Super Late Post!
When talking about crystal clear water, pristine white sands and turquoise-green waters, Cebu should definitely be on the list! I am blessed to visit it twice, the first one was way back 2013 and the other on early 2017 (cos this post should’ve been last year!😅) but I only visited the Southern part on the two occasions.
It was October 2016 when I found out that CebuPacific has promotion for 2017 (haha yes, this post was far overdue). They have promotion for Singapore to Manila/Cebu route and since I’ve been wanting to do skydiving for quite some time after doing my bungee jumping few weeks after my Phuket tour (August 2016), I decided to look for Cebu route and luckily, I found S$180 round trip ticket. It was a little expensive than our usual Manila fare which is around S$160, but we all agreed to book. By the way, I booked with my crazy friends Ben, Win John and Toms.
Since I’m the one in-charge for creating the itinerary, my original plan was to explore North Cebu since I’ve been to almost all possible tourist spot in the South. But my friends were envious with my previous trip to the South and they wanted to try canyoneering. So I made our itinerary possible for them! I squeezed canyoneering in our 4 day trip to the north! Mind you, you need to travel almost 10 hours from south to north. Wondering how we did it? Just keep reading.. 😜
30 August 2017 (Wednesday)
Originally, we have a direct flight from Singapore to Cebu, but for some unknown reasons, CebuPacific cancelled some of their direct flights, including ours. They tried to change our flight to from 0130H 31 August 2017 flight to 0130H 1 September 2017. That means we will only have 3 days (almost) for our trip, in which some of our activities will not going to push through. But after some arguments with their customer service representatives, we found a better alternative for our cancelled flight. We got an early flight bound for Manila at 1840H (30 August), then a 2-hour layover before our 1250H (31 August) flight to Cebu. We were literally like zombies even before our adventure started, and all of us went to work on the day of our flight 🙃
It was a smooth 3.5-hour flight to Manila. All were excited when we had the first taste of Filipino food as soon as we landed. Where else but Jollibee 😛 (no pictures though)
31 August 2017 (Thursday)
We arrived past 2 in the Morning where our driver/guide (forgot his name) was already waiting for us. By the way, I pre-arranged our South Cebu tour weeks prior to our departure. I contacted Kuya Lemuel (KCOP Services, +63 09261120868) our tour guide when I had my Backpacking Visayas adventure last January 2017, and gave us special rates 😄 He also arranged someone who will fetch us from the airport (on wee hours) and drive us directly to Oslob, South Cebu. Oh diba, walang tulugan! Ang hirap matulog sa dalawang flights na magkasunod at sa sasakyan! I tried my best to get at least an hour nap, but I guess my body was excited for the activities on our list 😅
First in our activity was whale shark watching. I didn’t join them as I already tried it before, and I
unfortunately got severe allergies all over my body. Only Win John and Toms tried this activity. Good thing we arrived way too early, the two of them were the first few ones to try as early as 7 in the morning.
At past 8 in the morning, we proceed to our next destination: Kawasan, South Cebu. It took us more than an hour to reach Kuya Lemuel’s house which is near the starting point of the Canyoneering. Since it was still early, we were able to have a decent breakfast in a nearby cafeteria.
We travelled by habal habal for about 30mins to the registration area.
From the registration area, we trekked for almost an hour until we reached the starting point.
You will know you’ve reached the starting point if you see a bamboo hut next to the stairs leading to the bottom of the somewhat like falls. It is the start of the adventure!
I asked our tour guide to bring us to a different start up point because the last time I did the canyoneering, I believe I missed some good spots for cliff jumping. The guide said that what we tried before wasthe safest starting point which is also the recommended route. The one I saw was the not-so safe route, the authorities already closed the route leading there, but since I am with boys (haha and I already had the experience 😜) he agreed to take us there. (haha me and my convincing power 😅)
We descended to the usual stairs leading to the bottom of the starting point but about half way to it, we took a different way where it doesn’t have any safety handrails or anything. We walked on a very small pathway and next to it is a cliff. 😰 One wrong step and we’re done for 😅 but thank God we were able to cross safely.
Ben jumped first, then the next was me. I doubted Win John and Toms as they both have fear of heights 😅 or if they fall the wrong way, they might get injured. But thank God, they also made it. Haha!
Pictures along the way:
Halfway through the canyoneering is the best part. There are locals selling different BBQ varieties; heaven for tourists who are tired and hungry.
