Switch to the North

We woke up early as we are moving today. We have booked a lodge at a dive resort on Sandugan beach in the north of Siquijor.

Rain, rain and more rain. This made waiting outside for a jeepney interesting as we got pretty wet. Eventually we flagged down a shared tricycle and jumped aboard. Our bags got a little wet on the roof but we tried to cover them with our emergency black bin liners! Our first stop was Siquijor town where we indulged in cakes and coffee. There was was a huge church and a famous belfry in the centre which we walked past. We had time for lunch before the next leg of the journey to Larena Port. We got another tricycle for the 15km journey. It wasn't a bumpy ride but Darryl's water bottle decided to jump out and go AWOL.

Larena was very busy with tourists coming from Bohol and Cebu to Siquijor island. We explored the local shopping centre whilst we waited for the dive resort to collect us. They appeared early so we set off straight away to a rather remote part of the island. Here we will stay for the next 4 nights which will give us time to investigate the underwater scenery.

We dropped our bags in our room which comes with its own kitchen and outside seating area. We also have plenty of coconut trees and a jack fruit tree growing in the garden. Snorkeling was tricky as it was low tide and the walk to the coral meant avoiding loads of sea urchins. The visibility was poor due to the weather but tomorrow should be better.

We checked out a larger resort next door before deciding what we were going to cook. We had stocked up on food in Dumaguete for four evening feasts, plus breakfast and lunch! Dinner was served along with an evening of jazz!


A Day Out

We walked into the centre of San Juan after an early morning snorkel. We went to buy essential items; new flip flops and 5 Peso cakes!

As we entered the centre we noticed an event was taking place so went over to take a peek. It turned out to be the 3rd anniversary celebration of the local radio station.  There were stalls sponsored by local businesses including free haircuts, cocktail making demonstrations, biscuit making and the local vets were providing free vaccinations and minor operations.  The radio DJ 'Butch' came over to introduce himself and handed us a free lunch of rice and pork.  He told us there was a disco later that evening and invited us to come.   

We were about to leave to head back to our accommodation when it started to rain, a real tropical downpour.  This is the first rain we have seen for a few months!  We sat it out watching the locals enjoy the afternoon celebrations.

Later that evening, after a BBQ dinner we headed back for the disco.  First there was a dance competition with some great acts.  The Filipinos are very good street dancers, however, one entrant was an English girl and a girl from Belgium .... we don't think they had practiced their routine as much as the Filipinos had! 

After the competition there was a raffle followed by a performance from a famous Filipino whose singing had gone viral on YouTube and then a live band and lots of dancing. A thoroughly enjoyable day!


Back in the Routine

We are now settled in San Juan, Siquijor. We are back into our routine for the next few days;

Wake Up

Snorkelling

Breakfast

Snorkelling

Lunch

Snorkelling

Watch the sunset

Dinner BBQ at the beach

Sleep Zzzz

By the way .... any tsunamis that head our way, we now know which way to run!


Siquijor

Breakfast was served. Sticky rice and chocolate sauce followed by fresh bread with coconut jam. All of this sweetness was washed down with huge mugs of coffee.

A quick email sent to extend a future hotel booking before we checked out and headed to the port. It was time to catch a ferry to Siquijor.

We arrived at 10am for the 10.30 ferry but today it wasn't running. Therefore we missed the 10 o'clock and had to wait until midday to catch the next one. We waited and chatted to a lovely family from Switzerland travelling with 2 young children.

At midday we were off. We looked at the ferry with a little apprehension. It was fairly small, very rusty and had a lot of people on board. It did however leave on time and was a comfortable journey across the sea. On arrival we found a jeepney that was going our way and was cheap. Interestingly when the family from Switzerland boarded their price was far higher! We stopped outside the hotel we had booked and dropped our bags.

The hotel is right on the beach in San Juan. This is a prime spot for legendary sunsets. We ate at a nearby street stall before walking towards the centre of San Juan. There are lots of new hotels lining the beach and more being built. We talked about what San Juan might look like in a further 5 years, as it is 5 years since we were last here. 

