South to North Cebu travelog

 

Thursday – Sunday
February 18-21, 2016

The last time I was in Cebu, I vowed to return. So back in August, when Cebu Pacific had their seat sale, some friends and I immediately booked tickets for Cebu. Fast forward six months later and I was on a flying piece of metal bound for my favorite island!

My flight to Cebu went without a hitch. There were no delays and everything went smoothly. So in my mind, I was already thinking “hmm, there’s gotta be a trade-off, I wonder what terrible thing is going to happen in this trip.” Well, more on that in a bit.

After arriving in the promised land, my little friend and I made our way to South Bus Station and boarded the bus passing through Dalaguete. Our first stop was Osmeña Peak!

We got a bit lost but we reached the jump off point via habal-habal. By then, it was already drizzling. The van of our organizer was already there waiting for us, so we quickly hiked up Cebu’s highest point.

Osmeña rules and the viewless ascent
Osmeña rules and the viewless ascent

Remember when I was waiting for something to go wrong? Well, the rain worsened and drenched us on our ascent. We were completely covered in fog so there was no view at all. Shivering and wet, we reached the summit and took photos nevertheless. A lesson in futility.

What a great view, am i right?
The highest point of Cebu, what a view right?

We didn’t stay long because it was showering and there was no clearing. So I just told myself to come back and do the complete Osmeña Peak traverse next time.

We changed to dry clothes and boarded the van (Sorry for making you wait, fellow tourists) where we were sent to Nanay Dolor’s Homestay, a very nice place to stay in Badian. We washed our shoes, dried our clothes and prepped up for the  next day’s adventure!

Friday, February 19, was my birthday, and I woke up early to prepare for the main reason why I came to Cebu, Canyoneering! My friend already had a contact who would be our guide and organizer for the day. He sent a multicab to pick us up and our first stop was Moalboal.

Chilling by the beach
Chilling by the beach

There, we headed to Pescador island to jump off a 43-foot cliff and snorkel around the nearby reefs.

 

A 43-foot dive!
A 43-foot dive!

After that, we went to a nearby reef to hunt for sea turtles. Sadly, we didn’t see any because they were hiding at the deeper parts of the reef. There was a dropoff and I was a bit scared when I looked into the infinite depths of the ocean, but swimming in the open water was amazing. I’ll take it over a swimming pool any day.

The final stop was the Sardine Run, which was a breathtaking experience. I dove into the water and looked at the view, but I couldn’t see anything. Then I noticed that the dark gray mass below me were actually thousands of tiny sardines! When I neared them, they swam away in beautiful patterns. There was even a moment where they followed the direction of my hand and I felt like a sardine-bender.

After a bit more open water swimming, we headed back to the beach and had lunch at a resto near the Moalboal church. Then, it was finally time for the Canyoneering! We headed to the Kawasan falls jump off in Badian to get our required life vests and helmets. After that, we took the van to Alegria where the adventure started.

Ready to jump!
Ready to jump!

It was super fun! As a fan of cliff-diving, I had a blast jumping into the water. The Life vests were also really helpful especially since most times, I just wanted to float around and be carried by the river while admiring the views formed by nature. I can’t contain all my emotions here, but it is an experience I would recommend to everyone!

One of the most unique and fun-filled experiences ever!
One of the most unique and fun-filled experiences ever!

Unfortunately, it got dark just as we reached the final and highest cliff jump. Because of this, I wasn’t able to see Kawasan falls in its majestic glory. Once again, I told myself that I will surely be back! We had a scrumptious and well-deserved dinner at the Kawasan resort and finally made our way back to the homestay.

Feeling tired but accomplished, we slept a bit before catching the early morning bus back to Cebu. Once in the city, we went straight to the North Bus Station and caught a bus to Maya Port, the jump off to Malapascua Island!

There was a boat already waiting for us in Maya Port, and after a few more passengers being loaded, we had a quick ride to the island itself. It was beautiful. I’m running out of adjectives to describe this whole Cebu experience because it is simply really really nice to the eyes.

Leaving Maya port and entering Malapascua island!
Leaving Maya port and entering Malapascua island!

Good thing we didn’t come during peak season, so mostly it was just foreigners roaming around. Nevertheless, most of the resorts were fully booked. But we were able to score a dorm-sized place to stay and it had a beachfront view as well! Win!

