Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuguegarao via Airphilexpress

I've never been to Tuguegarao so I eagerly welcomed the opportunity to travel there last week. I read last summer that the highest recorded temperature in the Philippines was observed in that city. I anticipated hot days ahead despite the rains in Manila. After all the place's name could have from two words in a local dialect, "tugui" or hot and "aggao" or day, meaning  hot day. It could also be from "tugui" (hot) and "araw" or sun or day.

I took the Airphilexpress turboprob Bombardier Q400. The plane's exterior was freshly painted but its interior particularly the upholstery needs a makeover. The airlines quick turnaround time leaves no time or ground crew to clean the cabin between flights. The plane does not smell fresh inside. I wish I took the Cebu Pacific Airbus flight instead.

Tricycles are the most common means of public transport here. The tricycle driver told me that the fare is P20 but I have to pay for all five passengers that his tricycle could carry if I am in a hurry. And my office is a bit far so I have to add a little more. I took the bait and paid P150. His impish smile upon taking my money told me that I had been had. Later, office security guards told me that the fare is only P50.

The city surely has the most numbers of tricycles per capita in the the country. There are so many of them that they implement a color coding scheme, just like the number coding in Manila. And they call the tricycles "try-xi" to make it sound like taxi.

Although I've never been to Tuguegarao before, the progress is palpable. I could feel the bustling energy. The plane had some Asian tourists. I wonder what interesting places the city has to offer. I later learned that there's a casino somewhere in the export processing zone. Ah, that's why.

I remember the Youtube video of 2 Americans who speak perfect Tagalog driving a taxi in the Philippines. They drive a taxi but they use it like a jeepney with one acting as the 'kundoktor'. Their route is supposed to be Isabela to Tuguegarao. No, I did not see them in Tuguegarao but here's that video.

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