After the quick break, you need to jump from the cliff
again (pictured above) haha good thing we didn’t throw up as we were all full from the BBQ break.
You will know that you are near the Kawasan falls, the end of the canyoneering adventure, if you reached the 2nd highest falls (around 45ft high). From there, you will trek for another 20-30mins to reach the majestic Kawasan Falls.
The above photo is the last falls you can jump to. Then, chibugan na after!
Unlike the last time I was here (where as soon as we finished lunch, we left right away to catch our next activity)
this time we had plenty of time for ourselves. We were able to relax after having lunch and of course, we didn’t miss to take photos 😛 I mean a LOT of Solo pictures of ME. Ben and Toms are not fond of taking pictures as they prefer to savour the moment instead and they don’t post pictures on social media. So ayun, ang ending naging photoshoot moment ko na lang. 😂 And since they’re the one who will take my pictures, anyhow can! (singlish lah! 😂) I mean they just clicked the shutter button on my every move even when I’m not prepared. I mean like these ones
Nakakainis diba? hahaha tawang tawa din ako sa pagmumukha ko, yung tipong pag ikaw yung kukuha ng pictures nila, todo effort ka, pero sila anyhow lang makapindot eh 🙄 But despite the xx shots, may iilan pa din naman na matino gaya nito
After the photoshoot, I requested to try the back massage spa under the falls which I haven’t tried the last time I was there. Luckily, it was included in the package, so no extra charge for us 😊
We needed to use the floating bamboo sticks for us to reach the falls, the water is too deep and my friends couldn’t swim 😆
I definitely recommend our coolest tour guide/photographer, they recorded videos and pictures during the
killer massage haha
Looks like we’re having excruciating-pain massage right? Well, kinda. hahaha! We immediately had a whole body ache after the 4-hour canyoneering. Not to mention we didn’t have sleep since our flight from Singapore. Pero super weird lang ng feeling, yung tipong ang sakit sakit nung pagbagsak ng tubig sa katawan mo, pero at the same time ang sarap sa pakiramdam, alam nyo yun?! basta, isa sa pinakamasarap na feeling lang. Nabubugbog kami pero tawa kami ng tawa. haha
After nun may iba pang pakulo yung mga guide namin, kung anu-anong posisyon para mabugbog. Bukod sa likod, kasamang nabugbog yung mga ulo namin hahahuhu
After mabugbog sa ulo, sa likod ulit 😅
I also have other videos but I included it in the travel video instead. 😊
After the body-killer massage, we headed to kuya Lemuel’s house to shower and to fetch our things.
It was past 3 in the afternoon when we left kuya Lemuel’s house and headed straight to Cebu city to roam around before the earliest bus/van trip to Maya port. We were surprised that it was not traffic around the city and we arrived a little early (6:00pm) than expected so we ought to roam around the city before the 2:00am trip to the north. We went first to SM Cebu and did a few errands (withdraw cash and buy the most important thing, sunblock! 😅) then we proceed to Larsian. I’ve been seeing a lot of post from my travel group recommending the BBQ there. Since we had a lot of time to spare ⏩
Since this was our first decent dinner in Cebu, we decided to try everything we want 🤤
They don’t use utensils in Larsian, instead, you will eat with your bare hands. Mas feel kasing kainin yung sugba (BBQ) pag nakakamay. They’ll just give you some plastic gloves para medyo hygienic 😅
I don’t know if it’s just the store that we chose but the BBQ were a bit salty. haha medyo disappointed but having the Puso (rice on banana leaves) and Sinigang was okay. So our verdict is pwede na, a bit costly but not bad. ✌🏻😊
Since it was too early for our trip to Maya port, we decided to have a “proper” massage 😂 No pictures though, but the massage took an hour and a half for Php 400.00. If there’s an option for 3-4 hour massage, we would’ve definitely avail it 😂 just to kill the time as we don’t have anywhere to go. We didn’t book a hotel either. 😂 Not bad,eh? Our second night outside, literally 😂😭
We planned on taking the first bus trip to Maya Port, but decided to get on a Van since we wanted to be comfortable and get as much sleep as we can (they only have ordinary bus which are small non-airconditioned). The van was almost full when we got on it. And not to mention the transportation in the Philippines where they will fit everyone even the in the smallest spaces 😂 they can magically fit 15 people on a 11-seater vehicle 😅🤭 We were uncomfortable at first but I was able to find some decent sleep.
