On Saturday I was really excited about doing the Green Fins assessment and dive with the first of ‘my’ dive centres but fate apparently had other ideas! We got on the tricycle to Puerto Galera as normal and I finally mustered the courage to sit on the motorbike behind the driver. We were nearly there when Sam noticed that my dive kit bag was no longer on the back of the sidecar with hers – nightmare!
Naturally we turned around and scanned the side of the road, where it may have fallen, all the way back to Aninuan. No sign of it anywhere. Luckily, Sam knew exactly what to do and Ans kindly stepped in to do the assessment for me.
Our landlady is the sister of the Barangay (village) captain so Alan and I were quickly able to find him and report the bag missing. The captain suggested we speak to the Barangay police so we dutifully went to the village hall. No one there. We inquired in the nearest shop and were told they were still eating breakfast! Haha. So we asked if the police officer was there and he appeared. We reported again what had happened and he advised us to go to the Municipal police in Puerto Galera. He even offered us his motorbike so we could get there but neither Alan nor myself knows how to drive one. He found this very funny as his eleven year old son can drive a motorbike and a car!
Instead, Alan and I got a tricycle to drive there slowly so we could check the roadside again. The trike driver was very helpful. He stopped at all the trike stops on the way, translated the problem to the other drivers, and rallied them to look and spread the word. They wanted to know the registration number or name of the driver of the tricycle the bag fell from so they could go and “sort him out”. We quickly had to explain that the driver hadn’t stolen it, it was just an accident!
In Puerto Galera the Municipal officer wrote down what happened but the Chief of Police wasn’t there to sign off on it. We returned on Monday when the Chief was there but the first officer apparently hadn’t written it in the official blotter so there was no record of it. One call and several hours later, the officer was brought in and after paying 200 pesos I finally got the report.
Despite the inconvenience and kerfuffle of losing my dive bag, it was lovely to experience the strong Filipino community spirit. And after all situations like this are what travel insurance is for! Now I get to buy shiny new dive kit – silver linings!