Sunday, October 7, 2012

138. Backpacking Adventures 2: Malapascua, Cebu

We don't have the luxury of time and kaching kaching but we're glad that we were able to squeeze in some vacation this second half of 2012. Thanks to Tiger Airways (Seaair) for the sale airfare we got – just a little less than Php550 roundtrip air fare for me and Luke!!! So let me blog about our second backpacking adventure to Malapascua, Cebu.

I’m thinking that this be a quick one as this is loooooong overdue!

One of the things I'm grateful about is that I have relatives scattered around the country and around the world. This includes Cebu so our first day in Cebu was spent in Cebu City where some of my relatives live. :) 

Typically, Cebu City is like Manila with a different language. It's like practically everything that can be found in Manila can also be found there, some maybe even better. So Day 1 was simply strolling around the metro, through the comforts of my cousin's wheels! Ahhh! Thank God for wealthy relatives! Hihihi!

The highlight of our first day in Cebu was going to Tops! It's not my first time in Cebu but it was my first time at Tops. It is a sight-seeing spot located 2,000 feet above sea level, located at Busay, Cebu. If I remember it right, it's a 30-minute traffic-free travel from the city. There is a need to cover up if one decides to go there most especially on night time. Hindi lang naman siguro dahil sa manipis ako at walang fat insulator that I was freezing cold during our entire stay there!! The temperature there was so low and it was windy. Some people say that it is an overrated spot but I found it breathtaking -- being able to see the bird's eye view of the totality of the city and even seeing a glimpse of my father's homeland, Bohol. Napahayyyy talaga kami. The good kind of hayyyyy. Maybe because we were in a situation that we needed a time-off from our regular everyday in Manila, sitting in front of our dual monitors and TCs, it's something new to the feeling, not to mention the super nakakakilig sa feeling na lamig (syempre kasama ko pa si boyfie added factor sa kilig hahaha!)

There are also stores that offer something to eat, like cakes, and something to sip like hot chocolate, coffee and macchiato (I don't think you'll need sodas at night in that freezing temperature). So the effect is something similar to the popular green-logo-ed coffee brand. Other stores offer meals and souvenirs. The place itself has a good ambience, not just the sight from there. And it's a good venue for picture taking! Teehee!

Lol. Kapal ng mukha namin magshorts! We were forewarned by my cousin if we are sure we are going to wear a pair of shorts. Haha! Ayan ngatog sa lamig! Of course my humble camera does not give justice to the magnigicent view from up there but just to give you a tease and of course for capture the moments sentimentality. Do you now get what I mean with a good venue of picture-taking?? Or cute lang talaga kami ng boyfriend ko together? Hahaha! I kid.

Photos with my relatives!

Basically, it’s a free Day 1 for us!! From food to transpo to Top’s entrance fee! Yay!

Day 2

The next day, we have to wake up really early to catch the first trip to our very destination -- Malapascua island. My goal is to be able to step foot on my list of five islands in Cebu (Malapascua, Oslob, Bantayan, Camotes and Moalboal), and this may be updated some other time. And since we are on our backpacking adventure 2 (nako as of this writing wala pang no.3 huhuhu I’m so uhm craving?? for a backpacking adventure 3!!!), we have to publicly commute!!! Simply put, publicly commuting from Cebu City to Malapascua is like going Puerto Galera coming from Batangas coming from Manila. It took us more or less four hours to reach the serenity of the island.

Publicly commuting:

I’ve found out that my blog has been helpful to those who went to or are planning to go to Caramoan through my Caramoan blog post and followed up by email exchanges and commenting, I’m also posting the way we transported ourselves from Cebu City to Malapascua.

My cousin dropped us at the Northern Bus Terminal, BUT wherever you come from the city you can ask a cab driver to take you there. There are three bus types that can take you to Maya, the bus ride destination. These are Ceres Bus Liners, Cebu Auto Bus and Rough Riders. The first two are airconditioned buses while the last one lives up to its name – an ordinary bus which costs only Php80. We took the Ceres Bus Liners which cost us Php170 each. And while the bus is being filled up with people heading north, we had some breakfast care of Dunkin Donuts! It was only 6AM when we got there that despite the place having quite a number of food establishments, it seems like Dunkin Donuts (apart from sari-sari stores all around) was the only open and available one to cater our tummy’s shout of food intake. Make sure to stuff your bags at least a bottle of water, some ready-to-eat food, snacks or anything edible bahala ka haha because the bus ride took us almost four hours.