1 September 2017, Friday
We left the Cebu City terminal exactly 2:00am. The travel time was supposed to be 4-5hours if we took the bus, but since we got on a Van (which does not pick up passengers on every street like the bus 😂) the travel time was cut to 2.5hours.
We arrived at Maya port way too early that it was still dark and the port does not operate yet.
The first boat trip was supposed to leave at 7:00am but since we (and other tourists who arrived early) have been waiting since forever (haha), we haggled for a special trip. We left the Maya port past 6:00am and arrived in Malapascua before 7:00am where the tour agent on our Kalanggaman Island trip was waiting for us.
The first thing we did as soon as we arrived was to look for a hotel since we didn’t have any decent sleep since day 0 😴 and luckily, we found one (most of the hotels were fully booked). The hotel – Blue Corals Beach Resort – allowed us to check in early (thank God), we had a quick power nap before our 8:30am departure to Kalanggaman Island.
It was a rough 3.5-hour boat trip to Kalanggaman Island from Malapascua Island. By the way, Kalanggaman Island is already part of the province of Leyte, particularly in the Municipality of Palompon. I’ve been to Leyte a couple of times because my father was from Liloan, Southern Leyte but I’ve never heard of Kalanggaman Island before. Around 2017 when I saw posts from my travel group DIY Travel Philippines and Backpackers of the Philippines about the island which made curious and want to see it to myself. And it didn’t disappoint me.
It exactly looked like the same paradise island that I saw in pictures that I once thought was edited (✌🏻) It has crystal clea-turquoise green waters, powdery white sands and palm trees (honestly not being exaggerated).
It was a sunny noon when we arrived, which makes it perfect for camping. Locals stationed in the island offers bamboo hut, tent and beach chairs for rent or you can just spread your beach towel under the trees and enjoy the picturesque ocean view. We opted for a tent
The island doesn’t have electricity and mobile signal is weak, which makes it a perfect place to experience being an outcast. As the four of us live in Singapore where most of overseas Filipino workers like us don’t have enough time to relax, it is definitely a good experience to temporarily disconnect with everything and just live for the moment. Haaaayy Thank you, Lord!
We had plenty of time to bum around while waiting for the lunch. At dahil iba ang epekto ng gutom sa mga kasama ko, nagkulitan na lang kami sa tent 🤪
After goofing around and took hundreds of selfies, we finally had late lunch in a bamboo hut by the ocean. Grilled pork, chicken and fish, pancit and veggies was on the menu (drooling)
After lunch, we still had time to bum around before leaving the paradise (sadly we only had day tour)
Of course, dahil maganda ang background, hindi mawawala ang mga portrait mode shots
I commend my friends’ skills when taking candid photos of me. 😆
It was around 3:30 in the afternoon when we left the paradise. HUHUHU the next time I visit, I’ll definitely stay for overnight and experience being a complete outcast.
It was almost sunset when we arrived in Malapascua Island. After roaming around the island in search for a place to eat, we quickly returned back to the hotel as we’re all excited to finally have a decent sleep (it was our first check-in on an actual hotel 😆)
Thank God, we had a decent bed and warm blanket for the first time on this trip. Iba talaga pag may accomodation eh 😅
02 September 2017, Saturday
We were up as early as the free breakfast is available 🤭 as we were scheduled to take the earliest boat trip back Maya port.
We haven’t got time to roam around when the sun’s still up yesterday because it was almost dark when we went out after freshening up so before leaving the paradise, we walked around and explored the small island.
We were able to take pictures freely since we were the only passengers on the boat.
In Maya port you will see a lot of bus/van trip going to different points of Cebu. There are also direct trip to Hagnaya Port which is the gateway to our next destination 🏝⏩ Bantayan Island
By the way, I was able to take a picture of the schedule of one of the boat operators that might help you on your future travels (you’re welcome 😅)
Our travel guide in Malapascua Island, Kuya Glenn was able to arrange someone who will fetch us in Sta. Fe port. We were able to find a decent hotel after how many attempts as most of the good hotels were fully booked. We were able to bargain a package for our island hoping tour as well and was able to rent motorcycles for our DIY land tour.
