We’re Finally Here – in the Land of Smiles!
Traveling with a lot of luggage half way around the world is a tiring event, but maxed out with luggage and travelling with two family pets is simply exhausting. I’m sure glad this was a one way proposition. We arrived in Manila on schedule and to our surprise noticed that the Immigration section had been somewhat overhauled for efficiency and made for a smoother and faster transition through this part of the arrival process. Arriving passengers are now segregated and directed to different areas and the clogged lines of mixed passengers like in the past don’t exist. Hooray! Next stop after claiming our luggage was to visit the Quarantine section of the airport with our two cats and as our good luck would have it, we caught the Quarantine officer in the middle of watching a Philippine soap opera in her secluded air conditioned office.
Nonetheless, our paperwork was handled very proficiently (it helps to have ALL the requirements and documents required) and we paid about 400 pesos for the cat “visas” and were on our way. Rather than fly from the domestic airport directly to Calbayog City in Samar, we opted to have family members pick us up at Terminal One and drive us to Samar. Bad decision! As we initially thought it would be easier on the animals as they could finally leave their cages after being coopedup for over 24 hours, the long 20 hour trip made it just that more difficult for them (seemed to drag on for me too!) not to mention a Ferry ride from Matnog, Bicol across the San Bernardino Straights to Allen, Samar. For a pair of sheltered animals that have never seen the ocean and then be subjected to a boat ride on top of it all, well…it must have been nightmarish to them, especially after a big long airplane ride. Anyway, we finally arrived in our village of Tomaligues around mid-evening, ate supper and spent no time settling in and finding our way to bed. I was soooo looking forward to stretching out and getting some sleep I completely forgot we would be spending our first night without air conditioning. As it turned out, I was so tired and the fan was all I needed.
The one plus of the entire trip was actually the drive from Manila through southern Luzon and Bicol with some sight-seeing and a photo opportunity with the Volcano, Mt. Mayon. For the two cats though, they could care less about some stinkin smoking volcano – so their nightmare continued.