After a long delay I am back. Hopefully I can finish this itinerary as there are some upcoming surprises on the way!
As a reminder we had traveled all day from Malapascua to Cebu City, about 7 hours journey including a very long bus ride in a 3-2 configuration, 5 hours n dirt roads with a bunch of trikes and pedestrians walking everywhere in no particular organized manner. The thing that strikes me now that I look back is that I never noticed any road signals until we reached Cebu. I don't know how they do it, must be an inbred Filipino talent :-D
We stayed at an excellent hotel in Cebu which I can only recommend for its outstanding value. 59 euros for 2 including access to the pool and breakfast buffet. Here are a few photos of the buffet offering and my selection.
Bacon, potatoes and maple syrup, 3 of my favorite things :-D
Upon finishing breakfast I went back to reception to check out and get my P1,000 deposit back and asked the hotel to hail me a taxi. They give you a piece of paper with some contact info on there in case the taxi driver tries to rip you off. But in this case, everything was fine; just a mere P210 for a 20 min ride to the airport (less than 4 euros). But you can never be too cautious in the Philippines. As soon as we go out a guy whom I thought was an airport employee ame to help us with our bags etc and escorted us all the way to the check in counter. There he waited with us for no particular reason then I told him thanks and that he could leave, but he did not leave, it was then I understood he expected some money for his service; so I gave him P50, mere pocket change for me, alot for him. From what friends have told me, if you make P300 a day or more (around 5 euros) it is a good salary!
Anyways check in was smooth, we had to step on a scale for weight purposes and thankfully the scale didn't break when I stepped on ^^
Mactan airport is not very big; and not even close to comparison to the airport in Manila. For one of the Philippine's biggest cities, I found it to be rather small, only 4 jet bridges. Nonetheless the airport was clean for the most part. But one of the annoying thing with this country is the lack of reliable wifi. There was free wifi available but I was unable to connect in the 2 hours I spent there.
Security was quick and before long we were at our gate.
In case you wanted a reminder of what this country is made of, islands! Lots of them!
Now this is interesting, I guess cellphones are extremly dangerous in the air huh ;)
The terminal is small, not very spacious but it wasn't too crowded at 9 AM
A320 5J leaving for Manila
PR A321 arriving from Manila. I believe there are like 40 flights a day between the 2 cit
First time I see a sharklet A320, I like the style!
PR is leaving
Our boarding passes
The sharklet departs
An ATR arrives from Boracay
Another flight from Manila, PR A320
Our flight is kept delayed and eventually announced with an hour delay. For a 30 minute flight, that is 200% of the flight time!
We board via a good old pax bus retro style
Philippines government advertising tourism wherever possible
Here's a closer look at the planes on the tarmac (no not the one in Paris' 12th district where flight reporters tend to meet every so often :-D)
An ATR 72 going back to Boracay
And the one for Camiguin :)
Big brother and little brother
Tail with reg
Dash 8 PR
Now this is what I like about these countries, everyone is quite relaxed, you can snap away without anyone policing you, obviously it's vacation mode too, but it was a nice change of atmosphere from good ole Europe. Even in HK I didn't find authorities too strict about snapping pics on the tarmac.
Time to board
See you in 10 days Cebu!
As it's often the case with these prop planes the windows are rather dirty and it's hard to take good photos :(
Vegetation that we don't have in Central Europe
The captain announced a short flight of about 30 minutes!
As this is a shirt flight we don't climb super high; the route for this flight is to fly over Bohol namely the cities of Tubigon and Jagna, then onto the Bohol sea, we started our descent just as we were leaving Bohol island.
The color of the water looked very inviting
Mount Hibok-Hibok in the background dominating the small island of Camiguin
Landing: It's pretty surreal landing in Camiguin. Not only is the airport right on the water but there's no real clearing outlining the area the airport is in, there are trees just next to the runway!!
And here we are in beautiful and tropical Mambajao, capital city of the Camiguin island
The flight report ends here, for thos interested in a tourist bonus; I will cover Camiguin island and Panglao/Bohol.
As you all know the Phillipines were severely hit by Typhoon Haiyan just 2 weeks ago. Camiguin was not really affected but Bohol, Malapascua, Bantayan island and these areas were severely affected. I am thankful that I was able to visit these beautiful places before nature struck, but at the same time my heart grieves for these already very poor people. This area of the world is a true gem in my opinion, I do not think they are ready for a full blown tourism out-pour and it's already starting to become a more interesting destination as going here is marginally cheaper than Thailand for instance.
