After my work trip in Japan, I (Sam) needed a dose of relaxation from the demanding schedule I had just been working. Cebu was not too far so I decided to extend my trip and spend 4 days in this amazing place! Four days in the Philippines is definitely not enough, but it is better than nothing and gave me the taste I needed – to know if I’d want to return or not (hint: I do! It was glorious). So what did I do with my limited time? I spent it on Cebu Island relaxing and snorkeling. Read on to learn about my 4-day itinerary!
Day 1: Whale Sharks
After having woke up very early that morning, 4:30 am to be exact, I caught a shuttle bus from my hostel (Nordzee Hostel) to Oslob. Once at the site, I paid the 1000 Peso fee and waited my turn to go out on to the boats to where the whale sharks are. Finally I got on the boat, paddled out and jumped in. WOW! How incredible it was to swim with these massive creatures. The 30 minutes we spent in the water with them was not enough; I could have swam with them all day, mesmorized by their size and grace in the water. Swimming with whale sharks was always a ‘bucket list’ item for me so I am happy I got to experience it and hope to bring Jackie along to my next adventure doing so.
After whale shark snorkeling, I went back to the hostel and spent the remainder of the day soaking in the sun on the beach – yes, you read that right – the hostel was right on the beach! I was just completely in awe of how much beauty there was in the region (and believe me, these pictures do not do it justice!)
I had a great first day in Cebu and was looking forward to day 2. I had made some friends in the hostel was looking forward to spending the day with them.
Day 2: Motorbikes, Waterfalls, Sardines, and Sea Turtles
This day was by far the most adventurous of the four days I spent in Cebu. The night before I met 3 awesome people at the hostel and the three of us discussed grabbing some motorbikes and self-driving to Kawasan Falls, and Moalboal. Hoping to beat the crowds, we set out at 6am to go to the bike rental shop. After gearing up, we were on our way! The drive to Kawasan falls from our hostel was about 2 hours. The drive to Kawasan falls followed the island’s coastline pretty much the whole time and it was incredibly scenic along the way!
We finally got to Kawasan, but accidentally drove right past it. The next series of events was, at the time, pretty insane, but it made for a good story and now looking back, is pretty funny. So 3 of 4 (Me, Star, and Shane) of us realized we passed it and stopped just down the road, the 4th (Ryan) didn’t realize it (I guess) so he kept on driving. 10 or so minutes later we see Ryan coming back on the other side of the road. So me, Shane, and Star pull a u-turn to go back towards the falls, Star first, then Shane; but Shane u-turned at about the same time that Ryan decided start driving …. Crash. The two guys took a wicked spill after crashing into each other. It took about 15 minutes for Ryan to shake up the shock of the crash and an apparent injury to his ankle. During that time we were surrounded by local Filipinos trying to help. It was a bit overwhelming. Finally we were ready to get going again. Star and Ryan go first, but me behind Shane noticed he was having a hard time starting his bike so I decided to go over and help. While getting off my bike, I accidentally squeezed my accelerator which took me into barbed wire and bushes. After we got that out of our system, we finally made it to the falls. Kawasan Falls were absolutely beautiful! Most people canyoneer the falls but after our eventful ride getting there, we decided to just go and see the first and biggest fall, swim a bit and be on our way.
After the falls we made our way to Moalboal which is very popular for the sardine run and the occasional sea turtle. We got into town and rented snorkel gear for a 150 pesos. Snorkelling in Moalboal was awesome! Millions of sardines packed tight swimming around was a sight to see. It was almost like the scene in ‘Finding Nemo’ where they swim toward the sardines and upon doing so, they scatter. So cool!
Making our way back was long and adventurous. It got dark really fast and we were super nervous to return the bikes with all the damages. It was actually a nice surprise though at the bike shop because the owner was extremely honest and told us the damages were only about 700 pesos per bike, which is roughly $14.00, so it wasn’t too bad!
After being back at the hostel, my new friends and I went to a local karaoke bar next to the hostel. We had a fun night!
Day 3: ‘Sinkin Beers’ and Karaoke
After the crazy day we had the night before, we thought it would be best to keep the day low-key, hanging at the hostel in the sun. Not much to report for the day, other than we brought a couple new faces into the group, which we called ourselves Shane and Friends (aka ‘Sam’s Sardine Squad’). One thing I can say about traveling is it affords you the opportunity to meet fellow travelers. After a full day of just hanging out, the night brough the 5 of us back at the karaoke bar “sinkin’ beers” and Cuba Libra’s.
Day 4: Fishing, Barbecue, and Town
On my last day, one of the local guys from the karaoke bar came by with a fishing net and food, consisting of BBQ chicken and hanging rice. After eating lunch and fishing with some of the locals, we went back to the beach to hang out. We later went into town for ice cream, an awesome way to end my trip. My last day in the Philippines was finally over and I took the bus back to the Airport in Cebu City. The Philippines were great. It was a really cool beach vacation. I definitely want to go back and see more of the country, of course, with my beautiful wife in tow! 😉 (now how about those brownie points?!)
Until next time, ‘Saif’ travels!