After several postponements, I finally decided to hie off to the neighboring island and get all my appointments done. I was supposed to take the boat last night but decided to hold off a few hours more in favor of the bus.
Was I glad I did! The Ceres buses plying the Dumaguete-Cebu-Dumaguete routes were actually much more comfortable than the last George & Peter ship that I took, and just about as comfortable as the late unlamented Supercat. And they were cheaper, too!
I was up at three in the morning and made myself a decent breakfast. The nice thing about living in Piapi is that the buses pass right along the road. At 4:30am, I flagged the half-full bus and was on my way.
We hit Tampi, further north along the Eastern Negros coast, at 5:15am, where we loaded the bus onto a World War II vintage RORO (roll-on roll-off landing craft). The ride to Bato on the other side took another twenty minutes.
I chatted up the driver on the channel crossing. From him I gathered that there were 5 trips in total daily, back and forth, between Dumaguete and Cebu. The 4:30am was the earliest from Dumaguete, while the 2:30am was the earliest from Cebu. Last trip from Cebu was 3:00pm. I managed to pick up a couple other bits of useful information, like sending parcels terminal-to-terminal.
We stopped at Bato briefly for breakfast break. From then onwards, it was straight to Cebu. Of that leg of the trip there's really not much to say. It wasn't as scenic as Halcema Road in the Mountain Province, and it was one I had seen many times before. So Dalaguete, Argao, Sibonga, and Carcar whizzed by as I slept soundly.
We hit Cebu South Terminal at around 9:10am, altogether not too bad. This was about the same travelling time as on the catamaran ferries. At P255 going one way (P210 for the bus and P45 for the RORO), it was way cheaper than the current going rate of P700 for the seagoing fast craft.
Cebu went by in a blur: I transacted some business at Chong Hua, picked up my check from nearby Asirius, bought a Captain Scarlet book from Cagnaan Book Sale (another bargain at P240!), and met some friends and potential business associates for lunch. After that, I went shopping at SM, picked up a couple of computer items, and headed back to the terminal, arriving at around 2:40pm.
Just in time for the 3:00pm bus ride. And more on-the-road snoozing.
So that's it: Dumaguete to Cebu and back, all in the same day. Overall, not such a bad experience, and cheaper than my previous excursions.