After a languid start we caught the Ceres Liner departing the North Bus Terminal at 10:20am. It was not a fun bus ride. For one thing there is an election campaign running. That means all the roads are being done up, widened, deepened, raised, repaired, sunk, over-passed or under-passed or re-surfaced as the case may be. It’s hell traveling north out of Cebu at the best of times I gather but now with the highway narrowed to one lane for both directions it was nigh impossible. But, ten minutes’ drive and one hour later we cleared the worst of the road works and picked up a little speed. The countryside that took over from the built-up roadway was decidedly more beautiful but not a little scary. Narrow twisty roads winding their way up the ever higher mountains with sheer rises for our left hand and escarpment drops from the very road edge to our right. I mean, I was sitting next to the window on the right and I would be looking down trying to find the road shoulder but could see nothing but a drop of hundreds of feet. Exactly how close were we to the edge anyway? I could readily imagine one slip and we would be impaled upon the coconut palms that I was gazing down upon – especially as we must have been driving at a good 50MPH.
In spite of our slow initial progress we arrived at Hagnaya and the ferry terminal for Santa Fe with twenty minutes to spare before boarding yet another landing craft. This sailing was to be an hour and twenty minutes. Marianne, Daisy’s old school friend met us and dropped us at our pad for the next three days or so. The pad is a disappointment but what you gonna do when someone else books it for you and promises to save you money in a resort town not known to be cheap. We’ll get by. We’re made of tougher stuff us Filipinos and ex-colonials.
We took our evening stroll hand in hand up the delightful white sand beach of Santa Fe. Mini, crystal- clear wavelets lapped, a slight off-shore breeze stirred the air and all was peaceful. We happened upon the Marlin Beach Resort where Daisy knew the owners although she’d not seen them in years. Rellies, I believe – everyone’s a cousin.
The beach bar tender Filipina seemed to be very busy even in the absence of visible patrons. “Last week, Holy Week was very busy,” it was explained, “but this week not so much.” The bar tender and two Filipina servers of the same persuasion explained. “This season now not so busy.” They showed interest in Daisy and her white boyfriend and the three girls quickly adopted Daisy as a friend. I seeking to give the resort a little business called out, “I’d like sex on the beach please.” The four ladies looked startled, one of them gave Daisy a dig and all four of them broke into laughter and giggles. I got frowned at by you know who. “I tink so you must wait for later,” the bartender suggested sheepishly. “What’s the matter?” I ask, “I’m only trying to order a cocktail, you know, that one listed on the board there, Sex on the beach ₱150.00