Written by manlalakbay on 23 Nov, 2007
This year’s All Soul’s Weekend turned out to be a long weekend. A very long one actually, spanning four days. An opportunity most people would grab to go home and spend time with their families. Our group, on the other hand, chose…Read More
This year’s All Soul’s Weekend turned out to be a long weekend. A very long one actually, spanning four days. An opportunity most people would grab to go home and spend time with their families. Our group, on the other hand, chose to have an adventure in two Cebu islands – Malapascua and Bantayan.We woke up quite early, around 4AM (though our agreed time of departure was actually 3) so we can avoid the transportation rush. But it turned out everybody had the same idea. When we got to the North Bus Terminal, there were already hundreds of people waiting for buses to go to cities down south. Our destination was the municipality of Maya which was 30 minutes away from Hagnaya, the stop of most people in the terminal.It was both interesting to witness the rush, as well as be part of it. There was no semblance of order. It was every man for himself. Timid and meek people will not make it through the aggressive throng. While our group was regularly giving and congenial, that morning was time for ruthlessness and cunning. We agreed that one of us stay in the van lane for possible negotiations with a driver, while the rest stay in the chaos of the bus lane since we were at an advantage. Meaning we can elbow our way through the crowd straight to the door. Though none of us were as eager to get a ride as to enter through windows of the bus. Which was not beyond the others who have already done so with non-aircon buses.Fortunately, the person assigned to the van was able to negotiate a ride to Maya for an additional 50 pesos. It was desperate measures for desperate times. 21 people inside the van was not very comfortable, but neither was waiting for a ride at the North Bus Terminal. I had to endure sitting on half a butt for most of the ride, but it got us where we wanted. The waiting for a ride and getting one was definitely part and the beginning of our adventure to Malapascua-Bantayan island. Close
Written by manlalakbay on 21 Nov, 2007
I’m not a morning person so waking up to view a sunrise is not a habit for me. But since the sun rises directly across Malapascua, I thought it would be a good practice for Dixie, my Nikon D40X camera to see how she…Read More
I’m not a morning person so waking up to view a sunrise is not a habit for me. But since the sun rises directly across Malapascua, I thought it would be a good practice for Dixie, my Nikon D40X camera to see how she fares on an early morning expedition.I woke up before the sun has risen. I was still surrounded by a twilight blue sky. The water was very calm, quiet and still and was actually quite inviting to swim in, but I was intent on taking pictures. The shore was littered with boats owned by the locals, mostly used for fishing. As it was getting bright, I noticed that there were dog packs in different parts of the beach, each pack consisting of four to five dogs welcoming the rising sun. They were frolicking, running after each other, and sometimes wrestling with each other. I saw more dogs than people. Only a few guests of the island were up and about. It was the locals who were starting their day early. Preparing dive equipment, getting ready for fishing, cleaning up the restaurants for breakfast. A typical morning of a small island town. Peaceful and tranquil.Finally, the sun was coming out. It was not as red as I expected, but the gradual transformation of the sky from twilight blue to periwinkle to sky blue was a wonderful experience in itself. Despite my eye not seeing much red, my camera took pictures of the sun rise like it was setting. The clouds hung low over the sky, fluffy and white with a little tinge of pink and orange. The white sand glowed light orange, creating the perfect light for picture-taking. Simply majestic. What I saw was definitely worth waking up early for. Close
Written by moonray on 25 Dec, 2004
Moalboal is a small quiet town about 4 hours away from Cebu airport. The centre of the town is occupied by a large church and marketplace. All around are low-rise little shops selling the basic necessities of life. The people here seem to like their…Read More
Moalboal is a small quiet town about 4 hours away from Cebu airport. The centre of the town is occupied by a large church and marketplace. All around are low-rise little shops selling the basic necessities of life. The people here seem to like their bakeries and confectionaries a lot, and you can find bread and cakes going for an incredible price of 1 peso each. I was ordering 10 of this and 10 of that, and it did not come up to more than 50s peso to feed snacks to 20 people. There is also a police station, but I have no idea what the policeman’s uniform looks like, as such is the nature where there is no need to have patrolling policeman making their presence felt.
There are lots of motorcycle taxis (motorcycle with a side car attached), a cousin of the Thailand tuk-tuk, and a ride on them goes for 6 pesos per person. If you are of the bigger build, check that you can get in and out of the side car or you may find yourself stuck! There are also bicycle taxis for those who prefer a slower and leg-powered ride, and buses that run the Cebu-Moalboal route. Vehicles follow the American system, where they drive on the right-hand side of the road and the steering wheel is on the left side of the vehicle. There are no road dividers, parking lots, and yellow lines and traffic lights are unheard of. You can even sit on top of minivans and vehicles, as I did on the action truck, but just hold on tightly and be careful of overhanging branches along the road that may decapitate you. It gets dark at about 5.30pm, and 7pm looks like the 11pm darkness that we are used to. The street lamps, if they exist, are dim, but the people seem to be very adapted to the dimness because it does not stop them from going about their business. Most of the people here are farmers and life here is simple and slow, yet to be invaded by a McDonald’s or a 7-11 shop. As an American PR agent who has been there for 20 years told me, the lifestyle and niceness of people has not changed much; the only difference is that there are paved roads that snake around the island of Cebu.
