Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor, and Cebu

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

I love traveling. I always try to go to different trips in a year but when it comes to planning the details of the trip, I now try to be chill. I no longer want to cover every possible tourist spot in a particular destination. I just pick what I want to see and I am happy with just that. For the Dumaguete, Siquior and Cebu trip, I just want to go Manjuyod sandbar in Negros Oriental, Cambugahay Falls in Siquijor and Osmena Peak in Dalaguete, Cebu.

I got what I wanted and more.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

We were able to tour around Silliman University in Dumaguete.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu
We met our friend May and her family.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu
We ate at pretty cafes and restaurants in Dumaguete.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

I flew on a broom in Siquijor.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

We went to a flower farm in Dalaguete.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu
We were able to visit the Sto Nino Basilica in Cebu.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu
I came home safe and sound.

All these pretty photos were reminders of a memorable trip.

However, there were more stories behind our trip and I felt I needed to immortalize them in this blog post.

This is the part where I start to tell you everything that went wrong.

It was one fine Saturday of August 18 when we took a 655 AM flight from Butuan going to Cebu. We were 5 happy travelers.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu
It was an uneventful flight which I hoped that all my flights should be. We arrived at around 8 am in Cebu. Our goal then was to reach the Cebu South Terminal since we would be traveling south to reach Dumaguete. There were 5 of us so we won’t be able to fit in one taxi.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

I learned through Googling that we could take a myBus from the airport and drop at Parkmall where we could then take a jeep to the terminal. Four of us were in seats that face the rear of the bus and only one friend was facing front. And so we missed the Parkmall stop. And we realized this when we saw SM, the end point of the trip. We thought the driver would inform passengers of the stops.

We resolved to take two taxis to South Terminal.

Upon arrival, we had to decide which bus to take. We had two options: 1. Take a bus to the Lilo-an port in Santander and take the ferry to Sibulan in Negros which is just 15 minutes from Dumaguete or 2. Take the Ceres bus that will take us directly to Dumaguete through a barge in Bato, Cebu. Option 1 is a shorter trip if you don’t miss the ferry ride after. It was already almost 10 am and we figured that it might be difficult to take lunch on the road so we decided to eat first before traveling. Elizabeth mall was near so we just walked.

All was well but as soon as we were almost done eating, it rained. Real hard. We waited for the rain to stop and decided to just take the taxi as soon as it was starting to let up.

After a few minutes of pondering, we decided to take option 1: bus to the port. We were led to a line at the back of the terminal. A long winding line. All the while we thought that the waiting area was in the front of the terminal.

This was our line. And we still had to go through that line at the back.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

Good thing that there were chairs. We just had to hop from one chair to another. Why the long lines? All those who would go to South of Cebu ride the same bus route. Whether you go to Carcar, Argao, Dalaguete or Oslob, you take the same bus. That is why everyone “sits” on the same line. Plus, it was the start of a long weekend.
It was already 1 PM when we got on the bus.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

A few minutes after the bus left the terminal, the bus made a U-turn and returned to the terminal. The driver felt there was something wrong with the bus. We had to move to another bus. The transfer was organized. We were instructed to sit in the same seat on the replacement bus.

It was a good thing that the driver noticed something wrong with the bus while we were still near the terminal. Imagine the hassle if it happened halfway through the trip. That was a relief until we got stuck in traffic in Carcar. There was an accident. Someone was hit by a truck. There was no alternate route. All vehicles had to wait until the area was cleared.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

If only we knew how long we had to wait we could have gone to buy chicharon from these stalls. hehehe

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

We arrived at the Liloan Port at around 630 PM and we were in luck this time. We caught the boat that was about to leave for the Sibulan. That was a quick 15-min boat ride.

As soon as we landed in the Sibulan port, our friend, May, fetched us. We were all happy to see her and we thought that our string of bad luck was over.

May drove us to The Flying Fish Hostel where we booked a 6-bed dorm room through Airbnb. Much to our surprise, we were led to a 10-bed mixed dorm room. We panicked. Five of the beds were already occupied. We wanted a room all to ourselves. So we decided to have the booking refunded.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

On the bright side, we had May still waiting for us outside who immediately got in touch with the alumni hall of Silliman. We were told there was an available room for 5.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

May also ordered a feast for us at Sans Rival, that famous restaurant in Dumaguete. We ate our worries away and just indulged every bite. After all that we’ve been through, we were famished.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

This was our dorm room in the Silliman Alumni Hall. Not bad for 1,400 a night!

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

Photo from my friend, May

I was so tired. I immediately changed into my sleepwear and called it a night.

The first full day in Dumaguete was a lot of fun. All those bad luck were wiped out from our consciousness.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

Or so we thought.