After sleeping, eating, watching, listening to music, playing games in the iPad/iTouch, stopovers, anything that we thought of doing to entertain ourselves during that long bus ride, finally we were at Maya! It’s the last bus stop, so dearies, you won’t get lost. Aba ‘pag di mo pa gets ang last stop, at naligaw ka pa, ewan ko na lang. I looked for the little ticket booth towards the end of the pier, the last time it was like a lifesaver house painted white, and asked about the public boat going to Malapascua. People there told me that there are not much passengers so there was no public boat asof that hour that will take us to our destination. With the research I have done, this is commonly done to foreigners so as to trick them to pay for private boats. E mukha ba akong foreigner? I’m just a humble bakasyonista from Maynila with a tight pocket. So we waited for passengers and tic toc tic toc mukhang wala nga. We were already eager to get to our destination. So yes folks, we agreed to a private boat to take us to Malapascua but of course with much haggling from Php1500 to Php1300 to Php1000 to Php800! And as soon as we step in our supposed-to-be private boat, aba nagsulputan ang mga pasahero! So, if you’re going there don’t be fooled. Unless you are a group, don’t take a private boat. A ticket is supposed to be Php80/head. So we went over our budget and spent Php700 (I haggled because I saw people hitching on ‘our’ boat). Anyway, boats are supposed to be available from 7am to 5pm.

It was a 30-minute boat ride. Sinamantala ang simoy ng hangin at tunog ng hampas ng mga alon, Php700 kaya binayad namin! Haha!

Malapascua, finally!

Malapascua is an island in the northernmost of Cebu Province. It is part of Barangay Logon, Daan Bantayan Municipality. It is one tiny island! Malapascua is well-known for hosting diving and not really your typical beach escapade. While if you search online others may have described it as similar to Boracay, I can say that with the sands yes but with the environment, it's so much more peaceful in Malapascua. When we went there, it was really calm and quiet, not too much people and on our observation we felt like we were the only Filipino tourists. There were a lot of foreigners and most were all eagerly geared to dive. Our agenda is simple -- to get away from the "Manila feeling". With that in mind, since we were on backpacking, we actually made no reservations to whatever place to stay-in.  But of course we have a list on hand.

As our boat is approaching the island, I can see people waiting for us and as soon as we stepped on to the island I felt like I was a Hollywood star swarmed by the press people. But my point is, you will not find it hard to look for a place to stay in because just like any tourist spot, people just swarm to you with their different offerings. As for our case, we only checked one place and decided to stay there right away.

We chose Malapascua Legend Resorts ( I came across it online and I checked their rates. Their Presidential Suite’s overnight rate is at Php7000 and their Super Deluxe is at Php5,000. I immediately crossed it out from our list. But when we got there, their assistant manager offered us a rate of Php3,500 for the Super Deluxe. Bit it! Pwede na kahit tight budget kami, because the place comes with a relatively large pool and the room is really nice! For those who wonder, they accept credit card payments. It’s a good choice.

top left - Malapascua Legend Resort front view || top right - Super Deluxe room with two Queen-sized beds, it has an LCD cable TV, a mini bar, mini refrigerator and it has a large bathroom with the shower room occupying half the size || bottom left - floor to ceiling curtain covering the sliding door leading to  balcony || lower right - view from our balcony
Wasn't able to take decent photos of the details of the room.


We enjoyed the room a bit first. But our human instinct told us to feed ourselves. There are several resturants and given that the hotels/stay-in places also offer food, finding a place to eat in won’t be that hard well except if you are on a really tight budget. Since tourists are mostly foreigners, there is a large food selection but can be quite heavy to the pocket with some being offered at foreign currencies. We opted for the budget-friendly restaurant – Ging-Ging’s. We also had our dinner that same night at the same place.

That's me enjoying the room haha!

What we did.

Back to the resort-hotel, I took of my lakbay outfit and put on my two-piece and the obligatory sunglasses. We strolled along the shoreline. Ah too many divers!! We soaked ourselves in the clear waters – both the sea and the pool.

Late afternoon, we were off to a some little adventure. We went to a boat ride circling the island and some snorkeling in between. This cost us Php180/head, snorkeling gears included. It was just a good add-on as we have no plans of doing such. We just wanted to be miles away and be relaxed. But given you’re a licensed diver, seeing the divers coming from all over the world, this is the place to be.

The night time was wonderful. After dinner, there was nothing to do but to enjoy the moment. Hear the sound of the sea. Feel the breeze. We played some YouTube videos that serenaded us and to some we joined in. It was just a night of pure relaxation, peace and calmness. Don't get me wrong, there's no 'night life' but there are places to go to for a drink.

Early the next day, we had a sumptuous breakfast. Warning BACON AND EGGS included!! And some fresh fruits and bottomless fruit juices. Afterwhich we abused the pool. Wala kaming kahati solo naming ang pool. :) Aaaah made me say this is life!!

But the point came where we need to say goodbye. Huhuhu.

Thankful for that quick island getaway. It was nothing grand but we felt like we got what we deserve. ;)

Our way back is much cheaper. The boat back to Maya cost us Php100/head and we risked taking Rough Riders bus back to the city (Php80/head). It was the only bus available as soon as we got to Maya.

And this is our Backpacking Adventure 2 – Malapascua Island Cebu.

p.s. Not really a quick post...

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