The initial plan was to stay in Oslob for two nights before heading back to Cebu City alone but it became clear to me that there was really nothing much left to explore. The resort boss casually asked where we were headed towards after we check out and I shared that we were going on separate ways and I had no plans in mind. He suggested to take the two-hour ferry ride to Bohol and without much contemplation, I got my ticket. With heightened emotions rising within while bidding farewell to the partner-in-crime, I was soon picked up by my motorcyclist who dropped me off at the pier after a painful 25-minutes ride to catch my ferry.
I wasn’t even aware that I would be dropped off at Panglao island instead and kept thinking that I would be in Tagbilaran until a fellow tourist shared the info. Since I only had a day to spare, I was weighing my options to see if I should make the trip down to Panglao island but this solves it all.
Thank god for an amazing weather! It was bright and sunny and while the ride was a pain in the ass (literally!), I was glad to be offered this view when I reached Panglao.
Taking a walk along the streets, this backpacker had to first solve the problem of accommodation before venturing out to check out the beach proper. However, I wanted to find a proper room instead of a hostel since it was going to be my last trip for the next few months. However, the resorts along the beach would easily fetch 1,500 pesos and it was obviously not something I could afford as I had this same amount sitting in my wallet to pay for a number of things.
Based on my experience, I knew the way to get an affordable place was to take a turn into the main streets and lo and behold, a short 2-minutes walk in and I was offered one. I was ushered into a supermarket and was quoted a mere 800 peso for a private room with air-conditioner and hot water! There was nothing more to consider. The location was brilliant, the facilities were great and it was a short walk to the beach and restaurants.
Night fell and I met a fellow traveller for dinner before retreating for a rest. I was to wake up early for a last visit to the beach before heading home. It was raining heavily the night before and the roads were still wet.
Alona beach is rather beautiful. Many have coined it as the quieter sister of Boracay and I absolutely agree. Everything reminded me of my trip in Boracay, but it was definitely less rowdy. If I were to choose though, my vote would still go to Boracay as I found the people there more hospitable and friendly, and with more choices to offer (be it parties, drinks, beaches or restaurants).
But one thing though, Boracay didn’t have starfishes! They are all over the seabed and I gently picked one up before returning it to its natural habitat.
Time passes too quickly; very soon, I was back on the roads travelling to Tagbilaran for my ferry ride back to Cebu city and another flight back to Singapore. It was pelting heavily the night I arrived, and it ended the exact same way I left – what luck.
With this, I officially round up my trip to Cebu. This was an adventure-packed travel and it was made better because of the crazy travel companion. Though short, this southern Cebu trip was enough to make me fall in love with Philippines all over again. Swimming with whalesharks, being surrounded by a million sardines, playing tarzan at kawasan falls and having an almost-private snorkel experience – these are memories I would take with me for life. There are more things I would love to do in Cebu, and I’m sure I will be visiting again soon.
Next up, I will be heading (back) to Boracay with a friend I met in Krabi (fingers crossed there’s no typhoon this time!) and a short company retreat to Bali in April.
Here’s to an amazing 2017.