Friday, April 11, 2014

My Moalboal Part 2: Montaneza Waterfalls and Mainit Hot Spring

As mentioned in Part 1 of this travel post, I initially intended to go canyoning, but I had the misfortune of getting sick on the day of my travel and so figured I should postpone it til next time when I come back with my family, since hubby is also interested to do it.

I settled for a short guided hike to Montaneza waterfalls, organized by Blue Orchid Resort manager, Melissa Watkins, together with Wolfgang from Cyan Adventures.

I told them, I feel really funny being toured around Cebu by a couple of foreigners, as if I'm not local. Although, come to think of it, I have been living outside The Philippines for almost ten years now, so I'm not really that much of a local anymore.

Climbing inside the canyons makes me feel like a troglodyte

It was a very short walk from Mainit hot spring, going to Montaneza waterfalls. I was a bit disappointed because I really felt like walking some more despite my predisposition.

Steep climb

Although, climbing in and out of the canyon was quite tiring, you only really get to feel the real tiredness a day or so after.

Isn't this just beautiful?

It was even more challenging going against the cascades to climb up and go behind the waterfall... I should do wall climbing again. I'm so out of shape.

Going against the powerful cascades

The pool of water right below is quite shallow. Although, there are areas deep enough to allow you to jump into it from a certain height without breaking your legs when you fall into the waters.

Refreshing swim

That big rock in front of the cascades fell there during a recent earthquake

On the way down, I was unceremoniously told that we were going to do a couple of jumps from the cascades. Say what, now?! I wasn't really expecting to do some jumping. For one, I'm not a very good swimmer; two, we were not wearing life vests; and three, I didn't have a helmet and I could just as easily and clumsily bump my head on a piece of protruding rock. But I held my panic in check.

Melissa was very much prepared for the jump

I jumped anyway because I didn't want to look so lame and be such a total killjoy. Especially since there were small kids queuing behind me on the first jump. The second jump though, was too high for kids.

but as a result of the three worrying items I have mentioned above, echoing inside my head, my jump shots looked really weird, like most pictures of people looking shocked and bewildered for being caught unprepared. I didn't post the pics here so as not to embarrass us all. :D

Soaking in the heat at Mainit Hot Spring

Dipping into the hot spring after all the climbing and jumping was such a welcomed treat! This pool of hot spring water is tolerably hot. There is another pool, a few meters away, where it's 40+ degrees Celsius. It reminded me so much of the Onsen in Japan. You'd get cooked in a few minutes in there.

It was really a fun trip. It made me feel like a kid all over again. Given the chance to do it all over again, I would try to remember more about the kid I was, who liked to jump into the waters and had fun climbing rocks and trees. And also, will do my best not to look so fearful and crazy scared during the jump shots for the sake of better-looking pictures to post here.

The best part about this trip is not the pictures, though. It was the experience and having a day of fun that calls to mind long-gone carefree days back in my old province -- frolicking amongst endless rice fields, climbing trees and enjoying the view of the mountainous silhouette against beautiful sunsets... and what's more, I didn't even have to pay for this hiking trip because I was treated by a very generous soul. ;)

That's all for now!.. til the next adventure! Have a great weekend and thanks for reading. :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Moalboal Part 1: White Beach

I had been searching the internet for a mini-break by the beach when I chanced upon SilkAir's Sale for flights going to Kalibo, Cebu and Davao earlier this March. It was a perfect opportunity for me. my first option was Boracay via Kalibo. But I wanted to go at such short notice that it was impossible for me to find a decent lodging at a decent price. And so, I opted for Cebu instead.

The shore at Blue Orchid Resort, facing west, directly in front of Negros Island, this area is also a perfect spot for stargazing at night

along the road, i passed by these Lolas weaving hats from buli plant

My first ever trip on the plane was ten years ago and it was bound for Cebu. I toured around the city and then went to Bohol. I never really got to visit the island's best beaches. Malapascua was the first choice, but I read in the reviews that it takes six hours from the airport to get there. Moalboal takes half the time, and is therefore, the next best option.

My favorite spot at the resort, just right in front of my bedroom, which is right at the end of the resort, giving me all the peace and quiet I needed

Just the perfect spot for reading too

Although, Moalboal is mainly for divers, I discovered that it has other options to offer. I initially wanted to do the canyoning at Montaneza, but I had the misfortune of being sick during my travel, so I opted not to do the whole canyoning tour, instead my trip was spent dong some relaxed snorkeling and a bit of hiking and sunset watching.

This is the sunset that welcomed me on my first day... the place has a forlorn air about it that just makes you want to stay more to somehow ease its loneliness... waxing all poetic here... :p

The view early in the morning at low tide... you can literally hear the diverse marine life breathing...

I found this really nice hotel called Blue Orchid Resort, which ranks no 1of 6 hotels in Moalboal. The place looked really charming, both in photos and in person. Although, I was quite disappointed with the bare minimum bedroom and not-so-creative meals offered at the resort, I was nevertheless, very impressed with the natural charm and tranquility of the surroundings.

Each day, I would have this for breakfast... and I was so happy! :)

Giant pink gumamela (hibiscus)

I didn't like seeing this bird in the cage so much... when I got closer, it came towards me and there was a sign that says it loves to be petted on the neck... cute! but I still don't like caged animals...

The owner of the resort is a very friendly German guy. He told me that my favorite reading and sunset-watching spot at the resort was his late mother's favorite spot too. It gave me the creeps a bit, imagining the ghost of some old person sitting there just outside my room... but the creepy feeling went away quickly as I got more and more relaxed and used to the quiet surroundings, with nothing but the sound of the crickets and wildlife at night to lull you to sleep.

While having breakfast, the owner showed me this kingfisher that flew inside his bedroom... he said he will free it after taking a pic

what a lovely relaxing spot...

On my second day, I took a snorkeling trip with the divers at Pescador Island. Apparently, this dive site has a cathedral right below the island/rock. Unfortunately, I forgot to insert the disk in the waterproof camera to take pics. Although, it was not really worth taking pictures since the waters were murky with too much plankton. I also had to rent a wet suit and booties for protection against jellyfish, which were abundant in the area. I had to get back into the boat quickly when i saw lots of them, especially when I saw this type that looked like a giant flatworm, as it could just wrap around my unprotected face so very easily.

White Beach... mouais...

Late afternoon on day two, I walked a bit towards the sandy area of White Beach. I wanted to do a bit of snorkeling at first but I forgot to bring my mask. So I just lied down and watched the bustle of activity around me. Still, it was not very crowded, despite the presence of souvenir shops and restaurants. I liked that it was not very touristy.

My shadow along the steps, framed by the shadow of trees and shrubbery

This blue starfish was just right next to the shore and it stayed there the whole time I was at the resort, keeping me company :)

Day three was spent hiking in the canyons and waterfalls of Montaneza and then dipping into Mainit (literally means "hot") Hot Spring, all arranged by the very friendly and helpful manager, Melissa Watkins... which I will have to write in the second part...

Until next time! Have a good week! :)