Our next stop after Malaysia was to the Philippines! This was somewhere I had been really looking forward to coming to as every picture of the place looked gorgeous and it’s meant to be a really fun place to travel – their catch phrase is ‘it’s more fun in the Philippines’ which says something in itself! There are 7107 islands in the Philippines but we would only be going to a few of them.
On Friday 3rd November 2017 we flew into Cebu, one of the bigger islands in the Philippines and got on a bus straight to a place called Moalboal which is a few hours south of Cebu. We instantly were confronted with a lot of cars and a lot of people as we drove in the taxi to the bus station and then headed out of Cebu on the bus. Another stark contrast to Malaysia was the amount of street children – one even banged on our taxi window begging for money while we were waiting at some traffic lights – as well as there being shanty towns that lined the streets. We hadn’t seen that kind of poverty yet on our trip but I guess it was something we would have to get used to. It was late and dark by the time we made it to our hostel and we were hungry! Across the road from where we were staying was a place called J&C’s which did food, drinks and there was also karaoke. We both ordered burgers and a drink and my veggie burger was probably the biggest burger I’ve ever eaten! Imagine four standard beef burger patties all stacked on top of one another – that’s the height and it was also very wide. It was full of big chunks of veggies and was so tasty! It was a challenge but I managed to eat the whole thing. It was nice just sitting at the bar and chat as were pretty wiped out from the day of travelling. It was great to have finally arrived and we were looking forward to seeing the place in daylight.We had a much needed lie in the next morning before heading down to the beach to get some breakfast. We had pancakes and fruit shakes (it was great having fruit juice again!) and then went into the water to snorkel. The snorkelling here is known for its swarms of sardines that are just meters from the shore. You reach a point where the beach drops away to make a coral wall and then all you can see in front of you are little silver sardine fish! There would have been thousands of them all swimming in coordination and parting super fast in one motion if you got too near them. It was really cool to see!
We ate by the sea that night which was lovely (as were the chocolate milkshakes we had) and it was quite incredible to look out into complete blackness except for whatever the moon was able to light up – the moon was really bright, almost a full one! There isn’t an awful lot to do in Moalboal but, as it was a Saturday, we did see a lot of the locals heading to a bar called Chillies for a ‘disco’ as our hostel host called it. I quite like how it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, Saturday night is still a big night out!
The next morning we had booked on to a canyoneering tour, one of the main activities people come to Moalboal to do. We left at 9 after being given breakfast at the hostel and drove to the canyoneering shop to sign some paperwork and be given our lifejacket and helmet. The canyoneering happens in a place called Badien and ends at Kawasan Falls. There were only three of us booked onto the tour, myself and Niall and then an Irish lad called Paddy. At first we weren’t sure what we thought of being on such a small number (the tour had 15 people on it the day before) but we think it was actually a lot better having smaller numbers as it meant we got through it all and didn’t have much waiting around for people between the exciting bits of the canyoneering route.
The canyoneering involved clambering over rocks, wading through pools, swimming through waterfalls and jumping from a variety of different heights into bright turquoise pools of water. We passed over groups who had members of their party struggling to bring themselves to make the jump. Our guide, Jomar (he was great) would always just say a little word to their guide and get us to jump ahead of the queue. The three of us always jumped straight away without hesitation which I was proud of us for, it also seemed to help those struggling to jump get up the nerve to do it.
The tour ended with us arriving at Kawasan falls. This is a very popular waterfall in the area and some people would skip the canyoneering and just go here (I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re fit and able to do the canyoneering – it’s well worth it!). We were really surprised as the place was so crowded. There were people, stalls and unfortunately quite a bit of rubbish all around the falls and you could then pay to get on a bamboo float to be taken up to the waterfall itself. It meant you couldn’t really swim here plus the water current was also very strong from the falls. Of all of the waterfalls, caves and beautiful pools we saw that day, Kawasan Falls definitely wasn’t the highlight.
The canyoneering trip went on for around 6 hours but it definitely didn’t feel like it. The whole experience was loads of fun and I would happily do it all over again. I can see why people travel from all over to give it a go and I would recommend it if you’re wanting to see some of the beautiful surroundings this area has as well as get a bit of an adrenaline kick!
After relaxing the rest of the day we headed out for a nice meal back down by the seafront again. As well as it being the day we did canyoneering, it was also our nine year anniversary so we made sure to have a nice meal and a drink or two whilst watching the sunset
The sunset was really nice but what was also cool was seeing the lightening show that was happening on a neighbouring island across the sea from us. Every so often the sky would be split by a bright lightening bolt which would light up the sea – it was amazing to watch when we were sitting bone dry with a calm sea in front of us!
Moalboal was a good spot to base ourselves for the snorkelling and canyoneering but there wasn’t a huge amount to do so we only stayed a few nights. I imagine the place can get pretty busy during peak season and then I bet it’s more lively in the evening but we still had a good time here regardless.
Next stop: Oslob
Sending Love x