We’re into our last day here in The Philippines and, sadly, the last few days of our S.E. Asian adventure, we fly back to the UK in a couple of days. This is what we’ve been up to since the last update.
After Dumaguete we headed to an island called Siquijor, famous for its history of witch doctors. It was a lot smaller then the previous islands we had visited and fist impressions were good, we headed to our accommodation, Belles Bar and Restaurant, which was about a 20 minute drive from the port, we managed to share a jeepney with another couple who were staying just up the road from us so it was a bit cheaper however as it’s a small island a lot of the trike journeys are a fixed rate and more expensive then the mainland, but that’s island prices for you.
Our accommodation was good, the resort has a little rocky private beach area so it wasn’t really swimmable. We arranged an island tour with a local driver and hit the sights, an enchanted tree where we had our feet nibbled by fish, as you do, then had a great time at Cambugahay waterfalls, we got there early so had the place to ourselves for a while – excellent.
We had time to visit a mangrove park, spend some time at the beach and visit a rather tired shell museum which boasted a selection of “very rare” shells, probably rare as they’d been collected for the place! We ended our long day with a quick visit to Paliton Beach which we’d read was nice but it was a little disappointing as the water was a bit dirty and the beach was used by loads of fishing boats.
We spent the next day snorkelling at the nearby marine park just of the shore, the water was crystal clear and we saw lots of brightly coloured fish.
That’s Siquijor in a nutshell more or less, from there we took a ferry back to Dumaguete where we finally got ourselves to Apo Island for a spectacular snorkelling trip. The island is famed for its dive sites and turtles, before we’d even got off the boat we saw a turtle swimming around, once in the water we were amazed by the colourful coral and the abundant sea life. We spotted turtles without trying too hard and had them to ourselves as most of the other snorkelers had to be towed by their guide so took ages to get in the water.
We took the trip through Harold’s Dive Shop in Dumaguete and it was 1000 peso each which was good value but the lunch of cold veggy noodles was a let down.
We hit 3 different sites around the island and counted at least 7 turtles as well as seeing volcanic gas bubbling up through he seafloor and getting scared witless by a surfacing sea snake! We had a fantastic, tiring day.
We took a short but choppy ferry ride the next day over to Southern Cebu and caught a bus to Moalboal, renown for the sardine run, huge shoals of sardines that mass just off the shore.
At Moalboal we stayed at Pacita’s Beach Resort where our room was spacious and had a nice big fridge which we filled with pineapple juice four our rum. Sadly our time here was mostly rainy but we managed a day out visiting the hot springs and Kawasan waterfalls. To be honest we didn’t realise quite how far the springs were, it took about an hour and a half to get there which isn’t too ‘much fun in a trike but they were just about worth the trip.
We were really disappointed with the falls, the area has been overdeveloped, you can’t get into the main part as restaurants have set up on all the public space and charge 300 peso just to sit down and ropes and cables criss cross the pool where people pay 300 peso to be floated out into the water.
All was not lost as we found a couple of quieter areas away from the crowds where we were able to enjoy the cool water but overall we were underwhelmed and had much more fun at Cambugahay.
We spent the next day snorkelling just off the shore and were again blown away by the sites, we saw turtles enjoying their breakfast and spent some time watching them swim around and go about their business then had the unreal experience of floating amongst the huge shoal of sardines, it really was breath taking and something we’ll never forget.
After Moalboal we found ourselves with a week or so left in the Philippines so wanting to take a break from the travelling decided to spend it at Malapascua Island off the north coast of Cebu.
We took a hit and decided to do the journey in 1 day which involved 2 bus journeys and 2 boats and took a tiring 10 hours. We stayed at Thresher Cover Resort which had a private beach and a pool, our room was great too. The island is popular with divers mostly due to thresher sharks which you can see early in the mornings nearby. We enjoyed 2 days chilling out and relaxing by the pool and recharging our batteries. We liked the island so much we decided to extend our stay but had to move resorts to Starlight Resort further inland.
The reaming days were spent relaxing on the beach, swimming in the sea and making friends with the local kids who mobbed us when we first arrived and shared some yam and sea urchin with us, yummy!
On our last full day we got to visit Kalngaman island, famous for it’s bright white sand bar, unfortunately we had a bad weather day so it wasn’t as amazing as we were expecting we did however see lots of flying fish and a couple of dolphins along the way.
We had a couple of days in Cebu City where we did a bit of shopping and enjoyed the roof top bar and tiny pool before we flew to Manila which is where we are now counting down the hours until we head to Bangkok tonight. We’ve really enjoyed our time in the Philippines, things we liked:
- Lechon anything! Basically slow roasted belly pork or chicken, cheap and delicious.
- Rum! Again cheap and tasty, we found coconut rum in Bohol which was fab mixed with pineapple juice, sadly we didn’t see it again. 😔
- Snorkeling. Clear waters, abundant fish, coral and turtles.
- Public transport is surprisingly affordable and easy to navigate.
- Being called Sir and Ma’am everywhere we go.
- Filipinos know how to and respect queuing!
One thing we didn’t like:
- Paying lots of little extra fees everywhere, leaving an airport? Fee. Getting on a ferry? Fee. Got a big bag? Pay for an extra seat. It’s not usually a lot but it adds up, it’s the only place we’ve felt taken advantage of at times.