I had a "merry-go-round" trip last Friday...
Two weeks ago, my boss told me that I shall fly down to Siargao for a meeting. Wow, didn't I just sound like a corporate executive? Wait 'til I finish this.
Apparently, the company I work for is venturing into travel and tourism. They are developing a first class resort in Siargao, the home of prominent surfing waves called cloud 9. As the opening date is getting closer, we're burdened with a lot of preparations that needed me to go there to meet up with the travel agent from Germany and the resort's General Manager as well. So the trip is all about work, work and work. NOT pleasure.
I wasn't excited when my boss broke the news to me. Four days in the island with lots of work waiting is not my idea of an idyllic scene. Anyhoo, I've been to this paradise ten years ago and I was truly amazed with their rich biodiversity, unspoiled nature and pristine beach. That was one of my biggest trip back then (when I was still a student and could hardly afford an out-of-town trip for three days).
With less anticipation for pleasure and more on the business side, I packed my things for an unusual trip. My mother was kinda worried because of the looming typhoon on that part of the world. I reasoned that if the weather won't cooperate the airline will surely cancel the flight, but seriously, I'm already bracing for a bumpy, turbulent ride.
At the airport, I met up with my travel companion - the travel agent from Germany and three of his friends which he invited to tag along, my colleague and the newly hired staff for the island. This 'newly hired staff' doesn't know what 8 o'clock sharp meant. He showed up at 8:30am when the counter is about to close. I was already pissed knowing I showed up early so I can still have breakfast and he is about to ruin it coz we're boarding in the next 10 minutes. I decided to swing by Dunkin Donuts to grab a sandwich and a cup of coffee when the paging system called out our names. Holy cow! For the first time in my whole darn life I became famous (insert sarcasm here). And when we went up inside the plane, all passengers we're staring at us. We'll who wouldn't? We were the last passengers to board. Damn that newly hired staff!!!
Forty-five minutes later the captain announced we're about to land. Ten minutes later I still couldn't catch a glimpse of the runway. It was cloudy and foggy all over. Then I saw the ground below kinda blurry because of the heavy rain that poured just as we descended. I felt the plane touched the ground, like 5 seconds in the runway when it suddenly revved up and went up again. I was bewildered. I was looking at the flight attendant searching for answers but she was calmly seated in the front like telling us there's nothing to be worried about. Some passengers we're looking at one another, wondering why we took off. Others we're scared, panicky but the good thing was everybody tried to be calm.
I wasn't scared though. But I was worried why the pilot made that maneuver. I'm playing possible reasons in my mind while trying to control my fear. I guess it helps when you travel a lot. I've had some of the worst travel experience... and that particular situation shall become part of the list.
A minute later we heard the captain speaking from the cabin. He said, the rain poured heavily on our way down and the visibility of the runway isn't favorable for safe landing that is why he had to took off immediately.
Okay, for a moment there the tension eased. I was about to ask the flight attendant if we landed at the wrong airport. Glad I did not ask about that or it would have made me look stupid haha!
We were circling above the thick clouds for the next 40, read that : f-o-r-t-y-m-i-n-u-t-e-s before the pilot attempted his second landing. I guess, some things aren't just meant to be because halfway through the attempt, we ascended again and I felt the plane turning to the right.
We headed back to Cebu as it is not safe to land due to bad weather condition. I commended the staff of this airline for not compromising our safety. I was frustrated that I was not able to get there. But yeah, it's better not getting to our destination than not getting back home.
Anyhoo, that was the longest I've gone - Cebu to Cebu in two hours!!! hahaha! Beat that!
Back in Cebu airport we were faced with a long queue coz everyone's trying to get the next possible flight to Siargao. My boss who was worried about our situation called up and told me he was at the airport and saw our plane touched down then flew again. All he could say was : "Oh there they go. Happened to me thrice." Hahaha! I'm glad we're not the only one who had experienced that kind of predicament.
And because we needed to be at the resort this weekend, and the next flight to the island is on Monday, the only option we had was to go on chartered flight. Few minutes later I was talking to someone who charters flight to Siargao. But since it's a 5-seater plane, and there were 7 of us, my colleague and I volunteered to step out. I mean, that kind of weather and a small plane doesn't appeal to me. Besides, the pilot told us that it's still raining in Siargao but he can possibly land because the sky is clearing. On my part, I don't want to take chances. Not this time. I've been up in the air for two solid hours thinking if we can land or not. That's pretty tiring already and I don't wanna go through the same situation again.
By 2PM the small plane departed from the hangar. An hour after I was told they were able to land safely. Thank God.
Back home I was effing tired and sleepy. It was a veeeeery long day for me. But you know the perks of that trip? I saw this heart-shaped island en route Siargao. It was sooooo lovely! The sad part is, I was not able to take a pic coz my camera was on my bag which I obligely dropped at the baggage counter. Grrrrr...!!! Anyway, the next time I'll go there I'll make sure to take a snapshot.
And that was the only thing that made my trip worthwhile... :)