Christmas Will Not Wait!
The anticipation of returning to Samar for Christmas seemed intense the last few days before departing the island of Guam. We had our flight to Manila arranged with Cebu Pacific. Our bus tickets were waiting for us upon arrival. Our nephew purchased them about a week in advance to ensure we would have no glitches in our travel plans. After all, it is tough enough travelling in the Philippines, let alone just before Christmas. From the time we left our condo in Guam, it was to take us only 27 hours total travel time to get home to Calbayog City. Karma had other plans.
The flight from Guam to Manila took only 3 hours and 20 minutes. We took a Coupon Taxi from the airport to the DLTB bus terminal in Pasay only to learn when we got there that all bus travel to all points in the Visayas had been cancelled. Tropical Storm Kai-tak (renamed “URDUJA” by the PAGASA) was on the doorstep at Eastern Samar and all ferry-boat traffic had been suspended by the Philippines Coast Guard. We were told it would be 3 days before buses would be leaving Manila for the Visayas. All flights into the Eastern Visayas were also grounded until further notice.With nearly 12,000 travelers stranded, and nearly 160 vehicles waiting to board ferries, we decided we did not want to be a statistic, waiting in line waiting to cross the Straits, so we requested and received a refund on our bus tickets to Samar. We decided instead to spend the night in Manila, then head to Bataan the following morning to the sister-in-laws house for a few days. Of course once we arrived the storm was downgraded and things began moving later that evening, although there would be an even bigger back-up at the ferry terminals. Now, we were stuck in Mariveles until Christmas Eve, when we will travel to Clark International to board a PAL Express flight to Calbayog City.
While our a accommodations here at the sister-in-law’s home are great, we are quickly becoming bored as we wait to continue on our journey home. The anxiety we were experiencing just two short days ago is back! While I did bring along my laptop, I seemed to have misplaced (forgotten) my power cord and cannot get powered up. At least with my computer, I could have stayed occupied until it was time to leave. (Now you are probably reading this and thinking, “If he has no computer, how is he posting this blog article?”) Luckily, my niece let me borrow her laptop so I could attempt this post. So far to this point, it has taken me over an hour to type this because this computer has a malfunctioning keyboard. It also takes about 20 minutes to power up, so I don’t see myself using it much past this post. (My niece will be lucky to get this computer back in one piece! Arghhh!!!)
So, in a nutshell, with all our careful planning… nothing went as planned, I have no computer, we will miss hosting the family Christmas dinner at our house and we will also miss an expat potluck Christmas party. This December storm sure messed things up for us (and I’m sure for many others as well) and it cost us all of the above, plus a nights stay at a Manila hotel and additional air fare. But through all this, we will not be arriving home during the prolonged water outage (water returned today we are informed). But, The barking dogs, tricycle motors and continuous rooster noise has returned… it’s like a Christmas musical all its own!
And the upside to all of this – it looks like we will be home in Samar for Christmas…That is if that NEXT storm doesn’t get in the way!