|Snorkeling at Sumilon Island.|
Before I proceed, disregard the date and time stamp on the photos because I was too excited to use my action camera that I forgot to check the setting. Silly me!
My first time in Cebu was more of a city tour and although it was fun for a first-timer in the Queen City of the South, it felt incomplete. After 3 years, I am back and it was a more adventurous and daring trip with my friends.
Our tour package included 2 nights and 3 days hotel stay, swimming with the whale shark, trek to Osmena Peak, Mainit hot spring, canyoning to the Kawasan Falls, snorkeling at Pescador Island, sardine run in Moalboal and Sumilon Island sandbar stay. All of that for only 6,500 pesos. You will get a better deal if you are a group of 5 or more.
We arrived at the Mactan Cebu International Airport around 7 in the morning last March 12 and we immediately headed south to Badian where we were met by our travel agent. We rode a taxi from the airport to Cebu Bus Terminal and then rode a Badian via Barili bus and it cost us 500 pesos. If it is your first time to go South of Cebu, just tell the bus conductor where you will go and he will tell you if you're in your right destination.
After the 4-hour bus ride, we finally arrived at the hotel. Our agent informed us that we only have 15 minutes to rest and change our clothes because we will go to Moalboal for our first activities--Pescador Island snorkeling and sardine run.
|The breathtaking beach of Moalboal.|
While waiting for our boat to arrive, we frolicked on the shore, did snorkeling. Just a few meters off the shore is where you will meet the school of sardines and if you are lucky, like us, you will see a friendly sea turtle. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my action camera because I forgot to charge the battery.
The crystal clear water and white sand of the beach were so inviting. It doesn't matter if the water is cold. While waiting for our boat that will take us to Pescador Island, I took some photos using my mobile phone macro lens.
Pescador Island is 30 minutes away from Moalboal. It is a solitary island where you can snorkel and jump off the cliff to the sea if it is high tide. We saw different kinds of colorful fishes, an eel and a lion fish. We were so lucky that day because we got to see dolphins from afar!
|The gentle giant called "Butanding" or whale shark.|
We were ready at 4 in the morning the next day for our trip to Oslob to see the whale sharks. Viewing time is from 6AM to 12NN only and there's a long queue so we had to be there early. It is mandatory to attend a short seminar about whale shark behavior, their importance in the ecosystem and the things you are allowed and not allowed to do during the tour.
We were given 30 minutes to swim with the whale sharks. They are fed with krill. No one is allowed to touch the whale sharks but they swim so close to you that you will sometimes touch their tail and fins. One of the highlights of our entire Cebu trip is our whale shark encounter.
Our next stop was the Sumilon Island sandbar. We purposely hurried to be at the island because there might be a high tide and we will never see the sandbar. We stayed there for 30 minutes. There's a resort on the island so tourists can stay longer if they want to.
Our third destination on our second day of the tour is the Mainit Hot Spring. There are 4 hot springs with varying temperatures. If you like to experience Japanese onsen, this is the place to go. I dipped my feet for a good five minutes and it was relaxing. It's good for those who suffer from arthritis and other joint and muscle problems.
While we did not stay longer in the hot springs, we trekked the up the river to see the beautiful waterfalls. It's unusual for a hot spring and a cold spring in one location but they were there. After entering a cave and passing through a waterfall, the end of the trail is this view.
Part of our tour is the Osmena Peak but we were not able to climb because of heavy rain. From the main road to the drop off point, we traveled more than one hour in a van. It was a tiring day and we decided to head back to the hotel to rest.
|The trail to the canyon.|
We're off at 8 in the morning the next day for our canyoning adventure to the Kawasan Falls in Badian, It's 15 minutes away from our hotel to the drop off point. Our guide recommended we descend the canyon to the falls because the other route is more exhausting. It's a must to wear a helmet and life vest.
|Reminders before descending the canyon.|
We walked 30 minutes to reach this station going down the canyon. It was a slippery down slope so we exerted extra effort on the legs and arms.
This is where the real canyoning adventure begins. It looks like we were in another world, an enchanted forest. The rock formations, the lush greens and clear waters will make you forget about the tiring trek.
It was my first time to jump off a fall and it gave me extreme adrenaline rush. It's the kind of rush that will get you to jump to even higher fall and platform.
Halfway downstream, there stores that sell barbecues, fruits and beverages to replenish tired bodies. We rested and ate for 15 minutes before we jumped off a platform again. There are two platforms but I chose the lower one just because. It was so scary.
I jumped because there's no other way. During our canyoning adventure, I discovered that I am braver than I think I am. It was truly a journey towards self-discovery.
Here's another fall, I think the third of the largest. We walked, swam, and dove for more than 3 hours before we reached the Kawasan Falls.
The Kawasan Falls has the most turquoise of all turquoise waters I have seen. We only took pictures because we still have a long way to go before we reach the end of our adventure.
|Women washing clothes in the river.|
The walk towards the end of the river was easy, mostly flat and concrete pavements, so it was a relief from our tired feet and legs. After 4 hours, we were back in the hotel.
The famed glowing 10,000 Roses in Cordova, Mactan is 30-45 minutes away from the airport. The coffee shop is open from 10AM to 10PM but guests are allowed to see the roses until midnight. We arrived at 10:45 and stayed for only 15 minutes because our cab is waiting at the parking area a few meters away.
|A best seller in Casa Verde.|
While it's easier to go around the city in a cab, it's not cheap: a 30-minute ride will cost you at least 150 pesos. We had lunch at Casa Verde in Lim Tian Teng Street and was surprised to be served with a huge platter with rice and a pitcher of raspberry iced tea for only 1,099 pesos! After the sumptuous lunch, we bought goodies at Shamrock near Robinsons Galleria.
Overall, it was a memorable tour and I would definitely go back if time permits. I honestly love Cebu because it's clean, the people are friendly, food is delicious (I especially love their roasted chicken stuffed with vegetables.) and they know the importance of maintaining cleanliness to sustain their tourism industry.
If you are planning to visit the places we've been to, I recommend you contact Raymund Sande at +639151392249 or you can visit their Facebook page here.