The tourist and diving area is at Panagsama Beach, which is a 10-minute ride from the Moalboal town centre, going through a few muddy roads before reaching a whole host of accommodation guest houses that go by the name of Nidos, Sunshine, and others. There are not many backpackers here, only divers, and even they do not seem to be too large in number. The diving hotspot is at an nearby island called Pesacador, and it is a place of thriving large sea fans and home to many turtles, schools of fish, and, if you are lucky, the occasional whale shark. The locals even say that during the months of April and May, when whale sharks go through the channel between Negros and Cebu, a friendly whale shark will come closer to shore to play with the local children!
The pathway that runs along the Panagsama beachfront passes through lots guesthouses; pubs; and eateries that offer good seafood, Western food, and even Japanese food. Among the best is the last filling station, with its pizzas and house specialty eggplants. Be patient with your orders, as they seem to take some time to cook, but don’t let that stop you from trying the fresh seafood and pizza concoctions or the local super-tasty grilled chicken. On one of the nights, 16 of us had a meal consisting of fried snapper, four shrimps in a sweet-and-sour dish, two whole grilled chickens, one sizzling tuna steak, four plates of vegetables, and one fried squid, with lots of rice and drinks. The total cost came up to be 2390 pesos, or 149 peso per person.
The beach here is not much of a beach, as the sand here was blown away in a typhoon that swept the area in 1984. What is left is the coral. In a way, that helps protect the beach from hordes of sun-soaking tourists. What one can do here includes snorkeling among the corals, fishing, and diving. Dig around the beach at low tide in the sand and the corals, and you can find plenty of sea life, like shell fish, star fish, and little crabs, left behind by the tide.
For a sandy beach, head to White Sands Beach, which is about 20 minutes from the Moalboal town centre. This is the beach the locals head to, and the long stretch of beach is not crowded; I only saw one the Western tourists there. The waves and current there are strong, so be careful. There are also lots of shelters along the beachfront, and having a barbeque there (like we did) is simply wonderful. There are accommodations for people to rent and stay in and some makeshift shops selling touristy T-shirts. One can get a T-shirt from 100 to 150 pesos. Regardless, there are not too many of these shops or peddlers to disturb the tired travaller wanting some quiet time on the sunny, white beach.
There is still more to be offered at Moalboal. For those wanting to work up a sweat, be courageous and go for a mountain hike up Mt. Osmena. You will be rewarded by stunning views of rolling green hills and the distant sea, and, at the same time, by having a close view of the hard life of the Moalboal farmer tending to his vegetable produce and farm animals. The hike takes about 3 to 4 hours up to the peak of the mountain, and it takes the same amount of time to come back down. You will have to watch your step for stable ground, as the pathway is narrow and rugged and becomes muddy when it rains. Bring lots of water, and a walking stick or pole is of immense help in finding firm footholds. Give yourself enough time to come down, bearing in mind that the sun sets at 5:30pm and that you do not want to be caught coming down on the rugged terrain of the mountain slopes in the dark. For the locals living and farming on the mountain slopes, they have no problem of course carrying their produce on their heads and navigating in the dark. Beware of the local animals as well, as one of our boys found himself being chased by a pig and, on another day, another was chased by an excited cow.
More action? Try river climbing, where you climb through the river and waterfall system. It is a combination of trekking through water, water caving, a bit of rock climbing, swimming, and seeing lots amazing crystal-clear turquoise water. It is tiring and you’re bound to fall many times. This needs lots of teamwork. You will get some cuts and bruises here and there and, at times, even feel like you are going to be swept away by the current, but it is well worth the challenge and thrill - the scenery looks like something from the Jurassic Age.
Even more action? Rappelling down buildings on manmade structures is fun, but there is simply nothing like a great adventure when canyoning in Monteneza Falls in Cebu. Here we are jumping off waterfalls, rappelling down, and doing the flying fox down the waterfall. The coolness and freshness of the water and the sound of many rushing waters amongst the overhanging cliffs are things to behold and enjoy.
For a less physically demanding challenge, go for a pleasant horseback riding experience through the Moalboal farm villages. There is lots of local scenery to savour, and be nice to the horse. It is a pleasant experience, except for the pain on your backside from the horseback riding.
