The Drive Around The Land of Lechon

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Last Labor Day weekend, I went to Cebu with my 3D friends. I was fortunate enough to book cheap tickets for us during last year’s seat sale. One round trip via PAL costed only PHP 2501. Despite booking tickets a year ahead of time, we had a last minute planning at Janine’s house before the trip. There were a lot of places we wanted to go to. We decided to rent our own car so that it will be more accessible to drive around Cebu.

Initially, the car we rented was supposed to be an Innova. However, since the Innova that we were supposed to use wasn’t returned yet, we were upgraded to a Chevy Trailblazer for the same price. The rental was PHP 3,300 per day for an automatic. We just had to deposit an initial amount of PHP 3,000 for security purposes which was returned when the car was brought back. The gas of the car must be returned in full as well, which was a given. Good thing the Trailblazer was a diesel so the gas wasn’t that costly.

It was my first time driving the car around the province. What’s funny was that I told Evan that I didn’t want to drive in zigzag roads but after we switched, all the roads were in zigzag. It was a struggle for me considering that I wasn’t used to the car but I quickly got used to it. I didn’t try to outrun other vehicles even though I knew that the car was able to, just to be safe.

Here’s the route we took: Mactan Airport-Moalboal-Alcoy-Cebu City

From Mactan Airport, we drove straight to Moalboal. I’ve been to Moalboal before and I knew that diving was really the best activity to do in the place. But since none of us had a license, we didn’t do the activity. We stayed at Mayas Native Garden Resort. We booked 2 rooms, 3 people each room. Their staff were very accommodating. They helped us booked an island hopping trip for the rest of the afternoon for if I remember correctly, PHP 2,000. First stop was to swim with the pawikans or sea turles. It was low tide when we got there. All the pawikans were eating algae. It was my first time seeing and interacting with them. They were so cute! The way they extended their heads every time they took a bite of the algae was a sight to see.

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You can really say that our boatmen were used to taking tourists out. They helped us take videos with the pawikans one by one. One of them was in charge of taking the video, the other one was in charge of taking us to the spot and pushing us down to be nearer to the pawikans. I was so thankful that my feet could touch the bottom so I wasn’t that scared when doing this. If I haven’t told you yet, I can’t swim. I never learned how to swim and I am afraid of learning due to many past experiences of drowning.

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Here’s a very blurry photo of me with the pawikan.

Next, we went snorkeling in one of the nearby islands. The water was very clear but along the way, we encountered jellyfish which made us panic. I was able to take a video of a pretty, orange jellyfish.

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Our last stop was the sardine run. On our way there, we encountered dolphins! I love dolphins and it brought tears to my eyes when I saw them out in the open, freely swimming. We tried taking a video of them but we only caught a slight glimpse of them.

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As you can see from the photo above, this was the best shot that we got of them. Still, it was quite a memorable experience.

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The next day, we went to Kawasan Falls! It was a very fun experience! I’ll have another blog post dedicated to this for better appreciation of the place.

After the Kawasan experience, we drove straight to Alcoy. It was quite a long drive since we reached Dive Point Alcoy, our second resort, at nighttime. By the time we checked in, went to our rooms, it was already past dinner time and most restaurants around the area were closed already. The resort didn’t even have anything to cook for us that night. We were ready to pay for any dish they could give us but they asked us to eat out because they don’t have any food left. Dive Point Alcoy was a disappointment. The owners weren’t there and only two Finnish students (trainees) was there to manage the place. Upon check-in, they asked us if we wanted to pay the full price or just settle the amount when we check-out. I found this quite unprofessional. They brought us to their office to settle the full amount that very night. They even got each of our ID’s probably for record purposes? Even hotels don’t get everyone’s ID’s. Our rooms were quite a walk from the restaurant area. At night, it gets really dark and you’d need to have your own flashlights to see the path. If you don’t have a sense of direction, you’d get lost. We got lost on our first attempt to go to the restaurant area. We found ourselves returning to the location where our rooms were. We had to ask help from a foreigner staying in the resort just so that we could find our way. Overall, the resort was a waste of money for the service we got. I was utterly disappointed. I am speaking from the point of view of someone who didn’t dive. I think the resort is a very good diving place so maybe if you are there for diving, you’d appreciate the resort better.

The next day, we rode a tricycle to Tingko Beach, which was the only beach near the vicinity. The beach was packed with locals and it was quite dirty. Since I have sensitive skin, I could already feel the dirt when I took a dip in the sea. I think this was due to the fact that a lot of boats were parked around the beach. As it got quite itchy, I went out of the water and laid down the beach instead to get a dose of Vitamin D. The sun was painful to the skin but it was to my liking because skin types like mine love the feeling of sunlight in our skins.

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We played around the resort’s pool area after our trip to the beach just to maximize our use of their amenities. Afterwards, we checked out at exactly 12nn and drove straight to Cebu City.

We stayed at Crown Regency Mactan for our last night. This was the only place where all of us stayed in one room. The room was big and it had a kitchen, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It felt great to be able to sleep in a hotel with comfortable beds and warm blankets after the adventure-filled trip we had. We drove ourselves to Lantaw in Busay where we had the best view of Cebu City. The food there was very delicious as well. We especially loved their scallops and adobong kangkong that we had to order a second round.

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While eating dinner, there was a power outage for less than 5 minutes. Most people would be alarmed but I used this opportunity to better appreciate the view.

Driving around Cebu was a first for me but I wouldn’t recommend this especially when you have a lot planned in 4 days. Sure, it was cost-efficient renting a car to drive around but the drive plus the activities tired us out. It would have been better if we had more days. Overall, it was still a new experience.

Cebu, you had been awesome!

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