Couchsurfing, popular site for travelers and backpackers, paved the way for me to meet new friends from all over the world, be exposed to different cultures and changed the way I live my life.
I was doing my rounds in that site, casually helping (and promoting my blog) to travelers going to the Philippines. Then I found Megan; and right there and then, we clicked. I found myself spontaneously booking a flight for Cebu with her host – Mark. Crazy? No. That’s just an ordinary day in my book.
The group’s first meeting was at the airport before our flight to Cebu. No turning back now. Usually, I would have a vibe and know if I could get along with a person, when I met them; everything was just a perfect fit. Upon landing, we made our way to SM Seaside City Cebu, had a quick breakfast, took a shuttle for 100php/pax bound for Moalboal. We arrived at around 1pm, hired a tricycle for 100php/ 3pax taking us straight to Moalboal Backpacker Lodge in Panagsama Beach. This is a dormitory type of lodge with public restrooms & shower rooms, dirty kitchen, refrigerator, multiple electrical outlets and hammocks everywhere! I would definitely recommend this lodge – it’s cheap, clean, and walking distance from sardine run and sea turtles! So dope, right?!
After buying fresh fruits from the market, the three of us wasted no time and went plunging straight to Moalboal waters. There was a storm brewing at the time bringing currents; hence, the sardine run wasn’t as exquisite in the photos. Nonetheless, the experience itself was marvelous. Go ahead, dive in, and see for yourselves.
The Chili Bar is one of the busiest pubs in the area – and yes that’s pretty much where I ended the day. Hashtag shocking. I have found new friends, delved into deep conversations, discovered I can be a Colombian, exchanged travel tales, danced like no one was looking, sang til my vocal chords gave up, walked deserted streets at wee hours of the night. Thank you Jessica, Kyle, Doug, Jordin, Lisa, Wout, and especially to you Ana. Ana – you’re just sneaky cute – I actually thought of ditching Oslob and accompanying you one more night in Moalboal haha. I guess, I will have to book a flight to Shanghai and let me couch surf at your place. Then tour me around and teach me how to dance and I will sing whatever you requested. [Update] You’re back in the Philippines and we haven’t met again, how frustrating 😦
Woke up 2 hours later with a massive hangover – but it didn’t stop me from seizing that brand new day. The group had complimentary coffee with Lisa joining us. Thank heavens for the caffeine fix. After quick chit chats, we hopped on a nearby tricycle that brought us to the market then paid 29php each for the bus to take us to Matutinao/ Badian. There, we were welcomed by our guide to Kawasan falls. We had three activities lined up – falls jumping levels 1-3 (running jump, 50ft and 15ft jump); bamboo rafting and water slide w swing. It also included life jacket, entrance & guide fees. All for 600 php per pax, not bad.
Series of Unfortunate Events
Here I was. Again. Finding myself at the edge of the cliff with wobbly knees but ready to jump. So I did. The camera wasn’t. When I surfaced, I immediately checked if the gopro was on the right angle. To my horror, it was gone. Our guide didn’t think twice, jumped after me and dived to retrieve it. Thank heavens he found it. Not long after that commotion, Mark and Megan jumped. We hiked to the next cliff – probably 50-60 ft high. The view was surreal.
After the jumps, I found a spot and captured some shots for my blog. Mark and Megan did some photo shoot on their own. Later when I joined them, my pole being broken was just a tip of the iceberg in terms of the shit the group fell into. Mark and Megan slipped while doing their shoot. Pretty sure Megan said she had a mild concussion while Mark, on the other hand, wounded himself and soaked his thousand dollar camera!
Alright, enough bad luck for one day (or so I thought). To counter these, I say coffee, I won’t get tired of coffee. Right, Megan?
Mark, being the very generous one, hired a taxi from Moalboal to Tan-awan, Oslob. What a selfless gesture! Thank you Mark. We arrived at around 9pm give or take; unfortunately, all of the hostels were fully booked. This was a Saturday night, so it’s given. Lo and behold, there’s a one good find (or probably just good luck) – Lirasan Store in front of Brumini Resort. We paid Php 800/night for the entire group; that’s roughly Php 270 per pax ($6!!). Oh did I mention, the back door cases of the GoPro were stolen in the lodge and I almost lost my phone. No biggie.
Allow me to introduce the final, integral part of the Crazy Travelers group – Fabio. Yes, out of nowhere, after we were settled in, he showed up alight a bus looking for accommodation. And by settling in, I mean rush fumigation of our room. It would be best if I kept the specifics to myself. Good thing, our stay-in compound has one vacant room left. After catching up over dinner with our lives scattered across the world, we called it a night. For tomorrow, we are in for a sight of the mights.
Encounter With Whale Sharks
Swimming with whale sharks is definitely one of the heated issues in the traveling community. Thanks to these gentle giants, I was able to fully grasp what travelling is all about – coexistence. It’s in this experience I saw how grand these life forms were and how intimidating their presence could be.
I have faith in our government and organizations that there will come a time where we can freely enjoy their humongous company without endangering their very existence.
And nope, our streak of bad luck continued when Megan’s flipper was kicked by one of the guides and was forever lost to oblivion.
[Tip]: Stay at a lodge near the whale sharks (Tan-awan, Oslob). Be early. Like 5:30 am early.
The Adventure Continues
Shrugging off the negativity, we set off to new adventures. We were done with the whale sharks by around 7:30 am. By 8:00 am, we were on our way to Samboan to see some majestic falls.
