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Going to Camotes Islands: The Rough Ride

Crossing the Camotes Sea with new-found friends

I squinted my eyes as the boat was about to dock. We weren’t docking at a port, I thought to myself. It was just a small strip of shoreline lined with small houses. Our boat had to dock there because it ran out of gasoline.

The place was Barangay San Isidro in the town of San Francisco. We were told by the residents that we had already passed by the place we were actually going to which was Barangay Santiago. They were wondering why the boatmen had to take us to Barangay San Isidro when we could have taken directly to Santiago which was nearer. The residents were also concerned why we dared ride on a very small boat when the sea was rough.

It wasn’t really part of the plan. The plan was to travel from Cebu City to Danao and from there to take the ferry to the port of Barangay Consuelo, also in the town of San Francisco.

But it was Maundy Thursday, a holiday. And everyone was headed to Camotes Islands (okay, that was just an exaggeration). Danao port could have made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for its suuuuuuper looooong queue, and that was just to get what the shipping company call “priority number” before you could buy a ticket. By the look of it, it would be impossible to cross the Camotes Sea by ferry before 10PM, and we were there as early as 8AM.

Another option was to go on a boat. Two men who were traveling with a little girl agreed to go with us. The boat’s charge was split among us.

So off we went on a boat: an itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie outrigger, so small that two persons cannot sit side by side. I looked at the water as the boatman started off the engine. It was calm and crystal clear. I looked up and saw blue sky studded with soft cottony clouds. It was going to be a peaceful ride, I thought to myself. Or perhaps I was just trying to convince myself because admittedly I do not know how to swim and there was no life vest in the boat.

One hour into the trip, I noticed the waves were getting bigger. The boatmen tried to manage as we were going against the flow of the swell. Then the engine conked out. Once. Twice. Thrice. The boatmen tried to revive it each time. Apparently, a small part of the engine kept loosening.

The waves crashed into the boat many times; seawater splashing up on us. I held on tightly to my backpack which I put in front of me. I covered it with my jacket to protect my camera.

The fourth time the engine stopped, the boatmen told us we ran out of gasoline. Luck was still on our side because we were already near the shores of San Francisco. The boat made it to Camotes Island safely. The three and a half hours trip left my things wet. Everything. Except my camera which I wrapped in a small plastic sando bag.

The next day, a habal-habal took us around the town of San Francisco. The driver told us some tourists from Manila also dared to go to Camotes on a boat the same day we took the trip, only that they left Danao a few hours later than we did. The boat capsized as it was nearing the shore. Fortunately, everyone was safe as people from a nearby resort came to the rescue.

Next post: Santiago Bay

Posted 3 years, 5 months ago at 3:07 pm.


7 Replies

  1. As much as I hate thinking about what you’ve gone through, I can imagine how risky it was. Such a brave woman. Whew!

    And what the h*** is that “priority number” before you could buy a ticket… tsktsk. #onliindapilipins

  2. hehehe kalma lang, Aling AC 🙂 Kasi naman, kukuha ka muna ng priority number at pupunuin muna nila ang manifesto ng vessel before they sell tickets for the next trip. Ganun dun. If, for example, you prefer a particular time para maglayag, say, 1PM, kelangang mapuno muna yung trip before that. So yung mga tao dun ang dami. naghihintay ng oras na makabili ng ticket. Bukod pa dun, talagang dagsa ang tao kasi nga holiday.

    Risky nga, but di naman ako natakot hehehe. Kasi sa amin sa Samar, madalas malalaki ang alon eh 😉 Yun nga lang, di talaga ako marunong lumangoy.

  3. aninipot Apr 24th 2014

    Hi Ms. N, sabihin nang weird ako pero everytime na sasakay ako ng bangka the more na mas malaki ang alon the more na sumasaya ako. hahaha!

    I’ve been crossing islets though it is in Bantayan that week. With the risk of low pressure plus we were actually crossing islets by night at 10 PM, we were waiting for the high tide for us to load the boxes of solar lamps to be given to island beneficiaries.

    Masaya sya kahit maalon first night raincoat namin mga garbage bag dahil di namin inexpect na uulan. summer eh! haha

    worth it ang pagod at walang tulugan halos dahil ang babait ng mga tao. binaha kami ng seafood plus yong sincere na pasasalamat.


  4. Unfortunately, hindi ako marunong lumangoy hehehe. Pero di rin naman ako takot sa dagat. And on that particular ride, yes, it was rough, pero di naman ako natakot. I am used to the waves in Samar, yung sa Pacific Ocean talaga, na talaga namang sinlaki ng bahay kung minsan hehehe.

    Hmn, we could have crossed paths siguro sa Cebu that week hehe.

    Hamo’t bibisitahin ko rin ang Bantayan.

    Sarap naman ng ginagawa mo, distributing solar lamps. Sama ako minsan 🙂 Worth it na worth it nga talaga ang pagod kapag ganyan.

  5. nice post Miss N!

  6. Thanks!

  7. hello, Ms.N… Kamote, what a ride indeed, hehe. 🙂 buthey, this is one of your best narration, kapatid.i really enjoyed it, felt as if I were there with you. Hala pa, kakatakot ang alon sa laot… 🙂 mustapow…

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