As the sun went down, the bus somehow got fuller and fuller. It has maybe 30 seats on the bus, but it was filled with easily more than 60 people all of them seeming to be going to or returning from their hometown visits. As I looked out the window, the cemeteries terraced along hills and tucked into valleys were stunning, each gravestone glowing from a dozen or more candles placed lovingly around it. The discomfort of the bus couldn't overwhelm the dazzling serenity of it all. Most people couldn't help but laugh at the impossibility of the chaos that surrounded the bus as crowds chased after whenever the bus stopped, some of the men using burly arms to block old ladies from climbing the steps or shoving children out of the way. The ticket boy could only watch with wonder and patience for people to sort things out on their own, sometimes barely squeezing on himself as the driver peeled away from the clamouring crowd. We passed children scaring each other with masks, laughter from one house giving way to somber tears in the next. It was quite the ride.
I arrived in Roxas City on the northern coast of Panay around 8pm. Jeepneys are illegal in this town, so there was no choice but to pay P100 (more expensive than my fare on the bus) to travel 10km east to the port. My tricycle driver already had a passenger, a nice woman with superb English who helped me figure out where I needed to go. We passed children trying to scare us with masks, and when we arrived at her destination (after some searching for the right street) I left her with one of the two pomelos left over from Bulabog. I arrived at the port, paid my fare, and walked over to the bangka (outrigger boat) that would be leaving in the morning for Sibuyan Island. I convinced the somewhat bewildered captain to let me sleep with his crew on the boat overnight, laid out my thin foam pad, and slept long and well until sunrise.