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SAMAR - Once you visit, you'll want SAMORE

Our 2015 Journey Begins

Our 2015 Journey Begins



Well it’s that time of the year when we need to leave the Philippines for at least a day so we can get a new balikbayan stamp for our passports.  We’d love to be able to go to Texas this year again, but since we have not won the lottery yet, that just is not financially possible.  We will next year though and if we actually do win the lottery before then, we’ll head to Texas also as soon as possible.  For now though, this is our plan.  To save as much money as possible, in case we get stuck again this year, we will be taking the bus instead of flying.  We will be taking the bus (DLTB) from Calbayog to Pasay (Manila).  From there we take another bus (probably 5 Star) to Angeles City.  I’ve checked the schedule for Space A flights out of Clark and the next few days look promising so we hope to get out pretty quickly.  The bus we are taking from here is the express bus, the one with the greyhound on the side of it.  I asked at the station and was told the the express bus only stops 2 times versus like 5 times for the regular bus, the express bus has better suspension plus the express bus has a CR (comfort room aka rest room).  We were about 1 1/2 hours into the trip when I started taking notes.  There is a CR and I have not bounced out of my seat yet.

The bus at Calbayog was suppose to arrive at 5 pm.  Of course it was right on Filipino time at 5:57 pm.  We were not even allowed to get on the bus until around 6:30 pm because someone said that their cell phone was stolen and they were checking (patting down) all passengers as they got off the bus and checking their bags.  When everyone was off they also check any baggage left on the bus.  I don’t think they ever found a cell phone.  Someone probably just misplaced theirs.

We arrived at the ferry in Allen around 8 pm.  We actually got on the ferry pretty quickly.  By 8:20 pm we were seated on the 2nd level.  In that few minutes of waiting to get on the ferry, I was attacked.  I was attacked by a member of the la cucaracha gang.  I knew they’d find me.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then read this story: La Cucaracha Gang.  If you know, read the story already or just don’t care, here is the rest.  That dang cockroach flew straight into my chest and I just grabbed it with my left hand, gave it a little squeeze and tossed it into the bushes off to my left.

Once on the ferry I noticed that the Mountain Dew was only P50 per bottle (plastic) so I got two of those.  I sat down in the front row nearest the railing so I could get the cool breeze once the ferry started moving.  While sitting there observing 2 cockroaches running around on the wall, I’ll be danged, one of them attacked me too.  It flew right at my face and I had both hands occupied with my 2 Mountain Dews, but I tried to swat it.  The bottle came flying out of my hand, but at least it didn’t go overboard.  That little sucker got away, but I put my Mountain Dew down and dared him to attack again.  About 15 seconds later it did.  Came running right at me, but met Mr. Foot and that was that.  The kid sitting just down from me looked a little afraid though.

Walking around on the ferry was difficult because the ocean was a bit rough.  We did arrive in Bicol at Matnog Port safely though in just about 2 hours time.  We transitioned back to our bus (#24M) and continued our journey.  Things were going well and we were right on schedule, then there was the delay.  Without all those extra stopping places we should have gotten into Pasay about 2 hours faster than the regular bus, but that didn’t happen.  It didn’t happen because of the accident.

Allen port - Northern Samar


This seems like a good place to stop for this post.  I’m trying to keep the posts a little shorter so I can get more of them in.  I actually did not take too many pictures on this trip and none to this point.  I will have 2 or 3 in the next post though and I think 2 or 3 in the rest of the posts for this trip.

Salamat Y’all.



  1. glad to hear your back from your trip. we will be arriving at our house in sorsogon city on the 14th of october. i’m planning on taking a trip across to visit you all there.

    • Cool. Let us know when your coming exactly. Maybe we can have a get together with a few of the other expats in the area.

  2. My wife was up to Traveling on Bus we went back and forth to Manila several times. But when we got stranded along the road for 3 days with no CR or food that was last time we ever took the Bus. Now she will not even talk about taking Bus again. It is Plane only no matter the Cost.

    • I don’t really like taking the bus either, but Lita does because it’s so much cheaper. I think it’s going to take something like us getting stranded for 3 days before she will change her mind. Maybe when/if they get a couple more airlines that travel in and out of here, the price will go down a bit.

    • I am curious as to why it took 3 days for a bus company to get assistance to you though. Surly the drivers have some way to contact the main office. If not, then someone most likely had a cell phone to call, assuming they do have a place to call. You’d think that they would want to keep the customers satisfied so they will continue to use their bus line. I mean there are so many other to choose from. For being such nice people, customer service is not one of the Philippines strong points.

      • It was a Real Circle Jerk. More about money then Customer service or Safety. Remind me when I see you and I will tell you about it. It was a National Geographic experience.

  3. Hey John did you know your web site was down for almost a week? The wife was complaining to me that she could not access it and what was wrong. I said I did not know why maybe he is gone somewhere and forgot to pay it. Any way good to see up and running again. Next time you see Randy tell him I thought he was going to do away with Captcha. I have tried to send him Comments on his site several times but it keeps kicking me out. Maybe his site is like my e-mail will not let you access it unless in Country or it thinks you are a hacker. We are Planning on coming back this Jan to see what the weather is like during that time. Have you been to the beach lately and noticed if they have finished Bridge going by are area on the Highway? Looking forward to returning and Hanging out and Drinking a few cold ones.

    • Yes I realize the site was down, but I didn’t realize it until we returned from Okinawa. We were gone for like 9 days, so not sure how long it was down exactly. I also have a problem with my main Yahoo account. I can not access it. That sucks too because it’s my main e-mail account and ALL my fantasy football.
      I’ll inform Randy.
      January weather will be just like almost any other time. Hot & humid some days, rainy other days.
      We traveled on the bus through that area and I was not paying attention, but I think I remember them still working on that. Randy would probably know better, he travels more than I do.
      Sure be glad to have y’all back. If you’re coming back in January, my birthday is on the 18th. Damn, I’m getting to be like a Filipino, always giving ‘hints’ about birthdays.
      But don’t you worry about being over stocked in beer, I’ll try to help you keep the supply manageable.

      • My Birthday is Jan 20 maybe we can do 2 in one and cut cost. And save on Hangovers HA! HA!

        • January 19th is on a Tuesday. Sounds like a good day to have a party. Of course when you’re retired any day is a good day to have a party.

  4. I’m curious as to why it took 2 hours to cross the San Bernardino Straights? Normally it is a 45 minute trip. And see, if you had joined the Navy instead of the Air Force, you would know how to walk around on deck while the ship is underway! lol

    • I think it depends on which ferry you get because the one coming back was like you said, only about 45 minutes or so. We’ve been on a ferry that got past up by another ferry that left the same port as we did, only about 30 minutes (or so) later.
      Maybe you are right about the walking around on deck thing, but it’s a small thing in life and I’ll get over it.

      • Also in the Navy you learn to walk down passage way or out side on Deck caring a full coffee cup while the ship is rolling back and forth at about 20 to 25 Degrees and not spilling any.

Texan in the Philippines