Sorry for the late weekly update. This past week has been pretty crazy, with another typhoon, canceled plans, and rethinking our next destination. Stay tuned for next week's email to learn more!
We are so happy we decided to check out Bacolod! Many places claim to be food cities but can sometimes just provide similar foods at inflated prices. Bacolod (or more specifically the area that we stayed in) was the opposite. A brand new square lined with seafood restaurants, karaoke bars, and for us a Christmas festival was no more than 2 minutes away. The best part was the inexpensive food costs for the quality of the food we ate. Finally, good seafood dishes were in our price range so we were definitely not shy. 6 scallops ($4.50), grilled seafood plate ($8.50), almost a pound of crab ($7.50), and, a massive fish soup that could easily serve 4 ($5) all made their way into our mouths. It's no surprise that we continued to extend our stay for almost 5 days!
All those restaurants were in addition to a row of BBQ joints that truly give Bacolod a food city name. Quite possibly the countries most-eaten dish, chicken inasal (chargrilled chicken), was created in the city and has quickly spread throughout the country as it's easy to make and cheap (2 chicken legs, rice, soup, and drinks cost just $3.50 at a BBQ place). It's pretty easy to see that our main attraction this week was pigging out on all the food we could!
With tummies content, we undertook the longest and most hectic travel day yet. The 3 tricycles, 3 buses, and a ferry, with only one small mess up, the total route taking roughly 7 hours seems like a success in our books! This long route took us back on to the island of Cebu but this time to its west coast. The destination of Moalboal is world-famous for 3 main reasons though tourism has truly exploded only over the past few years.
The first two are in the water with dozens of giant sea turtles calling it home and the sardine run. Giant sea turtles, some up to the size of dining room tables, swim just minutes from shore eating the algae and coral that is plentiful. No need to take a boat or guide, just step into the water and within a few minutes, you will probably find one for yourself. The sardine run was something truly special and is one of very few in the world. Millions of sardines swim year-round along the coastal peninsula giving you sightings of one of earth's greatness animal groups. The steep drop-off is a perfect habitat for the small fish. There are only a few spots in the world that sardines in these numbers live and nowhere else that they live year-round. It was insane to see the number that there were. We swam above the school several meters wide by several deep for over a half hour and didn't come close to passing them all. We have snorkeled in many spots before but the number of fish we saw was something out of this world!
The final reason we were in the area was because of the Kawasan canyon. Canyons are almost always beautiful spots to hike through and are made even better by waterfalls and rivers. What takes it to the next level though, is when you can take a 3-hour tour jumping off the waterfalls, cliffs, and platforms, doing rope swings, and going down rapids backwards! This tour was one of the best things that we have done as of yet! Though it is extremely annoying to be in a group followed by hundreds of other people in other small tours, it was absolutely worth it for the experience! The jumps started out small at about 3 metres but steadily grew up to about 12 which was a hell of a rush! The funny part about travel is how quickly perspectives regarding money change. Here in the Philippines, things are very inexpensive with most dinners costing us less than $8. Including an hour-long round trip transportation, helmets, life jackets, shoes, and lunch at the end, the entire tour cost just $35/person. This was by far our most expensive excursion and cost almost double what a hotel costs per night! As everyone knows this type of excursion would cost 4x the amount back home, however, we still questioned whether it would be worth it.
We make our way towards Cebu City to celebrate Christmas in the origin of Filipino Christianity. Our plan is to then take an overnight ferry to Manila, our last destination in the Philippines!
Cheers from Moalboal, The Roving Route