Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Welcome to the Philippines

Fort San Pedro Cebu City

First stop Cebu city which is the second largest city in the Philippines and is in the central Visayas area. And because of this it makes it a great staring point. From Cebu Island you can go in any direction to many amazing Islands.

The city itself is not a tourist hotspot but is a central transport to the surrounding Visayas. Spending a few days here gave me time to get my bearings and adjust to the changes of no longer being in the Western world.

One of the best ways to get around the city is by Jeepny. Just flag down the one you want and hand over 7 PHP and off you go.

But please watch your head! 
These were not designed for height and I have a few bumps to prove that fact.

Notice the quick way of keeping dishes clean by putting them in a plastic bag first.

One thing there is not a shortage of in Cebu is fast food. KFC, MCDonalds, Burger King and the list goes on. 
This is not a good sign for the future health of the Philippines.

After a few days in Cebu it was time for another island. There are over 7000 islands to choose from  in the Philippines (should keep my wanderlust busy) so making a decision can be hard. I finally decided on the tiny Island of Bantayan off the northwest tip of Cebu.  

As with my experience with other developing countries finding proper departure times can be a bit of a challenge. I showed up at the terminal for 7am and hoped to hop on the luxury Aircon/Wifi/Direct bus. I soon found out there was only one and it did not leave until 10am. But there was a 7:30 standard bus leaving to the port of Hagnaya. So, instead of waiting around for two hours I decided to go old school and grab the multiple stop/non aircon (windows open) bus. What the hell it would only take 3 1/2 hours to get to the port and if it is good enough for the locals it is good enough for me.

Hagnaya Port

Once I reached the port town of Hagnaya it was less than a half hour wait and we were on our way to Bantayan Island.

My boat for the next two hours. 
All in all it took about 5 1/2 hours to get from Cebu to the Island but no complaints as the adventure was stress free.

My ride

I had a chance to rent a scooter but a bicycle just seemed to fit the Island feel better.

So I loaded up my basket with fresh fruit some water and went to hit the back roads of the Island. Exactly the same thing I would have done on my motorcycle. Yes, they have some main paver roads but as you know for me this is not where the adventure is.

Still trying to figure this sign out?

A single blade plow a cow and some very hard work gets you a new field. This is why you take the less beaten path for scenes like this.

I met some great people in villages along the way and had numerous children riding there bikes along side me and asking questions. This confirmed what I had heard about the friendly nature of the people  in the Philippines. Beautiful people and beautiful scenery. 
Can't wait for the next Island!

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