Once you arrive in Mambajao, you have your usual trike riders looking to take you places but our resort had sent us a driver so we politely declined. We stayed at a resort called Bahay sa Camiguin which I do not recommend, although it looks nice, service and food was terrible and I left a pretty ugly review on trip advisor, if you want to go to this island there's actually a superb small resort owned by a French couple called Somewhere Else Resort.
Camiguin is a volcanic island, so no sandy beaches, but it is really a nice place to visit, especially if you enjoy riding a motorbike this island has beautiful views!
On our way to go see the Katibawasan falls, it turned out to be a very long walk upwards, 2.5 hours, we met some kids who decided to follow us and ask for money, they were really cute!
And here are the falls, I believe they are 76 meters high
Then we went to some hot springs which were so soothing, they had baths with 3 different temperature levels, we wanted to stay there forever, everyone was in a good mood and the atmosphere was great!
A traditional meal for a Filipino family, clearly kids are used to this at a young age :-D
Ride back to our resort in a Jeepney, they aren't very comfortable but man do they look cool!
The next day we decided to go to White Island, a small sand bank off the coast of the island, I wanted to wait for a clear day to go there but the forecasts weren't looking good so on a day where it hadn't been raining yet we decided to go.
Of course as soon as we got on the boat to go there the weather started getting quite rough, windy and clouds were getting darker. that being said it really feels surreal to be there, it's so raw, you are at the mercy of nature and of one small tiny bangka boat to bring you safely home.
Snorkeling is usually good here but with this weather the fish were not too present
Then these scary clouds showed up
And soon it started to storm with rain
and then a sand storm came
This is how dark it actually got
We got back drenched in water and that was that!
After a 4 day stay we took the ocean jet ferry to Bohol. This is a fast ferry, about 50km/hr and it takes 2 hours to get from Camiguin to Jagna, Bohol. This was a pretty umm interesting experience, there were a bunch of ladies trying to sell us snacks before we left as you can see below, I got a few things as I figured I would be able to eat something during these 2 hours.
the water quickly became agitated, to the point where the boat was swaying ALOT. People were quite afraid and although I thought it was kind of fun, my poor wife did not
Here's a filipino family with the Dad trying hard to keep his breakfast down (he felt and so did is children)
This video shows pretty well how choppy the waters were:
And someone else not feeling so hot
At this point I was becoming slightly concerned because everyone was sick and the boat was really swaying alot
Sooon enough Bohol started to show up with dark clouds above but the color of the water changed as we approach the coast and it was quite pretty I found
After the 2 hour boat ride we still had 2 hours by van to get to our hotel. The resort charged us P1500 for the trip which was acceptable I think, it was 65km but it took a really long time to get there, but once we were it was worth it, I loved Bohol and our resort was perfect, after the terrible experience in Camiguin, this was a welcomed change, the food was excellent, service was top notch, highly recommended if you're planning a trip to Alona beach.
The private beach with all the boats
The resort (Linaw Beach Resort) is located at the end of a pretty poor village :(
The resort's restaurant with very well trained filipino waiters
the view from one of our rooms (we changed twice during our stay)
We took a day trip package which took the whole day and was alot of fun!
An old church in Tagbilaran City
Some nice snakes with the cage open, I was too scared to touch them eventhough the zoo owners encouraged us to! My wife refused to enter the zoo as soon as she saw the snakes.
A more adventurous tourist
This python eats 2 live chickens a day, weighs 240 kilos and is 10 meters long!
Me as an Indian :-D
Very nice butterfly sanctuary
Tarsier monkeys, the smallest primates in the world, these guys are seriously small, and their eyes are larger than their brain!
The wife in front of the sign
The famous chocolate hills of Bohol
At the end of the day I decided to try a zipline adventure, 250 meters above the ground! I loved it, it was alot of fun, you can see the video here:
Here's a video of all the things we did in Bohol, well mot anyway
On the way back, I counted 11 people on this trike!
The water is simply beautiful
Another great sunset
BBQ on the beach on our last evening
Lots of boats hang out here
Our last day on the island before returning to Cebu… the weather was the best on the day we left!
This is the end of Part 4, next stop, well you'll see soon :)
Cebu - CEB
Mambajao - CGM
There's not much to write about this flight, we were an hour late so low grade for that, it was my first flight on an ATR so I enjoyed it. No drinks or anything on board, the scenery outside was great, the pilots did a great job landing this baby down.
so far Cebu Pacific ranks well in my books. Will it stay this way? Find out in chapter 5.
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