February 06, 2012. I was on leave and very excited for our 3:35 PM trip to Siquijor from Cebu via Ocean Jet. I even wrote this status update on Facebook.
On a 5-day leave. Will squish sand between my toes, go beach & island-hopping, watch the blue clouds turn into a myriad of colors as the sun sets, explore caves, trek mountains, pig out, take pictures & definitely have so much fun. SIQUIJOR & DUMAGUETE, here we come. :)
11:45 AM. I was doing some last-minute packing (as usual, ha ha!) when suddenly, my bed shook. I shrugged it off but the shaking did not stop. I thought my imagination was running wild but when my wall clock fell off its hook, that's when I knew there was indeed an earthquake.
Online, I saw my Cebu-based friends post about it. My friend who would be traveling with me to Siquijor asked me how I was. I replied that I was fine and that I would see her later.
1:30 PM. It was surreal to find SM Cebu almost devoid of people. Even some shops were closed. I went to their department store and bought sunblock and some chips and drinks then headed to Ocean Jet's Pier One.
While en route, the taxi driver told me how earlier, people in the city panicked after the earthquake struck. "SM even refused entry of customers." Oh, okay. So that explained its being devoid of shoppers. He then added that there was even a tsunami scare and that in the northern part of Negros Oriental, a bridge collapsed. Huh?! I did not know that. When he asked me where I was going, I told him in Siquijor. With a deadpan look, he told me to be careful when there. "Do not point fingers at anything. And keep your negative comments to yourself," were his cautionary words as he mentioned his being based in Siquijor for a few years.
In Pier One, I arrived at past 2:00 PM and was surprised to find so many people and some parked buses and cars. As I inched my way into the the ticketing booth, I found to my dismay that Dumaguete and Siquijor trips were canceled while Bohol trips are on TBA (To Be Advised) status. My friend still hasn't arrived so I waited along with these multitude of people still hoping for our trips to push through.
I spent my time sending SMS with my friend who was stuck in horrendous traffic as she said some stoplights were not functioning. I also sent an SMS to our contact in La Playa telling her we would not be able to make it. She understood.
At about 3:30 PM, Ocean Jet gave the go signal for their Bohol trip to push through. Most Dumaguete and Siquijor-bound passengers had already gone home as our trip remained canceled but I still waited in the cramped lounge as my friend was still yet to arrive.
At about 4:30 PM, she finally showed up. For one last time, we approached Ocean Jet's Customer Service hoping we could leave but they said Siquijor and Dumaguete trips were canceled and they were not sure if the same trips would be available tomorrow as they are still subject to weather conditions.
And so we just decided to go home. And despite feeling disappointed, I still felt thankful, as I again shared on Facebook.
Our trip to Siquijor & Dumaguete was canceled due to the earthquake earlier. Kind of sad though I am grateful, dear Lord, that everyone I know is safe. Thanks for those who called & sent me messages of concern.