We flew to Cebu, arriving late at night. It was a bit shocking to see small children outside the airport begging, but we were in a tuk-tuk that took us to our guest house. We only stayed one night and took a bus the next day to the northern end of the island and then a boat across to Malapascua, a small island across from the northern tip of Cebu.
We had arranged to meet my daughter and her boyfriend there, who were taking a break from winter in Korea where my daughter was making a film as her thesis at Hamburg Art College. She was searching for her past, since we lived in Korea when she was one to three and half years old. I called the film “A la recherche du temps perdu in another space and time”, but of course she didn’t title it so.
Our bungalow and the adjacent beach
Most island residents lived from tourism, although a few still rely on fishing.
Around the island
A 2-hour boat ride from Malapascua to the south to the very small island of Calangaman. It is known for good snorkeling, which we of course partook in.
Unfortunately, a heavy storm arose on the boat trip back and I got quite sick.
and on to Tabuelan Port where we caught the ferry to Negros.
Kids having fun
It seemed like every second store in Escalante was a karaoke bar, each competing with its neighbors for loudness prize. But there were also Christmas celebrations.
Christmas tree lights
Negros certainly has a lot of sights, but we had limited time and transport was uncertain and spotty, so we took a bus to Bacolod. It didn’t look that far on the map, but the ride took the whole day.
Bacolod was a pleasant town with a large cathedral.
But not sure what this meant (German-made?):
A great fish market
And plenty of mangoes!
And a great fish restaurant
On to Sugar Beach, which was not that easy to get to. We had to get off a bus and take a tricycle taxi for approx. 20 minutes. Then there is a small ferry.
after which you walk a small distance to get to the one-kilometer long beach.
View of the beach
Walk in the surroundings
The adjacent beach had a sign demanding an entry fee, but there were only a few kids there and the fee was more of a wish than a reality
Restaurant at Sugar Beach
The friendly, funny proprietor of Big Bamboo huts. Looking at the website, it seems he sold the place and is no longer there.
Of course, I had to play a bit for him too.
On to Dumaguete: we thought it would be an easy ride, but when we got to the road with a tricycle taxi, we had to wait a long time until there was a bus.
On the road:
Dumaguete is a place where many Koreans study English, since the Filipinos speak it well and prices are a lot cheaper compared to England or the USA.
We took a day tour, first going to Casaroro Falls.
Luckily, we did not encounter these guys alive:
Stop for a delicious lunch:
Next stop: Twin Lakes National Park
And of course a dip to cool off
Sisal cultivation and processing
Next boat ride to Bohol where we first visited the Chocolate Hills. There are more than 1,000 of these mounds, whose grass turns a chocolate brown color in the dry season and hence the name. Their shape is due to ancient coral reefs that rose.
At the entrance:
Stay along Loboc River in Nuts Huts: really nice compound run back a couple of foreigners, who also serve good food. Only drawback was the karaoke boats cruising the river that detracted from the feeling of unspoiled nature.
Then up to the north coast where we were the only people staying in a collection of bungalows. The weather was not especially good and there was a lot of coral in the water, not very good for swimming, but great sunsets.
So back to the other side of the other and the touristy Panglao Island, where we treated ourselves to a more expensive abode and a few days of relaxation before the trip home.
And great food
Purple sweet potato (ube) ice cream:
Boat back to Cebu where a festival was taking place
There is so much to see and experience there, and we had time for so little. But still, the trip was well worth it.