The Road Trip

My longest road trip ever was the one I had way back in 1998. I was here in Manila still studying in college at the Ateneo. The sem break is up ahead so me and some of my friends planned a road trip over the vacation week.

The itenerary — Manila -> Naga City -> Samar -> Tacloban & Ormoc City, Leyte -> Cebu City -> Iloilo City.

I had about Php5,000 as pocket money and we talked to a lot of our friends and dorm mates who lived along our route. It was just the three of us and we took a bus (Highway Express) from Cubao to Naga City. It was an 8 to 10 hour drive which costs us around Php350 a seat. The Highway Express is probably the best bus you could ever get for a long drive. Its interior is more like that of the jumbo jet with two aisles separating 3 individual seats (no seatmates) and it has an onboard CR and videoke. We spent about 3 days in Naga City and stayed at one of our friend’s house there.

Then, we were off to Matnog which is on the southermost tip of Luzon. From Matnog, our bus waited for the barge to carry it across to the port of Samar. From Samar pier, our bus went straight to Leyte, cruising along the San Juanico Bridge. The second stop was Tacloban. Since we didn’t know anyone in that town, we went straight to Ormoc City where one of my friends lived. He didn’t live in Ormoc City actually but a neighboring town called Isabela which is about 30 minutes by car.

In Isabela, Leyte, we spent another 4 days doing some rapelling and range shooting. One of my friend’s dad was a senior executive of a fertilizer company based there. We had a great time since we had access to all ameneties and stuff. We went on night-outs in Ormoc where I saw the small church where Richard and Lucy got married.

On the fourth day, we took a ferry boat to Cebu City and meet some more friends. We had a blast in Cebu – the Highlands, Waterfront hotel and even more night outs.

It was supposed to be an overnight stay for me so I bought a plane ticket to Iloilo for the following day. Since there’s only 1 daily trip from Cebu to Iloilo and flight’s at 5:00AM, I had no choice but to take it. My other option was to take a ferry but it would take about half a day since the boat would have to go around Negros Island to reach Iloilo.

Anyway, I opted for the plane which will only be 15 minutes in the air so good for me. The ticket then was roughly Php999 only but it was already expensive. Since we were out the whole night, I never got the chance to catch a nap. I had to leave for the airport by 4AM but unfortunately I overslept and woke up about 4:45 already. I rushed out of the house without saying goodbye to my hosts and even had to climbed over their gate.

About 10 minutes before my plane is scheduled to leave, I was still in the cab rushing for Mactan Airport. Just as I arrive at the airport, a couple of their personnel were already escorting me straight to the tarmac. It was so close that the moment I step into the cabin of the plane, the stewardess closed the doors. Yeah, I was the last one in and people were all staring at me.

Fifteen minutes later, I was back in Iloilo and went straight home to Guimaras.

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  • cliff

    cebu is really a nice place both for nature and social travelling… u can go to nice beaches at the same time enjoy its fab night spots.. what’s good about cebu is that you can easily go to its other neighboring islands such as bohol, ormoc & camotes… to check out shipping schedules from one place to another.. check out http://www.schedule.ph/

  • the leyte is the winner

  • the is the winner

  • i seee the aliwan festival 2007 and i see the dance of the alikaraw festival in leyte and this dance is the very beautiful dance of all

  • biboy

    Hi! You can visit http://www.hoparound.net to get an excellent listing of destinations within the Philippines. What’s great is that you will also see a list of micro tourism service providers per location. Through the web, you can already book the services you will need when you visit the place. Very convenient.

  • Hi Hanna

    I’m planning also to travel to cebu by car before Christmas if you find some answers to your query please share it to me.

    Thanks in advance. . . .

  • Hannah


    We’re planning to go to Cebu via land trip after Christmas day. Anybody who’s been there lately? Can you give us an idea on the following:
    > from Manila where to we start (Batangas or Bicol)?
    > what are the boat schedules ?
    > how much is the fare for a vehicle and each individual riding the vehicle ? cost from port to port please
    > how long are the travel time from one port to another ?
    > how long are the travel time by land from the port to the next port?

    Would appreciate your feedback on the shortest possible route/time we can get to Cebu as we are travelling with children aged 12, 10, 9, 8.

    Thank you very much.

  • alet

    Abe, it’s Isabel, not Isabela. I used to pass by here when my dad was teaching me how to drive. We live in Palompon and it’s a 30 minute drive to Isabel. The road was good but there were some cliffs and crazy uphill turns that I had to master before my dad deemed my driving passable.

  • Since you’re an adventure seeker, if you happen to come back to Samar, there’s a coffee shop a few kilometers after crossing the bridge from Tacloban. The view on top is spectacular. You can just relax and unwind after a long trip. The interiors are country inspired.

    I’m planning to contribute a detailed account of that place.