Divelink was one of the coolest stays I've had
Divelink was one of the coolest accommodations I’ve been to

Once we were settled, we spent the afternoon with a snorkeling package organized by one of the locals. They took us to three dive sites, including the one where Drew Arellano jumped off! Aaaaah! #DrewOrDie

Having fun in the open sea and a cute little fish resting
Watching the sunset and taking silhouette poses
Watching the sunset and taking silhouette poses

When we were done swimming around, we returned to our dorm and fixed up a bit. Then we watched the sunset, had dinner and finally, disco! For some reason, it was disco night in Malapascua, so we joined in on the fun since we had nothing better to do. It was nice seeing the locals dancing with the tourists while drinking alcohol. The music could use a little updating, but I still had fun.

Disco aftermath
Disco aftermath

The next day was the day of our flight back to Manila. Sadnu. So we just spent the morning lounging around the beach and looking at the beautiful views before packing up.

Hammock chilling by the beach
Hammock chilling by the beach

Finally, after saying a very difficult goodbye to Malapascua, we took a boat back to Maya Port, rode a bus back to the city, and finally, a cab to the airport. It was fun, Cebu. But now I have to go. Tears.

The good life
The good life

Details:

For South Cebu Adventures, contact Sir Raymund Sande at 0943 320 0118. He offers most of the activities in the area like Whale Shark Watching, Canyoneering, Moalboal Island Hopping, Osmeña Peak, as well as coordinating with Nanay Dolor for the homestay. He is an excellent guide and knows how to handle a GoPro as well. He and his people will take good care of you.

Estimated Time of activities:

• Airport to South Bus Station: 1 hour
• South Bus Station to Dalaguete: 3 hours (minimum traffic)
• Dalaguete to Osmeña Peak: 45 mins Habal-habal (P100/head)
• Osmeña Peak Climb: 45 mins
• (Optional) Osmeña Peak Traverse: 3-5 hours
• Osmeña Peak travel to Badian: 1 hour 10 mins
• Homestay to Moalboal port: 1 hour 30 mins
• Moalboal Island Hopping (Pescador Island, Sea Turtle finding, Sardine Run): 3 hours 30 mins
• Canyoneering: 4 hours

For Malapascua, take a bus from North Bus Station to Maya Port, then take a boat to Malapascua. The first boat is usually around 6am and the last one at around 4pm. From Malapascua, the last boat going back to Maya Port leaves as 3pm, but you can ask the locals around the island for the more accurate day-to-day updates. The trip lasts for around 1 hour.

Once on the island, just ask the locals for contacts on the activities like snorkeling, sunset viewing, as well as trips to Kalanggaman Island (just haggle for the lowest price). For scuba diving, I recommend Divelink. They also have lodging which is where we stayed at. It’s really beautiful. Eat at Mabuhay Restaurant and other local karinderyas. As long as you don’t arrive during peak season, there’s something for you on the island.


This was my first adult travel experience i.e. my first out of town trip where everything was paid for by my money. I’m glad it was Cebu and I don’t regret it at all. As long as it’s Cebu, I’m (most likely) willing to spend for it. But for the whole 4 day-stay and going from south to north, my budget was just a little bit over P6,000! Panalo na.

There are still so many activities in Cebu that I haven’t gotten around to doing. And even then, I still wanna do canyoneering and go to Malapascua again. So I am pretty sure I’ll be back. By then I hope to be a licensed Scuba Diver or at least know how to speak Cebuano.

Thank you promo fare, and Big Papa G for the wonderful weather and opportunity. +

Thank you Aiko, Blou, and Joan for the memories and the photos. Until the next getaway!

The Cebu crew!
The Cebu crew! More pictures at my instagram page

I love you Cebu!

Having so much fun!!
Having so much fun in the Thresher shack!!

-jgzn

p.s.

Cebu is known for their diving spots with the chance to see Thresher sharks and they make it seem like you can automatically do it once you get to the island, but the truth is, you have to undergo Scuba Diving lessons and get your license in order to swim with the sharks.

This can take a bit more time (4 days) than the usual vacation period and cost more (P15,000-20,000) than the average budget. So if it really is your goal to swim with the Thresher sharks, Malapascua is the best and most convenient place to get your diving credentials.

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