Cebu and Siquijor Islands, Philippines
Day One - Travel to Moalboal
We arrived to Cebu City around 9 AM on a Thursday morning. We then took a taxi from the airport to a bus terminal and immediately got on a bus to Moalboal. Three hours later and we switched to a tricycle that took us the rest of the way to our resort. Whew! One very full day of travel meant time to relax, make a plan for the next day and get some Filipino grub! Our hotel was a bit removed from the town so we had to eat there, but it was a quaint little place with a nice menu. I opted for the Aberguine Torta (eggplant) with ground pork and Luke naturally chose the Filipino noodle dish - Pancit Canton, noodles with pork and veggies.
Day Two - Canyoneering
We woke up nice and well rested, ate breakfast and headed to our first activity of the trip - canyoneering at Kawasan Falls! On the way, our tricyclist's bike broke down so we were stuck on the side of a road for about 45 minutes before help came. Such is life. We eventually got where we needed to be and were soon dressed with life jackets and helmets, following our personal guide, Raymond. It was about a four hour experience hiking, swimming and jumping into the waters. (The extremely clear blue waters might I add!) As we assumed, there were quite a number of people there at the same time, but with only two of us, we were easily able to pass everyone as they waited for their groups. There were about twelve jumps and slides to take through the falls, a few of which were quite daunting. As a former victim of a broken back due to cliff jumping, I had my fears no doubt. But I faced them because I have never regretted taking a bit of a crazy risk so why should that be any different now? Well I was right. It was amazing!!! The very last jump was about 30 feet high down a waterfall and into this beautiful blue water pool where everyone was hanging out. The scariest one of them all and I'd be lying if I said I didn't contemplate walking down the back side so I didn't have to jump. But I did it - and I made it without injuries - and it was awesome! :D
After the canyoneering, Raymond took us to something that resembled a tiny cafeteria hut that seemed to be more for feeding the guides and the locals, but we sat down and ate some fried chicken, pork and rice. Once we were back to our starting point and had given up our gear, the workers told us to join them and we ate yet again - fried chicken, and rice, and chop suey.
That afternoon, I wasn't feeling great so I took a quick nap and later discovered I had food poisoning...on our second day of vacation. Luke was completely fine but we had so many big plans for the next day, but with unpredictable weather, and an unpredictable digestive system, we opted to take it a bit slower and see how things went in the morning.
Day Three - Island Hopping
I was able to eat almost a full piece of toast in the morning, but due to my major fomo, I gathered the strength to go island hopping and snorkeling with Luke and another couple staying at the resort. Our boat came shortly after breakfast and off we went. We went to two different "islands". The first was where we saw some amazing coral under the ocean. Above the water, our guide led us up a very rocky set of steps that took us to a pretty view of the waters around us and the boats beneath us. He was very eager to take our picture - so much it seemed like a photo shoot and we eventually had to tell him no thanks, we have plenty haha.
The second island was actually the same one we were staying at, but down quite a bit. This is where we saw thousands of sardines and a couple sea turtles! There were so many boats and tourists in the waters that it wasn't as calm and quiet as I would have preferred but still so amazing. Seeing the underwater world and the turtles, about three feet long, just swimming around and eating so peacefully - I could have just floated on top of the water watching them all day! Fortunately, my strength lasted the whole morning and I had no issues out in the water. It ended up only being a 12 hour bug, thank goodness!
When we arrived back to the resort, we realized just how sunburnt we both were, so I felt the need to go into town and buy a butt load of sunscreen and aloe lotion! Our driver suggested the mall and I figured, 'Sure! Let's see a bit of the town other than the pharmacy we've already been to twice.' If Luke wasn't with me, I probably would have bought so much more. Everything was so cheap and it was like a super version of TJ Maxx! I was in heaven. I did purchase some $4 shoes though as my sandals were already roughing up my feet. Score!
We came back to the resort, relieved our skin of the sun's harsh burn, and relaxed with some drinks under the common area's roof. We laid out on a ton of floor pillows with a table next to us and enjoyed the rest of the evening!
Day Four - Travel to Siquijor
Travel day. After our banana pancake breakfast, we got a tricycle around 7:30 AM to begin the journey to our next destination: Siquijor Island!
- Tricycle from resort to bus stop: 15 minutes.
- Bus until it ended (supposed to stop at the ferry, but it didn't): 1 hour 45 minutes.
- Motorbike to the ferry: 5 minutes.
- Ferry to Dumaguete: 30 minutes.
