My solo trip to Puerto Princesa
I thought that my trip to Puerto Princesa (PPS) City in Palawan last month was good as shelved for three good reasons. One, my co-worker informed me the tickets we bought last year were already refunded along with those that were erroneously charged to his credit card. Second, I am saving my precious remaining leaves for the upcoming holidays. Lastly, I’ve already exhausted my travel coffers after previously going to three other provinces in just a span of three months.
But the universe seemed to conspire for me to go to Palawan despite the seemingly unfavorable circumstances at the onset. A few weeks before the scheduled trip, two non-working holidays (one was local and the other was national) were declared. These covered for the absences I would incur if I should pursue the PPS trip. I played then with the wishful thought that the ridiculously-priced tickets we bought were not included in the refund. When I called up the airline about it, I found out that those were still good to go.
Since the tickets and the leave credits were already taken cared of, I then decided to use the small cash that my parents gave me for my birthday. Because of Project PPS, the new pair of hiking shoes will have to wait.
I traveled solo because my colleague backed out for personal reasons. The idea scared me at first, but after considering that this could be my only chance to visit the Philippine’s Last Frontier, I did not hesitate anymore. I was also confident that I can pull off an ambitious adventure like this because I was banking on the support and prayers of my sister and a few good friends. Someone even surprised me with a Honda Bay tour as a belated birthday present.
I was able to accomplish some things easily because I was on my own. I rearranged and even altered my schedule without the consensus of the majority. Most of all, I saved some extra cash since I chose a backpacker’s accommodation instead of staying at a resort or a more comfortable hotel room.
But it has its disadvantages as well. I remember that a lot of people I met in Palawan were puzzled as to why I did not bring anyone special with me. There were also some instances where I had to be extra gracious. One time, a girl asked me where I hailed from. I answered that I am currently based in Cebu City. She then told me that she wants to visit Cebu someday because her boyfriend lives there. When I asked her for a more specific location in the city, she told me that it is somewhere called Leyte. In those situations, you would rather be stuck with a whiny travelmate than a stranger who forgot her Grade 4 geography lessons.
On a more serious note, the line between calculated madness and reckless adventure can sometimes be blurred. In the movie Into The Wild, Christopher McCandless, a disillusioned fresh college graduate, decided one day to leave everything and everyone behind to embark into a wild journey. Later he wound out find out, albeit in a tragic manner, that real happiness can only be found in the comfort of familiar relationships and shared community. This poignant lesson has kept me both inspired and grounded in all my trips up to this day.
At the very least, a time alone with yourself provides you with a necessary diversion from the frenzied hurly-burly of the city life. After Project PPS, I appreciated what has been on my plate for quite a long time: overdue deadlines at work, food leftovers inside the refrigerator and a growing collection of unread books. This unexpected trip gave me a fresher and more upbeat perspective of those and the many other responsibilities I tried to escape all along. If only it would lead towards this end, then my future adventures would not be in vain at all.
But I promised myself that my next destination would not be too far. Any municipality in Cebu or nearer would suffice provided of course that the expenses would be well within my budget. Your suggestions are most welcome below. Until then, my Palawan series officially begins with this post.