Friday, March 18, 2011

dumaguete diaries part 2: the tsunami, being picky with one's travelmates, and the need to eat somewhere local

on our first afternoon in dumaguete, we all started receiving messages on our phone about the earthquake and tsunami that hit japan. for some reason, life went on as usual in dumaguete, and save for that restaurant where we had our first dinner whose television was turned onto the news, it was as if everything was fine and dandy. as we walked along the boulevard, the waves were crashing against the sea wall, but since it was our first time there, no one really knew if the waves were extra hard or if they were just your usual everyday waves. my boss texted me though and told me that she checked google and we were on the other side of the danger side, so presumably, our vacation would go on as usual.

of course that didn't prevent the sky from being overcast the entire time. as a matter of fact, save for our sunday (which was when we went to apo island) each day brought in major drizzles. it was a trip wherein we were all almost always tired, wet, and hungry, not a great combination for what should've been a summer trip, but considering what japan was going through at that time, i didn't think it was necessary something i should complain about.

what i would complain about, though, is the fact that i went into this trip without really thinking. my fault, really, and as i was relaying everything to people whose opinions mattered to me, it turned out that they were even surprised why i even thought of going on the trip in the first place. after all, it was booked when i was barely a month in this office. i was going to spend four days in a place outside of metro manila with people i hardly knew. in hindsight, i guess the optimistic and friendly part of me thought that the five and a half months would allow me to bond closely with these people, that the five and a half months would reveal people who shared the same values and desires, and that the five and a half months would make us friends, or at least develop a relationship wherein they won't be compelled to call me "ma'am" and "atty." every single time they addressed me.

i thought wrong!

without going into greater detail about the miserable part of my trip, i'm listing down my advice for you (as well as for myself) next time you are lured to book a trip by cheap flights online:

1. select travelmates with care, great care. a trip is stressful enough as it is. you don't need to be stressed any further by the people you will be spending time with.

2. when they say "budget trip", discuss exactly what they mean by "budget trip." does it mean we'll be saving on hotel and cabfares only? or does this mean we'll be eating in fast food places all the time? which brings me to the third point ...

3. i am not paying airfare and hotel to eat at jollibee, chowking, and shakey's, all of which i can find within a five kilometer radius from my house. to begin with, i am not a huge fan of these places, why would i want to eat there when i could be eating sinugba, or at sans rival, or ANYWHERE THAT CAN'T BE FOUND IN METRO MANILA. (oops ... this is turning out to be a complaint, and i promised this would be a list of non-negotiables ... sorry!)

4. if the information is not forthcoming, do not hesitate to ask. not everyone will be as OC as you (ehem, as me pala) and flood people's inboxes with information about flight schedule, trip schedules, etc. some will keep the plans all to themselves and "surprise" you with the itinerary for that day. in this case, i found myself riding a motorcycle in a dress (thank goodness it was a roomy dress), being woken up at 4:30 to hear mass, only to find out that the departure time isn't until 7am, and majorly hungry in a place where there is no food that's readily available.

5. manage your expectations. it's soooooo easy to build up a "fantasy vacation" in your mind. while i've always been fairly lucky in the past, i wasn't so lucky this time. the best way to deal with disappointment is to NEVER have expectations in the first place. then, when something amazing happens, you're in for a surprise and you end up uber-happy. okay, this is easier said than done, especially if you're shelling out money for a trip, but it won't help to keep it on the list, right?

6. think twice, or thrice even, before saying yes. while it's especially exciting to go out of town on a whim, especially when the whim won't cost you an arm and a leg, sometimes, saying yes to the first thing that comes along leaves you unable to say yes to a better trip later on. case in point: the friends i traveled to vietnam with are going to siquijor and dumaguete in may. it's going to be a fun trip, cause i am good friends with almost everyone on the trip, except that i can't go anymore since i've consumed leaves on this trip already, and i've several more leaves to be consumed when i go to cebu in july. i, of course, feel bad to be NOT going to dumaguete/siquijor with them, but i feel especially bad since i had a miserable trip.

7. ultimately, it's just airfare you'd be losing out on if you decide not to go. in this case, it would've been P1,400 only. at least i would've saved two days of vacation leave, as well as the P5,500 i spent in dumaguete. plus i wouldn't have been so miserable, and that my friends, would've been priceless!

i'm sooooooo sorry for being all negative and what not in this post. but it was a truly horrible (okay fine, there were highlights, and i did get to go to apo island and see dolphins on the way) trip that didn't exactly make me jumping up and down with joy (notwithstanding all the jump shots i did) so, i figured, before i write all the other posts that i'm planning on writing about dumaguete, i should get all the bad vibes out first.

so there. goodbye negative thoughts! stay tuned for apo island, biking around dumaguete, and the famous sans rival.

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