eddie was designated as driver, Omar as back-up driver and navigator while me, acted as logistics man, recorder, part-time navigator and unofficial historian and I took a seat at the most spacious and most comfortable part of the vehicle.
The opportunity gave me a high-spirited yawn when I settled at the back as Eddie steered the wheel for the South Road Properties and good open spaces that gave me a luxuriant view of the Babag Mountain Range and the Mactan Channel. I did not have a proper camera with me so I have to settle with a cell phone camera of a lower pixel and took a shot of a sunrise at sea and a cloud rising over Babag.
The south coastal road took us to the belly of Talisay City; we exited at Linao and arrived at our first stopping area in Minglanilla District Hospital at 5:53 AM. Fifteen minutes later, we were on our way for the land of chicharon, bocarillo and ampao. In a blur, we passed by Minglanilla proper, Naga, San Fernando and, finally, Carcar, where the J.M. Paras Memorial Hospital is located.
We left Carcar at 6:55 AM and passed by Sibonga until we arrived at our next stopping area in Argao District Hospital at 7:27 AM. After our business there, we took a filling breakfast at eight in Carmen's Carenderia. Eddie stepped on the gas pedal the moment we left Argao to propel us for the next engagement in a short time as possible. Goodbye torta lovers!
The weather was perfect. Very sunny and, oh yes, the highway is in the best condition. It snaked along seaside cliffs and near shorelines as we passed by the towns of Dalaguete, Alcoy and Boljoon. This is one of the most pleasant stretch of beautiful coastal areas that are very familiar to me.
White powdery beaches line the shores while clear blue-green sea sparkled on a high tide. Beautiful tiny Sumilon Island simmered in the distance. I bickered, in jest, at Eddie to halt the vehicle to take a quick dip! In the end, the saner part of me won. I have a job to finish this day and we have a long way to go up to the north. By 9:12 AM, we reached the district hospital in Oslob.
Afterwards, at 9:33 AM, we left Oslob for Santander. At Santander we stopped by at Mayor Wilson Wenceslao's convenience store and bought for ourselves bottles of mineral water and energy drinks. Omar relieved Eddie at the wheel and we went around the southernmost tip of Cebu at Bato in Santander before going up to Samboan, Ginatilan then in Malabuyoc, where we arrived at the M.J. Cuenco Memorial Hospital at 10:44 AM, located on the seafront and right across the town parish.
We left Malabuyoc at 11:04 AM as Omar exerted pressure on the pedal and the Delica sped like a crazy rocket. I miss this Sunday's Mass and I have to content myself singing the Our Father. We passed by Alegria then in Matutinao, the first barangay in Badian. Oh, Matutinao. How many times have I been there? I love to camp at the end of the river – at the source itself – and caress my back with the large spring. I saved a life of a youngster there and I'm well remembered by the folks.
We reached Badian proper and drove up a hill to where the district hospital is located. We arrived at 11:40 AM. We stayed for twenty-two minutes and I took the opportunity to stretch my legs at the front lawn of the Santiago de Apostol Parish. I took a shot of the old church. We then left Badian for Barili.
Along the way, we passed by the beautiful southwestern towns of Ronda, Alegria, Moalboal and Dumanjug. We arrived at the Barili District Hospital at 12:43 noon and, thirty minutes later, we took a very late lunch at Shamrock Bakery and Restaurant. After the quick meal, we directly went up to the Farmer's Training Center in Boloc-boloc, Barili and we arrived there at 2:23 PM.
At 2:48 PM, we left the training center and proceeded for Pinamungajan town. Eddie now was back on the wheel. We took a detour and went up the Carcar-Barili Road going to the direction of Carcar. We reached a junction just ahead of Mantalungon and took the road left to Aloguinsan. The road to Aloguinsan was the loneliest stretch of road I have ever seen in Cebu and it passed on a very mountainous terrain.
We reached Aloguinsan and passed the sleepy town for Pinamungajan, where we arrived at J.M. Borromeo District Hospital at 3:50 PM. Ten minutes passed by, and we went on our journey north to the next stop in Balamban. We made a brief stopover at Toledo City though for refueling before resuming our journey.
We arrived at the Balamban District Hospital at 4:54 PM and took a quick rest and a little refreshment. We left Balamban at 5:15 PM bound for Tuburan. The sun started to set on the horizon and Tuburan is still a long way – about 30 kilometers. We passed by Asturias and a great distance separate the two until at 5:53 PM we arrived at the Tuburan District Hospital.
We left Tuburan at 6:06 PM for Daanbantayan – another long distance. Along the way we passed by the municipalities of Tabuelan, San Remigio, Bogo and Medellin. At the coast of Tabuelan going to San Remigio, I saw a very lonely sunset in my whole life. A teenaged boy sat on the plank of a bridge gazing at the spectacle. I stopped the vehicle and took a hurried shot of the scene.
At the junction of San Remigio, Bogo and Medellin, we stopped and eat a full dinner. After the meal, we proceeded to Daanbantayan and arrived at their district hospital at 8:20 PM. It had started to rain hard and we stayed for the night, the three of us, inside the van, at the hospital's parking area and slept soundly. The rain fell and it never stopped until around 2:00 AM.
We woke up in the early morning of June 29. We decided to start early for the port of Maya and left Daanbantayan District Hospital at 6:50 AM. We intend to cross over the sea to Malapascua Island to deliver four packages. While waiting for the first boat trip, we took a hearty breakfast of linarang pakol, tinuwa'ng malabunok and squid broth – all freshly caught.
Eddie and me decided to go to Malapascua instead while Omar will stay behind to watch the van. We arrived at the island at 8:45 AM and we were met by out host at the reception area. The island is a sunbather's and diver's paradise and is famous for its thresher sharks that are found within its depths. Although smaller than Boracay Island, it has powdery white sand beaches and clear blue-green water that would rival the over-congested resort.
We were treated to a stew of juvenile thresher sharks cooked in coconut milk by our host which were caught by net the night before. We obliged the tempting offer and took a second breakfast. It was my first time to step on Malapascua. We ended our visit at Malapascua and left at twelve noon. We both arrived at Maya Port at 12:49 and we sped towards Hagnaya Port in San Remigio to rendezvous with another contact from Bantayan Island who crossed over to pick up his package.
We arrived at the Hagnaya wharf at 1:22 PM and took lunch there. Fully refreshed, we resumed our trip bound for Sogod at 1:58 PM. We passed by Bogo and Tabogon via the once-dangerous Ime Road and arrived at the district hospital located in Damolog, Sogod at 2:34 PM. Omar had a brief reunion with his daughter who is undergoing internship at the J.B. Dosado Memorial Hospital. We then left at 3:08 PM for our last engagement – Danao City.
Now that the Delica is several kilos lighter, it sped over Sogod proper, Catmon, and Carmen along a cliffside highway. The familiar places brought me pleasant memories of my past. Oh, how I wished Eddie would not step on the gas too hard. We sped away and overtook as many vehicles as possible until we reached the Danao District Hospital at 3:32 PM. We rested awhile until it was time to go for our last stretch and left at 4:16 PM.
Finally, we arrived at Mandaue City at 5:11 PM. We were all tired but not exhausted. I finally make true my dream of traveling the whole island of Cebu to the south, west, north and east with an island-hopping segment in Malapascua. On the whole, we churned out 480 kilometers, more or less, over two days and I see another sequel of this in the future.
The office staff clapped their hands upon seeing us and our vigor came back where, eventually, we stayed for a couple of hours to check on the logistics for tomorrow's activity. I was the last to check out at eight and brought a pack of pintos to my wife and kids.
Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer.