It was supposedly a late celebration for our annual Christmas gathering with my friends, but it turned out to be a hilariously crazy teaser for my 2017 adventures. It has been our “barkada’s” tradition to go somewhere to spend and celebrate Christmas season together between December and January. Instead of December, we had it on January of 2017 due to late homecoming of one of my friend working abroad.
Last minute destination changes.
Before the trip, we had multiple instances of changing destinations and itineraries. Originally, we planned to hit Manjuyod sand bar in Negros instead of the waterfall hopping. But due to the pricey fees in Manjuyod and the budget constraints, we crashed it out from our itinerary. ‘Twas the last 2 days that we decided to settle for Sumilon Island in Oslob and proceed to Valencia, Negros Oriental for a waterfall hopping.
1..2..3.. Let’s pack!
Actually, prior to the actual date of the planned trip, I backed out. Then hours before the meeting time, I had a change of heart. The plan was to meet at Cebu South Bus terminal by 3AM. Straight from my office work, I was on a coffee shop editing my vlog when out of a sudden, by 12 midnight, I decided to get home by 1AM and quick-pack my things and go straight to our meeting place.
Oh nice! We got our private transportation.
From Cebu South Bus terminal, a van driver offered to take us to Oslob, Cebu for 200 pesos per head with only us as passengers. We grabbed the offer so that we can go ahead right away than taking the bus and wait for it to be filled with passengers before departing. Also, the rate offered was no far than the bus fare.
Full speed ahead!
We departed from Cebu City by 3:30AM, right on the bracket of our schedule. I can say that the driver really knows how to step on the gas pedal. Instead of the usual 4hr ride to Tan-awan, Oslob, which by the way is also where the Oslob Whaleshark watching is located, it only took us 3 hours. We arrived around 6AM, too early for our estimated 7AM arrival. Days before our trip, we scheduled and booked a private boat that would take us to the island. While waiting for the boat’s arrival, we grabbed the opportunity to have a quick breakfast. Right when we got our fill, we then went straight to the boat’s docking area, got on the boat and sailed to the island.
The sky was dark and the wind started to smell like a brewing storm. I was hoping that the sea would, at least, spare us from its merciless and unforgiving rave. Thankfully the water was calm and placid and we arrived on the island safe. We were not able to fully appreciate the island’s signature stretch of white sand bar because of the atmosphere’s hue. Regardless, the waters were still obviously clear. As expected, like the ocean waves, numerous tourists come-in and go from the island. One batch arrives, and another set goes.
Energy zapping trips.
We only stayed on the island for several hours, just enough to satiate our beach cravings. It was about past noon when we headed to Lilo-an, Santander port to catch the ferry trip to Sibulan for the next leg of our trip. While waiting for the ferry to arrive, we maximized our time by taking our lunch meal on the port’s cafeteria so that we can head straight to our destination once we arrive in Sibulan.
I was already dead tired when we arrived on the port. Imagine yourself being awake for more than 24 hours with just the caffeine fueling your eyes to forcefully open. Well, that my friend was my situation during that trip. I took every opportunity I can get to catch extra naps. On the van, on the bus and even on the ferry on the way to Sibulan. The trip to Sibulan took around 30 minutes but I swear it felt like more than an hour. I slept while on the ferry and ugh I never had, by far, a good nap like that in my entire life.
Right when we stepped on the ground of Negros, we headed straight to the Municipality of Valencia. We did not care for our accommodation anymore since one of us lived there. Luckily their house was empty and we get to occupy the majority of the house like it was our own. It felt like renting a whole house for a couple of days, but only for free. What mattered then was our food and travel expenses.
Spicing-up our palette.
We arrived in Valencia quite early, around 3 in the afternoon. Valencia is a rural municipality. Though the surroundings are clean and peaceful, but anyone who is so used to the city could not bear the silence of the province. With nothing to do, we went for a 20-minute jeepney ride to Dumaguete City. As we roamed round the city’s boulevard to find something interesting and something to do to fill our spare hours, I remembered that there’s this thing called “Dumaguete Tempura Challenge”.
There’s this street tempura shop which offers different levels of spiciness for their tempura sauces. The challenge is to get through to the spiciest one. With no such ado, we hunted for that specific shop. We asked the locals for the direction. By the way, Tempura ni Bossing is the name of the shop and is just nearby Siliman University.
The challenge was surprising because first of all I did not find the challenge as a challenge at all. Maybe because I’ve been used to spicy foods. I was expecting that it would really make me teary eyed and give up, but no. I even actually enjoyed the spiciness of the tempura sauce.
As our mouth palettes got warmed-up, so did our bellies. After finishing the challenge, we then headed straight to another place where we can have our dinner. We dropped by on a nearby restaurant and had our early dinner before getting back to Valencia.
Then we stayed for a while in Dumaguete’s boulevard just to kill some time.
Time for Adventures!
We started our day early the morning after so that we can cover all the places within our itinerary before late noon so that we can still travel back to Cebu afterwards. Grabbed quick breakfast on a local restaurant in Valencia then looked for a motorcycle which we can charter to take us to Casaroro and Pulangbato Waterfalls and straight to Red Rock Hot Spring. All of these places are just within the municipality of Valencia.
In Velencia’s market place are motorcycles on stand by. We negotiated and got ours for 300 pesos each person, back-and-forth from the municipality center to the said waterfalls and back. Motorcycle rides going to and from the places mentioned did not take more than 20 minutes. On each place, we just took several photos and had quick dips except for the Red Rock Hot Spring which we spent the most of our time. Hot springs are just so lovely and soothing.
Then we got stranded.
We arrived back to the house just within our schedule. We hurried and ready ourselves to get back to the post to catch a trip back to Cebu. Just when everybody was ready and chill and just scrolling through our social media accounts, when suddenly a great news came in. Boom! “Port Authorities has prohibited all sea crafts to sail due to the storm coming within few hours.” What?! Everybody got worried immediately. It was Monday the day after and we still have to attend to our jobs. Not even one of us filed a leave earlier for no one anticipated the situation.
We had no choice but to stay and just keep ourselves updated with the port situation. Luckily, we didn’t have to spend extra money for our accommodation, but still we had to spend money for our meals and other expenses. What made it worse was that we didn’t find any working ATM on the municipality.
Fortunately, it did not take long for the port authority to re-allow the sailing. When we heard the news, we then headed straight to Sibulan port to grab our tickets for the trip back to Cebu. It was not only us who got stranded in Negros so we expected that getting a ticket would really be a hassle. Surprisingly, there were only fewer passenger on the port than I expected. We secured our tickets with no hassle at all.
The weather was still not good when we sailed back to Cebu. There were still occasional drizzle, rains and wind slaps, nevertheless, we arrived safely on our homes.
Stuck in awe. Let’s travel again!
Even though with all those unexpected turn of events, I would like to stick with the memories and beauty of the places that we visited. I am still stuck in awe of the beautiful Casaroro and the majestic Pulangbato Waterfalls. Of course, I cannot get enough of the soothing and relaxing warm waters of Red Rock Hot Spring.
This trip is just the beginning. I am very optimistic for this year. I know I’ll be encountering more unique situations and hopefully I’ll get to experience and learn more as I try to slowly uncover the places that I aspire to visit.