Travel is never easy. There are times when everything goes perfectly but those are far and few between. The Puerto Pension B&B on Palawan offered free transport to and from the airport, only a 15-20 minute ride. Show tickets to get inside, put luggage, backpacks and handbags through x-ray, pick up and head to over to Philippines Airlines check in counter. Margie and Art were heading to Manila first and then to another Philippine Island on a surgical mission. Ahead of us in line, they discovered Philippine Airlines only allows 15 kilos/33 pounds per person and had to pay for $22 U.S. for overweight. Oh no, we had more than that. United States airline restrictions don’t begin until a suitcase is over 40 pounds. A fast decision. If the bags are overweight, we’ll unpack quickly and stuff hiking boots in backpacks. For some inexplicable reason, the tickets to Manila-Cebu allowed 20 kilos/44 pounds per per person, exactly what the suitcases weighed. Not one ounce more. Not one ounce less. Go figure.
Oops…now the computer system is down and we stood around waiting for seat assignments and boarding passes. A very good thing we did because a baggage handler grabbed the untagged suitcases to throw on the conveyor belt. That certainly would have taken care of never seeing them again! ex-Marine shouted loudly, scaring the pants off the handler. The computer finally came up, got both sets of boarding passes and walked over to pay the departure tax.
Departure taxes vary from country to country confusing the daylights out of all travelers. Many countries include taxes in the price of your ticket. Many countries require you pay taxes in the currency of their country. More often than not, there are different departure taxes depending on whether it is a domestic or international departure. The Philippine Islands domestic departure tax is 200 Pesos per person. Our tax today was 20 pesos per person and the 20 perso departure tax covered both flights! Why? Who knows but such a deal.
Hugs, kisses and goodbyes to Margie and Art in Manila as we separated for individual destinations. Our flight landed at crowded Mactan Cebu International Airport around 2:45p, bags came right off and a man was outside holding up a sign for Mrs. Sheila. FYI: That’s also difficult. Trying to pick your name out of rows of meeters and greeters standing outside the exit. Don’t be embarrassed to walk right up to the line, get in their faces and closely examine each name.
It took 45 minutes just to get from Mactan Cebu International Airport through Cebu City. From that point on, the driver stomped on the gas pedal, speeding at least 80 km/50 miles an hour on two-lane roads, through small towns. Filled to the brim with children and people along the road, dogs and chickens on the road. Tuk-tuks pedaled by people on bicycles, tuk-tuks operated by people on motorcycles. Big buses, small buses, different kinds of jeepneys, trucks, and heavy traffic. Along the coast. Up and over hills.
Signs said “no overtaking,” “accident zone.” Our driver ignored them all and sped around curves while we said fervent prayers. Finally, the teeny town of Moalboal. The driver whipped a right turn and bumped down a narrow path to the totally isolated (perhaps little more isolated than I had bargained for) Kasai Village Beach Resort around 6:00p. In one piece, but totally wrung out…
Welcome to Kasai Village Beach Resort…