My long vacation was coming to an end and I had one week left so I decided that my last destination of this big break is the Philippines, specifically Cebu. I have seen several pictures of beautiful waterfalls, whale sharks (controversial), and underwater landscapes there and a 4 hour direct flight does not seem too bad. I invited one of my easy to convince friends to come along. And with ZERO effort of convincing, she was in.
I’m here for diving and diving only. And that’s what I did. Moalboal is a small coastal town with famous Panagsama beach. A very special thing about this bar/restaurant filled beach is the congregation of millions of sardine less than 10 meters away from the beach. You can literally walk off the beach into the water, swim out a bit and you will be greeted by millions of sardines so a lot of people snorkel here. Some free dive. I wanted better view so I went down there with a scuba tank. Cool spot! Apart from this site, there are other nice dive sites around the whole island to choose from. There’s also a nearby little island called Pescador where you are most definitely guaranteed a sea turtle encounter.
See more underwater photos HERE
This region is very well-known for the canyoneering/canyoning activity. With a helmet and a life vest, you trek through canyons, rivers, and small waterfalls. You do a lot of jumps a long the way. The jumps vary from 4 meter up to 13 meter high (if you don’t want to jump there are other ways you can go down). You also get to slide down (head first is optional) and swim in the beautiful crystal and freshly cool water throughout the canyons. The trail ends at the first level of the very beautiful Kawasan fall. I really enjoyed this! So much fun!
Comes a controversial activity, snorkeling with whale sharks while they are being fed by the fishermen. I was told by the local guide that this activity has been welcoming tourists participation for around 8 years now and it has been bringing jobs and money to the otherwise a very quiet and small fishing village. Whale sharks were essentially the village’s pest who always get into the fishermen’s net until one day they decided to start feeding them and they kept coming back for the feast. Tourists started to pour into the town to get the chance to interact with world’s biggest fish. And before you know it, Oslob became a sensational tourist destination. The crowd of curious travelers are seen from 6am til 11am when the feeding stops. You go in, get a 5 minute safety briefing and herded onto small spider boats. The boat takes you out less than 10 meters from the shore and BAM! whale sharks are swimming on the surface right in front of your eyes! There you have 30 minutes to snorkel around them. Though some people would say this is not good and we should not support this because of obvious reasons, I decided to join in anyway. In the fishermen’s and the people of Oslob’s defense, they only feed half of what whale sharks eat per day so after the feeding, the whale sharks still get to be whale sharks and go to the sea to find their own food anyway. They don’t rely solely on the fishermen. I’d rather see both the whale sharks and fishermen fed than seeing whale shark fins in some local fish market.
** We did whale watching in Oslob and canyoneering in Badian in one day using the tour service from AJ's place Resort. Very convenient.
A lesser known island a few hours south of Cebu. The island is known for its witch craft related past.You can even buy love potion and voodoo dolls on the island. I don’t know if it’s because it’s not yet a popular destination or because it was low season but every beach we came across, we were alone. The beaches were ours and I really enjoyed that :) We hired a scooter and just drove around the island making stops wherever we wanted to. Went to random beaches to do some snorkeling. Got a free fish spa under a century old Balete tree. Swung into fresh water of Cambugahay falls (this place was pretty crowded though). Got stuck in the thunder storm on the way back but the rain didn’t seem to be slowing down so we decided to drive the scooter in the rain anyway. With road works on the island, it was a bit slippery but we survived!
- I don’t know why but here they don’t take credit card. You pay everything in cash. It’s really inconvenient but there is no other choice. So remember to bring C A S H
- Apart from taking a taxi to Southern Bus terminal, there’s a shuttle bus service called ‘My Bus’ running from the Cebu airport to the SM mall in the city where you can then grab a cab from
- Give yourself buffer time when travel by bus. Travel time depends heavily on traffic on that particular day. A 4 hour journey could turn into a 6.5 hour journey
- If you can, get on Air conditioned bus.
- DO NOT travel between islands to catch a flight. We almost didn’t make it as our 7 hour journey turned to 11 hours. A smart thing to do would have been to stay over in Cebu the night before the flight.
- There’s a direct ferry from Liloan port (Cebu) to Lorena, Siquijor. From the initial research I was sure it was cancelled, but apparently it is not. We took a Maayo shipping ferry at 10 am to Lorena. Took us 3 hours. 230 PHP
- Direct ferry back to Cebu from Siquijor runs in the evening only. At 5 pm. If you want to leave in the morning you have to go via Dumaguete.
- 'Terminal Fee’ is a thing here. You pay that on top of your ferry tickets, prices vary depending on the port. This also applies to the departure from Cebu Mactan International airports (850 PHP)