- Ferry to Siquijor: 2 hours.
- Tricycle from the port to our resort: 20 minutes.
So after the two tricycles, one motorbike, one bus, and two ferries, we finally got to our resort. This place was one of the nicest places we have stayed in! We were greeted with a lovely iced tea and a quick info sesh of the hotel and its amenities, then we freshened up and went back out for a drink and appetizer. The mangoes in the Philippines were incredible and are very popular. We each had a mango smoothie and split a small pizza while enjoying the absolutely stunning view behind our hotel!
As the sun began to set, we walked out to the rocks since the tide was so low and took quite a few pictures of the gorgeous scenery. We couldn't get enough. We came back in, and had dinner and drinks at the bar! All around relaxing end to our crazy travel-filled day.
Day Five - Motorbike Tour!
Day Five, and my favorite day of our trip, was when we rented a motorbike to drive ourselves and tour the island! Our hotel gave us a map with the popular and recommended destinations to see along the way.
Our first stop was the Old Enchanted Balete Tree which is a tree hundreds of years old, with a spring at the base where people gather around to sit and have their feet nibbled on by fishies! They had a small souvenir shop right there where I found a very real love potion! Look at how cute this little bottle is. 😂
Stop #2 was Cambugahay Falls! This was an incredible area of natural pools and waterfalls. People could jump from rope swings, wade in casually, or venture to the higher and less crowded pools. Again, the waters were unbelievably blue! I mean, bluer than Cookie Monster at a Blue Man Group concert. We swung from the ropes, played in the waterfalls and took some fun pictures. It was one of my favorite activities of our vacation!
Next on our adventure was Saladoong Forest. Here, we had pancit canton - a popular Filipino dish consisting of noodles, pork and vegetables. The "forest" however, was more of a beach front. Although there were a number of people, it somehow still felt a little secluded and special. There was yet another cliff people were jumping off of, about 16 meters high (~30 feet)! I opted out of this one since I felt I had redeemed myself with the other jumps earlier that week, but it sure was fun watching everyone else freak out right before they jumped!
After Saladoong Forest, we were about halfway around the island at this point, needed gas, had two more stops on our list, and only had a few hours left until sunset. The last two sites were the Tulapos Marine Sanctuary and a sister resort to the one we were staying at, Infinity Heights. Due to the time constraints and wanting to get back before dark, we chose to skip the marine sanctuary since we had already gone snorkeling and seen some amazing ocean life. The Infinity Heights Resort was located on top of a mountain and had an infinity pool that looked over the side. We got there right before sunset and OH MY GOODNESS I was blown away! It was perfect weather, a perfect sunset, and a stunningly gorgeous scene from the top. I was beyond sad that we didn't have more time because I truly could have spent an entire day just relaxing out back by the pool and the bar but reality meant we only had 30 minutes to jump in the pool, enjoy the view and take any pictures we wanted.
We rode the breaks all the way down the mountain, avoiding any major bumps that would potentially ruin our trip back. It was a pretty steep hill. After all, we were coming down a mountain. But Luke did a great job the whole time and we made it back in one piece. Didn't even need the first aid kit once!
We got back, showered up, and went to the bar next to our hotel for dinner and a beer. Such a memorable day with gorgeous views of the island and yet another amazing experience.
Day Six - Travel to Cebu City
On day six, we were sad to have to leave Siquijor and our resort. The staff were so nice and helpful and we actually had a number of nice conversations with them about our travels. We said our thank yous and goodbyes and hopped on yet another tricycle that took us to the port. From there, we took a 4 hour boat ride to Cebu City. The ride itself wasn't bad at all. But then we got off the boat. And it immediately started to downpour! As we stood under a taxi stand, the water on the ground quickly rose around our feet and within ten minutes, people were running in an inch or two of water, failing to keep dry.
We got a car to our hotel that was about 3x the price it should have been, but all part of being a foreigner in other countries...it happens. The rest of the evening, we had some dinner and relaxed in our room. It was yet another exhausting day of travel, and there wasn't much to do in the crowded city and awful weather except rest before going home.
The last travel day consisted of a taxi to the airport, two planes, a four hour layover, and a bus home from the airport, all which only took about 14 hours. Have I mentioned how tiring travel is? Whew!
We were so happy to get another country crossed off our list and experience some more amazing things like Kawasan and Cambugahay Falls, snorkeling with sea turtles, renting a motorbike, and redeeming myself by successfully jumping off high rocks! All that and we still had time to relax between activities. It was yet another for the books...er, the blog. 😊