I’ve been travelling all over the world, almost and every trip was somehow meant to fulfill a dream. To see the world was just a small part of it. The final destination is never the goal of my travels, it’s just a way to find next destination. And next, and next. Why? Just because I have this opportunity to see the world, I can breathe, I’m not hungry and I have somewhere to stay. Well, and I am curious.
One of those trips few years ago took me to Philippines and the island of Cebu. It was planned as diving trip, so we packed our gear, the expectations were high and we said good bye to Swedish winter. Half a day later it was time to say hello to Asian sunshine. And I discovered that my bag was lost in Amsterdam, where we changes planes. Now imagine the picture: when everyone was changing to shorts, t-shirts, sandals and sunglasses I was standing like a fool in my winter jacket, thick shirt made of wool, jeans and winter boots. Dressed like I was going on a polar expedition.
My tip number one is now: pack your toothbrush, sunglasses and a set of clothes suitable for your final destination. Tip number two: if you are travelling with someone: let that person take half your baggage and take half of his or hers. If you lose one bag, the second one usually will not be lost. The bag often arrives to your destination one or two days delayed. That way you will not be sorry.
Now over to diving in Cebu. We travelled across the island to a village called Moalboal. Beautiful picturesque place with friendly people, good food and fantastic mangos. Of course we went out diving the first thing we did. How about my lost gear? I got to borrow a full set, so I wouldn’t sit on the boat feeling sorry for myself or swearing about lost bags.
We were told that if, and only if we were lucky, we could see a turtle during our two weeks here. And guess if we were lucky. We saw no less than four. On our first dive. Four! The rest was not so important. We saw flute fish, and mandarin fish, and butterfly fish, and barracudas, and lion fish, and moray eels. And the most memorable were turtles, beautiful, gracious and huge. It’s hard to top the sea turtles with anything else.
We ate and drank good, fresh food. Mango shakes every morning, sea food and more sea food. We had to wait for hours when we ordered the food, but it was just the way it was and it didn’t stress us a bit. And we learned how to cut mango, to get out every last piece of it. Secrets of sunny countries. One evening we went out for drinks and we ordered rum and coke. We got a drink, that was quite light and pale, so we asked what that was. “You know, coke is expensive here.”, the bartender replied with a smile.
When you dive, you have to take a day off once in a while. It’s for safety reasons, so your body can actually get rid of all the nitrogen . So we did take a day off once or twice. One day we were taken to a local gathering. It turned out to be cockfights. Cruel, mean and terrible tradition and it’s said to be over 6000 years old, which makes it oldest betting competion in the world. The roosters hate each other and want to fight, but are also equiped with razors, which makes it very cruel. We were told, that the looser was killed and served for dinner. I still think it’s cruel and people should make other aware of why and what the alternatives can be.
A really scary thing happened when we were out in the jungle: a coconut fell down next to a little girl. I think it touched her, because she fell and started to cry. People were in panic not knowing what to do. Apparently that happens once in a while and it also happens that it can kill, if it hits you in the head. The coconuts are heavy after all and it is a high fall..
Evening time we were sitting by the sea, in our place and listened to the sea and stories about life around Moalboal, and the volcanic island across the bay, the monsun seasons. We told dive stories and listened to others and their experience, we dreamt of seeing whale sharks and more turtles. The time passed by pretty pleasent.
Daytime, of course there was more diving. We never saw whale shark, but more turtles. We dived at a airokane wreck and saw garden eels and several cleaning shrimps and a octopus. Of course we saw more lion fish, dragon fish and a very strange frog fish. It didn’t swim, but crawled around the corals. At one time we even saw a tiny sea horse.
One of the last dives we went to an underwater island with pretty strong streams, where there is a memory plate after a diver who died there. I’m not surprised, since it was a difficult dive. Difficult and very rewarding. We saw murray eels, large lion fish and barracudas. The fish here were larger and maybe not as many as in other places, but definetly more interesting. It was a good last place to dive at.
At the end of our stay we went for river-climbing. It was fun, we got wet and it was a great challenge. The rocks in the river were slippery, the waterfalls high and quite a few, and when you fell down into the water you have to start the last moment one more time. But I made it! Were it was too dangerous too climb up the waterfalls we climb at the “dry” path on the side. Or drier, but still quite wet and slippery. It happened once or twice or more times that the person climbing fell down into the water below and had to start over again. And it happened that we fell down on purpose, having fun. The water was warm and pleasant, so it was pretty nice.
At the end of the river climb adventure we had a very nice lunch with the local people, and yes, we were hungry Wouldn’t you after a climb like that?
Well, the parts of Philippines that we visited are not on UNESCO’s world heritage list. Still it was a great trip. And yes, I got my bag on the second day. Would I like to go back? Sure!