Saturday, December 9, 2006
Dumaguete Airport: Part 1
I've been to the airport in Dumaguete on eight different occasions; 3 times having arrived there by plane from Manila, 4 times leaving Dumaguete to fly to Manila and once to see off a friend.
The difference between the number of arrivals versus departures goes back to my first trip to Philippines in December 2000. This was before I met my wife; I was visiting someone who lives on the island of Siquijor. I had flown from Manila to Cagayan deOro to meet this person's family and had traveled to Dumaguete by boat. You can't get to Siquijor without going thru Dumaguete. My original plan was to return to Cagayan de Oro for the return flight to Manila but as it turned out, it made more sense for me to fly back to Manila from the airport in Dumaguete .
It should have been a warning to me of things to come when my companion would not accompany me to the airport. We left Siquijor the night before my flight was due to leave for Manila and we stayed over-night at the OK Pension House. The flight did not leave until around 3:00 PM but my companion wanted to return to Siquijor on the earliest boat. She told me that I only had to step outside the hotel when I was ready to leave and stop a tricycle driver who could take me to the airport. She told me that I would have to negotiate the price but I should not pay more than 5o pesos.
At that time,I did not know how far away I was from the airport but, I felt like it would have been worth much more than $1.00 for me to get there in one piece.
I checked out of the hotel around noon. I hailed a driver who promptly refused to take me to the airport. I stopped a second driver who likewise refused. Saying a few words that I won't repeat here, I asked the driver how I was supposed to get to the airport if no one would take me. I spoke the magic words "special trip" which meant that I was willing to pay extra for the ride. He asked me how much I would pay and I replied, "50 pesos". He thought for a moment before agreeing to take me.
As we crossed into Sibulan, my driver pulls over to converse with a group of tricycle drivers who were parked on the side of the road. This being my first trip to the airport, I did not know at the time that I was now very near there. I did not know why my driver pulled over and I had no clue what was being said though I was pretty sure from their body language that I was the topic of their conversation. My driver reaches into his wallet and gives 10 pesos to one of the other drivers and we were off again to the airport. I was so happy to have arrived at my destination that I not only paid my driver the 50 pesos we agreed upon, but I reimbursed him the 10 pesos as well.
When I boarded the plane for Manila, the stewardess offered me a Philippine newspaper to read. It was then that I learned that while I spent my last night in Dumaguete there had been a terrorist bombing in Manila. It would be another year before we learned of Abu Sayyaf or Al Quida.