This past weekend was to be an adventure for me. Oh, I guess it did turn out to be an adventure, just not as I had planned it.
About 2 months ago, perhaps a bit more than that, I had an idea come to me. It was an idea for a somewhat unconventional trip. When I travel, especially if it is something that I will be writing about, I like to do it unconventionally… something a bit different. Well, back in early July, Feyma, the kids and I were sitting at the kitchen table having a family lunch on a Sunday. I don’t remember exactly how my idea came about, but I decided that it would be a cool trip to travel to Cagayan de Oro City, in Northern Mindanao. Oh, I’ve been to Cagayan (CdO) many times in the past decade or more. It’s a nice place, not one of my favorite destinations in the Philippines, but nice nonetheless.
What made CdO the perfect destination for this trip is that it was far, but also logistically travel between Davao and CdO was relatively easy. There is a good highway all the way from one place to the other. I have traveled the route so many times that I know pretty much every inch of the way, and didn’t have to worry about not knowing where I should travel to get to my destination.
So, what made this trip different? I decided that I wanted to travel from Davao to CdO all the way by Jeepney! No, I didn’t plan to hire a Jeepney to drive me the distance. My plan was to catch public jeepneys, ride them in the direction of CdO, and catch a different jeepney when needed. I figured I might have to ride a dozen jeepneys to get to CdO. For this trip, my second son, Aaron was my first travel companion. Later, I decided to invite my niece, Bebe along too. She wanted to go because she thought it sounded like a neat trip, and also she had never been to CdO before.
I told Feyma that 30 or 40 years ago, going to Cagayan on a jeepney would not be unusual, that was how Filipinos traveled. These days, jeepneys are used for local travel around the city. But, if you want to take a trip to a distant place you ride the bus. Or if you have money you fly. I told her that “only stupid people like me would take a jeepney all the way to Cagayan de Oro!” I think I was right too!
So, the day came last Friday, and at about 1pm we left the house walking up to the main highway where we could catch a jeepney. It didn’t take long, and we caught a jeepney going to Mintal, which is on the outskirts of Davao City. About 30 minutes on the jeepney and we arrived in Mintal, where we easily caught a second jeepney going to Calinan, which is still part of Davao, but further up the road to CdO.
As we approached Calinan, the conductor of the jeepney asked where we were going. I didn’t want to explain that we were riding jeepney all the way to CdO, because such a journey was simply unfathomable, so I told him we wanted to go to Quezon, which is a small town in Bukidnon, about 2 hours from Calinan. He said “OK” and then he showed us where we should wait, along the highway. He said a bus would be coming along shortly.
Hey, I don’t want a bus… I want to ride jeepney! I told the conductor. He scratched his head and said, there are no jeepneys going beyond Calinan! You must take a bus!
Well, I thought about it, and decided that I would take a bus ride as short as possible until I could get a jeepney, so we waited for a bus. And we waited, then we waited some more. Finally, after about 2 hours of waiting, a bus came, and it kept going. It never stopped because it was already full! We waited more, and no more buses came. By this time, it was going to get dark soon, so a decision had to be made.
It was clear to me that I needed to do a bit more planning on how to ride a jeepney all the way to CdO! Part of my plan had been to not have a plan, and to play it by ear! I had done some checking with friends, and they told me that I could catch jeepneys all the way, but it appeared that the information was incorrect. So, we returned home. Our journey was a lot shorter than we had planned, but we had fun nonetheless.
I have been riding jeepney lately quite a bit, and I’ve enjoyed it. It’s like a window into Filipino Culture, and I’ve learned a lot from riding jeepneys. I started riding jeeps as training for my planned trip to CdO, and I’m glad that I did, because it’s been a good experience for me. I intend to continue riding jeepneys regularly too! I’ve had a couple bad experiences on Jeepneys, but I’ve had a ton of good experiences though! And, it’s an excellent practice for me in speaking Cebuano, because I only speak Cebuano when I’m on the jeepney!
Well, I am still going to do a long distance jeepney trip, you can bet on that. But, I will do a bit more planning next try. I have already figured out two different ways to do it and get to CdO. I am not sure if I will go to CdO next attempt, or somewhere else around Mindanao! You can bet, though, when I do make the trip, I’ll let you know about it!