Backpacking is a full time job. I guess I has my first true backpacking experience this last week and although it was an incredible week, I realized how much work it is and how prepared you really need to be.
On Thursday I set out for Cebu. Traffic in Manila is nuts so I left for the airport disgustingly early but actually made decent time getting there, so I worked for most of the day in the airport while I waited for my flight. The nice part about working from my laptop, is I can really set up my office anywhere as long as there’s WiFi and a plug. My flight got delayed, so on top of being early I got to wait even longer. I set up a whole office basically by the time I was ready to go.
After arriving and sleeping in Cebu, I made my way to the South Bus Terminal where every single person asks you where you’re going and every one keeps pointing you along until you make it to your bus. Its super handy and I never have to worry about getting lost.
I got on one of the open air ones and started the 3 hour journey to Moalboal. Vendors hop on and off the bus the whole way so even though I was trying to sleep, I was not short on offers for snacks.
I settled into my hostel and went on a mission to get to Lambug beach. There’s two beaches, one is called “White Beach” and the other is this one, but apparently its much harder to get to, which is also why it’s less crowded. It makes sense.
The moto taxi guys on the corner wanted to charge Me 800 pesos which is like almost 20$ for a ride there and back, but it was only 400 to rent a bike for the day, which made MUCH more sense to me so I opted for that option. Little did I know it was quite difficult to get a bike apparently, one guy told me to hop on the back of his bike and we would go get one. We drove around for 2 hours looking for his friend or someone that had one? Eventually I got one, I’m pretty sure it was just his friends that I paid to use for the day 😂
I really didn’t realize how much I missed riding the motorcycle and having the freedom of going where I wanted. I drove to the beach and hung out, swam and it was gorgeous.
The next morning I had booked a trip to go Canyoneering. It’s the super popular thing to do in the area, but its oh so worth it. The guy I met at my hostel the night before tagged along and we went for a wild adventure. There’s like 6 jumps or something off of cliffs into incredibly colored blue water. The jumps get increasingly higher as you go through the jungle; this jungle is also like one out of Tarzan. It felt like monkeys could be swinging by at any second, it was stunning.
Somehow also, half way through the jungle there’s a place you can stop for BBQ. They have like 4 big huts set up with ladies and grills, it was a whole set up but it’s so remote and there’s water on both sides, I’m still convinced that aliens put all of that stuff there, there’s no way they carried it through all of the canyons and rivers.
The last jump is 15 meters and I jumped without hesitation, it was such a rush.
We were given lunch and then we went back to the hostel to rest. That night the internet went out so I ended up working at 11pm on the floor outside of this French cafe nearby.
The next morning we wanted to go snorkel at ”Pescador Island“ - hilarious. The boat that we ended up getting was a “private tour” and we got a really decent price too. We were excited to not have to share a boat with anyone, boy we were in for a surprise. First of all the boat was LOUD. It sounded like someone had a Harley Davidson 2 feet away and was revving it as hard as possible to power this boat. Our drivers didn’t really speak much English but were nice enough and smiling. About half way to the island, the engine suddenly stops. Seizes, and now we’re just floating, our captain quickly shouts to a boat who was passing near by and they tied our boat to theirs and continued pulling us to the island like nothing had happened. The tour must go on!
The snorkeling was really beautiful, but also always heartbreaking. It’s really horrible to see all of our coral reefs dying because of the water temps rising and the amount of pollution in the water too. The fish were bright blue and white and they swim right up to you and it’s grand.
We continued on our trip to see the turtles and sardines (Being pulled still by this other boat the whole time).
The next morning I set off for Bohol, the next little island over. I had to take an hour taxi across the island to the shipping ferry port. The other option was to take 3 hours of buses and have to do changes and although it would have been significantly cheaper, I felt safer and better about doing it my way.
In Bohol, I had a very nice boy waiting for me that I had met the day before on my canyoneering tour. He picked me up with his Russian friend and off we went. We went to see some caves and then go to get dinner. It was Tom's (The Russian) birthday so we organized a BBQ at the hostel complete with pork, veg and even grilled pineapple. Everyone sang happy birthday and we got to do some Ukulele karaoke as well. After we all walked to the beach, and ended up dancing at this empty club for a while before heading home.
The next eventful thing didn't happen until the next morning, but I did enjoy meeting some others while swimming and some sunset yoga on the beach as well.
The next morning Tom and I set off on a moto to go explore Bohol. Im not sure either of us realized how long this trek would be but it ended up being almost 8 hours on the motorcycle. We started off by seeing little Tarsiers, followed by zip lining through the jungle, we tried to stop at a river cruise place but it was SO full of every tourist ever so we left. After we went to a butterfly sanctuary, a hanging bridge, and then a secret swimming hole with waterfalls. The last stop of the day was the Chocolate Hills, which are so stunning and I need to research how they are formed.
Once I arrived back at my hostel where I had dropped my bags off earlier in the day, I was told that the manager had given all of the beds away for the night. This was super unfortunate because not only had I been the first person there that morning, but I also had a reservation online for a bed. Somehow this lady thought that we could just find something else, however, the closest thing was about 2000 pesos (40$) compared to 350, (7$). There was also another girl in the exact same situation as me when I got there, so we actually just told her we weren't leaving and she needed to find us a place to sleep!
She found a mattress that we squeezed on the floor of another room and shared it. I was grateful that she let us do that, but also extremely frustrated with the lack of customer service and communication. Its important to meet people where they are at though, so I tried to be super patient and understanding with her while we worked something out.
The next morning I met up with one of the girls I had met the day before and we ate some breakfast and took the ferry back to Cebu together. Its nice because even when you're a 'solo traveller' its rare that you ever end up actually being alone. You meet a whole slew of people everyday and get to hear their stories and plans and its amazing.
We live on a cool planet and Im so blessed to be experiencing it everyday.
Until next time y'all!