The sun was literally on it’s peak when we had the island hoping activity 💁🏾♀️
As seen in the pictures on the internet, Cebu definitely has another gem on the north. Bantayan Island became more famous because it is one of the shooting location of the movie Camp Sawi. The movie captures the sheer beauty and tranquil atmosphere which is perfect for people who wants to find peace and healing.
Bantayan Island has a laid-back vibes like Boracay (I haven’t been to it though 😂 just seen it through pictures) It has a long stretch of powdery white shore and turquoise green waters which makes you want to lay in a hammock underneath the palm trees and just stare at it forever ❤️🤤
Prior to our trip, I did some research on where to go best when you only have limited time to spare. There are two islands and quite a few places which can be reached within Bantayan Island so we decided to do island hopping tour first.
The boatman recommended to go to Virgin Island first, but we were informed that it is now a private island and that you need to pay around Php 200.00 (if I’m not mistaken) per person if you want to set foot on the famous Island. Some of my friends don’t find it worthy so we all agreed to skip the Virgin Island T_T
The next island on our list was Hilantagaan Island which is best for snorkeling site (according to what I researched). True enough, you can already see a lot of beautiful corals and fishes before reaching the shore (we need to transfer to a smaller boat so we can explore the snorkeling sites). But
again, unfortunately, the locals in the island were having a meeting and they did not accommodate any tourist that time. huhuhu. Our island hopping tour was somehow an epic fail. But on the brighter side, even though we haven’t set foot on the beautiful islands, at least we got to see the islands from afar. (Pampalubag loob 😆)
Instead of returning to the beach near our accommodation, we asked the boatman to drop us off the famous Kota Beach which is also known as Camp Sawi (shooting location of the movie). Since panalo yung background, syempre photo op nanaman ako (ayaw nung mga kasama ko magpicture 🙄
We learned that the tall “Camp Sawi” sign was removed weeks prior to our trip. ☹️ Sayang, yun pa man din yung rason kaya ko sinama sa list ko ang Kota Beach, but it is still worth the visit. They have stunning beach as well. After the photo op, we returned to our accommodation to get the motorbikes and start the DIY land tour 😊.
First on our list was to visit Ogtong Cave. Since it is DIY tour, we had a hard time finding the place. Not to mention my friends adjusting in driving a motorbike 😂 But after asking a few locals for directions, we finally reached the place. I don’t know if it’s just my unlucky friend WinJohn (if you’re reading this, Hi Gumsh! 😂) but it was already closed when we got there. So after ng island hopping na walang napuntahan, waley din ang aming first land tour ☹️ But on the brighter side, we got to tour the Island by motorbikes and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery on the way to Ogtong Cave (pampalubag loob part 2 😂) . It was nearly sunset and we still have one place on our list, the Obo-ob Mangrove Forest. We asked the locals for direction and they said it was quite far from Ogtong cave. We hesitated if we will still push through as we didn’t want to get lost, and communicating with the locals was quite hard and none of my friends could speak the native language, bisaya (I can only understand and speak a little). At ayaw naming abutan ng dilim na naliligaw, nakakatakot eh 👻😅 But my guts tells me to push through that time, ayaw ko lang na walang mapuntahan or maexperience dun sa mga nilista ko 😅 So ayun na nga, nakailang tanung kami just to make sure na tama yung way namin (kasi parang deserted yung ibang nadaanan namin, puro matataas lang na puno at unpaved road pa) then after around 30mins, we reached the place.
OMAGIECA which stands for Obo-ob Mangrove Garden Integrated Ecotourism and Conservation Association is a 100-hectare mangrove forest which aims to raise environmental awareness about how mangroves play a significant role in the marine ecosystem. It has a long bamboo trail where tourist can stroll around and see the different kinds of mangrove. You have an option to tour around the mangrove forest by kayaking or by boating. We opted to go for a walk, parang mas romantic e. charot! Nagtitipid lang talaga haha
The whole place is instagram-worthy, but since my friends are not into taking pictures, as usual, solo lang ang pictures ko 😛
We do not have a tour guide during the walk, we just followed the long pathway. Overall experience was amazing. It was my first time to explore a mangrove forest up close. I just see them from afar everytime I have beach trips and I usually didn’t pay attention to it because somehow they look creepy for me (haha sorry, I’m just paranoid that maybe something will appear out of nowhere whenever I look into them). But after visiting OMAGIECA, I somehow understand its significant role in our marine ecosystem. Thanks to the tour, I see mangroves in a different perspective now and not just some creepy trees by the shore 🤭
Strolling by motorbike on our way back to the hotel, we stopped at some point and admired the scenic view of the sunset by the cliff. Syempre nagpicture na din. (the view was shown in my travel video)
Thankful that we were able to go back to the hotel without getting lost before dark 🙏🏻
Since we rented the motorbikes until morning of the following, sinamantala na namin ang pag-gamit. We stroll around Sta. Fe town to search for a good place to eat.
