Oct 29-31, 2012
Exploring San Jose, Mindoro
Off to San Jose, Mindoro by boat
I could have stayed longer in Coron to finish more work, but I could not extend my hotel stay. It's usually a sign for me too that I should get moving because there's something out there waiting for me. Next stop? San Jose, Mindoro. I wanted to go there 10 months ago, but a new shipping line to Cuyo changed my plans. Now, I can finally see this place. I took the Bunso boat with no idea what lay ahead.
10-Hour Roller Coaster Water Ride
For the next 10 hours, the boat was lambasted by the Amihan wind. The waves were strong and choppy. Imagine yourself doing a 10-hour roller coaster ride. After a few minutes, you already want to throw up...but you know there's 9 more hours to endure! From 9am to 5pm, no one was able to eat. The accommodation wasn't exactly comfortable either - it was a bare deck. You lie down and squeeze yourself between bags, life vests and other passengers. You'd be lucky to be able to have a full stretch. All of those things combined to make a perfectly miserable voyage. But maybe that's the fun of it.
Searching for a Hotel
It was already dark by the time we arrived in San Jose. I still didn't know where I'd stay. I asked a tricycle to take me to the largest hotel, hoping I could strike a deal with the hotel owner. That didn't work as most of the hotel owners weren't there, and those who were, weren't exactly well-versed on the internet. I ended up in a P200/night room by the market - the cheapest I could find. I suspect it's even cheaper but the tricycle driver went up ahead of me. Some tricycle drivers confided to me that it's standard for them to be given a tip by hotel owners for every guest they bring in.
Even though I was just passing through San Jose, I was willing to spend a few more days to explore it. On the internet, I read about a few beaches, but in the town proper itself, there wasn't much to do - no movie, no good restaurant (Jollibee seems the most comfortable resto to eat in). I didn't notice any kind of frenzied economic activity. While most of the municipal capitals I'd been to seem to be experiencing an economic boom (Dumaguete, Cebu, Coron, etc.), San Jose seems to be left behind. It felt like the Manila of the old days where old Chinese department stores rule the shopping scene. I even stayed 2 nights to explore the town, but there wasn't much. For the most part, San Jose is a gateway to the more frequently visited tourist hubs like Apo Reef and Puerto Galera. It was time to head northwest by land to Roxas.
- Go to the pier and ride the Bunso boat - P650, 10 hours (on rough water, 8 on calm water), departs Mondays and Thursdays 9 a.m. (even if the poster says 8 a.m.), P20 terminal fee. Note: the smaller Bunso boat is faster and takes 2 hours less.
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