Saturday, October 15, 2011

Operation Solo Flight Day 3: Meet and Greet Lolong

Helloooo Lolong!
Er. Yep, he's there. Oozing of boredom and indifference. I suppose , after long years of adventure in Agusan Marsh (right?), a blue, uninteresting, shallow pool must be quite booooring. 
 A few months ago, Philippines made it into the international scene through the capture of what could be the biggest crocodile in the world. A quick google of the term 'Lolong giant crocodile' yield a myriad of stories about Lolong, with the piece about him refusing the to eat the most worrisome.

And more pool shots. Sorry, I had the worst timing. Workers told me I should have visited around 3 pm or on a Saturday, they let water out during that time and the full, hulking glory of Lolong would be very visible. As it is, I had to be contented of the view of his ears and a tiny part of his back. XD 
Seeing him wasn't really part of my original itinerary (to be fair, I didn't really have an itinerary in the first place. Haha!) as he was just a recent celebrity, but since I'm already in the area, albeit at a wide radius, I decided I could just go and give him a quick visit on my way to Davao.
I checked out of CJ Hometel, and then rode a slow moving trike to the Hinatuan terminal (which I suppose is a walking distance away). The fare surprised me-- Php 5! Probably the cheapest fare I paid in three days. Haha. From there, it was sometime before the bus to San Franz arrived, although there were other options available such as a jeepney and a van. I prefer the non-aircon bus though-- you get more leg room there.
And so the bus arrived. I'm guessing the roadtrip took 2-3 hours, though I'm not really sure. San Franz has a Jollibee store. Erm, just saying. :P I roamed around the area near the terminal. Just shops and food stores.  I had lunch my lunch at dear, old Jollibee, then went back to the terminal to wait for the bus to Davao. I had to let two buses go because they were jampacked, and I don't fancy spending the more than an hour trip standing. Finally, at around 11 am, I was able to board a bus. I told the conductor to drop me off where the giant crocodile park is, and he nodded absently. Fare was Php 48. I remember trying to estimate how long the trip would take based on the fare (with the Php 80 fare and the 3 hr bus ride from Hinatuan as my basis).  Before I knew it, the bus was slowing down and the conductor told me that the park is there, pointing vaguely to a direction perpendicular to the highway. Uhm? No signage whatsoever announced the presence of the park (I learned later it was taken down for redesigning), but worry not, our friendly habal-habal drivers would let you know soon enough that you've alighted at the right place-- they were shouting 'Buwaya, mam, sir? Buwaya! Buwaya!' to buses and vans zipping by.
I hired one to take me to the park for Ph20 (one way). There was an entrance fee of Php20. Remember to hold on to your ticket; they ask for it at the 2nd entrance.
I went into the park. It's still under construction for most part, so don't bother feeling disappointed. Heave a huge sigh of regret, though, when you see that Lolong's pool is full of murky water, because you definitely won't be seeing a lot of him. The workers there told me the best time to visit is on Saturdays, when Lolong is scheduled for feeding and cleaning. They sometimes also let the water out for VIPs. If you are one, then I guess you can visit anytime.
Beside Lolong's well photographed pool is another pool under construction. That will be Lalang's pool, once she's captured. They say she's even bigger than Lolong.  Honestly, I don't know if I should wish that she'd be captured (90% of me wishes she won't. 10% accounts for curiosity) after seeing Lolong's lethargy and boredom (only my perception though, and I'm far from an animal-boredom-expert).

And onto Davao
From Lolong's park, I rode another habal-habal (Php20) back to the highway. I stayed a while at the habal-habal waiting shed because Davao bound bus are few and far in between. I didn't get bored though, because I had an interesting chat with the drivers waiting for people to take to see Lolong. They helped me hail a passing deluxe Davao bound bus. I waved my goodbye and thanks and boarded the bus-- onto more solo adventures in Davao.

For details on expenses, see: Expenses
Read about my 5-day solo adventures in the south : Butuan city tour, Hinatuan Falls and Enchanted River (and more), Lolong the giant croc, Davao, Samal, and more Davao.

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