In my last week in the Philippines, I headed back to Cebu on my own, with the hope of finishing my trip with some diving and ideally taking my Advanced Diving course. I had a bit of a panic when Jamie flew home. Even though I’ve done plenty of solo travel in the past (about four months worth) I felt suddenly so lonely and afraid, and absolutely miles away from home! It didn’t help that I was in the dingiest room ever; instead of the double room we’d booked, we were given gross, empty 12 bed dorm to ourselves which was even worse to wake up in alone. So in the morning, I pulled myself together a bit and got out of there ASAP.
The best way to get from Cebu City to Moalboal is by local bus so the next morning I headed to the bus station. The queue system began outside in the heat- I was sweating buckets within minutes. I joined a bus queue that was slightly shorter and soon found out why- it didn’t have aircon and was absolutely packed. I hadn’t realised that if I’d just kept queuing I would have waited for one with air con! The only saving grace was that it cost very little- only 115 pesos so about £1.60 to drive three hours, so really cheap despite it being the longest three hours of my life.
On arrival in Moalboal, (once I’d cooled down after the bus journey), I headed straight over to the dive school I had been emailing called Neptune Adventures who had kindly sorted my accommodation. I booked myself onto a Refresher course for the following morning after which I would decide what to do next- whether I would be confident enough to do my Advanced Qualification or just do some fun dives. However as soon as I began my refresher dive, I remembered how much I love it, and so committed to my Advanced Open Water, which is what I spent the next four days doing. I absolutely loved every minute of it, I would recommend it to anyone. Where the Open Water is cool because you can experience diving for the first time, its very technical whereas the Advanced is more about the actual dives- you choose modules you’re interested in and go from there. One of mine for example was Underwater Photography, where I learnt about it and then took photos using the dive school camera which was so cool! Moalboal was a really nice place to learn as well, there was a big walled drop-off not far from the shore where you could see tons of different types of fish and also my favourite, turtles. One amazing thing was that you can swim with a huge shoals of sardines just off the shore there. You’d be swimming along happily and then suddenly all the light above you would disappear, and you’d look up and there’d be millions of sardines swimming above you. It was honestly incredible.
Most people finish their Advanced in two days but I had the small matter of a typhoon break up my routine. It started off forecast as a tropical depression and then as it got closer, it got stronger and became a Category B Typhoon which was essentially a horrific storm. I was really scared! Luckily Moalboal was quite a small place so I just kept hanging out in the bars etc or the dive school because I didn’t want to be on my own. At one point I was in a bar which was on stilts on the beach and waves were so high they pushed through the floorboards- terrifying! The typhoon meant that didn’t get to do my night dive because the weather was too bad so I’ll have to save it for another time.
The other thing I did in Moalboal, unfortunately on one of the stormy days, was visit Kawasan Falls. For some bizarre reason, despite it being the day the Typhoon was due to hit Moalboal and it was chucking it down with rain, I decided to take a motorbike taxi and pay the same price as a normal taxi (with a roof where I would have kept dry/ not run the risk of getting struck by lightning). It was the most ridiculous decision and therefore journey where I just got drenched, and took just less than an hour. When I arrived, I agreed an hour with the driver and began the long walk to the falls. Even though it was tipping it down, they were still so pretty- the water is naturally so turquoise I couldn’t believe it. It was so beautiful! There were still loads of tourists there in the rain so I did think maybe if it was a sunny day, it would have been too busy. I walked everywhere to get good angled photos of three different falls, went swimming twice and then called it a day. There’s only so many people you can ask to take a photo of you when you’re travelling alone! Plus I was being drenched by the incoming typhoon but I was really happy I went.
If the weather had been better I would have absolutely loved my time in Moalboal- I did anyway but the typhoon was scary. The advanced diving course was unreal and it was a really cute little town and the surrounding area was super pretty. Guess, as the same with anywhere, I’ll just have to go back!