It was an impulsive decision last June- booking a flight to Cebu. Original plan was Puerto Princesa in Palawan because: a) two major itineraries I wrote in that little notebook which records my dreams and plans in 2012 are Bohol and Palawan. Bohol happened in May. Palawan is yet to happen. b) because the booked flight was meant for my birthday trip and had I chosen Puerto Princesa, my social networking page’s birthday trip album would have read :
Because every birthday girl is a princess”
-a remark which will surely make my sister’s and aunt’s eyes roll but will bump me to first class, level 8 coolness to my other facebook friends (the level goes up to until level 10 only. Haha!)
But Cebu is meant to happen and it did-on my birthday week. And Dorey, my best friend since high school was the willing Robin to my Batman (yes, yes, I declare myself the main character because, hello, it is my birthday!). I gathered the tiny bits of courage scattered around my teeny weeny desk to advise my boss of a 2-day vacation leave and after seeing my eye bags, dry facial skin, chapped lips and hair closely resembling that of Einstein’s (ye-hes!! Einstein and I have something in common!!), she said, “Please…Leave…now…”. That pretty much finalized everything and so one drizzling Thursday early morning, I found myself in plane seat number 009-B, sleeping with both mouth and eyes half-opened, semi-snoring, head tilted in a 45-degree angle, completely oblivious of the turbulence (like what I have said, it was drizzling/raining when we boarded) – my vacation has just started – goodbye tired and stressed employee, hello hot and big-time traveler (ahem,ahem-ako yan!!!) !!
My favorite part of a composition is the introduction so in this blog, you will usually find very long introductions (sorry, sorry!) – let me segue to my top-ten tradition. This time, let’s make it the top ten words, which when said, conjure the beautiful imagery of Cebu (say it with me with feelings, zhebooohh…)
News of tropical depression, typhoon and many other rain-related terms which will make Ernie Baron want to come back to life plague the television news programs but the Universe has felt my desperation to get my feet on the beach so the rest of the world got rained on BUT CEBU!! (all together now, zheboohh..) It was all sunshiny from day 1 to day4 of our trip with a sprinkle of just the right amount of rain to add the super to our adventure. Super Adventure! Then there’s the other kind of sunshine: Cebuano’s (and Oslobenos and Sumilenos) are simply divine! They are the kindest people in the Philippines. They are the most accommodating and simplest. The gentlest and the happiest. The sunshine after the rain. The cure against my fear and my pain. (Stop 98 degrees memories, I am a backstreet girl!!) And meeting these beautiful people (special mention: Kristine, Eleanor of Oslob Garden Stay Resort and Kuya Dodz, our guide in Oslob), add the ‘duper’ in my already super adventure. Duper Super Adventure!! Ay mali! - Super Duper Adventure!!!
…or also known as do-it-yourself. Most of my trips have been with an organized travel group because I am tamad that way, and I have friends and have established friendship with the people I have met in my travel groups so much so that they have been my comfort zone. But this Cebu trip is inspired by a Sunday feature I have read about Sumilon Island and the gentle giants (whale sharks!) of Oslob by Christine Dayrit of the Philippine Star and it all started from there. I thought to go there by myself or with a friend on our own and not through a third party. Blogs have been very helpful in designing our itinerary and Dorey is really good with maps. In summary, I wish to share our itinerary and I hope that you find it useful. Will post a different entry soon for scholarly details (nyahaha):
Day 1: Oslob
6:45 AM ETD Flight from Manila Manila to Cebu (I suggest you take the earliest possible flight if you plan to go directly to Southern Cebu)
7:45 AM ETA Mactan Airport
From the Mactan Airport, take a taxi going to Cebu South Terminal
Take the Ceres bus (in striking yellow, hello sunshine!!) going to Oslob
Expect a three hour drive plus waiting time to get to Oslob
11:30 ETA Oslob Garden Stay Resort
Start of trip on a motorbike!! Wohoo!!
Tumalog Falls (majestic)
Cuartel (breath taking)
Barbeque and Food tripping sa bayan
Then back to resort
Tambay time sa beach while sipping on coconut juice straight from the coconut husk straight from the coconut tree!! (so loco over coco)
Day 2: Tuki and Sumilon
6:00 AM Diving with the Tuki’s
9:00 AM to 5PM Sumilon Island Day trip (beautiful!)
Day 3: Cebu City
Back to Cebu City
Food Trip plus side trip from dusk ‘til dawn
Day 4: Cebu City
Food Trip from Dusk ‘til flight back to Manila
Casa Escano’s plated breakfast
Back to Manila
We were sandwiched by the mountains on our right and the ocean on the left. We were comfortably mobile in the middle –on a motorbike. I am super advocating travel or tour on a bike. If there are breastfeeding advocates, education advocates, peace advocates (think Nelson Mandela, Gawad Kalinga, Red Cross, Mother Theresa,etc.) – I join their ranks as a mag-tour sa motorbike (or simply a bicycle) advocate aka as Mo-tour (play on the words motorbike tour- HAMSOWSMARTTTT!!! Hahaha! VIP na’to!!-Tina the advocate or Tina the hotvocate (hot na advocate- woohoo!!) This advocacy’s objectives are just as meaningful:
It brings you closer to nature
It makes you appreciate better your surroundings
It brings you closer to your driver (ang bango ni Kuya Dodz, David Beckham ang peg!)
The butanding’s or whale sharks or in Oslob, the Tuki’s. They are Oslob’s main crowd drawers. Tourists usually join the fishermen or the sea wardens in the Tuki’s feeding time (usually from 6 am until 12 noon). I have managed to see six or seven or eight of them, and I dove at the shallowest part of the ocean I can find while my hand and feet were embarrassingly wrapped around our boatman’s body (I do not understand, but for this particular day, I felt scared of the open water). I felt intimated by what was before me – the tuki’s, the gentle giants all big and magnificent and oh please, supply me with adjectives…
The Japanese occupation left a lot of traces in Southern Cebu. Most evident are the cuartel’s and the baluarte’s which can be found in the coastline of Oslob and then Sumilon. The best one is that by the Immaculate Conception Parish. The best time to go is when the sun sets- enveloping the sand, sea and the structures with its golden rays.
A million notches better than the best chocolate bar!! Nyahaha! The Sumilon Sandbar appeared an hour before the last boat ride back to Oslob and we are extremely grateful that it did. Beautiful!