Our Route through the Coral Reefs of Cebu in Philippines
We woke up early because we had to take a plane to Cebu, an island in the middle of the Visayas. We plan to go to an immigration office in Cebu to extend our visa for a month. Apart from that and above all, we want to go to a town in the southeast of Cebu called Oslob. Here we have been told that there is a family of young members of whale sharks settled in their coasts. Here one can Snorkel with them!
But we decided to go first to the north of Cebu and take a boat to the tiny island of Malapascua, one of the few places in the world where one can see the fox shark. It is a 3 meter beast that has not evolved since the Quaternary and that lives in deep abysses, in total darkness. That is why, although they have very large eyes they are half blind, and they are called fox shark because they have a tail almost as long as their body!
This island is surrounded by a barrier of coral reefs that delimit with a vertical wall of more than 100 meters deep. Every morning between 6 and 7 emerge until natural stone platforms that are about 25 meters deep to clean their parasites thanks to little fish that are there waiting for them.
The dive starts at 4 o'clock in the morning to be there at 7 o'clock, waiting for them, lying on the rock platforms. We arrived in Cebu at 7 in the afternoon after a low cost flight, just over an hour long. We take a taxi to the bus station in the north, and at 9 pm we took a very shabby bus to the town of Maya, in the north of Cebu, where the port that would take us to Malapascua is located!
It has been the most macabre bus ride of our life! Finally we arrived at Maya at 12:30 and went to sleep at a cheap and simple boarding house where a boy attended us with a perfect, super nice Englishman! He even brought us a bottle of water, a beer and noodles!
In the morning we got up at 6, since the ferry supposedly left at 7 what in the end it was 9 o'clock but that's normal in this country. We have to be patient and take advantage as we have done to talk to people! We are happy every day with these people. And the arrival in Malapascua has been amazing! It is a mini island without roads or vehicles with white sand roads where we can go barefoot and full of vegetation and palm trees!
We leave Malapascua with pity but this country is very big and we want to take the time to see and do a lot of things that we have in mind! We take a bangka, typical Philippine boat, that will take us back to the port of Maya. This time we do not have to wait 10 minutes for it to come out!
The same thing happens with the bus that when we arrived at the port it was already leaving. This new journey by bus has been hell. Being in the morning it has taken almost two hours more than on the way out and maybe even a little more full! Practically during the whole trip it was pouring and at times it seemed like it was sailing down a river.
We're in luck since it only rains when we move in transports and when we arrive at our destination we get a sun that scares! We arrive in Cebu City after 5:30 hours in the bus and we still had a good journey to Oslob, our next destination. As we had no desire to return to catch another bus we decided to take a taxi for a journey of about 3 hours!
Finally we have been able to rest a little and we arrived in Oslob already at night but at a decent hour! As soon as we got off the bus a guy came to ask us if we had accommodation and as we did not have it, he accompanied us to different places. In Oslob we stay in a very nice place. It was a kind of farm, where in front of our room, which overlooked a garden, ran roosters goats and pigs!
We left the bag in the room and decided to give our last massage. We call reception and they send us a couple of girls to give us a foot massage in the room. After an hour of massage and a good shower we went to eat at a Carinderia for dinner in the main street. When we arrive it is already more than 9 o'clock at night and almost all the restaurants are closing. In the end we found an open one and we had dinner.
We walked through the town. In the colonial area, we found a nice place with a local atmosphere. We return to the hotel and as right next to the entrance there is a supermarket, we bought a royal orange and hurry the last drops of vodka that we have left of a bottle that we bought at the duty free. With the same we go to the bed.
In the morning we have breakfast in the village with eggs, toast, juices, white rice, coffee and beer. In this town as in many others that we find that we are the only tourists and an authentic attraction for them. While having breakfast it has rained a little but soon the sun appear! We are in luck again!
Then we took a swimsuit, fins, tube and glasses. At 9 o'clock in the morning we were on our way to what really took us to this town, to swim with the whale shark or Butanding as they call it here! We were super nervous of emotion and after a brief explanation of what we could and could not do. They took us out to sea in an area full of corals that was quite deep but with water so clear that we could see them from the bangka.
Suddenly half a dozen of these incredible sea beasts have started to appear! We were only about 4 or 5 people and it has been one of the most amazing experiences of our life! They passed us by centimeters on our side. We submerged ourselves with them, and when we got distracted others came up behind us with their mouths open.
After about 45 minutes, since we were exhausted, we leave them there! We return to Oslob town to take the packages and catch a bus to the Liloan Port in south of Cebu to catch a ferry. We wait only about 10 minutes and we head to the Negros island!