The next day was our trip to Siquijor.

Remember that we just wanted to be chill about the trip? We planned to take the 8 AM boat to Siquijor.
We arrived at the pier at 745 AM. Ha! The tickets have sold out so we bought tickets for the 9 AM trip. On the bright side, we now have time for breakfast. We had breakfast at the Silliman canteen.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

It took us an hour to reach Siquijor by boat. Because we learned our lesson earlier, we agreed to immediately buy tickets for the afternoon trip back to Dumaguete. When we learned that tickets would be sold only by 11 AM, our multicab driver arranged for somebody to buy the 4:20 PM trip tickets for us.

Off we went on our tour. We enjoyed our time in the Cambugahay falls. Who wouldn’t?

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

We enjoyed it so much that we had to cut short our trip to the Salagdoong beach because we no longer had enough time. Our driver had to drive fast for us to make it to the 4:20 PM trip.

As soon as we arrived at the terminal, our tickets were handed to me. We were walking fast towards the terminal area even more so when the person manning the gate already told us that the boat was about to leave. Boarding already started. My friends went ahead of me so that they could at least inform the crew that we were already coming. I was left a little behind because I still had to pay the terminal fees.

I saw my friends whose faces showed relief that they reached the boat just in time. And then one friend realized, ” Why are we in a RORO (roll-on roll-off) boat? Aren’t we supposed to ride a fast craft?” Then we saw a fast craft leaving the dock. That was our boat. We missed our boat by a few minutes.

The crew in the RORO were kind enough to help us on what to do next. They assured us that they would wait for us to secure a refund and buy new tickets. I walked so fast towards the gate to get the refund and buy the tickets.

This is us in the boat. Can you see the beads of sweat on my cheek?

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

Our ordeal was not over because two of us in the group got diarrhea. Somebody in Siquijor might have put a spell on us. Ha!

The bright side? We got to see dolphins and this lovely sunset.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

By the 4th day of our trip, we had become veterans of misery. Ha! We were still amused at the series of unfortunate events that befell us. I kept telling my friends that this was just a test. And that Murphy’s Law was in effect: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. So be it!

It was now time to travel to Cebu. We planned to drop by Dalaguete and visit Osmena Peak. We took the Ceres bus this time. We had lunch at the pier where the barge was. The barge would carry the bus to the pier in Bago, Cebu. For the two of us who had diarrhea, lunch was patatas, a local square biscuits. We failed to notice that only our group was left eating. The bus conductor came to tell us that they were waiting for us. The bus was already on the barge. When we reached the bus, we saw that one friend was not with us. We decided to call her and we saw her from a distance panicking outside not knowing where to go. She did not realize that the bus would be loaded onto the barge. She finally saw where we were. All is well that ends well.

We dropped at Dalaguete for Osmena Peak. We were lucky this time because we were able to hire a multicab going to the foot of the mountain instead of riding at the back of a motorcycle. We even minimized our misery by hiring a guide and renting a trekking pole.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

We enjoyed both the peak and the flower farm that was suggested to us by our guide. By the time we got back to the Dalaguete highway, we were starving so we enjoyed a bowl of batchoy at a local eatery.

Our tummies were full so we were ready to travel to Cebu. We were waiting at the bus stop along with other passengers. Remember that there was only one line in the south terminal because the route would only drop passengers along the way? Oh well, we were waiting for a bus to Cebu at the end of a holiday. All the buses we tried to hail were full. There were passengers standing on the aisle. I could hear one of my friends asking if there were vans for hire or anything for hire. There weren’t. We were advised to go to another bus stop because there were more passengers alighting there. We hired a tricycle to get us there. We met a passenger who told us that she had been waiting 3 hours for a bus. I guess she was not willing to stand on the bus aisle. We were.

When the next bus arrived, we saw that there were passengers alighting but the seats were still occupied. We asked the conductor if there would be passengers disembarking. He told us that we could stand in the aisle near the rear of the bus because there would be 3 passengers disembarking in the next town. True enough, we only have to stand for a less than an hour and we all got seats. With this, our string of back luck ended.
We arrived safely at our hotel in Cebu. We were able to visit Sto. Nino Basilica the next day. We dropped by SM before we headed for the airport.

It was a memorable trip. I have to give props to my friends for staying positive all throughout our journey.

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

Traveling indeed is a test of faith, character and even friendship. I am sure to be keeping these friends I have.

