I got an invitation from the owners of Makulay Lodge to go to their house south of Puerto Princesa and I was eager to go. The lodge in El Nido is now being managed by their sons, Likha and Kalikasan, while the owners live in their house in Luzviminda, about 20 kilometers outside of the city proper of Puerto Princesa. There are two ways to get there, by land via bus or van bound for Aborlan or by boat, from the port at Callebajo to the port in Mangingisda.
Fresh from the very first flight of the day from Manila via ZestAir, I stepped into the cool and crisp morning air of Puerto Princesa and headed directly to Itoy’s Coffee House. I love Itoy’s Coffee House. I have been going there since 2008 and I like how they have improved through the years. The service is great, the staff, friendly, the coffee, good, even if the food is not so much. What I like best about them is that they are open at 7am. I stayed there for three hours before hopping on a multicab going to the San Jose terminal.
When I got to the terminal, the van that would pass by where I was getting off only had three passengers and was waiting for, probably, 10 more people, and I was told that it might take an hour for it to leave. I was advised to take a bus instead. A bus bound for Aborlan was pulling out of the terminal when I got there and it was full to the point of overflowing. I nevertheless threw my bags into the bus, near the doors, and hoisted myself up. I was laughing while thinking, “Igzoydiiing!”
I sat on my bags and held on tight. The sun was bright, the sky, blue, and foliage, green. The fresh breeze rushing through the windows rustled everyone’s hair, clothes, luggage, and even our spirits. Especially mine. Sitting on top of my bags, my booted feet dangling almost out the bus doors, I felt happy and free. I love open bus rides through rural areas.
It was a very narrow bus with two seats on each side, bright green outside, and very colorful inside. The baggage was so much that it was as high as the passengers’ shoulders and heads. Even I sat on two layers of bags.
The highlight of this bus ride was being reminded it was the blooming season for one of my favorite trees – the Palawan cherry (Cassia nodosa or Cassia x Palawan Cherry). The trees lined the road and made the scene very pretty.
Despite my precarious position, I tried to snap photos while in transit. Most of the photos were ugly, but what the heck, I was having such a great time. I was almost sorry I had to get off.
A glimpse of a little girl fast asleep in her mother’s arms made me miss my daughter and I had to remind myself it was my first day on a week-long trip without her. I seldom go anywhere without her and I’m only learning to be just by myself. I entertained myself with the cows instead. I love those cows. It reminded me of the trip one has to take from Coron town proper to get to the airport. The similar landscape and presence of cows evoke the same feelings of sentiment, one of joy combined with longing – for things that cannot be and for things that will never come to pass.