Note: This is just a continuation of this post.
The good thing about knowing someone in Cebu (or any other place) is that you don't get stuck in doing touristy stuff over and over again. Or commuting. Even though our swag multicab is not the most glamorous ride in the world (and it comes with awful lot of disadvantages) at least we got to our destinations for free and we had the best view.
We left Mandaue a little before 5 in the morning. Our agenda that day: swimming with whale sharks. IF there were any. See, I'm not really sure if we'll see them because basing from my researches, the latest blog that I read was from 3 months ago. They could be out of the Visayan water for all I know so we went on a hunch here.
The sun isn't out yet
But lo and behold.
When we arrived in Oslob town, JC's dad immediately turned left at the first beach resort we saw where people are already queuing to catch the next boat out onto the sea. From where I was standing, I can see the boats in neat little lines not far from the shore probably having a wonderful time spotting some butanding!
This is their rate which is I think is standard in all resorts. Left one is for locals, right one are for foreigners. Huge difference!
I committed a major booboo in this trip by forgetting to pack a boardshorts. So dedma na sa sangkalibutan but I wore a bikini while swimming with whale sharks, hindi naman sila natakot sakin, I think.
After a short breakfast, we paid for our fees and then hopped into our I'ts more fun in the Philippines boat with two manong, one sitting in front and the other one at the rear.
First stop: a short briefing about do's and don'ts in whale sharks encounter. Absolutely no touching. No swimming in front or directly behind the whale shark. Keep a distance of 3 feet (or was it meters? sheeeet I forgot!). Basta yun! No flash photography. No worries there because we don't have an underwater camera anyway and I refuse to pay 500 pesos worth of camera rent. Babalik na lang ako uy! I know, such losers. As for the swimming, I'm proud to say that even though the temptation of touching them was shoved right into my face, I didn't give in. I didn't touch them.
So this is the only photo I got of a butanding in my camera. The rest was taken from Lyn's camera.
In the photo below, JC looked so happy and scared at the same time. But that's normal in the first few minutes. The guide said that our 30 minutes of whale shark encounter begins when we see our first butanding so it was a mad dash to get into the water because you know, 30 minutes is like 3 minutes when you're having too much fun.
The many butanding that we saw are pretty small, almost like babyish in size. You can easily recognize the difference of a Donsol butanding to an Oslob butanding (google it!). But 10-20 feet sized mammal is still massive! You can't really help but be scared at first even though I always tell (and know) myself that these creatures will never eat/harm human, that they are the gentlest creature ever.
So yeah, size can be really daunting. But after the initial scare, the rush of excitement and childlike happiness eventually replaced the mini scare. And that bastard panghihinayang at the corner of my brain for not documenting this precious moment? I momentarily forgot about it. The good thing about not having a camera with you is that you get to soak in and enjoy the experience more without having to worry of that perfect shot worthy to be your next Facebook profile photo. Regrets came back when it was all over haha.
There will always be next time. The whale sharks of Oslob won't go anywhere, they are (GOOD NEWS) there all year round (except that one time when there was an earthquake, the whale sharks have gone MIA, I asked our guide). So I will come back na lang, in NOVEMBER 3-5 :))
Naulanan lang kami ng bongga dito but I have good memories of Moalboal from 3 years ago it would not dampen my mood.
An hour more from Moalboal we finally stopped in Barili and had our lunch in Mantayupan Falls, picnic-style!
Mantayupan Falls is Cebu's tallest falls. I'm not sure if because it's a Sunday hence throngs of people picnicking (and swimming) or if it's a normal thing.
Then we were back on the road again. Molave Milk Station was our last pit stop for the day. We each had an ice cream made from carabaos and cows' milk. Tama ba yung wordplay?
Another more hour and we're back to the city. We just had to drop by here:
Too bad it was closed despite the store hours posted on the door. Maybe because it was a Sunday? I don't know. So a slightly disappointed Cheese must come back tomorrow.