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The best and worst of my Cebu trip


Considered one of the illustrious travel destinations in the Philippines, Cebu City undenialbly has a great number of significant first rate tourist attractions that sends interest across the country travelers from different sides of the world. In this article let me share my little piece of adventure in the Queen City of the South. 
As part of the established plan, we had Kalanggaman Island via Cebu but it has thrown out on ear when we had a hasty impasse in the time of our embarkation in pier 1 Mandaue Cebu, we had a conflict on our schedule that made kalanggaman Island side trip unworkable, no plan B, we planned for the next destination to spend our entire day, we couldn't let that day go into waste, we ended heading to South bus terminal bound to Oslob for whale shark watching for the next day schedule apparently.

Oslob Cebu. Two to three hour bus ride from Mactan Cebu International Airport, we boarded a bus (Ceres Bus) from South Bus terminal heading to Oslob. The bus driver dropped us at MB's Sunrise View Resort. There are numerous beach resorts offering their accommodations and the prices ranges from 1500 to 2000 for 3-4 pax. Food was never a problem since there are plenty of food establishments around the area, we dined at one of the food stops and discovered that they also accommodate tourist for an overnight stay for only 900 pesos/3pax bad that we already paid for our overnight stay, we could have saved hundreds.

We woke up at 5am in preparation for our whale shark encounter, of course we were all excited to meet these so called "Gentle Giants" of Oslob, and a quick briefing was required before we meet the Whale Shark to ensure that we follow all the guidelines upon the encounter. Required payments must be settled at the briefing area or at the resort of your choice, most of the beach resorts are connected to the Whale Shark Watching management of Oslob.

Fees:

₱500- Whale Shark Encounter Fee, snorkeling with complete gears (for Filipinos)
₱300- Whale Shark Encounter Fee, watching only (for Filipinos)
₱500- Whale Shark Encounter, watching only (for Foreign Guests)
₱1000- Whale Shark Encounter Fee, snorkeling with complete gears (for Foreign Guests)

Since we woke up a bit early for preparation we waited at the coast of Oslob, there we witnessed the dazzling sunrise greeting us.


Tumalog Falls. Aside from the famous Whale Shark Watching activity I also recommend to visit Tumalog Falls, you can approach any locals of Oslob and schedule a day trip. The day we visited Oslob the locals discouraged us to visit Tumalog Falls from the time being since there was a scheduled maintanenace for cleaning the falls. As I see the picture of Tumalog falls it somehow reminds me of Asik Asik falls of Mindanao - Entrance Fee: ₱20

Standard vehicle rate: 150 including entrance fee

I never let a day pass without going somewhere else especially in such day that I supposed to visit a place and a sudden postponement occurred, trust me I always held something in reserve. In that case we steered the wheel and head forward to Binilayan Falls and Aguinid Falls in Samboan Cebu, 45 minute drive from Baranggay Tan-awan via tricycle, for 3pax we only paid 200 each not including the entrance fees.

Binalayan Falls is an underrated falls in Baranggay Samboan, what fascinates me was the color of the falls, well not only in Binalayan but most of the reserved Falls in Cebu, it doesn't display a crystal colored water hence the color was somehow jade casted  its color was far different from the ones I featured in Quezon Province. We all had a great time that made all our cam's battery drained, that made us regret when we visit Aguinid Falls - Entrance Fee: ₱10


Aguinid Falls, dissimilar to Binalayan Falls, Aguinid Falls is one of the famous falls in the Queen City. Sorry that I cannot show you how great the nature is by providing photos of Aguinid Falls, I really tried capturing its majestic charm but our widgets really gave up, I even approached the guides if I can use their camera but they even didn't have.
The extraordinary cascading falls of Aguinid consists of 5 levels, you must be extra careful on your steps due to growing mosses some part of the falls were slippery, the guides are there to help  you anyway, just give them a humanely fair tip after your visit - Entrance Fee: ₱20


Kawasan Falls is another famous rubberneck destination of the City, Kawasan Falls is located in the southern part of Cebu just a few minute drive from Moalboal. The falls has its unique pristine beauty that attracts everyone who visits the falls, no wonder it's evidently one of the leading travel destinations in the city. Aside from the falls itself there's an echoing activity that also captivates the interests of many, Canyoneering. An extreme activity that requires a deep courage and strong muscular stamina from jumping and hiking at the head of the cascading stream of Matutinao River that seem fun in the eyes of adventure seekers, along with the adventure you must be ready for physical challenges and struggles - Entrance Fee: ₱10





Magellan's Cross. After a suffused water fall activities we cast ahead to the city proper of Cebu, a city tour for a quick glimpse of our past and rich culture that still lingers in one of the busiest cities in Visayas Region. The trip wouldn't be complete without visiting the famous Magellan's cross, a replica of the wooden cross that Magellan planted to outset the birth of Christianity in our country, a historical event that we still value until this present era.



Basilica Minore Del Sto Nino (Minor Basilica of the Holy Child) was a Spanish founded basilica considered the oldest church in Cebu, founded in 1565 by the Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, I believe some part of the church were rebuilt due to past calamities it countered and the materials for renovation were still in line with its original quality to preserve its beauty.


Taoist Temple is another prevailing site in Cebu City center probably 20 minute drive from Magellan's cross. Located in Beverhills Subdivision in Lahug Cebu, Taoist Temple is a medial sanctuary for Taoism though the place is open to all who wants to visit, picture taking is the best activity when you visit the place however taking photos of their Buddha is strictly prohibited so let's respect that boundary, they never ask for entrance fee in the first place.