We were able to buy pasalubong just across the street where we had our dinner. As usual, nag panic buying kami ni Win John 😂
03 September 2017, Sunday
The last day of our adventure. Originally, skydiving is the only activity on our list for the last day, but prior to our trip, I had some health issues that prompt me to give up skydiving 😭😭😭 One of the reasons why I pushed this north Cebu tour is because of skydiving, but… 😔☹️ I realised that health should always comes first. But I think God didn’t allow us to go skydiving that day. Our flight to Singapore was 7:00 in the evening, we need to be at the airport at around 4:00pm. Hagnaya Port to Cebu city will take around 4-5hours by bus (not to mention the heavy city traffic during the afternoon rush hour) and from Bantayan Island to Hagnaya Port travel by boat is around an hour. If my calculation is correct, we need to finish the skydiving before 10 in the morning and rush to go back to the city. Eh anung petsa na kami nagising, and some of us may need some time before the skydive (haha syempre need din ng time para magipon ng courage 😆) Kaya ayun, better luck next time skydiving ☹️
Around 8:00 in the morning when we arrived in Sta. Fe port to get the earliest posible trip to Hagnaya Port. Upon reaching Hagnaya port, we were able to get on a bus to SM, we didn’t know which SM will it go at first, we only know that the airport is near the SM, so ayun, sakay na lang kami 😜 After more than 2 hours, we were surprised that the bus conductor yelled and said we’ve arrived in SM. Huh? I thought it will take us 4-5hours to reach SM. Since the four of us were clueless, we alight on the bus without asking question just to find out that we’re on a different SM. We’re supposed to go to SM City Cebu, but upon alighting from the bus, we realised we were in SM City Consolacion which is still in Northern Cebu (quite far I guess). We planned on going to SM Cebu to try the famous lechon restaurant there, tapos ayun, di available yung restaurant na yun sa SM Consolacion. Ang saya di’ba? But since flexible kami, (Flexible? 😂) nakapag adjust kami at sa Kuya J’s kami bumagsak. I’ve been seeing posts in Facebook regarding Kuya J’s and everyone’s saying it’s quite good. So we gave it a try.
I dunno if it’s just us being excited to eat Pinoy food, but everything that we ordered in Kuya J’s was great! Panalo yung mga dish lalo na yung karekare! Thou shalt not diet, Joy?
Sa sobrang hayok namin sa Pinoy food, kahit na-food coma na kami after lunch, hindi namin pinalampas ang Razon’s halo halo (there’s always room for dessert, right?)
After the binge eating moments, we went straight to the airport even though it was too early for our flight. And that’s it. Our supposed-to-be skydiving day turned out to be just SM Consolacion day. 😅 Still not bad though, on the brighter side, we were able to eat and do what we want without rushing. So, okay pa din 😅 (Pampalubag loob part 3 😅)
We also had early dinner/snack on the airport 😂 takot kami magutom talaga 😅
And that’s it. We had a smooth delay-free flight to Singapore. We arrived before midnight and was able to catch the last bus. Nakatipid ng pang taxi 😊
Skydiving was the only activity that we missed in this trip, but overall we had fun and made unforgettable memories. Iba talaga pag sila ang kasama ko, no dull moments kahit pare-pareho kaming mga walang tulog, we still managed to survive my iron man itinerary! A great way to celebrate our 11 years of friendship! (2007-2018) Though we don’t usually show affection to each other, I am far grateful that you guys are one of the few ones that I am proud to call true friends! The ones that I can rely on to. We talk almost everyday (through chat) about anything and everything, and we don’t get tired of listening to even the dumbest stories that we share. So thank you Ben, Win John and Toms! Hearteu ❤
Sharing with you our 4 day North-South Cebu and Kalanggaman Island (mis)adventure through this 4 minute short clip. Thanks for reading! Till my next adventure!