The Day I Missed My Flight Because of Cebu Lechon (Roasted Suckling Pig)
Every traveler has his or her I-missed-my-flight story. Perhaps it happens at least once for each person – so far, I have experienced the minimum (which does not mean to say I want it to happen again).
This post tells the trail of events leading to that encounter.
I went to Cebu for a few times in 2017 to visit friends and reminisce my days when I was there for review in 2015. As far as I can remember I spent 3 days there, bringing with me my online work and going around the city when I am vacant.
Typically, I do not buy souvenirs, or any pasalubong for that matter, before I go home from my travels. I consider myself a budget traveler, and my family and friends know I am a cheapskate.
But making an exemption in my visit to Cebu in July, and as requested by my sister who had lechon (roasted suckling pig) cravings at the time, I obliged to buy a kilo of the famous Cebu delicacy. Plus, I had extra money that time with only a few days before my next salary.
Only to realize that it was a mistake. Buying Cebu lechon for take out made me miss my flight.
My flight’s boarding time is at around 4:30 PM. I already checked out of my hotel before 1 PM, which meant I have about 3 hours to reach the airport for check-in.
Confident that I will not miss my flight, I went to this Lechon Place A, a famous chain, which is just a stone’s throw away from my hotel.
I went to Lechon Place A hoping that my next destination from there would be the airport. I was wrong. At the time they ran out of lechon, so I had to find another restaurant that serves the fiesta staple.
With the help of Google Maps, I discovered that the nearest restaurant is Lechon Place B, about 3 kilometers away from Lechon Place A. Not minding how far it was from the airport, I still pushed it.
This is where my underestimation and lack of foresight had failed me.
It was a Friday and as early as 2:00 PM there was already heavy traffic going to the Ayala area in Cebu, something that I did not experience before in my visits. I was still hopeful though that I could make it on time and decided to go grab that damn lechon.
It was already around 3:00 PM when I arrived at Lechon Place B. To my dismay, I was told to wait for 15 minutes before I could take my order out.
At this point I was already cursing. If you were in my place, you would, too.
Because I did not want to disappoint my sister and since I was already there, I thought the 15 minutes of waiting will not hurt.
Unfortunately, it did. Also, it wasn’t 15 minutes of waiting time but 20 minutes.
Already with the lechon in my hands, I took the MyBus, a bus service which plies the SM City-Mactan Cebu International Airport route, among others.
This was another miscalculation: Would I have taken a taxi, I might have been at the airport counter in time for check-in.
Upon unloading from the bus at around 4 PM, I rushed my way to the check-in. While sweating, I was told:
“Sorry Sir, you are 8 minutes late and we could not allow you to board the plane.”
For a second, my world stopped. All that hustle only to miss my flight.
I tried to ask the attendant if she could do something about it, granting that the airplane has not even left yet, but to no avail. My charm did not work that time.
Shortly after that, I informed my mother that I cannot come home that day and told my sister that she will not be having the lechon.
With lechon being a perishable good, there were two things I could do: eat it or let someone consume it for me not lather than that night.
I chose the latter. But instead of giving it away, I thought of selling it because I needed some cash to spend for my delay.
At Mactan Cebu International Airport’s departure area, I first asked outgoing passengers, verbally, if they are interested in my lechon as their pasalubong. This attempt did not work after a few tries.
I realized that I had post-its and a pen with me so I tried marketing it that way. I sat in a comfortable position with my box of lechon beside me.
People were staring at me thinking that I should be desperate. I was. And I do not care. I just wanted the lechon out of me in exchange for some cash.
Thirty minutes later, some guy who was wearing a taxi driver/attendant uniform stood in front of me. I was quite unsure if he was interested with the lechon because he did not ask. I waited.
Until I saw him gathering around 7 men and women in the same uniform counting some money. It was then that I realized that he called his other taxi drivers/attendants to chip in and buy my lechon.
All of them approached me and asked, sympathetically, about how I missed my flight — it was the lechon they bought. They chuckled a little... in Cebuano.
I was almost teary-eyed when I told this story to them, and even now, less than a year later, while typing this story.