THE WORST OF OUR TRIP

Undoubtedly Cebu City is a place  bursting with far-fetched destination that really exists, however our short stay in the province didn't at all gave us a thrill of happiness but instead a little glitch of disappointment. I understand that some part of the province are far from our urbane living in Manila but still isn't excuse to take advantage of the travelers who also work hard to have such trip possible. Let me summate the occurrences of our frustrations during our trip.

We were night shifters and we flew straight to Cebu right after our shift, mind that we were all firs timers in Cebu and language barrier was indeed a hindrance of communication. When we step our foot at Mactan Cebu Airport we asked few people where we can find a metered taxi nearby, someone approached us and lead us to a private taxi, of course we knew that they won't use a taxi meter to calculate the fare but the driver guaranteed that he will only charge us 50 pesos (per head) going to Mandaue Port (as we planned to visit Kalanggaman Leyte). Right in time when we were about to pay he declared and asked for fixed price of 475! The driver claimed that there might be a misunderstanding somewhere along our deal which was impossible because he knows how to speak Tagalog, we even confirmed the price before we enter his car. We let it go and settled the fare.

As another predicament our hired private service lead us in an incorrect wharf station, we didn't have a choice but to walk from pier 2 going to pier 3, AGAIN someone approached us (a porter) offering to carry all our luggage since it may take 15 minutes to reach pier 3, due to exhaustion from work and stress from what happened to us we simply agreed on his offer, of course we asked how much was his service and we heard the famous line "bahala na kayo sir" (it's all up to you, sir) so we thought 100 pesos was enough, the carriage from pier 2 to 3 only took less than 10 minutes though and he got a stroller for our luggage. AGAIN just when we're about to arrive at the pier 3 terminal we heard a familiar cue, "sir, bahala na kayo ha ok na ako sa 200" (sir, it's up to you, 200's ok"), we all look at each other thinkin "here we go agaiiin", I asked the porter why he's now asking for a fixed price when he kept on saying that it's all up to us? He just excused that he got to pay the stroller and other extra fees from pier 1, well he should have told us right?
On our third day we visited Kawasan Falls and left our stuff at our lodge in Moalboal, since we were not familiar on the area it was a little difficult to memorize the route we took upon leaving our hostel earlier that day, we approached a tricycle driver and asked if he knows the lodge we had an accommodation to, he said yes and drove us to the hostel, again we asked him how much was the fare going to the hostel, he agreed at 30pesos. When we reached the lodge he asked for 30 pesos each. it didn't even take 10 minutes to drive Moalboal bus stop going to our lodge, we confirmed to the hostel's care taker how much was the fare and confirmed that it's only 30pesos good for the three of us not for each of us.

Familiar of the bamboo raft in Kawasan Falls, aren't you? Two locals of barangay Matutinao offered their service soon as we embarked our way to the entrance til we reached the falls, we were all fed up of with all the misleading occurrences and hazy motives in the past so refused to be persuaded this time. The locals kept asking for their service and offered a tempting arrangement in Bamboo raft ride in Kawasan falls, 300/20mins for three of us. after 30minutes of persuading us we then agreed, this time we made sure that we'll only pay 300 pesos or 100 each for us three, THEY AGREED. Our Bamboo rafting Experience was really stellar, and the guides who offered their service were superb! superb that they charge us for bamboo raft ride (300) as agreed and ANOTHER 300 for the guide who maneuvered the bamboo, it really wowed us, seriously? We didn't let this incident go just like that, we were all furious on their behavior, they kept saying that being a guide is their only source of income, it may sound rude but the hell I care? On my previous entries I always try my best to heighten the locals livelihood by simply promoting their resources by writing an article of good experiences. Mind that we used our hard earned money tp make this trip possible and their excuse was not acceptable.
The last stop we had was the city proper of Cebu, cheap accommodations were everywhere. Since we were on a tight budget we opted to spend the night in a cheap pension house along Sanciangko Street, on that same night we dine out to try the Cebu Lechon, when we were about to leave the hostel for a quick night out the caretaker stopped us and requested to leave the room key, by all means we thought that they will get an access on our room once we leave the lodge but since we brought all the important stuff we just wing it. We also made sure that the air conditioner was on before we left the hotel so once we get back the room remains cool. After having a full dinner feast we went back to the hotel, the caretaker handed back the key, as we entered the room the air conditioner was closed and the  Air conditioner switch was detached, so we paid for AC room without an AC and invaded our privacy, that was beyond my expectation I didn't see that coming.

I’m writing this article in purpose of sharing my experiences and not to generalize or stereotype the culture/practices of the Cebuanos, after all when we all seemed doubtful to everyone we met a stranger along the way. Back in Moalboal when we were still looking a cheap accommodation I earnestly asked someone if she knows a cheap accommodation in the area, she seemed pleased to help us looking for a decent shelter. We couldn't help to think of another rip off from this lady so we prepared 200 pesos in return of our favor. She accompanied our group to different hotels around. We started looking for hotel at 7pm and finished before 9pm, it appears that her effort was more than what we were expecting so I thought of preparing 300 pesos if in case she demand for higher bid, we were surprised that she refused to take the money, after all the experience we had we were really surprised that she didn't take it, it's a testament that not everyone's the same. There are people who truly cares and lend their hand without taking advantage of the situation, the photo below was her, her name is Clarissa.

The totality of my stay was bitter sweet but I would always want to go back. I always admire the characters of the Cebuanos and the not so good experiences I had won't hinder me from going back. I'll see you again Cebu :)


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