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To Drive or Not to Drive In the Philippines; ‘Even Shakespeare would give a Think on It’

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Ahhhh, the feeling of those hand clenching moments when time seems to stand still but the earth below you has moved on at a blistering pace. This must only mean one thing if you are vacationing in the Philippines; you are on your way for a tour on the local bus system.

That’s right, don’t think for one minute you’ll be late for the lola’s twisted porage, it will no doubt me steaming or barely prepared by the time you make that 98 kilometer run.

 I will say in due justification that my time here in the Philippines has been filled with many bus trips. I take the jeepney  when time allows or the heat isn’t so blistering that my grip on the overhead bar isn’t an endless waterfall of perspiration.

Anymore I seldom take a taxi due to cost factors but mainly on the idea that I’m never truly in that much of a hurry. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, time here means nothing and this world lives by another clock. There are no second hands, no time constraints and being late is as fashionable as Paris Hilton boarding the 2pm train to the “Bacon Festival” of Clarion County, West Virginia.

 None the less let me tell you about the blissful speed at which the busing system of the Philippines meets its destination (okay, maybe 98% of the time). You not only find yourself clutching to the seat, you’ll wished you had brought your adjustable load bar from your prior trucking job in the western world. This load bar not only would come in handy to keep you from sliding off your seat in the ultimate LeMans slalom which nearly every bus ensues, but you’ll be happy to have something to assist you in beating the driver a few times along the way.

once you're back on solid ground, it's time for some R&R
once you're back on solid ground, it's time for some R&R

 I have to believe that most bus drivers are trained in high speed pursuit somewhat like the drivers of the infamous American presidents. Those drivers and these of the Philippines seamlessly find themselves on pinpoint accuracy dodging the ever so slow moving traffic, as well as the highly accurate opposing traffic too.

You’ll see the magic of the local town dog wistfully dart across the road, just waiting for the opportune moment when that big yellow, filled to capacity bus, comes bearing down on it. From these points and many others, the occasional chicken, duck or goat will gladly take a stab at the every so popular sport of “bus dodging”.

I’m positive somewhere along the way there have been bets wagered and peso fortunes made on the ultimate past time sport of ‘bus dodging”. I for one am not a betting man but if tempted to take a shot in the dark at a local blind bend or the oh so popular provincial village filled full of happy animals, I'd bet my entire fortune on it.

 

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None the less in the end, you’ll arrive at your destination safe and sound and often without delay and without a piss stop either. You’ll never be so happy to set foot on solid, none moving ground and you’ll know you got there in record time to boot.

Don’t get me wrong I have seen many places when traveling by bus throughout the Philippines, but as I said prior, the feeling of none-moving ground under my feet made my knees buckle slightly once I stepped off the final stairway from that rolling transporter heaven.

The most difficult part of taking those great escapes throughout the Philippines is knowing the only way back is to once again board that flying missile and once again be unprepared for the lives of animals who can and often do meet their demise on the roadways of the Philippines.

No worries though as that evening soup will be hot and the meat will be fresh and the pesos that are made, saved and given for this little piece of business is just one of the advantages of the bus system of the Philippines.

 Ahhhh, the Philippines, the beauty is never ending and if you take a bus, transporter van or any other form of long distance transport you’re bound to see this country in a flash. Those that hate delays might just as well be happy if there bus breaks down or has a flat tire as the rest or stopover might just give you time to take your Dramamine.

But the end of all ends will be that you’ve seen the beauty of a superb country and you’ve done it on a small budget as well. So have a safe trip................................. "its allllll aboard" for the trip of a lifetime.

Timothy Walker is a writer and photographer living in Davao City, Philippines
Timothy Walker is a writer and photographer living in Davao City, Philippines
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