Where are you, Moalboal?

Through the blistering winds and the highest deser-…wait that’s a line from Shrek. But, I do see where the fairy godmother was coming from after a good three days of travelling.

Let me take you back to Sunday the 12th of January. I’m a passenger in the car, on the way to my 22nd birthday meal when my ears prick at the sound of “Manila”. Quickly dismissing conversation with anyone else I head to google, its worse than I could imagine for my first fully solo trip. A volcano has erupted.

I couldn’t concentrate from then on: all flights to and Manila had been cancelled.

Monday afternoon I left work, drove home and watched the telly, sulking and ready to eat my feelings. But, I’d still not had a cancellation email. After a phone call to Etihad it was discovered my flight was still going ahead.

How did I feel in that moment? Anxious, nervous, wondering what laid ahead. Most of all, not ready…I’d not touched anything as I believed I wouldn’t be going.

So that was that. 6pm me, my mum and auntie set off to London Heathrow airport hotel, ready for my flight in the morning. Just as luck was going storm Brendan happened that night (my mums already a shocking driver). And she still kept saying “you’re definitely not going to the Philippines tomorrow.”

Fast forward and I’m through departures smoothly. My flight then delayed by an hour. I make it to Manila at 4pm Wednesday. I decided to book a hotel for the night to catch up on sleep, before flying to Cebu the next day.

And what a bad nights sleep. I constantly woke to voices in my head talking about flight cancellations at Manila and the Taal volcano. Jumping out of bed and running to the door, ear as close as possible to listen in, I realised I’d fell asleep to the news channel. Awkward.

I just couldn’t sleep, so at 2am I got dressed and walked to the airport. When I got to arrivals, I found out it was a taxi ride to terminal 4. If I’d have known this I wouldn’t have stayed overnight.

After talking to a young security man for ten minutes, me trying to have an educational chat about Taal volcano, and him calling me pretty as I stood with a short skirt on which my backpack kept pulling on and showing my bum cheeks, he told me to get the taxi but for no more than 30 pesos.Never again.

The taxi man agreed, “30 pesos”. The minute we turned out of terminal one he said “50 dollars”, you can imagine my reaction. Especially since I’m not American.

Anyway he didn’t give up. Neither did I. I may have looked vulnerable and young, but I am not. He obviously had never met a girl from Yorkshire before.

I’m now in departures for Air Asia, a 2 hour queue to drop my 9kg purple back pack off, I was nervous I’d miss the flight.

I was through “security” in minutes and found a charging station. Thank god because a man had sold me the wrong adaptor. There was also free WiFi, bonus.

It’s now 5:30am, 10 minutes before boarding. When a voice bellows through the crowd that my flight has been delayed 3 hours.

At this point I’d given up, texting my close friends moaning, and I nearly started crying thinking I’d be stuck in Manila forever.

The flight takes off, whilst I’m asleep. I wake up to “you’ll now be served breakfast”. I had no idea we had an inflight meal as it only takes one small hour.

I tilt my nose, what’s that smell? Takeaway, grease, fried food. Just my look…it’s fried chicken. Let’s just stop here, besides the fact I’m vegetarian who would have fried chicken for breakfast? Luckily there was a separate container of sticky, mushed white rice. God I enjoyed my breakfast.

After an hour taxi ride to the south terminal bus stop in Manila, I’m ready for my three hour journey to Moalboal. Only four hours behind time. Sigh.

I’m now sat on that bus, wondering one thing…where are you, Moalboal?



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