One of the exciting things about our trip to the Philippines was that we planned for it to be a purely overland one.
We thought we could have a good chance to kick it down a notch, get some reading done on the bus while the Filipino countryside rolled past us outside. We could also hop off at whatever town that happened to catch our fancy and just take the next bus out. It sounded like a rather romantic idea… with the added incentive of us saving some money by sleeping on overnight transport.
Along this line of thought, the road trip we were most excited about was the one that would take us from Dumaguete to Boracay.
We would take a bus from Dumaguete across the volcanic island of Negros to Bacolod City where we would transfer to a ferry that would take us across the Panay Gulf towards Iloilo City. From Iloilo City, it was another six hours (overnight) bus ride through Panay Island to Caticlan where we would take a one hour pump boat ride to Boracay.
On paper, it sounded like a great plan.
Our case was helped by our first look at the buses that would be carrying us. They looked relatively modern. Sure, not ALL of them had air conditioning, but the buses themselves looked well maintained, and we would have the wind in our faces as we did our relaxing and sight seeing.
We forgot one very tiny detail about Countrysides.
The people in the Countryside use countryside roads.
BUMPY countryside roads.
Windy AND Bumpy countryside roads.
Windy, Bumpy AND Dusty countryside roads.
And so, that’s how we spent the next six hours being thrown around like rag dolls.
At one point, it got so bad that Jo had trouble falling asleep (It would take more than a bumpy bus ride hurtling towards hell to stop Jo from falling asleep).
We reached Iloilo City (incidentally pronounced as “Ee Low Ee Low” NOT “Ee Loy Low”) at 7 in the evening. We did a quick pow wow and unanimously agreed our butts could not take another six hours of beating.
We decided we should probably reward ourselves with a good dinner and find a hotel before carrying on again the next morning.
We stayed for two nights.
The bus journey was THAT traumatic. We spent three days and two nights getting the trauma soothed out of our system with many rounds of insanely good USD10 massages.