Google map, set. We were going North to Alaminos, Pangasinan. To Manaoag Church. To the Sunflower Maze. And to Hundred Islands. That was the plan, until Google map stopped speaking…
It was my first time in a long while since I drove long distance. I organised an outing with a couple of friends and relied on Google map to show us the way. We were all looking forward to a day of sightseeing. But everything started to go awry.
First, it seemed one of my friends was in Filipino time and on top of that we had a problem looking for her in Bicutan. Our plan of an early meet-up ended in a two hour of going round in circles. Second, we got stuck at EDSA rush hour traffic. The long stretch to NLEX took us another two hours or so. Then I relied on Google map to the teeth and realised too late that when it stopped talking, we were actually off track. The damned GPS was lost, and we were also certainly lost. We stopped following Google map since it was, grrr…worthless. We had to ask for directions so many times to get us back on track to Alaminos. Since our half day was then and gone, we decided to go to Hundred Islands and forgo Manaoag Church and the Sunflower Farm. Sigh.
We reached Hundred Islands quite late, obviously, around one in the afternoon. A lot of tourists were already leaving the National Park, and here we were, just arrived, after a harrowing six or so hours of driving astray. We were all tired, but since we were there already, we decided to enjoy the remaining few hours.
We ate our packed lunch at an eatery on site before embarking on the island tour. We were herded to the registration table, signed-up, paid the ₱1400 for a small boat, which was good for 5 pax maximum, as well as the entrance, environmental and insurance fees of more or less ₱80 per person.
The boat ride to our first island was quite refreshing. It had a bathroom where we could change in our swim suits. We had a few pictures but decided to go to the next island, Quezon Island.
This island is named after a Philippine President. It is the most popular island since it is fully developed for tourists. The place has a lot of activities one can partake in for a fee, like rappeling, ziplining, cliff diving and more. There are also small guest houses for overnighters.
We stayed for a few minutes swimming at the cold, clear waters, took a lot of pictures and wandered around the small island and it’s bridges. It took the stress out of earliers drive.
As soon as we were refreshed, we boarded the boat to our third island. But before that the boatman pointed at some of the many islands, like Pilgrimage Island, where the Station of the Cross is; Governor’s Island, where Pinoy Big Brother’s House is located; Crocodile Island is a small uninhabited island that looks like a crocodile from afar; Turtle Island is also uninhabited and, yes, look like a turtle; and he pointed to a couple of more as we rode by. We asked for a more secluded island, and he brought us to Clave Island.
It was the perfect island for us. We felt like we owned the island. We swam to our hearts content until our hands and toes were wrinkled as geezers. We were rolling around the sand like some beached mermaids. We took pictures on and off the clear waters, underwater, on the sands, and on the boat. It was simple fun.
We left the island around 4:30PM, and headed straight back to the wharf. There was a long line at the shower room and we ended up leaving at 6:30PM. It was dark, and we were back to getting lost by Google map. We followed a bus going to Manila and eventually found our way home. It was around 11:30PM when we reached Las Pinas.
It was my first trip with these peeps and the most memorable. Even though we were lost by Google most of the day, it had not traumatized us for a next, a second and more. It was just the first of many. Google Map and I are lost; but now I say hello to Waze App.
Note: Filipino time is a bad characteristic of some Filipinos wherein they follow their own time, normally late.