Why April remains to be Epic?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's because summer is not yet over. And because my feet always itch for long summer trips. And because I have other friends who drooled over my pictures from Kawasan Falls and Moalboal White Beach. And because they wanted to go there reeeaaal bad.

So last weekend, I went back to Kawasan Falls and Moalboal White Beach together with some of my student assistants and other friends. See, we never had any vacation or anything as a group other than seeing each other at work. It was a long overdue request from them to have something like a group bakasyon and so, instead of resting last weekend, off we went. And too bad some of them weren't able to come. Next time, children. And because we had this thing called camera with us, you'll see a lot of pictures pictures -- say for bragging rights and for posterity's sake again. Right.


Epic April and the Kuripot Travelers

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm not yet ready to say goodbye to my summer. Come to think of it, mine just started in Siquijor two weeks ago. And to make the most out of the long weekend last week, the group decided to go for another short vacation in Cebu. And so, I got my things packed minus the underwear. Yes, I left mine, thank you. Nice. Anyway, the excerpts from my adventure.

Getting to Liloan, Santander

Together with Kim, Irish, Chris, and Chris Vincent, we took a Php10.00 multicab ride from Dumaguete to the port of Sibulan to catch the 8:30 pump boat going to Liloan, Cebu. The sea was favorable and the pump boat took 30 minutes to reach Liloan.

Pebble Beach Resort, Santander, Liloan, Cebu

The group decided to stay in Santander till lunch. Irish suggested to stay in Pebble Beach Resort for a while. And so, we did. From Liloan Port, walking to Pebble Beach Resort took only 10 minutes. Entrance Fee is Php10.00.

There's really nothing much to see in Pebble Beach Resort aside from the fisher folks who occasionally pass by and as the name implies, pebbles. If you're searching for white sand, go somewhere else (and I will lead you there later). I suggest you stay in the neighboring Bongga Villa Beach Resort, where Ate Ginggay was staying during the time we were in Pebble Beach.

Next stop was Kawasan but we had to ride the bus going to Badian in Bato. From Liloan, we took a Php9.00 bus ride going to the next town, Bato.

Bato to Badian, Cebu

From Oslob, Bato, we took a 45-minute bus trip going to the small town of Badian where Kawasan Falls is located. Along the highway is the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church. From there, we took a 15-minute hike to reach Kawasan Falls. Don't get tourist guides who will approach you. Trust me. You will not get lost. Just follow the streams of tourists walking along the trail.

Kawasan Falls, Badian, Cebu

Finally, we reached Kawasan Falls and we needed to catch a dip in its cold water after traveling. Entrance to the falls is only Php10.00. For children below 7 years old, entrance fee is FREE but I wonder how they can identify a child to be below 7 years old.

From the highway, it took a 15-minute hike to reach the first falls. Among the three falls in Kawasan, the first falls is the most crowded since this is the biggest of the three. Tourists can ride the raft, which is for rent, and stay in a small cave below the falls. Rooms are provided for those who want to stay overnight. Surprisingly, they charge Php200.00 for those who want to stay overnight in their tents. Since our budget was limited, we decided to set camp in a nearby beach resort across the entrance to Kawasan falls, where you can set camp for FREE.

Matutinao Beach Promenade and Beach Park

If you're looking for a beach park with a swimming pool, nice accommodation, and a fancy restaurant, Matutinao Beach Promenade and Beach Park is not what you are looking for. The beach park only has few cottages where you can stay overnight. But the place has a cool mini-bar where you can enjoy videoke for Php5.00 per song.

Sidetrip: Moalboal White Beach Resort

We were about to go back to Dumaguete in the morning when we decided to go further up north to Moalboal White Beach. Chris Vincent went back to Dumaguete alone since she still has to go to work later in the afternoon. We waited for an hour for the bus going to Moalboal.

We reached the small town of Moalboal after 30 minutes. From the town proper, we took the habal-habal going to Moalboal White Beach, which is six kilometers away from the main highway. You can also rent a motorcycle for only 400 pesos for 24 hours if you want to explore the town a little more but I doubt there are other places to see other than the Moalboal White Beach.

