Philippines cebu – is busy. The whole of the Philippines is busy. It may have stunning hills and vistas, gorgeous sunsets and beaches but it also has cars, cities, high rise buildings and almost everywhere an airport. I would say that most of the Philippines is no more than 3 hours drive (without traffic) from an aerodrome. Around each of these aerodromes are an industrial/human sprawl that varies from pristine warehouses to maritime slums on stilts.
While this visual symbol of the Philippines state of development may be an eyesore, it does not last long, and soon the traveller has passed the sprawl and is in the less populated countryside. There is a good side to all of this, apart from being a reportage photographer’s dream it means that Philpinos fly. And they fly cheap. Most airports that a traveller may fly into, are served by a plethora of airlines from budget to full service.
Our experience was no different, we passed the working suburbs of Cebu City And we’re soon into the rolling hills south of Naga City. And crossing the backbone of Cebu.
We had come to Cebu to explore the underwater world near a small town called MoalBoal. We stayed at the grandly names Sampaguita Dive resort, which thankfully was not grandly priced nor was it overbearing. A series of simple but well appointed bungalows sat on a green hill facing the sea and in the far distance Negros Island.
Every day we would climb aboard a banka, or philipinno outrigger and speed to a dive site. 100 yards off the coast a sheer wall dropped down from 1m of depth to 50m to a small ledge. Then a second wall started and continued down much deeper. I never found out how deep.
Swirling around the walls were schools of fish and massive clusters of Acropora coral. Meinrad, glanced down and saw a thresher shark. I played with barracuda sitting at 32m, one lazily peeled off to come and look at me.
Cebu has world class diving. There is no two ways about it. Pescadore island is a 20 dive site. There is so much to see from schools of jacks and chubbs and swirling reef fish to the tiniest of nudbranches and caves and caverns.
Every resort sits on a wall and calls it the house reef. But with good conditions, these house reefs are mind blowing world class dives. Even in lower (15m) visibility the sites amerely drop to being very very good.
In the evenings we would sit and watch the sunset from the jetty- an impromptu bar was set up by Meinrad, Gaby, Chris and Rob.
We stayed at Sampaguita Lodge which was outstanding but for some divers the Magic Island Resort would be better. Both are stupendous- but the right people need to go to the right place.
We organised our journey through the African and Oriental Travel Company. www.orientafricatravel.com .