TWO OF TWELVE:
You’d never go wrong picking Cebu as your next destination. What’s not to love? Cebu (if not all) has a lot to offer.
Last February, we had friends from Manila who wanted to experience “Cebu”.
The usual tourist list goes from Oslob Whaleshark to Tumalog Falls to Canyoneering to Osmena Peak to Island Hopping and the list goes on because come on?! You have lots of options to do here.
I usually do the itinerary for my trips but since this was a group thing and I was not the one on tour, I depended on what they wanted to do or where they wanted to go.
The weekend was jam-packed. First on the list was Oslob, basically because they wanted to see and swim with the gentle giants.
Oslob is a two-three hour drive from the city, southeast of Cebu. It’s a coastal town with 21 Barangays.
The Whaleshark watching activity lasts until 12 noon so you have to be there early if you want to catch the ‘Tuki’, as locals would say.
The rates were still the same – 350php if you are just watching, 500php if you are swimming. I can’t remember how many times I have been to the area bringing guests, not swimming or watching anymore (I can make this a sideline and earn a living).
This time I swam with the gentle giants again for the reason that I haven’t had any photo of them since my memory card got corrupted the last time I went there to swim.
Aside from the famous Whale Shark Watching activity, you have an option to go to Sumilon Island, Tumalog Falls, Cuartel and Baluarte.
After the activity, we headed to Moalboal, southwest of Cebu, to have lunch. Yes, it’s a long drive to where we’ll eat but that’s how we planned our day to be.
In Moalboal, most tourists stay at either Panagsama Beach (Basdiot) or White Beach (Basdako). Basdiot and Basdako are easy to remember. In Cebuano, “Bas” means sand, “Dako” means big, “Diot” means small. Just pick what sand you like!
There are plenty of resorts and hotels near either beach, although Panagsama has more bars, restaurants and dive shops. Since the resorts in the area cater mostly to divers, entertainment is laid back and more of a chilled out pub style atmosphere. Recreational diving is the main tourist activity in Moalboal, and is considered really good even according to Philippine standards
We first went to Panagsama beach in Basdiot to have lunch and to inquire about the Sardine Run. Unfortunately, the current was pretty strong that day. Some locals advised us not to go. We decided to transfer to Club Serena in Basdako to chill. It’s a private resort with a very exclusive atmosphere. Their restaurant is by the beach so we spent the rest of our afternoon there eating, drinking and chatting. We waited for the sun to set before we headed home.
We went round-south that day. We took the route from Oslob to Santander to Moalboal back to Cebu City. We wrapped up the day with Lechon for dinner. It’s a must try for those who haven’t been to Cebu. After dinner, we went home to prepare for our next ‘adventure’ (it’s a jam-packed weekend I repeat).
Rise and shine! Now off to Bantayan Island!
To go to Bantayan Island, we’ll have to pass through Hagnaya seaport to ride a ferry or barge. It’s a three-four hour drive from the city and another hour to reach the island.
Hagnaya is part of a town called San Remigio, North of Cebu. You can catch a bus in Cebu North Bus Terminal (check their daily schedule and fare updates), rent a van or bring your own car to reach the place.
You can bring cars via barge or cargo ships (much known as ‘Roro’) to Bantayan but it’ll cost much. In my case, I did not want to bring my car because salt or sea water may cause it to rust. We left Flipper (my car) in a private residence near the port paying only 300php (6USD). There are also car cages in the port where you can lock your cars for a fee.
We rode the public ferry for 180php (as of February 2016). The ferry departs from Hagnaya Port to Sta. Fe as early as 6AM with the last trip at around 5PM daily.
Bantayan Island is made up of three municipalities – Bantayan, Madridejos and Sta. Fe. Bantayan takes up the western and central areas and known for its picturesque sunset and centuries old church. Madridejos is a fishing village and known for its rich history. Sta. Fe boasts of its beautiful sunrise and famous for its wide stretch of fine white sand beach.
One of my friends has a colleague who owns a rest house in the island so we weren’t able to spend much except for food and fare. We stayed in a beach front rest house neighboring Sta. Fe Beach Club and Anika Beach Resort. These resorts are actually great places to stay if you want to visit the island. They are also close to the port, you can just walk or if you’re tired, ride a tricycle.
We stayed there for two days and one night since we had to go back to the city to work the next day. All in all, the trip was a blast. We had an awesome beach bumming experience. We may have encountered some problems like having no electricity which caused to no water, so what? You’re in an island, expect the unexpected. After all that’s what an island life is all about.