“Where are you now?”

“In the middle of the bridge?” Yes, with a question mark because I was really on the bridge at four in the afternoon, yes, with a question mark because I could not really believe that I was on the bridge and had not checked in yet. I was kinda embarrassed to admit that I totally overlooked the simple truth that all travel guides I have read on Guiuan were pre-Yolanda (Haiyan).

And that’s the thing about places hit by the supertyphoon. These places have now modifiers “before” and “after Yolanda” attached to their names.

So the jeepney driver was surprised I was planning to stay overnight at Calicoan Island. He gave me the “Are you stupid” look. But there were many resorts by the angry beast named Pacific, well, that’s what I have read. Yes, there were.

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The bridge in Sulangan, the center of Calicoan Island.

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I knew we were approaching Calicoan when the road started to get misty from the swells of the ocean. The resorts, after two years, still in the slow process of underconstruction. We passed by a newly opened Andok’s. That’s it. So the driver decided to drop me off by the bridge and instructed me to follow the little road to La Luna Beach Resort. The place sounded expensive, so in the middle of walking, I checked it online and indeed it was beyond my budget, so I retraced my steps and went back to the bridge. And I lingered there for a bit, weighing my options.

Guiuan is beautiful. There were many instances I got tempted to just leave my things by the road and jump into the water.

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The soundest thing to do was to go back to Guiuan Poblacion and spend the night there. But because I was in Sulangan, I decided to walk around. It has been two years, a long time already, said Kuya Susimo, yet the way things are felt like it has not been that far from 2015. Until now, the most visible sounds are that of hammers and chainsaws. The sounds of reconstructions. It was a short walk. I had to hurry back to town and find a place to stay for the night. I was able to find a tricycle driver who was about to send a family to Guiuan.

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Dusk at Guiuan Poblacion

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The following morning, I went back to Calicoan Island and spent several hours at ABCD Beach and the nearby Dubai Beach.

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There are several tidal pools by Pagnamitan Bridge. I dropped by here and swam with the local kids spearing little fish in the pool. I spotted two seasnakes. Corals are dead sadly, but I saw some interesting fish. Yes, I brought my diving mask with me. Swimming in two piece is highly discouraged; the locals are not used to the scene yet.

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QUICK FACTS

WHERE TO STAY:

There are three fully operating pension houses in Guiuan.
Guiuan Pension House: Starts at P300.00 (single room, fan, shared bathroom)
Hotel khaishra: Starts at P600 (single room, fan, shared bathroom)
Addison Pension House: Starts at P800 (double room, AC, TV, private bathroom)
WiFi is not available in all three.

BANKS: Landbank and Metrobank

WHERE TO EAT: Kusina ni Paring and many other carenderia.

December 7, 2015
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