Feb 11, 2012

Mt. Kinabalu Field Report (Part 1) : FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS

T-6Hrs: I woke up late and still a bit disoriented and tired from our Company’s Christmas party the previous night, of which I went back to the office after and didn’t go home until I finished sealing the bank envelopes and drafted the corresponding transmittals. Wow. I haven’t packed yet, and some of my clothes weren’t dried up yet! So what’s new?

While gathering myself I hurriedly went to the laundry shop for their drying service. My flight is in 6 hours. And here I am begging some grumpy girls to do me some favor. After certain negotiations and exorbitant payment of Php100 for a few items they obliged and promised me that it’ll be ready in an hour.

T-4.5Hrs: Here I am flagging taxis. Armed with my belongings, I was glad to have fetched one in minutes. Off we went to SM Megamall where Philtranco has a terminal of buses going to DMIA in Clark, Pampanga. We arrived there 11:30am, still 30 minutes before the bus arrives. As I was reaching for my money to pay for the cab fare, I realized that I left my purse at home! It contained a Php1000 bill and my Sun Cellular roaming sim! My other bills were safe in another pocket of my body bag.

Helpless and confused I instructed the cab to turn back to where we came from. Then glancing at the time and the traffic ahead I decided I can do away without the money and the sim. But too late! The taxi misunderstood my last instruction of turning back to the terminal again, and instead we headed out to EDSA southbound heading to Makati again. So there’s no U-turn within a mile the cab driver had to turn right to Mandaluyong streets to get us back to Megamall. I had to change my bills first as he warned me he doesn’t have change. Some cheap tricks to extort money from desperate people like me.

After many stops in several stores, still no change. We headed back to Megamall and told him to drop me off to the supermarket section as I try to get my bill changed with several taxi cabs parked outside. Out of almost 20 cabs I begged to change my Php500 bill, no one took pity on me except for myself. I can’t help but wipe off the tears on the face of someone confused and helpless. It’s already less than 5 minutes to 12nn and the bus might have already left. I had no choice but to go inside the supermarket to buy an FHM magazine to have some change. When I got back to the cab, the meter read Php150. Gave the driver Php200 and asked for Php 20. He said he didn’t have Php20. My temper now is at its finest. I threw the php200 to him and left without a word with tears streaming down my face. I am paying Php200 to someone who deliberately delayed me making me miss my bus.

I ran amidst the cars going my way, my vision was blurred with tears until I saw the profile of a parked Philtranco bus. For a moment there my eyes tricked me,, having me believe that the bus was already in the act of leaving. I mustered my remaining strength and ran and ran and ran. Thoughts of all the cost I have expended on this trip plus the time and effort being washed down the drain leaving me with nothing, is enough to get me batty.

Good thing it was still parked in contrast to what I had imagined, I hopped on and found out that it was actually waiting for me. I managed to reserve a seat a few hours before so they had a seat ready for me. I sat super exhausted, and managed to sleep after paying the conductor. I woke up as the bus is entering the DMIA terminal vicinity.

Got past the routine check with the guards inspecting the tickets and passports. I went to the comfort room first to gather myself. I had with me the whole bottle of my contact lens solution of which I need to transfer into my 100ml Muji container. Afterwhich I went to have my currency changed to Malaysian Ringgit (MYR), leaving enough for the Philippine tax and terminal fee.

T-2Hrs: I went in queue to pay the travel tax. As the lady in the counter was checking my documents… she paused a bit before dropping the bomb on me.

“Mam, Manila- Kota Kinabalu po yung flight nyo, hindi dito sa Clark.”

sabeh na... sabeh na!!!!

My mind stopped for a while. Everything seemed so silent that I am hearing my thunder-loud heartbeat. I literally wanted to scream! Hurl things. Crush someone’s head to the walls. The usual rage-murder scene. Yes I am that violent. Inside my head.

I was supposed to fly with a friend. She backed out last minute, and I was left to fend for myself. This was my first international flight as an adult. A few months back, I deliberately missed a flight to Hongkong, which is originating in Clark. That flight got stuck in my mind and I got that mixed up with my current flight. I have been reading the flight ticket the night before as I was printing it. But due to work exhaustion, the details didn’t sink in with me.

Good thing I was gifted with a resourceful and quick thinking mind. I am hatching a plan as I was walking towards the door. The money with me was just enough for the climb and the few days that I will stay there. So my plan was:

1. Buy a new ticket
2. Borrow money from a friend, who must wire the money that afternoon so that I can encash it just in time with my arrival in KK.

It was a holiday that day but good thing a Samaritan friend went the miles to wire money to me. With my supposed MYR pocket money (I changed back some to peso) I bought a new ticket with Air Asia departing the same day, for a hefty price. You see, I cannot postpone the flight for the next day because my Via Ferrata booking was scheduled that same next day. It was non-rebookable. The whole MYR950 of it will be burned if I didn’t show up.

After the usual protocol on international flights, I settled down in the waiting area. I still had enough PHP for a cup of coffee so I bought one and ate a sandwich I prepared. Tried to have my Globe sim set to roaming but there's not enough load balance. I texted goodbye to my 2 friends before leaving. After what happened, I am still hopeful and positive of things to come.

As I was leaving Philippine grounds, while watching the ray of lights dancing on the fields around Mt. Arayat in my window-seat, I realized that my persistence might have defied fate. I was fated to go home for the things I left, fated to be left by that bus, fated to re-read my plane ticket out of frustration. Fated to have enough time to make it to NAIA3 instead. But no. I was persistent for all the wrong reasons. Fate gave her best to forcefully shift me to the right path but I persisted against it.

Everything in this trip went wrong for all the right reasons. Despite my hopeless persistence to self-destruction, FATE at least gave me LUCK to stand by my side. =D



  1. at least you were able to push through with the trip. were you able to contact har chow wong?

  2. Ma'am BPS, ask ko lang po since nakapunta ka na sa Batanes.. May paraan po dun na pumunta by land/ sea? Although matagal pa bago ako makapunta dun, plano muna ko this year..:).. mahal kasi sa seair..:).. thanks thanks..:).. outdated na kasi yung ibang update sa internet.. thanks..


  3. Mam Cory, impossible po magpunta ng Batanes by land. Kung by sea ang option, may mga merchant vessel from Laoag to Basco.

    By air, another alternative is yung Royal Air Services (hope I remember the name correct pakicheck na lang sa Itbayat post ko hehe). They fly Laoag or Tuguegarao to Basco, or to Itbayat island na diretso. May contact number sila dun sa Itbayat post ko.

    Another din is yung Sky Pasada. May nakita akong ticketing office malapit sa old domestic terminal. Hindi ko lang sure kung operational sila to Laoag.

    1. hi mam BPS.. yup na-check ko na yung Sky Pasada.. quite good yung cost nila compare sa seair.. sana nga po operational pa din..:).. cge check ko po yung Royal Air Services.. yehey..:).. thanks a lot po..:)


  4. Ang exciting naman ng adventure mo! Can't wait for part 2!

  5. Reading you post is like being on a roller coaster, you never know when is the next up or down or how steep or high it would be.. but i meant this in a good way of course ;o)

  6. I am excited to read the rest of your adventures in Kinabalu. By the way where did you book your via ferrata package?