My trip to the Philippines was a rather special experience. I visited the island of Cebu during Christmas 2012 when I was studying in Taiwan. I have a hate-love affair with this country. The cities where rather disgusting and chaotic, but the nature on the other hand was spectacular. The week I spend here was the cheapest trip I have ever had, but when I wanted to leave the airport I was charged a €40 euro airport fee. I constantly had the feeling that I had to keep an eye on everything, my stuff, my friends and people constantly tried to scam us. More than any other country I have been in Asia. BUT: I definitely want to go back!
- Visit Malapascau Island if you want to swim with the Trehershark
– Voor just €30,- euro we rested a boat for 6 people and went on a snorkeling trip all day, visited the Virgin Island. But take some food with you because there is no place to buy something here.
– Have a massage when your on Bantayan Island
– Visit the Chocolate hills on Bohol
– Don’t bother to go downtown Cebu City
You’ll find the island of Cebu in the centre of the Philippines. It’s a great place to travel, because almost the entire population speaks English. It’s also easy to hop from one island to the next. For just a few euro’s you can take a ferry to make a cross to another island. When you’re in Cebu, make ferry tour to the Bohol island, where you can see the beautiful chocolate hills.
When flying to Cebu, you’ll arrive at the airport of Cebu City, where you should only take an authorized taxi! The first night I stayed at an English Language school, but since it was Christmas, no one was there. Someone told me not to go downtown simply because there was nothing to see there. But, curious as I am I went into the city anyway, and frankly he was right. There’s nothing to see here. I expected a place where I could wander around, but couldn’t really find a city center or main street. What I did like was that there where almost no American or European fast-food chains or other multinational brands here. But I think the most interesting thing to see here was us that day, a group of 4 Europeans wandering around the city.
I really wanted to go to the Chocolate Hills on Bohol since it’s a UNESCO heritage! But they where expecting a storm and so the ferry’s to Bohol where not going out that day. Option two was a (way to expensive) taxi ride to Kawasan Waterfalls! When you exit the taxi you will find yourself surrounded by at least 10 Pilipino’s that want to be your tour guide for that day, and the price will be set by the sunglasses and watches you wear. I payed 5euro’s and still had the idea we paid way to much! The only thing he did was walk with us, didn’t say anything, and when we wanted to walk back he said we had to pay another 5euro’s. No way I said, and we just walked back on our own. My advise: just go up the waterfall yourself and don’t believe anything they say about the mandatory guide.
After two days on Cebu I decided to visit some friends staying on Bantayan Island. They told me it was a great place so spend our Christmas holiday. A four hour busride and a ridiculously cheap ferry later I found myself at a resort on Bantayan. There where plenty of small hotels (calling themselves resorts but what more do you need), and we picked one right at the beach with a great beach bar. A 5 minute walk inland took us to a street with great restaurants with a large variety of dishes. We rented a few scooters to check out the Island and where surprised by the most friendly locals. We saw local farms, small fisherman villages and we got a great experience of how the local people live here.