Apr 16, 2014

Unforgettable travel ordeal in Bantayan

After spending three days in Bantayan, it's time to leave and head to Cebu for tomorrow's Sinulog Grand Parade then catch an afternoon flight back to Davao City. We left the resort around 4:00 am and flag a pedicab ( Pedal operated Bicycle) to Santa Fe port. The first ferry to Hagnaya is at 6:00 am and the passengers are starting to queue at the ticketing counter. We were standing at the queue line for two hours already and the ticket counter have no signs of selling tickets. My hubby went to the ticket counter and ask the lady in charge and she told him that the coastguard halted the operation of the vessels due to bad sea conditions. Five minutes later,  they formally announced it and the passengers were enraged. We really need to leave Bantayan by any means because we have to catch a flight the following day. Two minutes later, a  guy approach us and ask if  we need a boat service to Hagnaya. We eagerly say yes and ask him how much? he quickly replied Php 500.00 per person. Quite expensive but it's more expensive if we miss tomorrows flight and pay an additional night in a hotel plus food. He then brought us to the assembly area (small resto) and  there we meet the rest of the passengers.We are then shuttled to an undisclosed beach front far from the eyes of the coast guard and authorities due to the fact that it's illegal and very unsafe. Thirty minutes later, we saw a boat anchored 20 meters from the beach.

The Risk takers ( while wating for the boat service to arrive)

Our newly found friends Edward and Tasha a fellow Zamboanguena (left)  and the guy on the right who works for Selecta and he was also the third guy who was with us in the small boat and resides in Hagnaya.

Our boat is much smaller than that boat

The low tide prevented if from coming to the shore so we have to be ferried by small boats to the big boat. We and a local guy (forgot his name) ended up in a very small outrigger (bangka). The boat can accommodate for three persons but the boatman ignored the extra weight of our bags.We didn't notice that the boat is just floating inches from the water. He started the engine and at last we are on our way. But before we reach the big boat a big wave hit us. Just seconds, water suddenly gushed into the boat. I know hubby (a recreational diver) can swim but what worries me are the gadgets in the bag (tablets, DSLR, Laptop). Good thing the water is just shoulder deep and he  put the gadget bag above his head. I felt sad for  Manong's boat because he needs a lot of repairing to do and possibly an engine replacement. Twenty minutes later, we were rescued by another boat and finally transferred to the big boat. We lost a camera tripod and some clothes in the bag got wet because of what just happen moments ago. We put our bags in the cargo bay to avoid being wet during the trip. The captain's cohorts started collecting the payment and they were in a hurry to avoid being spotted by the coastguard and local authorities. After 5 minutes, they hoisted the anchor and we were off. 

At first, the sea condition was not that rough and bad but not for long. We encountered 5-6 foot swells with strong winds battering the boat. The boat was breaking through the waves and generating huge splashes. Hubby took almost the beating because he was seated in front of me sparing me from the splashes. I can feel him shivering because I was holding his hand and he told me that he was cold. The boat continued to penetrate larger waves making the boat bobbing up and down. Hubby told me that if something happens, swim away from the boat and save yourself. The rest of the passengers where also terrified and it was added up by a sudden appearance of a thresher shark near the bow of the boat. It's long tail sticks up out in the water and Hubby easily recognizes it because of its long tail and color.  Thresher sharks are known to show up in Bantayan and Malapascua. They are harmless and endangered but when you see a shark in this situation it's a different story. The ordeal lasted for two hours and thank god that we made it.


The picture was taken just before reaching Hagnaya port

The guy with the cigarette offered his place in Hagnaya to change our wet clothes because we still have to travel for 3 hours to Cebu. We bid goodbye to the guy then the four of us ( me, hubby, tasha and edward) get on a bus to Cebu. We finally thank god for keeping us safe and the ordeal strengthened my faith to Senior Sto. Nino even more.

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