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Cebu -whale sharks and other stories

December 26, 2016

 

Unlike other islands Cebu was our accidental discovery, kinda serendipity moment. We planned it away from the usual tourist destination to find calm beaches, but instead got a package of adventurous moments.

Surely its main island Cebu city is the oldest city and first the capital of Philippines is worth visiting with the 167 smaller islands around it. Here you will get little bit of history, stories of resistance to Spanish, and the establishment of Christianity. To uncover the beauty of Cebu you need to find time. The day tour around the Cebu city will take you to - Lapu Lapu shrine, Cebu Taoist temple, Magellan's cross, Cebu metropolitan cathedral, Fort san Pedro and many more places, but Once you move from the hustle and bustle of the craziness of the city you will strike Gold. The North of Cebu boasts Malpascua island residence to the famous thresher sharks and mecca to the thousands of Divers flocking this small but lively island. 
Bantayan islands - Visayas answer to Boracay's pristine white beaches with lovely Sta Fe, Alice Beach, Sugar Beach, Maricaban Beach and Paradise Beach and its famous sunrise around them. 
 

 


For sure one visit to Cebu wasn't enough for us to discover the happiness around, so the below account first of the two trips we did each of around a week, one to the northern island of Cebu - Malapascua to dive around and other to southern Cebu of

and Oslob to enjoy the beauty and other to south Cebu.

So on a evening before Chinese new year , we took the 7 pm flight to Cebu city and arrived at the Mactan international airport. The drive to our hotel in the city was around 45 minutes and we safely checked in. The desi traveler always looks for nice Indian restaurants and Cebu has plenty, so after a quite dinner topped with Indian masala tea we took off for some nightlife, Google advised us for  Colon Street and Osmena Boulevard, with clubs pounding until daylight at weekends and until 3.00 during the week. We checked into Marshall's Irish Pub Bar & Restaurant in Osmena boulevard which was playing some awesome live music, and it was already late when we were back to senses that we need to really take the early morning bus to South Cebu. 

 

 

The following day early 5 am we were geared ready at Cebu's south bus terminal for our trip to Moalboal.Unlike our plan of sleeping during the entire bus ride, we found ourselves for the entire 4 hrs drive constantly peeping out of the bus enjoying the beautiful drive passing through amazing churches, old buildings and the pretty beaches along the road - I believe half of the drive was along the coastline, giving glimpses of the enchanting things to come. 

 


Finally, after a 10 minutes drive from Moalboal town we reached moalboal beach right  into our beautiful resort club Serena resort, we only had it for a day due to the chaotic Chinese new year booking. 
We spent the day lazing on the beach and having a quiet lunch. The beach is good to snorkel and has a calm demeanor.The night was beautifully lit with the lamps. 

 

 

The next morning we started for the Kawasan falls  it was around 45 minutes bus ride, although it could be done via a rented bike from Moalboal.The bus will drop you outside  Matutinao Badian Church after that there are 30 minutes of a pleasant walk to the falls amidst villages and along with a small stream of Kawasan river.The walk will bring you closer to the beauty of Philippino rural life while you cross the small bridges, families glancing you out of the small huts, children diving into the stream and off course the poultry running around you all along the path.

 

 


The Kawasan has three waterfalls to checkout. The first one little crowded and touristy with a lot of shops and people, the second one is less crowded and nice for a dip. The last one is too slippery and normally avoided by many. The first expression I had when 
I visited this natural beauty was how I  would have loved to visit it when there was nobody. There are some accommodation just across the falls so I think staying there would fulfill this wish for early morning swimmers. 

 

 

Before plunging into the blue water of the falls we decided to chill out and order some food and Buko water in the nearby stalls and see the delusional crowd.We then rented a bamboo shaft to take us to the waterfalls and enjoyed a rhythmic shower massage.The water is shallow so a swim around was also nice. We moved back to our resort in moalboal.

