Plan B

Early one morning, after a stay in the hills of the island of Negros in The Philippines, Anya and I took an auto rickshaw down to a city on the coast called Dumaguete.

From there we wanted to take a ferry to the small island of Siquijor.

It was two days before Christmas in 2017 and we were planning to spend the ‘festive season’ in what we thought was an out of the way place.

It was raining when we got in the rickshaw and the driver had trouble manoeuvring his vehicle over the muddy track to and from our small hotel. Once on the main road however, matters didn’t improve as the rain got heavier and we had to ford areas of the road which were flooded.

When we finally got out of the auto-rickshaw after navigating the sprawling Dumaguete and arriving near the ferry terminal, we were completely drenched.

This however proved to be the least of our problems in what was going to be a long day……….

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On arriving at the outskirts of the city of Cebu (the capital of the island of Cebu) after a long bus trip, we got a taxi to the airport. The airport was on the opposite side of town. We thought the taxi would be quicker than the local bus – as it turned out, a completely unwarranted assumption. Even though it was early in the afternoon and on a week day, the traffic was bumper to bumper. 

Our taxi driver seemed upbeat about the traffic. Like many Filipinos, he spoke English – and spoke it quite well.

When we asked him why the traffic was so heavy, he exclaimed incredulously:

‘You don’t know?’ 

We said we didn´t. 

Voice oozing disbelief, he proceeded to enlighten the dumb tourists. 

‘There’s a big religious festival in Cebu this weekend! People are arriving from all over the country, even overseas!’

I guessed that the taxi driver was a proud native of Cebu.

He wasn’t. 

He was a man making the best of a bad lot.  

No shortage of them in The Philippines, but this man had a cross to bear. Yolanda had ruined him, ruined his life, and yet he still managed to go on, driving his taxi into a land called Hope…..

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