Since Nazis told me I could go to Harka Piloto, Tamaraw Falls, Puerto Gallera, and even visit my relatives in Victoria all in one day, I got all the more excited. I could go to all the places in my list plus do the favor my Nanay asked of me - to go introduce myself to our relatives in Bongabon, Victoria.
I decided to first go to Victoria since all the rest of the places in my list was in Calapan. Nazis said it would only take us about half an hour to reach Bongabon so after having coffee, we immediately boarded a van and by 8 AM, we were on the road to my relatives I haven't seen in my life.
But the road was wet cuz it had been constantly drizzling, and there was an ongoing reconstruction in most parts of the national way, thus, the traffic. One-way on most parts, so the half an hour became an hour.
Bongabon, Victoria, Oriental Mindoro
From 9-10:30 AM, all I did was introduce myself to my relatives. I had a list of names from my Nanay and it was a good thing people were so kind over there. All I did was ask and I was given more info than I asked for. Well, actually, I have really never met a snob local in the number of places I had been to. People in the provinces, in my opinion, are really naturally friendly and kind to the dayos.
After saying goodbye to the last relative I visited, and while waiting for a van to take us back to Calapan City, we spotted a karinderia and decided to have a quick and early lunch. I actually declined my relatives' invites to dine cuz I knew it would take more time and I wouldn't be able to make the most out of the trip.
After the P105 meal, a van going to Calapan finally passed by. It was so packed with people and bags and the normally 3-person passenger seat accommodated 5. Nazis sat at the back on a wooden plank of wood that was put there to accommodate more. Good thing it was gloomy and drizzling. I was sure it would be freaking hot inside that van had it been a typical sunny day.
The traffic became heavier this time of the day so the trip back to Calapan was longer. We arrived at the town proper around 12:30 PM and immediately hired a tricycle to take us to Barangay Ibaba. Nazis knew someone there who had a boat we could use. But as fate had it, the friend who had a boat wasn't in his house when we got there so we hired another tricycle to take us to Barangay Lazareto where Nazis had another friend who had a boat. I was already feeling down during the tricycle ride cuz it was almost 1 PM and all I had done was visit relatives.
Luckily, the other friend who had a boat was in his house when we got there, and he was willing to lend us the boat plus a boatman. We only had to pay for the gas. And for that, I was able to smile :D
But there was one thing the boatman was wary about. This:
He said the waves are big and strong. To someone who's not always on boat rides, the waves looked fine to me. And for someone who didn't know how to swim but knew he'd be riding a boat, I wore the float vest I brought along with me. :D But really, the sea was peaceful when I was aboard the RoRo that morning.
Nazis took this. Do I look scared at all? LoL!
And then I realized the waves were really strong. A few seconds after leaving the shore, a big wave almost ate us alive. Good thing the boatman was skilled in what he does, he rode on top of the waves, at times even turning off the motor so we wouldn't drown, but it still didn't stop the waves from hovering above us and getting us wet all throughout.
The boat was really small, Nazis and I couldn't even sit together. I was hunched on the front, on the floor of the boat while Nazis was on the seat behind me. I was screamed through the ride. The waves were like monsters ready to eat us, just waiting for our boatman to make a mistake.
We arrived at the island safe, luckily, and I started looking for the "marine sanctuary" sign I saw in the Harka Piloto pics on the internet. There was none. And then I learned that we were not in Harka Piloto but in one of the Baco Chico islets. Good grief! But what could I do? We were already there. I changed my plan to just island hop the three Baco Chico islets and then head to Harka Piloto afterwards. But guess what? The boatman refused.
He apologized and said the waves were really strong he was afraid for us. And then he told the story of how his boat capsized one time and he got stranded in the open seas for five hours until his neighbors searched for him.
So okay, I didn't push it. If he told us that story to just scare us away, it's fine. He's the boatman and he knew the sea better.
I thanked him, anyway, cuz the boat ride back was really really scary. Roller coaster, indeed. I couldn't even take my cameras out cuz the waves kept hitting us.
So it was a failed attempt to go island hopping. Even a failed attempt to go snorkeling at Harka Piloto.
It was already 3 PM. And Nazis brought me to Camp Navarro (where he resides) so he could change.
I just changed my shirt at the beach and let the Lagalag convertible pants to quick dry. I knew I would still get wet at Tamaraw Falls and I had limited clothes so I didn't change much. Mountain clothes, after all dry easily. Ew to me.
Camp Efigenio C. Navarro:
And then it was past three. I still wanted to go to Tamaraw Falls but we were told that the last jeepney bound for Puerto Gallera leaves at 3 PM. Good grief, indeed! Nazis wanted me to stay overnight so we could go to Tamaraw Falls and Puerto Gallera the next day but I couldn't because (1) I didn't bring enough clothes; (2) I promised Nanay it was a day trip and I really don't wanna break promises; (3) I really don't like military camps, or guns more specifically; (4) I didn't wanna drink, which I was sure would have happened if I stayed overnight; and (5) I didn't wanna cause more troubles for Nazis.
So what we did was roam around town. We went to the Capitol and I couldn't help but be amazed. Everything The Capitol was surrounded by all these government agencies that the compound was like a one-stop shop when you need something government-related.
There's also a Jollibee in town.
As well as Max's.
But, of course, I preferred Jollibee :D
And since I couldn't go anywhere else cuz it's already late in the afternoon, I decided to just go back to the port to buy tickets for the next available RoRo back to Batangas.
The SuperCat was still there. But since the waves were so big and after the boat experience earlier, no more small boats for me at the moment. So I bought a ticket for the Montenegro Lines departing at 6 PM.
Actually, the Montenegro RoRo was still not there at the time so I took the chance to roam around the pier with Nazis. I actually realized we haven't talked much cuz since we met that morning, it was all about beating time. Roaming around the pier, we were able to talk about what's going on in our lives, and reminisce about the old times when we used to sleep over each other's houses so frequently and we drank so much and went out a lot. We were that close he even borrowed my tie for his graduation day. LoL!
The RoRo ride back to Batangas was scary. You could really feel the ship rock up and down, side to side, the curtains in the aircon area slide left and right. The two speakers beside the videoke machine were constantly moving and shaking, and the doors of the cabinets in the tv area kept on opening and closing.
It was hard to walk without holding on to something, but I managed to go out to the side of the ship. Watch how the light in the distance go up and down. It was actually the ship swaying.
I must say my itinerary failed big time. But I can honestly say the experience was okay. I was able to roam Calapan and was actually able to meet relatives I wouldn't have met if I didn't go to Mindoro.
The only highlight of the trip, though, was the boat ride and, of course, reconnecting with my old friend who's now a policeman.