March 30 – April 2, 2017 OSLOB
The day of departure from Zamboanguita we woke up to rain so took our time, hoping it would go away. Nope. We waited on the highway for the bus and took the first one that came along. Once in Dumaguette we found the bus to Cebu full and the next one not due for 3 hours so we tried the alternate. A city bus took us to the ferry port where we boarded a barge for Liloan. There we asked a tricycle driver to take us to the highway where we could flag a bus. He offered to take us all the way to Oslob for about $200 pesos more than the bus. We thought, wait in the rain for who knows how long for about $3 each? Tricycle it is!
The MWR pension was basic but the family hosting us made it really special. Manau offered to drive us everywhere but the walk to town wasn’t that far. They’re up early in the Philippines so at 5:45 am he drove us to the place we’d see the whale sharks. It’s not the most eco friendly way to see them but it didn’t turn out to be as bad as we thought. Yes, they’re fed. Yes, it’s incredibly touristy and there are lots of people there but everyone DOES want to see these gentle giants. I saw several of the beautiful beasts and none had visible scars from propellers that I’d heard about. Local fishermen feed them for a couple of hours in the morning for the tourists and then that’s it for the day. Each person gets a half hour in the water (or boat, whatever you choose) The town has really benefited from the tourism dollars too.
Manau then drove us to the port where we caught a boat to Sumilon Island. Now that’s a tourist trap and not really worth it. It’s ridiculously expensive for the Philippines at 500 pesos. We swam out to the marine sanctuary and the guard on a boat kept yelling at us to go back, something about coral. He seemed to want us to stay where all the boats were. Bore me! So I swam back to ask at the sand bar. HE told me to just go where it’s deeper as the guard was concerned for the coral. Okay. The guy STILL hollered at me so back I went AGAIN. He said to go where the buoys are. OK. By then, snorkel boats had arrived and were moored out THERE too. The coral IS beautiful. There are lots of fish and I even saw a little black tipped reef shark. There’s no beach once the tide starts coming in though and it’s really crowded.
Back on shore, we finally got picked up by Manau, hopped on his motorcycle again and headed for the Tumalog waterfall. It was beautiful but not much water falling as it hasn’t rained a lot. Well, except today when it rained off and on all day.
The most dangerous part of our travels I think was riding on the back of that motorcycle. We’re in nothing but shorts, tee shirt, sandals and no helmets. We’d seen SO many travellers who’d rented scooters or motorcycles with injuries.
The next morning we took our time and enjoyed a breakfast prepared by our hostess in a gazebo overlooking the ocean. While dallying over coffee we were joined by some of the kids. Being Saturday they had the time to chat with us. Kendal, Mavin, Ritzy and another little girl entertained us with stories and songs and Kendal even did my hair for me. These kids already speak 3 languages fluently.
The trip to Cebu was easy. The girls helped us to the highway where we flagged down a bus and said goodbye.