 

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain

Everything That Went Wrong on Our Trip to Dumaguete, Siquijor and Cebu

Travel Video: Camotes Islands

I know I still need a lot of practice when it comes to creating travel videos. This is my way of learning how to put all my video clips together. Someday, I will learn how to take better videos. For now, I hope you still find my video interesting enough that it would make you think about a trip to Camotes.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DImnwm3xa0]

No Stress in Camotes

A month ago, I got a message from my friend, Shirly, asking if I want to spend her birthday with her. I missed her big birthday bash in Phuket last year because I had work. This time, I did not have vacation plans for November and my work schedule is manageable. It was so easy to say “Yes!”. She planned to go to Cebu which was convenient for me because we just have to meet halfway.

I booked an overnight ferry to Cebu. I specifically asked for a top bunk because I feel more secured when I can see everyone.

Good thing, I was also placed near the window so I can see what is outside.

I took the boat because it leaves Nasipit port at 7pm and arrives at the Cebu pier at 5:30 am the following. I have enough time to catch the 9AM fast craft to Camotes Island. Shirly took an early flight from Manila so we agreed that I drop by the airport to pick her up (with my cab from the pier) and proceed to the wharf which was just around one kilometer away from the airport. The cab driver got lost actually. He brought us to Island Mall in Lapu-lapu instead of the Island Central Mall in Mactan which was just across the more popular Marina Mall. Inside the mall was a ticketing counter of Jomalia Shipping. The wharf was just a walking distance from the mall. It was just near the Cebu Yacht Club.

We arrived Camotes at around 10:30 AM. Our tricycle from the resort was already waiting for us. We were booked at Sunset Vista Seafront Guest House. It was located in Esperanza, a quaint and secluded barangay in San Francisco, Camotes Island. Shirly said that we were easily sold at the “quaint and secluded” description because we both wanted the peace and quiet areas. (The tita blood in us is showing! Ha!)

Esperanza was a quiet fishing barangay.

Our first order of the day was to find a place to eat lunch. Our guest house was not serving lunch because their cook was on vacation. Good thing there was good pizza in the next resort.

We had nothing planned for the afternoon because we were chill like that.  Ha!  We took a nap and before we knew it, it was time for dinner.  We were there to relax. So, relax we did!

We did all the touring the next day. Here is our guide showing Shirly all the spots we would be visiting.

Timubo Cave

I learned that both of us were non-swimmers. Before we entered the cave, we asked the lady at the entrance if there was going to be a guide. She said no. We asked how deep the water was. She said the deepest part was 6 feet deep so we were both careful. So careful that we only dipped near the steps and never went further down. Ha! Better safe than sorry!

Lake Danao

It was a beautiful lake. There were kayaks and boats you can hire. We  just opted to sit in the grass and let the sun dry our clothes a bit.

Paraiso Cave

The cave was underneath a well-manicured garden.  Stairs, lights and railings were there to make it easier for tourists to access the cave pool.

Amazing Cave and Beach Resort

Yes, there was a cave in this area. I just do not have a picture. I have a video clip though. I will post my Camotes video on my Youtube channel once I am done editing it.

Mangodlong Rock Resort

After all the cave pool swimming, we were looking forward to the beach. We found one in this resort.  They also have a large octopus-shaped slide that dropped to the ocean.

Santiago Bay

If only we have known how nice and wide this beach area is, we would have booked a resort near this place. Next time, next time. We went on a weekday and an off-peak season so there were few tourists and beach-goers. This is the kind of vacation this introvert likes the most- peaceful and no crowds.

San Francisco Baywalk

We were wondering where the market area was since all we saw in Esperanza were small stores. We found our answer when we visited the Baywalk area.

Tulang Diot

Our last stop was Tulang Diot. It is a small island near Esperanza. It was not part of the usual tour package of the Camotes. You need to pay additional fee to get there but since our resort was just a short walk away from where boats were docked to cross to the island, we were not charged for the trip.  We just have to hire a boat. It was a short boat ride and, as a bonus, we have Moana on board!

The beach was pristine. For a Php5 environmental fee per person, the beach was kept clean and immaculate.

It was raining on and off when we arrived Camotes.  Since we were billeted in Sunset Vista, I have been looking forward to seeing the sunset. I was glad to finally see the sunset in Tulang Diot.

As a bonus, we also saw a rainbow. I hope you can see the rainbow in this photo.

What a beautiful way to celebrate a birthday! Happy Birthday, Shirly! Thank you for inviting me on this trip!

No Stress in Camotes

That Whirlwind Trip to Cebu

Mid-June, four of us in the family went on a trip to Cebu. We bought the promo tickets in February. Unless it is an emergency or an important business trip, we always buy tickets ahead of time. The trip was for medical reasons. Uncle has not had his regular checkup in two years. My aunt needs second opinion on her heart condition. It was a 6-day trip (including the travel time) but it felt like a short trip because we spent most of the days in the clinic. There was a long line in the cardiologist’s clinic. Most of my time there was spent waiting for our turn. Waiting for the laboratory results added to the waiting time. All the waiting made me think that I should have been a doctor. Ha! Then I realized that biology was my waterloo in school. Poof! Just like that I fell back to reality.

