Although there are well over 7000 islands that make up what we know as the Philippines, this story is about just one of them. One very special island…with so much to offer any visitor or local alike.
This past Holiday season, as I knew I would be working in Manila, we decided to plan out a little bit of a side trip to the islands of Cebu and Boracay. If you do consider visiting the Philippines, I do recommend that Manila be a short stop or pass through. It can be a very difficult and rough city to visit for most travelers. But, just as in any place, there are sweet spots as well. I’ve posted speakeasies and restaurants previously, so this post is about our Cebu island excursion. I’ll get into the details of Boracay in a later post.
First stop was the island of Cebu, with a stay in the city of Lapu-Lapu. We planned our trips from there as our base, and our first trip was a jaunt via van to the town of Oslob. This place has been one at the top of my list for many years now, as it’s famous for the wonderfully magnificent whale shark.
The excitement I felt upon reaching our destination after a three hour ride was beyond description. So, imagine my feelings once I was able to jump off the boat and actually snorkel and swim with these incredible creatures. Awe and wonder is misstated as the feeling was more like one of giddiness as I felt my inner child kick in.
The town of Oslob was built around this fantastic experience, as the whale sharks feed in the waters here every morning between 7-11am before they swim back out into the ocean. They are protected and respected by the locals and visitors alike. A definite experience of a lifetime.
Next stop in Cebu was Kawasan Falls. Roughly about another hour and a half from Oslob, these beautiful falls are a bit of a hike off the main road, but well worth every minute. Turquoise blue waters, cool and refreshing after a sweaty hike through the jungle welcome every traveler wishing to indulge. But, if you hike just a little further, you can beat the crowds in areas that are a little less populated. Stop for lunch, chill in the falls, or travel on a bit further for an adventurous hike with a guide as you traverse other falls higher up on the mountain.
The following day, we couldn’t resist the call of more snorkeling as we negotiated our own local boat with crew. With an early pick up at the hotel, we made our way down to the Lapu-Lapu harbor, boarded our boat and headed straight out to sea across from Cebu to another island for some quality water time.
It was wonderful to see that the reef was still fairly healthy and had a great abundance of fish. So many varieties, including Moray eels swimming amongst the coral in these beautiful waters was setting the tone for another perfect day. It’s really hard to get back in the boat when you have so much natural beauty to see in front of you. But, back on the boat we were and hopped to the next island for an amazing barbecue of fish, pork, shrimp, crab and clams. Top it off with some of the most deliciously sweet and juicy mangoes you can imagine and there’s little left to want.
I really felt like I could have travelled to more islands on that wonderful little boat. Sitting on the open bow, water splashing and wind whipping with nothing but beautiful skies and cool seas below…refreshing, revitalizing and rejuvenating.
We closed out our Cebu adventure with a beautiful sunset dinner in the sea view cabana we rented for the day. A great end to a great day and a fantastic experience that we won’t soon forget….