 

The next day was the most awaited moment of our travel, The Whale sharks of Oslob were ringing bells in our ears for long.There are very few experiences in the world that match the swim along with the largest fish. so we took a bus to barangay  tan-awan  around 10 km from Oslob town center. The local fishermen since 2011 have become the caretaker as well the tourism organizer for these gentle giants. The bus dropped us outside one of the resorts who charged us 100 PHP to use their locker facilities to leave our bags, post that we were taken to the briefing area where the tourist officers explained us dos and don't of meeting with whale sharks. we were asked to keep few feets of distance while snorkeling and-and not to try to touch them, follow the instructions of the boat crew at all times, penalty of which would be cut shorting of the trip.

 


So something about the whale sharks, they are the biggest fish on earth growing as big as 20 meters longs. To be clearer its a 
shark and not a whale otherwise, whales would top the list as the biggest fish.They are filter feeders eating exclusively planktons so no danger to humans. They are mostly found in warm tropical open waters with a lifespan of 70 years or so.

 


back to reality . "do not touch them "  final warning from our guide and asked to jump into the open water. We willingly obeyed the command. And as I plunged my face underwater and try to swim towards an incoming majestic creature. I was breathless, the view from the boat only showed a huge slithering fish ramping pass our boat. But inside it was like watching the gracious lady on her afternoon lunch. You cannot imagine the feeling of looking into the eyes of one of the largest animals known as you snorkel a few feets past them. They own the waters and they have come to take their dues. The lead boat skillfully feeds the school of the whale sharks from one end to the other .with numerable divers, snorkelers, swimmers put their rights to take one picture with these mighty being.

 

Content and brimming with happiness we moved out of the resort after an hour of one of the best time of our life and waited for a bus going directly to Cebu city. where the smell of spices and condiments and awesome Indian team awaited us. We went d

irectly to the pier and bought aircon tickets to Bohol in supercar ferry. The ferry was superbly comfortable and the two-hour journey to Bohol was relaxing.

 

Reaching Cebu 

 

How to Get to Cebu by Air

Cebu’s Mactan international Airport caters to international flights to and from hongkong,  Tokyo,Singapore and Sydney .Domestic flights are readily available to nearly all major tourist places of boracay , el nido ,coron , bacolod and Manila through Cebu Pacific air , air-asia ,Philippines Air , Eithad airways ,Cathay Pacific .

 

How to Get to Cebu by Sea

2Go travels and other service providers have direct ferries from cebu to  manila ,cagayan de oro and other destinations .


Getting Around Cebu
Probably the most convenient way of getting around Cebu is to hire a car or to hire a motorbike, for us we took buses around Cebu though and it was very economical and we were able to reach all of our destinations with very less efforts .


People and Language

While English is still spoken and understood in Cebu - Cebuano or Visayans  is the major language in Cebu and neighboring islands .It has the largest native language-speaking population of the
Philippines despite not being taught formally in schools .The people of Cebu are called Cebuano. Spanish and Chinese communities perform an important economic and political role in Cebu. American , Spanish and Chinese influence is there in all spheres of life including music , food ,architecture and religious places .Cebuano are friendly and happy people like rest of the
Philippines . 

 

Food 

 

Cebu is considered the lechon capital of the world and you would find it in every nook and corner . Dried mango and dried fish (Danggit) is another of their known delicacies .Parilya, the ultimate Seaside Resto ,Brique Modern Kitchen ,ibiza beach club Mactan


Major Festivals

Sinulog is definatively the most magnificient and imposing  of all philippino festivals .Its held each year on the third Sunday of January in Cebu City to honor the Santo Nino the Holy Child
Jesus is the patron of Cebu. The Santo Nino was given by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan to Hara Amihan, wife of Cebu's Rajah Humabon. This act is celebrated and represented in nearly all Sinulog dances .


Indian alert

There are numerous Indian restaurants in Cebu city like Mr India , Taj indian restaurant , zayka indian cuisine , Firozian indian tea house . So if you are treatin cebu city as a midpoint for
your all your travels can always have your lunches as well as pack if you want . we had a very good experience with Famous indian curry house , Aunty cooks home made food and its nearness to
the ferry pier and bus stand makes it the obvious choice too .The restaurants in other major islands like Malpascua ,moalboal bantayan islands serve vegetarian food both local as well as western . 

 

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