Written by tigerspeaks on 01 Mar, 2007
I could hardly believe that it's been more than five years since I first packed my bags and decided to leave home and find my center in Cebu. I remember doing it half-heartily so. Not because I didn't wanna leave home, but because it wasn't…Read More
I could hardly believe that it's been more than five years since I first packed my bags and decided to leave home and find my center in Cebu. I remember doing it half-heartily so. Not because I didn't wanna leave home, but because it wasn't exactly where I wanted to be. Well that was before. That has taken a significant tire-screeching turn for quite sometime now. Cebu is the perfect stop--or pit stop--for weary wanderlust people. It's urbane enough to provide you with the latest update from the jungle out there, the hippest bars and clubs, the new trends and styles in fashion and the technology to get in touch with the rest of the world. As a bonus, it's got heavenly beaches and to-die-for hideaways. And listen to this--everything is cheap! Well, if you know where to find "everything" in this island.
The country's history is largely anchored on so many Cebu-based events. Its age-old traditions have been kept alive by annual festivals and continuous studies of the cultural turning points of the place. The most popular of such is the Sinulog Festival, which happens every third Sunday of January. Although it traces its origins to a pagan ritual, Sinulog celebrates the feast of Sr. Sto. Niño and also relives the first venture of the Catholic faith into the country. A melting pot indeed, Cebu is home to a long list of religious groups and practices--both pagan and theistic. This is widely manifested in the rich collection of artistic exhibits both modern and classical that this queen city of the south has to offer. And of course, there's Sinulog. Check out the place and check in to the hodgepodgey world that we fondly call Cebu.
Written by wysgal on 14 Mar, 2006
One hour on the plane, 4 hours in the car/bus, and a 30 minute boat trip to the island of Malapascua would be burdensome for those spoiled by the convenience of getting to Borcay. I didn't mind, but wouldn't recommend a trip there for my…Read More
One hour on the plane, 4 hours in the car/bus, and a 30 minute boat trip to the island of Malapascua would be burdensome for those spoiled by the convenience of getting to Borcay. I didn't mind, but wouldn't recommend a trip there for my own family.Waking up at 4:30am to be in full gear, and descending into the water as the sun is rising is no joke, but the thresher sharks at Malapascua are absolutely gorgeous—the most good looking shark I've ever seen.I love how there was a fantastic lack of people on the island. Just enough tourists so that I didn't feel strange about being the only customer, but few enough that I felt like I was at my own private island getaway.Service is lackadaisically slow, but we were never in a hurry anyway.The best restaurant on the island is this Italian one called La Dolce Vita, where meals cost a fortune by island standards—Php300 to 400 per person, and more if you order wine. Close
Written by cytiev on 08 Oct, 2004
One of my favorite places in the Philippines is Cebu. Located in the Visayas region, Cebu is a combination of provincial and cosmopolitan living.
The Mactan-Cebu International Airport is one of Philippine Airlines' major hubs in the southern Philippines, as Cebu is a gateway to…Read More
One of my favorite places in the Philippines is Cebu. Located in the Visayas region, Cebu is a combination of provincial and cosmopolitan living.
The Mactan-Cebu International Airport is one of Philippine Airlines' major hubs in the southern Philippines, as Cebu is a gateway to Mindanao.
Several times I find myself waiting for a delayed arrival of an aircraft from Manila, so I go around the terminal or outside and buy native delicacies or sample local cuisine. Inside the terminal are food stalls, which serve quick snacks. I’ve forgotten the name of the stall that serves La Paz batchoy - a native version of noodles in broth, but it is located just beside a Dunkin’ Donuts outlet.
Other food items included in their list are: Mami - Chinese version of noodles in broth, Puto - rice cake, Siopao - Chinese bun with pork inside, and Goto/Lugaw - native rice porridge flavored with ginger. Their version of local fast food is very filling and affordable.
The native delicacies available for sale at the terminal are expensive, so, when I have plenty of time, I go outside, ride a tricycle to a nearby food outlet in the area, and fill my bag with Otap, a flaky sweet biscuit; Chicaron Cebu, crispy pork rinds; and dried mangoes. Cebu has some of the best-tasting dried mangoes in the Philippines.
Written by poopster23 on 21 Aug, 2006
Hilutungan is a beautiful small island east of Cebu in the Philippines. The people in the village are warm and friendly. There's a school and a church in the village - and a lot of children. Every household seems to have at least two…Read More
Hilutungan is a beautiful small island east of Cebu in the Philippines. The people in the village are warm and friendly. There's a school and a church in the village - and a lot of children. Every household seems to have at least two roosters; they are kept for fighting. The roosters are not aware that they should crow only to wake people up... Close