Travel {Christmas 2011 in CDO}

By joselle - January 02, 2012

Dec. 25, Christmas Day,  I was on a ferry to CDO. It's a good thing that Cebu Ferries has a ferry bound for CDO during the day. With all the news about bad weather I was pretty apprehensive about going anywhere near water, but what could I do? I made a promise to go to CDO for Christmas, and  I was pretty excited to see a new city for a change.

The 8-hour trip was very comfortable, at least. A classmate of mine was also making the trip to see his girlfriend, so that made two of us making this trip for the sake of someone else who lives in another island, eight hours away. But I can't complain. This is my first trip to see my boyfriend, and he has basically done this a dozen times for me during the year. Besides, the tourist cabins were really clean. This is my first time to ride Super Ferry (before that, my sea-voyage experiences were all done aboard GP, which really left  a LOT to be desired when it comes to sea vessels especially if you want to enjoy a good night's sleep during the trip).

Cebu Ferry on Christmas Day

I arrived at exactly 4 pm, which was an hour earlier than I anticipated. We made our way out, and Carlo, my classmate, was kind enough to walk with me until I met up with JP before heading out to catch his taxi. JP was waiting near the gate, and it was surreal, seeing him someplace other than Dumaguete. I also got my first impression of CDO at this time. Exactly a week  after Sendong hit, CDO was among the worst affected places, and I could see it in the streets, where piles of soil and debris were gathered on the sides of the road. Despite the calamity, however,  it looked liked business as usual for the people of Cagayan. The part of the city which was least affected was still bustling with people who were most likely busy preparing for Christmas Day dinners and for the coming New Year. We drove through the town to the hotel, which was a block away from Ketkai, the mall that JP always talked about.

To get to Pearlmont you have to go through this street that resembled Colon in Cebu.

Ornate. That's what I could describe this hotel. Inside and out, the hotel was big on details. I especially loved the Christmas decorations that they strung out. JP told me that a lot of people displaced  by Sendong  who could afford to stay in hotels were staying in Pearlmont. I also saw a lot of volunteers going in and out of the hotel during my stay there. I love the hotel's look at night, when it's facade turns into this red-orangy color due to the lights.

Christmas dinner was at Golden Cowry in Ketkai. Golden Cowry is still relatively new there, and I was really craving for their ginataang langkka.

Finally made it to Ketkai!
JP always talks about Ketkai since the mall is just right across the street from his school.

We explored the mall after dinner. The mall was packed with people. Compared to Rob in Dumaguete, Ketkai is big. There's a Robinson's inside the mall, and it is connected to other buildings in the area via skywalks, which is really convenient since you don't have to go out into the street if you want to go to the mall from Gateway Towers, which  is where Travelers Pod is located.

Travelers Pod
I moved to Travelers Pod on Tuesday, the day I was supposed to leave. This is a relatively new hotel at Gateway Towers, and it was just a skywalk away from the mall. Upstairs, Chowking, Teriyaki Boy and Figaro have set up space. I would really, really, really love to post more pictures of the hotel. It is none like any other hotel I've stayed in. They have rooms for anyone who simply wants to take a one-hour nap, but they also have rooms for overnight stays. Called pods, beds for hourly guests are surrounded by fabric walls, which are drawn together like curtains when not in use. The pods for overnight guests are bigger, but just enough to avoid being cramped. JP told me that the rooms reminded him of Japanese rooms, which are also notoriously small. I also remember  reading about hotels like these sprouting all over Japan in 2000, which usually accommodated corporate suits who wanted to take quick power naps in between meetings. The hotel has strict rules about noise. During my stay, JP and I had to speak in whispers. I was even afraid of using my blow dryer, since someone sleeping on the pods could wake up because of the noise.  Spa music piped through the walls all throughout the day, which added to the place's relaxing feel.

JP took me on OBTs during the evenings, where there is less heat and dust. CDO has a lot of cars, and jeepneys, and buses... compared to the relatively laid back way of driving in  Dumaguete, CDO drivers are really scary. We also crossed the bridge to where most of the damage of Sendong happened. A part of the highway did not have any lights, so it was pretty eerie driving through the area at night, knowing that a lot of people died nearby during that week. We also made our way to Divisoria. where a lot of people gather in the evenings to eat, have coffee, and even get a massage! Afterwards we to a park lit up by hundreds of water gallon lights. People who lost their homes were also temporarily staying in the park grounds.

I did not know what to feel seeing people in the malls and then going out and seeing other people sleeping on the park or taking baths by the street. We went through Makasandig after JP took me to see SM, which was located up a hill. Makasandig was were some of the evacuees were housed, and as we went by the cramped  basketball court where the people are gathered,  I saw people taking baths near the side of the street. However, I could also see children who were happily playing, seemingly oblivious to what just happened to them and their neighbors. Perhaps, being a kid in calamities like these can be a blessing.

Park illluminated by hundreds of water gallon lights

We went to Malasag the day before I left. Malasag is an ecovillage halfway between the city and Bugo, where JP lives. Thankfully, the ecopark was spared by the damage brought by the storm.

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  1. cute! John Paul must be very happy ;-)

  2. HI Mai Yang! I hope he is haha! I sure was happy when I visited. I am so sorry to hear about your friend. I hope he is found soon.

  3. He's happy, I know he is :)
    about my friend, yeah, we're still hoping..^_^ thanks! ^_^


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