We found ourselves walking quite a lot further than we expected so thought it best to turn around and head back. We didn't want to miss the sunset! A quick swim to check out the reef. The water was shallow for a long way out and as it started to get deeper there were lots of spiny sea urchins. The reef here is in poor condition but has many interesting formations. There were a few things of interest; a blue sea anemone hiding exquisite clown fish, some amazing mini soft coral thingys (never seen before - need to look up their name) and lots of starfish!

Shortly after leaving the water the sun set in magnificent style. A quick shower and it was time for dinner. We headed back to the restaurant we had eaten at earlier. This time we had a feast of freshly grilled BBQ pork whilst enjoying an amazing view across the bay.

Welcome to the beautiful island of Siquijor!

Bus to Ferry to Bus

After 2 weeks in Moalboal we said a sad farewell to everyone in  our hostel and walked the 4km from Pangasama beach to the main road. The sun was shining and we were pretty hot. To offer us a short break Darryl opted for a haircut in a local barbers. The man doing the cutting was from Cebu City and had lived in the area for 11 years. He explained that every night he plays basketball but in 11 years had never visited the beach!

We reached the main road and immediately went in search of food! As we ate, the bus that we needed went past. However, we didn't have long to wait for the next bus to Bato.

In Bato we got lucky with the ferry. We arrived, the ferry departed! It was a short crossing to Tampi on Negros and took about an hour. On board we enjoyed the scenery but also watched the boxing that they showed on the TV. The ferry was a car ferry and had 2 local buses onboard. We enquired as to where they were going. One was going to Dumaguete, which is exactly where we were heading.

We caught the bus on the ferry and were shortly docked in Tampi. We drove for approximately 40 mins before we were dropped 5 minutes walk from our hostel. We checked in and helped ourselves to the free coffee whilst chatting to an interesting fellow traveller. This guy had been on the road for 11 years living off money he had inherited.

Next we ventured out into Dumaguete where we popped into McDonalds for an ice cream, visited the bank and went shopping in the large supermarket. This was a frustrating experience as only half of the items had prices! We stocked up on goodies for our trip to Siquijor island tomorrow. The first place we will stay has easy access to the local market but the second Dive resort is rather remote meaning no food markets nearby! Hence the shopping trip.

We ate in a busy local restaurant, entertained by a local singing contest playing in the background. The food was pretty good but we still had space for more so stopped on the way back to our room and purchased a rather nice cake each.

Coffee and cake on the rooftop studying the stars. Perfect!


Leaving Moalboal

Time in Moalboal has come to an end. The daily routine will take a very short pause whilst we transfer to a new exciting location. 2 weeks in Moalboal has been incredible! We have added lots of photos to show some examples of things we have seen on the coral reef (the photos are not taken by us as we are not carrying underwater cameras). You can view them by clicking on the link below.

Our Current Adventure Album

Or head to ...

www.vengara.co.uk

We have seen so many turtles and a wide variety of colourful reef fish from giant parrotfish to tiny juvenile clownfish (Nemo). We have seen sea snakes, moray eels, millions of sardines and an interesting mix of both hard corals, soft corals and sponges. We have been truly spoilt by the magical underwater world.

We have had an amazing time and now we have a 4km walk to the bus stop. Next stop the ferry to Dumaguete on Negros island.

Supermarket Sweep

Awesome early morning snorkelling with no one around except the local fishermen hauling their nets.

After we walked the 4km to Moalboal centre to buy some snacks and visit the ATM. The charge for using it is nearly £4 and you are restricted to taking out £150. This is the worst deal in any country so far. If you don't have a special bank card like we do then you will be charged double!

In the supermarket there was some dancing and a man on the mic. He started a competition. The first person who could bring him a dollar won a prize. Christine had a dollar and took it over to him. He then continued to ask a series of questions.

Where are you from? The UK  Do you like Moalboal? Yes    Do you have any children? No

Why not? Err (An awkward moment as they always ask this and don't really understand the answer. However, not usually in the middle of a bustling supermarket. We laughed about the different cultures and what you should and shouldn't ask people).

After the questions Christine was handed her 'prize' - 2 new pillowcases!  Now we need to find someone donate them to.

We walked the 4km home laden with our shopping. A huge weight was the local cakes at 5 pesos each (about 6-7p each)!

More snorkelling. We saw 5 turtles this time!

We are enjoying the routine of snorkelling, eating, relaxing in the  hammock and sleeping. Life's a beach!