Yesterday Thursday, June 22, 2006, I travelled by land to Isabela Province to attend a court hearing.
Ilagan Isabela is a good four hundred kilometers away from Metro Manila. Travel time was seven hours on a private vehicle.
I woke up at 2 o'clock in the morning, to prepare for the long trip. My companion, Glenn the indefatigable, who drove me arrived a few minutes before 3 a.m.
I had been planning to continue sleeping aborad the Nissan X Trail of Ping Remollo so I brought along a portable travel pillow.
We took off and I listed the kilomtrage in the vehicle's odometer which was at 25,730. The gas gauge was full tank and Glenn said he poured in P1,800 worth of gasoline.
Off we went. It was a smooth trip since there was no traffic snag and we were at the North Luzon Expressway at no time.
I dozed off at around 4 a.m. and was in dreamland until 8 a.m. where we were already in Santiago Isabela.
Santiago is at the southern tip of the province. IIagan, Isabela was still far away north of the province.
In going to Isabela, we had to pass by Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya. We brought along a travel map to guide us on the towns we had to pass through, and to make a rough estimate of our travel time.
We took breakfast in Santiago Isabela, at McDonalds, and proceeded immediately.
The road to Isabela is surrounded by flatland. While going north, on teh right side is a sillhouete of the Sierra Madre. We arrived in Ilagan Isabela at exactly ten o o'clock and the odometer registered 26,100.
To our dismay, I learned that the court hearing, which was scheduled at 2 p.m. had been cancelled as the new permanent judge was yet to assume on Monday.
The pairing (temporary) judge said he no longer would be holding hearings at branch 17 of the Regional Trial Court.
Since we had nothing to do, I contacted the lawyer for the adverse counsel.
He told me he was attending a hearing in Tuguegarao which is about 70 kilometers farther north, and was still another hour of travel.
Since I was bent on meeting him to discuss about the case, I told him we will motor north to Tuguegarao to meet him.
We left Ilagan Isabela at 11 o'clock a.m. and arrived at around fifteen minutes before 12 noon in Tuguegarao.
Tuguegarao is a city with so narrow streets, and so many tricycles like Dumaguete.
We decided to meet at a Jollibee junction outlet where we had our lunch and held a meeting.
We returned to Ilagan and coordinated with the trial court there, before departing back to Manila at around 2:30 p.m.
It was a physicially demanding, gruelling trip.
We had to traverse Dalton Pass in Nueva Vizcaya where we motored through endless zigzags.
By the way this was not my first trip to Ilagan Isabela, nor was it my first to Tuguegarao.
I have been in those places before.
In 1992, as a journalist I accompanied provincial officials of Negros Oriental which made a bid for the Palaraong Pambansa.
As a staff of Senator Nene Pimentel, I went to Tuguegarao to help in organizing the discussions on the amendments of the local government code.
Anyway it took us a longer time to return to Maila due to the traffic.
I didn't imagine there were so many trucks passing through the Maharlika highway which really stalled the flow of traffic.
We safely returned to Manila at 10 in the eveing on the same day.