A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Ten

san-pedro-nueva-vizcaya-philippines

The city of San Pedro, capital of the Nueva Vizcaya province in northern Luzon

Continued from
A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Nine

The story is almost over. I swear.

But I really don’t want to leave you hanging. I mean, we’ve come this far, right?

This is the tale of the daylight drive back from Banaue to Manila, my last night and day in the capital

…and what happened after I got home.

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A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Four

A sleepy carriage driver and horse at midday in Manila's Rizal Park

A sleepy carriage driver and horse at midday in Manila’s Rizal Park

Continued from
A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Three

I easily found JD, my travel companion, in our Manila hotel lobby: he looked just like his social media photos, minus a hat or a dolphin.

Within moments of meeting him, I was relieved to find that he was a bonafide grown-up with a sense of humorSince he and I would be together almost constantly for the next seven days, it was nice to feel right from the start that we’d stand a chance of not causing each other bodily harm.

The trip itself, though? That still remained to be seen.

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A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Three

intramuros-manila-philippines-shops

A shaggy tangle of shopfronts in the heart of Intramuros

Continued from
A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Two

 

The idea of going to a city as huge as Manila and not exploring it for fear that a terrorist attack may or may not happen at any unspecified time or place (but probably won’t) is, well…foreign to me.  Yes, I could have waited a few hours for my travel companion to wake up and accompany me, but at 8 am it was already 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and I was eager to experience the capital of the Philippines.

Surely, this is what the Philippine Department of Tourism would have wanted…if only they seemed aware I was in their country.

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A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part Two

 

Continued from
A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part One

On my 15-hour Philippine Airlines flight, direct from Los Angeles to the Philippine capital of Manila, I’d scored the semi-holy grail of coach class: two airline seats all to myself. 

Sadly, though, both the seats and the plane itself were falling apart at the seams.

The aircraft had been built long before personal entertainment screens had been imagined, and by now its upholstery, seat-reclining mechanisms and plumbing had all reached their expiration date.

At the start of the flight, there were four working bathrooms. Six hours in, the floor at the rear of the plane was flooded…and we were down to one functional loo.

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A Philippine Comedy of Errors: Part One

The bridge over the (former) waters of the Guihod Natural Pool in Hapao, Philippines

Pausing before a not-yet-completed bridge spanning a rocky little stream bed, I watched a weary construction team haul steel bars from one side to the other. Kelly, a 25 year-old guide from a tribe native to this mountainous region of the Philippines, sat up straight in the front seat of the jeepney and pointed off to the left.

“This used to be the Guihod Natural Pool. It was very good for swimming.”

I furrowed my brow, recalling having seen “Guihod Natural Pool” listed on that day’s travel itinerary.

“So…no one can swim here anymore?”

Kelly turned around to face me. “Oh, no — it was filled in two years ago to make way for this bridge.”

And that’s the moment when I knew for sure:

The travel agents who planned this trip had never actually been here.

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