I’m pretty excited to share about our time in The Philippines! It was full of adventure, beauty, hospitality, some challenges, but overall wonderful beyond words. 🙂 This was a country I never thought I would visit mostly because of safety factors and disinterest. Boy, was I wrong and glad I proved myself wrong!
Once I found out that my sister and friend would be visiting, I got really excited at the idea of traveling together as we haven’t traveled internationally as a group of three before. Since I was given four days to travel, I needed to pick a destination that was decently close and not too expensive. Also, preferably escaping the cold as it would be in December. The Philippines really caught my attention and after some discussion, it was our destination of choice! Of course, I was nervous about safety and not knowing too many people having traveled there, but from those that did, they were able to give me great advice. We decided to explore Cebu, Moalboal, and Bohol in a span of four days!
Our first day actually started on a Wednesday night and a ride to Incheon Airport in Korea. We rushed to check in and got onto a late flight into Cebu. Once we arrived around 2 am, we had arranged with Cebu Dive Centre to be picked up from the airport and transported to Moalboal, which was about a 4-hour car ride. Using our time wisely, we figured this would be a good way to spend our night but also getting to a hot dive / snorkeling spot.
Fortunately and unfortunately, we arrived earlier than we had anticipated. Early as in before sunrise. Before. Sunrise. We were pretty tired but still in good spirits. The dive shop wasn’t open yet, but we were free to sit outside until they were. Well, this meant some waiting, but also catching the sunrise on the ocean! We were all amazed at how there was a 70 degree F difference between where we were sitting and back home in the Midwest. Unbelievable but with no complaints! We were happy to be in the warm weather!
Once the dive centre was open, we got dressed, made a plan for our day on the water, and transportation for the next day. It was a productive morning. Ahead of schedule, my sister and I walked around and got some local food to eat as we felt starving! I can’t tell you the names of the foods but I can tell you that they were good in a salty way and also mango smoothie is always a win! I knew we would need the energy today with the lack of sleep and how physically demanding diving could get.
Once we had our fill, my sister and friend headed out to do their snorkeling independently while I was off to do some diving. It had been a few months since I had done diving so I was a little nervous getting back into it, but excited nonetheless. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to borrow an underwater camera so I don’t really have photos of the dive, but it was really beautiful. My other diving experience was in Australia at the Great Barrier Reef so I only have that to compare to. The reefs in The Philippines were huge! One thing I noticed was just the size of coral. It was unbelievably amazing and I loved all three of my dives that day!
After diving and snorkeling, I met the nicest girl working there. She was so kind enough to help me get a jeepney to our next destination nearby and I really regret not getting her contact information. She was seriously the greatest! She was honest, fair, and very helpful. Something very reassuring in a foreign country, so shout out to her! We got into the jeepney and to our resort. Oh wow. It was seriously amazing. It looked like something out of a magazine or travel website. I couldn’t believe how raw and
wonderful it was with all the nature around. As we settled in, we noticed very quickly that wifi wasn’t available in the rooms but rather only in the dining hall. Well, I guess this is a sneaky way to make consumers actually get out of the wifi zone and explore outside of their rooms while enjoying nature. I was slightly annoyed but hindsightedly appreciated it. It was good to have this mini detox.
To finish off our extremely long day, we had some dinner in the dining hall and enjoyed a delicious meal! Of course, mangoes and pineapple are always a win and I was just in heaven! I really love mangoes and just can get enough of them! Our first day was tiring, but it was so worth it. The Philippines was not as dangerous as I had envisions. Of course, this didn’t mean I could let my guard down completely, but I was more relaxed and could actually enjoy my vacation to the fullest. My impressions included how beautiful the ocean and reefs are, food was deliciously salty, mangoes are always a win, locals are super friendly, and sunrise is a painful, yet worthwhile experience. Rocky start but wonderful end to our first day. 🙂