Monday, 28 July 2014

Sun, Sea & Sharks (Cebu 2014) - Travelogue

Cebu, Philippines, 6-11 July 2014

It was my first trip to the Philippines and it did not disappoint. Friendly people, wonderful waters, and the most amazing mangoes (and mango shakes/juices) ever. Also, getting to strike a very significant item off my bucket list: swimming with whale sharks.

We stayed at Eve's Kiosk along Panangsama Beach in the small town of Moalboal (a 3h van ride away from the airport). Eve's Kiosk is the only locally-run lodging in the area, and is situated right beside Nelson's Scuba Diving ShopNelson started out as a fisherman with a few sets of secondhand dive equipment. He used to ride the bus to Cebu (5h one way) to fill his tanks, and would take tourists out for dives. He later became a certified PADI dive instructor and expanded into his current shop, with proper equipment. Eve is his sister. It took seconds to walk from Eve's Kiosk to Nelson's Scuba Diving Shop to pick up snorkelling/diving gear, and another 2min walk to the beach to catch the boat out at 9am everyday.

Upon arrival at Eve's Kiosk, there were too many spiders in the bathroom for comfort. They had been kept alive to eat the mosquitos (which are very numerous and very large), but I would prefer not to bathe with spiders looming over me, so I got rid of them and we used mosquito coils throughout our stay. Spiders aside, it was a cosy sort of place to stay in - quiet, with free wifi in the lobby which we would sit down and enjoy in the breezy evenings. In the afternoon, a satay stall that sells parts like livers and hearts opens, while children come out to play basketball in the evenings. It's smallish (20+ rooms), and the locals are very sweet and friendly and took our meal orders with a smile every time.  

Our itinerary basically consisted of snorkelling (while the others dived) everyday. And what great fun it was - from playing with whirlpools of sardines to spotting sea turtles to getting stung by jellyfish (accidentally) and exploring Pescador Island. We also got to spot beautiful lionfish, tiny razorfish, vividly-coloured emperor angelfish, eels, colourful nudibranches, and a black-and-white-striped sea snake, among others.

But all that was merely at the surface, and one day I shall learn how to dive, for the ocean holds so much more to explore.

Underwater photos taken with Canon G16 in underwater housing
Other photos taken with Sony RX100 ii, iPhone 5, Canon 1100D

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