We got front seats in a non-airconditioned bus, and we had five-and-a-half hours more to go on the road. It was sweltering hot outside, and a throbbing pain in the head was threatening to ruin what remained of the afternoon and of our high spirits.
Continue reading “Malapascua: A long way away”
To be happy—that’s too complex to stereotype. We can perhaps agree though that it is quite easy to spot a happy moment when it’s staring back at you, difficult even to resist taking part in it.
Browsing through this year’s photos, we see beautiful sunsets and sunrises; we see turquoise seas and brown earth—for all these, we are thankful. But we also see people looking unequivocally happy doing everyday things—getting food, sitting under a tree, doing a day’s work. No uncomplicated I’m-going-on-an-adventure-today shiz.
This has been one of the best things about traveling to new places—it reminds us, time and again, that happiness comes in the simplest, most uncomplicated, and sometimes unexpected packages. To meet complete strangers and have them teach us this lesson on gratitude has been among the most incredible things about going out there, where, as Cesar Pavese said—
Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky
2013, it has been an amazingly happy journey.
All photos taken August 2013 in Malapascua, an island in northern Cebu province, Philippines, devastated by typhoon Haiyan.
We had a lot of reservations before finally taking the plunge—literally—to Monad Shoal in Malapascua, northern Cebu to see its thresher sharks.
This tiny island barangay is the only place in the entire world where sightings of this shark species are regular and gratification for those who make the trip is thus fairly guaranteed. But our lack of diving
experience—and confidence in taking that plunge to Monad Shoal—was something we still had to deal with. The biggest creature we’ve seen in the few dives we’ve done before this was a meter-long sea turtle in Apo Island
. That was definitely a far cry from a shark encounter. Once it had become clear though that we were allowed to dive if we really wanted to, we decided to give it a go.
Continue reading “Diving with thresher sharks in Malapascua, Cebu”
How can we even begin to describe Cebu?
Of all the provinces we’ve been to in the Philippines, Cebu is that one place that always has something new to offer, no matter how many times we visit.
We love its food, its beaches, its underwater life, and the ease at which we can shuttle from one area to the next!
(Please click on the photos to navigate to their respective posts.)
Sto. Nino Procession
Our favorite so far: Cebu’s Original Lechon Belly’s spicy lechon belly
Wrapped in coconut leaves, dangling from stalls – that’s how Cebu does its rice.
Also see: Table for Two: Cebu
Mactan’s handmade guitars
Before there even was the ingenious Loudbasstard, the classic Cebu pasalubong—apart from the food—would be these handmade guitars
River trekking within the city
Swimming with thresher sharks in Malapascua
Swimming with whalesharks in Oslob
Exploring Bantayan Island on a motorbike
Places to stay in Cebu
Note: For a more comprehensive list of hotels, please check out Agoda. For some really cool alternatives (such as condos), head over and sign up at Airbnb.
This is just a summary of the places we, either together or on separate trips, have tried in Cebu. Some of the stays were paid for by us, some were made possible through travel assignments (referring to the expensive ones, which we apparently cannot afford).
Abaca Resort and Restaurant – luxurious rooms and delicious food. There are only nine rooms in the whole property, so this is perfect for those who love peace and quiet. It comes with a price though, but it’s going to be well-spent for sure.
Crimson Resort and Spa – it’s a sprawling resort designed for families and big groups. Food is good too, and buffet spread is quite diverse.
Islands Stay Mactan – nice and clean, has big and comfy beds, and is right outside the airport. It’s good for any type of group since there are four kinds of rooms, from single to quadruple occupancy. Rates are quite affordable too.
Plantation Bay – stay here if you don’t want to go anywhere else. It has manmade pools (if you like that kind of thing), a dive shop, and bikes you can use throughout the property. Food is good, especially the lechon which they cook in the open, right by the poolside.
Hotel Elizabeth – good central location (just a couple of blocks from Ayala)
Quest – right across Ayala. Perfect for those in Cebu for business.
The Center Suites – good location; especially near Maxwell Hotel where we have our regular spicy lechon belly fix (because Mandaue is too damn far)
East Capitol Pensionne – very good value. Rooms are rather small but they’re very well thought out and are equipped with cabinets and corners in which to place your stuff so you maximize whatever space you have.