Of course, we made some small trips around the city. When I checked my photos, we visited many churches which was appropriate because we are there for the health reasons and God is the greatest healer.

This is the Basilica del Sto. Niño.

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 This is the San Pedro Calungsod Chapel.

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I was not able to take a photo in the right perspective but the design looks like a series of walls like these.

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We also went to Sto. Rosario Church which is near the University of San Carlos and Our Lady of Lourdes Church near my cousin’s place. I just did not take pictures anymore.

We stayed in my cousin’s house and I got reunited with a friend I met two years ago, Ewok.

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On a Saturday afternoon, after going to the clinic, we visited a relative’s farm.

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The farm is on a hill and one of the rooms had this gorgeous view.

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The clinic is not open on a Sunday so we took a trip to Sibonga to visit Simala. It was deemed to be a place of miracles and healing. It was a massive structure and there were many visitors when we went because it was a Sunday.

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Before we left Cebu, we took another quick trip to Sto. Niño Basilica. Beside the church is La Fortuna bakery. We bought some pasalubong there. (Tip: Buy masi, hopia and masareal.) Oh, I tried this new product- chocolate-coated dried mangoes.   There were only five pieces in a pack which costs P68.  It was delicious but I felt the quantity per pack is not enough to satisfy my sweet cravings. This made me think that dried mangoes dipped in Nutella might taste good, too!

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I took a photo of this iconic structure.

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And I wanted a photo here. IMG_9411 Till next time, Cebu!

My Year of Philippine Travel

I traveled a lot in 2011 that some of my friends have labeled me “laagan“. Laagan  is a Visayan term for wanderer. The word describes someone who can’t stay put.  I know a lot of travel bloggers who went to a lot more places than I do. Compare to them, my trips looked mild. Nevertheless, I felt I traveled more this year compared to my trips for the past 30+ years.

2011 was the year I started to fulfill my travel dreams.  I am hoping to see new places this year.

Dalaguete, Cebu

This is a town in Southern Cebu. My paternal grandfather came from this quiet town. Their town fiesta (300+ years!) is on a February. My cousins invited me to come along and coincidentally, we had a Cebu Pacific trip scheduled on those dates. (Dalaguete is pronounced as “dalaget”.)

Cebu City

We always visit the Sto. Niño whenever we are in Cebu.  However, it was my first time to check out Magellan’s cross.

Davao City

Although I spent 4 years of my life in this city, it has been 8 years since I last set foot on this place. I attended some important matters in Davao in April and I squeezed in some touristy activities by visiting Jack’s Ridge and People’s Park.

Masao, Butuan City

Butuanons (and several acclaimed historians) claimed that Magellan landed here and not in Limasawa.  For us, Butuanons, this is also our beach.

Checkout the sign: Do not "ride' the boat. If you want pictures, use ground area. (rough translation)

Luneta, Manila

My quest to visit the Rizal monument remained a dream. More stories on this post.

Magallanes, Agusan del Norte

The oldest tree in the Philippines can be found here.  One can reach this place via a 30-min boat ride.

Camarines Sur

It was the first time I traveled with friends. We had so much fun that we are planning another trip this year to another Philippine destination. There was so much to see in CamSur that I wrote 4 blog posts about this trip: here, here, here and here. 😀

Legazpi, Albay

The two-hour trip from Naga city was all worth it. Mayon Volcano, the world’s most perfect cone, was magnificent.

Bit-os, Butuan City

One need not go so far to see new places. Even a small city like Butuan has hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Intramuros, Manila

It was a short yet memorable visit. I will explore more of this place next time. I should join  Carlos Celdran’s walking tour .

Tagaytay City

The short trip with relatives was still fun.  Taal Volcano is always fascinating.

Bantayan, Cebu

Bantayan rekindled my love for the beach.  This place is paradise. I hope Bantayan does not get too commercialized.

Cebu City

I traveled to Cebu again and explored it on my own.  I walked to the Plaza Independencia early in the morning before my trip back home.

Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur

We braved the roads during Sendong to attend a friend’s wedding. I would have taken pictures of Pagadian. The city’s unique features are the inclined streets and angled tricycles. I failed to take photos because my mind was in CDO and Iligan. We went to Lakewood and the place was beautiful. I relaxed a bit before traveling back again to Cagayan de Oro. We traveled during the night along Lanao del Norte.

I will travel more this year.

I end this post with this video.

Tara na!

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