Sunday, November 6, 2011

To San Juan!

During the last weekend before the end of what seemed like an uneventful sembreak, I decided to join my med school friends to a beach trip in Laiya. And although the beach trip in itself was super fun (because anything that involves beach and booze is bound to be awesome), let me tell you a little about the “road trip” I’ve had going to San Juan and back to Batangas.

Contrary to what most people would think about kids coming from “the province”, we don’t usually wake up every morning with a view of rice fields and carabaos/cows outside our bedroom windows. Maybe mornings in Batangas are less noisy than those I’ve experienced in Katipunan or UST, but definitely no cows near our house. The only time I actually see these rice fields and trees and goats and cows would be during those journeys to the beach or to some faraway place with me just sleeping for most part of the trip.

But this time around, I had no choice but to stay awake and enjoy the surroundings. Because instead of having the luxury of having my dad drive for us to wherever we want, I had to commute all the way to San Juan on my own. Just so you know, I told my parents I was just commuting to Lipa City which, should I say, is a safe zone for commuters like me. I’ve never ridden any public transport to San Juan mainly because I never knew you can actually take that option to get to the beach. I’ve always thought that Laiya was no place for jeepneys or buses. But thanks to my friend who happens to live in San Juan (lucky girl I tell her), I have learned of this bus line named Supreme Bus Company that travels from Batangas City to Lucena via Ibaan-Rosario-San Juan-God knows where. Don’t mind all those unfamiliar places I just mentioned, you probably won’t understand anyway.

Supreme Bus No. 4004

So to Laiya I go! Luckily, I have discovered that the terminal, as in the actual terminal of Supreme buses was very near our village. This was very helpful since it saves me time from asking other people where I can find this magic bus. But good bye to my cushioned, air-conditioned and DVD-on board buses and hello to dilapidated (not to mention crappy and sakit-sa-pwet) seats and Batangas breeze Supreme buses. My parents would not allow me to get on this kind of bus had they known that I was to ride them for about 1 ½ hours to go to San Juan. It looked like the bus was ready to split in half just as we were driving through the zig-zag roads. What can you possibly expect from a meager bus fare of 60 Pesos anyway? Maybe it was that bad, but the calming view and the “fresh” air plus a few hours to zone out (have I mentioned I was traveling alone?) made the bus ride worth it. Secretly, I felt like I was Christopher McCandless  from Into The Wild with matching backpack, shades and unkempt hair (due to the wind). It was like I was on an adventure even if it was just for a while. The bus had that perfect countryside feel into it, because of the worn out wood interiors and raised windows. If I had workable video cam, I would’ve videotaped myself. Or not.

 Sorry, these shots were the closest thing I could get to achieve a scenic shot :(

When I got to San Juan, I had a few hours to waste since the bus ride was surprisingly fast and since my friends were still on their way to Batangas. I decided to go sight-seeing, just to see if there’s anything more to San Juan than just Cafeno and the beaches. San Juan Poblacion, being the typical small town that it is, can be explored in about 30 minutes. That’s with me taking my time to look at the old houses and looking for lomi houses in the area. What I find most beautiful though was the town church. I have been going to Laiya ever since I was a chubby little girl, but I don’t remember passing by the church ever or even knowing that there was this very peaceful and beautiful (I have to say it again) church in San Juan. That’s one more thing to love about this town! Trust me when I say it’s really something that’s worth going to before you head to the beach. I’ve been to a lot of churches and this one has to be one of the nicest ones I have ever been to. Same level as Caleruega maybe. So just in case you’re going to the beach, make sure you turn left from the national highway when you see the new Puregold Jr. At the end of this road would be the church that stands beside the high school with blue-colored buildings and walls. You know you’re going the wrong way when you see small houses instead of a church at the dead end.

 Looks normal from the outside

Beautifuuul on the inside! :)

And to cap off my mini adventure in San Juan Poblacion, a meal at Cafenowas not to be missed. Must-try’s would be the Pandan iced tea and tamales (which is in truth your sticky suman). I love home-y caf├ęs and all their quaint little furniture that go well with the ambience of the restaurant.

If the adventure going to San Juan was all smooth sailing, the ride was literally an adventure (maybe a little if you allow me to exaggerate). Remember what I said about the bus looking like it was about to break down? God must’ve hated me a little for not telling the truth that He played a trick on my bus and caused it to fall apart just as we were crossing Rosario. Haha. Buti na lang may jeep. I didn’t have enough patience and perhaps enough luck to wait for the next bus to come. I wasn’t sure then if that was the right jeepney to ride, but I’m home now aren't I? So good save!

I loved how everything seemed to work out okay in the end. Even if my parents went crazy panic again (this wasn’t the first time I’ve made them go frantic) last night because they couldn’t contact me since there weren’t any signal in Kota Keluarga. How crazy? They called up the municipal jail to check if I was still alive and see if they can go look for me. Haha. But I love my parents. And note to self: if there’s no signal, look for a landline phone.

Next time, I should go on a legit Alexander Supertramp adventure, and not die of course. 

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