For my winter vacation I wanted to go someplace I have not been yet. I chose to go to Cebu Island in the Philippines for a few reasons. The first was that I wanted to go someplace off the beaten path that was warm and had lots of natural beauty. Also, many people have said that Cebu was much nicer and safer than the city of Manila.
I left Japan on the 24th, spent Christmas Eve on a plane, and arrived in Cebu a bit after midnight on the 25th. The following day, being Christmas, there was not much to do on account of everything being closed. Most everyone in Cebu, and the Philippines for that matter, is Christian. In fact, I learned that the Philippines has the longest Christmas season in the world. I spent a lot of the day hanging out at the mall with some of the people I met at the Hostel. Afterwards, we went to the crowded Basilica of Santo Niņo to participate in Christmas Mass and see the Santo Niņo(doll) of Cebu, followed by lots of street food.
The following day I hopped on a ferry to the neighboring Bohol Island where I spent the next 4 days. Bohol is a lot less metropolitan than Cebu with much fewer people and a lot of interesting things to see. I went to the Tarsier sanctuary, the so called Chocolate Hills, and a beautiful waterfall. I played with the biggest python in the Philippines, saw some old Spanish churches, and explored a cave. I spent a day at Danao Adventure Park doing the zip line and plunge over a canyon. Rappelling down the canyon was also quite fun. I went snorkeling at the beach and saw some very nice corral and fish (and quite a few jellies), and although I put on sun block I still got a very nice sunburn.
My last 3 days were spent back in Cebu, but I traveled south to a city called Moalboal. Also a very famous diving spot it is the home base of Planet Action Adventure. I went on both their canyoning and river climbing tours. For canyoning, we did a bit of jungle hiking and then proceeded to walk down the river stopping only to repel down the many waterfalls in our path, the biggest being over 30 meters high. River climbing was the opposite, we mostly swam our way up a river, climbing over any rapids or rocks or anything else blocking our path up. Both tours were amazingly fun and a great experience. This has my personal recommendation for any action junkie like myself. The guides were also very professional, accommodating, fun, and great cooks as each day ended with a riverside BBQ. Every evening I was also able to join the local soccer group. Mostly college students, we had a pretty good match every night despite the on/off rain. Between the two river tours, I spent the New Years Eve with a new friend drinking and watching all the fireworks along the beach.
I would love to go back to Cebu and do some more adventure tours some day, but maybe next time I would like to try something similar in New Zealand. Hopefully next year.
Basilica of Santo Niņo
I got the hostel cat.
Tarsier. Worlds smallest monkey that is not technically one.
I like snakes
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