Moalboal White Sand Beach is a long stretch of white sand beach comparable to Boracay minus the crowd and the expensive bars and restaurants. The beach has a number of beach resorts with entrance fees ranging from Php10.00 to Php15.00. Cottages are for rent ranging from Php200.00 to Php1,000.00. But again, we decided to stay in our tent.

You can see the island of Negros from its shoreline and if you're lucky, you can catch a glimpse of the nice sunset, too.

Tired, smelling, and hungry, we went back to Dumaguete at around three in the afternoon where another adventure awaits us.

In Search of Another Adventure

The group is planning a trip to Sumilon Island at the end of the month but I have my sights on Bohol. You're next. And this time, I'm bringing my underwear.

And the Numbers

• Multicab Fare (Dumaguete to Sibulan) Php10.00
• Pumpboat (Sibulan to Liloan) Php45.00
• Pebble Beach Resort Entrance Fee Php10.00
• Bus Fare (Liloan to Oslob, Bato) Php9.00
• Bus Fare (Oslob, Bato to Badian) Php20.00
• Entrance Fee (Kawasan Falls) Php10.00
• Bus Fare (Badian to Moalboal) Php16.00
• Habal-habal Fare (Highway to Moalboal White Sand Beach Php25.00
• Entrance Fee (Moalboal White Sand Beach) Php10.00
• Habal-habal Fare (Moalboal White Sand Beach to Town Proper) Php25.00
• Bus Fare (Moalboal going back to Oslob, Bato) Php52.00
• Pedicab Fare (Bato to Liloan Port) Php20.00
• Fast Craft (Liloan to Sibulan, Negros) Php65.00

Total: Php317.00

It was supposed to be holy but I am a peaceful person in nature. Really.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Despite its mystic beauty, aura of magic and its reputation for shamans and aswangs, we went to Siquijor to spend the Holy Week. We sailed from Dumaguete for about an hour and a half aboard Montenegro Lines.

We reached Siquijor, Siquijor during lunch time and upon arriving, I asked one of the locals where Jollibee is because the three of us were already hungry. Apparently, there is none. Not even a single branch of McDo or kahit Big Mak man lang. My first mistake. I know, right? Instead, we looked for a place to eat around St. Francis de Assisi Church and found one small carinderia where we met a local pedicab driver. I asked manong pedicab driver for the fare going to Salagdoong Beach and we came up with a reasonable price of Php300.00 (the charm still works at may asim pa rin ako) but then manong pedicab driver suggested to us to rent a motorcycle so that we can explore the whole island to our hearts' desire. He was even kind enough to let us borrow his map (since I left mine back home).

So with my pathfinder, Jronny – who never failed to look at the map to check if we were in the right track even if the signboards along the road said we were, and the photographer slash driver, Aljhun, we headed to Salagdoong Beach from the little town of Siquijor.

Along the way, the sights were absolutely breathtaking. From corn and rice fields to the crystal-clear waters around the island of Siquijor, hindi mo na kailangan ng gayuma (love potion) that other Siquijornons supposedly sell to make you fall in love with the place. You don’t need to. You don’t have to. The place itself is the gayuma.

We met Jronny’s friends along the way – one of them happens to be my student assistant at work before. They were in a bigger group – about ten of them or so. And, obviously, they were pretty much “well-sponsored” with food. I know because one of their bags was open. Mistake number two: Do not forget to bring food.

Finally, we reached Salagdoong Beach after an hour and a half of ass-pounding, sunburn-inducing road trip. Entrance fee to the resort is only Php10.00 plus Php15.00 parking fee for the motorcycle. For rent cottages are for Php100.00. There are also cottages for Php 1,200 a night – perfect for families who want stay overnight. You can also stay in their newly-built hotel. However, if you choose to stay in your own tents, camping fee is Php100.00.

So, ladies and gentlemen, for bragging purposes and for posterity’s sake, the pictures.

Expenses Summary:
• Boat fare (Dumaguete to Siquijor and vice-versa) – Php 218.00
• Terminal fee (Dumaguete) – Php 15.00
• Terminal fee (Siquijor) – Php14.00
• Motorcycle rent – Php 350.00 (for 24 hours)
• Gasoline – Php 52.00/liter
• Food in their restaurant – Php60.00 – Php180.00 (insanely expensive)

…but the experience is absolutely PRICELESS.