13 dec, my 4th day here at home. It took a long time to travel from Bangkok to San Jose, Antique, Philippines. My flight was at 0035 hrs of Thursday, so I had to be at the Suvanabhurmi airport the night before. We left home at about 8pm and arrived at the airport before 9. The Cebu Pacific check-in counter was not yet open but many people were already there, queuing in front of the check-in counters. Mostly pinoys who looked excited to go home for the Christmas holidays. The flight was full and I was glad I chose my seat during booking. So I was not that worried whether I was at the end of the queue to check-in. I had to pay for my 4 kg excess luggage because I missed to choose 20 kg during booking. Next time I have to remember that I should always add it. It would have cost me only less than 500 baht during booking, because at the airport the cost is 320 baht/kg of excess luggage. It was not a big deal, just a lesson learned.
The immigration/passport control area was also crowded with so many travelers during this time of the year. Now they have added a counter for special groups such as the elderly and those with babies. Makes things easier for them. There was one mom who was holding her baby and suddenly the baby wanted milk, so she had to squat on the floor to breastfeed her.
Before going into the duty free area and on to the departure gate, all handcarried items had to be checked by xray. This is also much better than doing the checking before entering the gate. Again long lines of people. There was a Pinoy family behind me and the staff thought we were all Thais. He started telling us in Thai that all passports, cellphones, belts, etc should be placed inside our bags. The family was 'ngong' about it because they did not understand anything, so I had to translate for them. When the staff learned that they are not Thais, he repeated his instructions in English.
While walking towards my gate, and since there was still lots of time, I browsed around the shops. I just had one thing in mind to buy, the D&G Light Blue eau de toilette. I really like the scent, something citrus, fresh and sweet.
I was feeling hungry but did not want to eat something heavy because it was late in the night already. So I just went to one of the side shops to buy water and ham and cheese sandwich. I did not go to the big shops because their serving was quite big and I knew I could not finish it. And they are more expensive, atrociously expensive. I also passed by a bookshop and browsed for some reading materials but I did not find anything interesting. Anyway I had also a bag of a few days old newspapers which I did not have time to read. I brought them with me to read as well as to work on the crossword and sudoku puzzles.
While walking I was also thinking of the abstract that I need to write for another conference in 2011. I was planning to write one while waiting for my flight but I was not able to because I was feeling a bit tired and sleepy.
We had to wait for a little longer before boarding but finally we were able to. I tried to sleep during the flight as it was past midnight already. We arrived in Manila at about 430am. Went through immigration ok. After that I walked out to transfer to the domestic area, but before that I stopped by one coffee shop to have my breakfast, and take advantage of the free wifi in the shop.
Then time to check-in for my domestic flight. I tried to remove some stuff from my bag so I only had 2 kg excess, which cost 120 pesos/kg. It was not that much. By the time I checked-in I was feeling so tired and I just wanted to sit and rest. I made my way to the departure gate (Terminal 3 Gate 116) which could be reached by going down several steps of stairs. With my wheeled computer bag it was quite difficult to go down those steps as I had to carry my bag. There was no ramp for wheeled bags. It was so inconvenient. I was just wondering how the elderly could manage going up and down those stairs. Maybe there is another way which I did not know? If there's none, then I hope that the authorities should look into this and try to do something about it to make it friendly to all users.
I arrived in Iloilo ok and went to drop my bags first at SM Travel Lounge, which is one thing I like over there as I needed to do some business in the city proper. Some kind person helped me with my bags as he said I looked so pitiful dragging my 3 roller bags ha ha ha. He said in Ilonggo, "Abaw day, dali buligan ta ka kay daw nalooy ako magtan-aw sa imo. Libre man ini." God bless him. He was one of the staff there in that van terminal near the SM Travel Lounge. I was so thankful there are still kind people around.
I finished my business in the city in less than half hour!!! Can you believe that? Then I had lunch with my niece who is a fresher at CPU. Handed over some pasalubong to her to take back to her family when she goes home to Mindanao for Christmas.
Then it was time to go to the Molo van terminal to San Jose. I took a taxi to the Travel Lounge to get my bags, and let the taxi wait so he can send me on to the terminal. It went ok and glad that there was no traffic.
Now at the terminal, a different set of people was there. They were my kasimanwas, the Antiquenos. Sad to say that I felt a different atmosphere with the way people treat each other there, esp. among the passengers themselves. The van people are ok as I am familiar with them already. But the people inside the van, the passengers, they were a different kind. I will not relate the things here because they are not so nice. Suffice to say that I felt a bit disappointed, because it made me think how most people in my province have changed, not for the better. It took 2 hours van ride and half of the time it was through mountains. Finally we arrived in San Jose and I took a tricycle to our house.
Finally I was home...