There are times when life teases you in the most unconventional ways just to test your will. And now that I am writing this article, I suddenly remembered the foolishness we committed last year arriving 5 minutes late on our connecting flight to Bangkok from Cebu. Then on the day I abandoned my home in order to grow up, history played a joke on me which almost cost me a few thousand bucks and prevented me from pursuing my dream to travel Southeast Asia indefinitely.
the only stuff i brought for my backpacking trip
Cebu to Clark via Manila
There are different flights to Thailand from Cebu. I chose SEAIR because of their promo fare offering so I was left with no choice but to book the Clark to Bangkok flight. Taking Cebu Pacific’s Cebu to Clark flight would require me to stay overnight in Clark. But Clark’s hotels are expensive for a budget traveller like me. A Cebu to Manila flight was the cheapest route I could think of and I had a friend’s place to crash. Luckily, Airphil Express was offering a promo fare at that time.
My flight was at 12:15 pm on February 10th. 24 hours before, I signed up for Airphil Express’ web check-In service. I made sure I did this to avoid the hassle of lining up to get a boarding pass.
Time check: 11:00am. Confident that I had guaranteed seats and I could show up at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport 30 minutes before boarding time, I left our place an hour before my flight schedule. It took me 15 minutes to hail a taxi going to the airport. I told myself to calm down since I still got 15 minutes left.
There was a heavy flow of traffic before we reached the last bend leading to the Mandaue-Mactan bridge. (Note: If you are going to the Cebu Airport from Cebu City, you have to pass by either of the 2 bridges that connects Cebu to Mactan Island) I heard the AM radio announced that there was a heavy flow of traffic at the bridge. I thought they were referring to the traffic where I was so I didn’t pay attention to the warning. The cars started moving too so I decided to stay on that route.
bumper to bumper traffic!
Time check: 11:30am. Once the cab made the right turn and entered the road leading to the bridge my eyes widened in shock. I wanted to scream but I got speechless and silently cursed at the sight that greeted me. The vehicles in front of us were not moving at all! The cab was trapped! Then the radio announced that a 10-wheeler truck got stuck in the middle of the bridge due to 2 flat tires. The driver asked me what time my flight was then started giving me a sermon on why it’s best to travel to the airport 2 hours before one’s scheduled flight. I wanted to defend myself and say “Haler! Our house is so near the airport and without traffic, it only takes 10 minutes to reach the place!” “Malay ko ba naay ma-flatan nga trak diri!”
While stuck in traffic, I already imagined how I’d have to dash through the airport’s xray machine at the entrance, run to the ticketing counter, and plead to allow me to board the flight (paranoid mode). I also thought I may have to buy a new ticket as it was impossible to reach the airport on time in that state. I started calling all the angels and saints up above and prayed hard to help me make it. I had a very tight budget you see. Buying a regular plane fare to reach Manila was out of the question.
the truck that almost cost me another plane fare
Time check: 11:53 am. Finally, we passed by the 10-wheeler truck! I silently chanted “please, please, please let me make it” while preparing the cab fare.
Time check: 11:57am. I hurriedly went through the customary luggage scanning process then looked for Airphil Express’ counters. There was a long line. I approached the web check in counter and handed my boarding ticket not minding the person who was supposed to be next in line. The agent received my ticket and after a minute, she handed to me my boarding pass and said “Ma’am here’s your boarding pass. Please wait in Gate # 4. By the way, delayed po yung flight nang 2 hours. Pasensya na po.” I never thought hearing those magical irritating words could become music to my ears. The agent must have thought I was on drugs since I left the counter floating while smiling. Whew! That was close!
I guess that was it! There’s no turning back! One more flight to catch!
…to be continued