The falls took a toll in our rumbling stomachs. Our guide slash driver took us to a restaurant in Pebble Beach, Santander (the southern most part of Cebu where Dumaguete is a stone throw away). That might be a little exaggerated, but what I am exaggerating now is the fact that we saw dolphins casually passing through as we lay on the beach! What a treat!
And we’re not just done yet. Not only the dolphins passed through but also this storm. Storm has no chill.
We ran to the restaurant and grabbed a few beers. It’s Fabio’s last night in the Philippines so we’ll make the most out of it.
We thought we lost you, gorgeous sunset. Hells yeah! FYI sunset in Pebble beach is stunning!
The Private Island
Fabio jetted off quite early in the morning bound for Cebu. We haven’t said goodbyes just see you later in Barcelona, right bruh? By 7:30 am, we arrived at the reception (it’s just a 20 minute walk from Lirasan). After we paid 1,500 php per pax, off we go to the private island!
I highly recommend you guys to stop by this resort! Loads of stuff to do here, perfect for families, couples, backpackers; basically, everyone. You can snorkel in a marine protected area, kayak, fish feed, trek, play beach volleyball, badminton, chill in their pools or in the sand bar, why not. Loads of stuff to do – and did I mention there’s a lunch buffet included in the package? GUHREAT.
Due to operational malfunction, Air Asia scheduled us on a separate, later flights. Mark and Megan took theirs while I opted to stay for one more day to explore the city. Hashtag one more.
Itinerary & Expenses
Day 1 (Cebu City – Moalboal)
6:00 am Flight to Cebu via Air Asia
Transpo QC to NAIA (bus – 30php and cab – 100php)
Coffee – 53php
7:30 am ETA Cebu
8:30 am My Bus to SM City Cebu – 25php
9:15 am Breakfast @ Sunburst – 100php
10:00 am Cab to SM Seaside – 120 php
Popcorn – 130php
10:30 am PUV to Moalboal – 100php/pax
1:30 pm Moalboal market
Langka – 30php
2:00 pm Moalboal Backpackers check in (400php/pax/day)
Snorkel rent – 150php
Unli Brewed Coffee – 80php
M O A L B O A L A C T I V I T I E S
Sardine Run + Turtle Sightings
9:00 pm Chili Bar
Beers – 500php (my total share)
Day 2 (Moalboal – Tan-awan, Oslob)
7:00 am Ride trike to market – 100php/3pax
Water – 25php
Paracetamol – 80php
7:30 am Market to Badian – 30php
8:00 am Badian
Breakfast – 50php
K A W A S A N A D V E N T U R E
9:00 am Kawasan jumps + slide – 600php/pax
Tip to guide – 50php
Chips – 90php
Lunch @local eatery – 50php
2:00 pm The Coffee Shop -120php
3:00 pm Free time (Sardine Run)
7:00 pm Cab to Tan-awan, Oslob
8:30 pm Lodge hunting at Oslob
9:00 pm Lirasan Store dinner – 100php
Beers – 90php
Day 3 (Oslob – Samboan – Santander)
5:30 am Snooze off/ freshen up
6:00 am Shuttle to whale shark drop off point -500php/pax (local); 1000php (foreigner)
6:30 am Orientation
W H A L E S H A R K S E N C O U N T E R
7:20 am Brisk walk to our lodge to shower
8:30 am Off to Samboan, Cebu
Tricycle rented for 1 day – 300php/pax
S A M B O A N F A L L S
9:00 am Aguinid Falls
Entrance – 20php/pax
Tip – 50php
Parking – 25php
11:00 am Hidden Falls
Entrance – 20php/pax
Tip – 50php
1:00 pm Lunch at Pebble Beach – 160php
C H I L L I N ‘ A T S A N T A N D E R B E A C H
4:00 pm Meryenda (beer + fries) -100php
Another round on me – 155php
6:30 pm Back to Tan-awan
8:00 pm Dinner at Brumini Resort – 280php
Day 4 (Sumilon – Cebu City)
7:00 am Breakfast – 80php
7:30 am Walk to Sumilon Resort reception – 1500php/pax
S U M I L O N P R I V A T E I S L A N D
1:30 pm Back to lodge
Lirasan Lodge – 533php/pax for 2D/2N stay
2:30 pm Bus to Cebu City – 149php
6:30 pm Check in at Tr3ats – 350php/pax overnight
9:00pm Dinner at Larsian -140php
Jeeps – 21php
Day 5 (Cebu City)
E X T E N D E D S T A Y I N T H E C I T Y
Tr3ats 1 day stay – 900php
Breakfast – 100php
Jeeps – 21php
Lunch at Robinson’s Cyber Gate – 200php
Bar hopping – Booze – 1000php
Day 6 (Cebu – MNL)
B A C K T O R E A L I T Y
Cab to airport – 250php
Breakfast – 100php
Grab NAIA to Pasay terminal – 125php
Lunch – 170php
Yeah, I may have not found my boo in south Cebu. But, to have these friends and the experience can somehow make up for it. Well, maybe not. But you get the point. 😀
S/O to Mark for that cab ride treat and some of your shots here were lit. Carol, as always, thank you for being generous – I still owe you dinner!
PS. Fabio, I still have the 70K IDR. I might have to use it in Bali someday haha 🙂
Quickie tip: Enjoy life like a kid!