The Philippines – Cebu, Moalboal ( 18 – 24 April )

Our next stop was Moalboal. This is a well-known area on the island of Cebu, where you can snorkel and see the great sardine run. The road to Moalboal went along the coast and was marvelous. The bus driver showed us that the small sharks swimming on the sea … our eye did not catch the shark fin, but knowing that there were sharks was pretty scary. The coastal area was built with a variety of small huts, and local families with children spent time in the seawater. The sea was exceptionally blue.

In Moalboal we also stopped at the Airbnb place, which was run by the French men who had lived in Cebu for about a decade. While his place was far from the sea, we did not have a beautiful view, but everything else needed for life was there. We could use a large outdoor kitchen to cook ourselves. Chickens and ducks lived in the vicinity of the house with chicks. We discovered one afternoon that one chicken had been trapped with its chicks. So Jaanus had a chicken-saving mission. He built a bridge for the chicks to walk out of the hole. The chicken’s mother was smart enough to show the chicks the way. Unfortunately, only one of the six chicks were smart enough to use it. The two chicks were good enough to fly out of the hole. The other three, however, demanded a little more effort. Jaanus climbed into the hole after chicks and tried to catch them first. It seemed like a pretty impossible mission. One chick, however, felt so threatened that he was still able to fly out of the hole himself. One chick Jaanus was able to catch. The last chick, however, was particularly fearful and Jaanus was forced to modify his bridge in order to make the chick climb up. In the end, the chick got out using the bridge. It was funny to watch however, the chicken mom run away as soon as the first three chicks were out. Maybe the chicken mom expression is not a big compliment in real life after all…

This time, we were lucky with our accommodation for the reason that there was also a nice Finnish couple in the same place. We spent most of our evenings talking about traveling stories in their company or living in Finland and Estonia. It was funny we heard how critical they were to their country, including the whole social and coping system. When they heard about the way in Estonia, they, fortunately, took their criticism back a little bit, but it was still a little. We were left with the impression that sometimes people can’t appreciate what was given to them. When traveling around Asia, you don’t even dare say a bad word, because how people have to get along here is a different level … but you see people getting handle it and are pretty happy with it all. They don’t want any better.
Nevertheless, the Finns were nice to hang out with, and together with them, it was fun to try the local rum. They had learned from Filipinos how to mix the rum and the lime juice properly and taught it to us. Alcohol still binds Estonians and Finns 🙂

In addition, to hanging out with the Fins at home, we also managed to see a few other things in Moalboal. We went to Panagsama beach for snorkeling to see the sardine run. It was really an awesome experience to see thousands and thousands of tiny fish around your swimming. The coastline was quite steep, which also made the water cool enough to snorkel. In addition to sardine, of course, you can see plenty of colorful fish and corals. Because this experience was so awesome, we went snorkeling several times during the time at Moalboal, because the water in this area was just cool and offered a nice cooling effect.

On the big Friday, we set our steps on the White Beach. It is one of the most famous beaches on Cebu Island. Unfortunately, we chose the worst day to visit the beach, as the beach was full of locals. We barely found a spot. Luckily, however, all the locals were in the mood of the great holidays, and we were even offered free ice cream at the nearby café.

In addition to the beaches, we also visited the Cebu jungle to see some waterfalls. The most famous waterfall is Kawasan, which is a total tourist trap. When we saw the number of cars parked near it, we didn’t even consider the possibility of going in. We chose a few smaller waterfalls, which the French guy also suggested to us. Together with the Fins, we took a journey with scooters to the mountains. The ride was marvelous again. This sea of bright blue just looks great from every angle.

The first, Montpellier Falls, was quite high. There was a small lake under the fall where the locals were having fun. The water was nicely cool again and exactly what was needed at 35 degrees air temperature.

The second waterfall we visited was Cambais Falls. This waterfall was already much more exciting as it was possible to jump from rock to water and had several different levels. We climbed up to the higher level of the waterfall and found a fairly separated place where Jaanus and Jarno could make uninterrupted water jumps. The girls just liked to soak under the falls and listen to the sound of water

As it was Sunday, there were also many locals. Mostly, the family enjoyed the pleasures of water, and the men were having the local rum. That’s why our men were offered local rum for encouragement. Alcohol also seems to be an important part of Filipino holidays.

The time spent in Moalboal went quite fast and soon we had to set ourselves on the bus again. We drove back to Cebu to take a flight the next day. The bus ride was longer than expected.

We arrived at the hostel at a rather late time and Jaanus went to look for some food. He came back with deep-fried pork and a bag of chicken and rice – just like on the first day in Cebu. However, besides looking for food, Jaanus had noticed that there was a cockfight arena close to our hotel. Of course, he couldn’t resist going there. One local helped Jaanus to buy the ticket and led him to the right arena. At first, there was no white person there besides Jaanus so everybody was very curious. The fight was like this: Cocks were let loose and they knocked each other until one of them was unable to react. The bidding process was particularly messy – people screamed each other at random with different amounts of money. The nods or the hand sign showed each other’s consent, and at the end of each match, the money was exchanged according to the results. It was still unclear how this kind of just verbal bets are working out, and especially how can you hear or understand anything in the middle of everybody shouting so loud.

All in all, these were the most exciting things about our trip to the Philippines. We didn’t have to regret taking this detour. We got a rather awesome cultural experience and an idea that the Philippines is not exactly the same in cultural as the neighboring countries. Both the people themselves and their lives are quite different starting from food, infrastructure and the general level of development of the country, such as the garbage economy, and of course an important role there is also a religion. We would definitely go back to the Philippines in the future too, to get another excellent snorkeling and diving experience

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