A week before the trip, we decided on our destination. It was a suggested island by one of my roommate's co-worker. She said a lot of good stuff about the place but we wanted to check it out for ourselves. However, we didn't proceed without Googling it first. Alas! We saw inviting images and that concluded our decision. We booked a resort for one night (Details on expenses later). The first of many travels, we chose Camotes Islands, an island approximately 3 hours away from Cebu City which is still part of the province of Cebu.
The first weekend of February was the day of the long awaited trip. We packed our bags and were ready to embark. We are renting a place in the city near the Cebu Business Park, so it took us a good 15 minutes on a taxi to reach the North Bound Terminal where a bus will take us to Danao Port. We reached the port at around 9:15 am, missing the scheduled trip by a few minutes. The next boat to Camotes won't embark until the next 3 hours so we had to kill the time by finding something to fill our guts.
|My roommate Azi eating noodles while waiting for the 12:00 noon boat.|
In the longest three hours of our lives we had to sit down and once in a while stare at
people waiting for the same trip. On a weekend, you must be very vigilant in protecting your slot because they get reserved very quickly. As soon as that glass window at the ticketing office opens up, your only priority, as if caught in a life-death situation, is to get first in line.
You'll soon notice (and don't be surprised) that you will be outnumbered by other Asian nationalities. For a moment there, we felt like we were caught in a busy hub in Bali or Maldives, and felt like a foreigner ourselves. You'll soon find out that we had internalized these roles so much, that it brought itself on the people we met in the island.
From Danao Port we sailed for 2 hours until we reached Consuelo Port, but we slept for more than half of that duration. When we were nearing the end of the trip, as the clouds and the sun battle over the afternoon sky, two dolphins surfed the peaceful waters creating ripples that magically altered the sky's reflection. It was a moment we could only savor for a while and this speaks for the most of what we've experienced in the island. When magic comes, it comes quick.
We arrived at around 2:00 in the afternoon when the cloud finally won dominance over the sky and the defeated sun can only shower glitters in the west. The ground was moist from the fresh rain. We felt like celebrities as we created commotion over a number of Habal-Habal drivers that welcomed us, each vying to bring us to the place we're heading.
We had to take two motorcycles and hire two drivers as there was no way the three of us could fit in one. Our driver's Michael and Sander took us on an adventurous ride to Santiago Bay Gardens Resort. But before we even got to the resort, the motorcycle trip has already showed us a glimpse of the simple lifestyle that closely intertwines with the laws of nature. Surely, you'll find a lot of perks in the city, but you will definitely discover things in Camotes that you will never find elsewhere.
After settling our bags in our room, we decided to check the island's famous attraction. Bay, was an understatement. Not even the picture below taken by a 24-megapixel camera could give justice to what our naked eyes saw, what our lungs breathed, and what our feet felt, as we stood staring with great awe to this artwork they called, Santiago Bay. It was a landscape made of fine white sand with a thin crystal clear water that reflects the sky, conniving with the soft wind to create small waves that brush the vast shoreline. This place had an aura, and although we could not quite place it, we were certain we felt genuinely happy just by simply being there.
We were hungry so we visited one of the beach side food place named Pito's Sutokil. I always associate Sutokil with seafood but that's as far as my understanding goes. It was only then, at that instance, that I learned what it truly meant. Their sign board wrote "Sutokil : Sugba Towa Kilaw." I had my bulb-lighting moment there, but I was wise enough to keep it to myself not knowing that my roommates didn't know any better as well. We brought food too. In an island that makes you feel like a foreigner in your own country, it is always good to bring something that reminds you of home. I prepared my favorite "linung-ag na saging and sweet camote" before going to the island. Aside from eating the food we brought, we also ordered from their menu which was amazingly cheap! We ordered "bam-e" and halo-halo. I love food and I must say that what they prepared was surprisingly really delicious considering the price. Nothing beats the satisfaction brought by good food, served with a paradise-like scenery in the background. We were already in love with the bay at that moment.
Since we have satisfied our stomach's demands, we couldn't resist taking a dip in the salty waters although it's not advisable to swim when the stomach is full. Well we all agreed that it pays to break the rules sometimes.
|Azi doing a hairflip. Cool!|
|We didn't really get to drive this, it cost P3,500/ hr. We just sat there and pretend we did. Haha|
|That's Jed! He owns the photos coz we are using his camera. :P|
We went back to our room afterwards to change and then proceeded to the resorts resto to eat dinner. It was an early dinner. We had pizza! It was good, but maybe better if our judgement had not been clouded by the amazing food we've tasted first. We were so tired from the trip and swim so we slept right after. We planned to wake up at 9:00 in the evening to have a night swim but we woke up a little late so we had to postpone. The tide has dried up the bay leaving a desert of sand illuminated by the countless stars that filled the night sky.
|Azi wondering why we woke up late.|
The next day was far more exciting. My roommates and I got up early and took pictures of the beach as the sun rises. Here are the selected few among the many that made the cut:
|Isn't it beautiful? :)|
We strolled along the shoreline. It was low tide and we saw the length of the stretch of the marvelous white sand. The bay changes its character throughout the day, reflecting various colors and conditions of the sky but always bearing that same charm that warms your chest.
|In honor of Lyda! ( Ex-roommate that we invited but wasn't able to come with us)|
|Doggies! One of them has a leg malformation . My first time to see a brown colored Labrador.|
|Azi took this while I was taking a photo of her.|
|Living under the blue sky|
We soon had our breakfast at the same place we had lunch the previous day and as usual it never failed to disappoint us in the aspects of quality, quantity and cost. We went back to the resort after, and then dived into their infinity pool. There was no one else around so we had the pool to ourselves. Yey! There were Korean tourist who came along a little later so we took off right away before it got too crowded.
|Our first group shot! Wee!|
By the time it was almost noon, we went back to Pito's Sutokil and ordered seafood dishes for lunch. The main dishes were "sinugba na tuna", "sinigang na shrimp" and sizzling squid with mushrooms. It was a generous meal at a very friendly price. Soon we had to return to our room to pack up our bags because we had to check-out. But this doesn't mean we were going back home, not just yet. The original plan was to stay for one night but there were a lot of places to explore so we opted to stay for another night but in another resort. We all thought that we had seen most of what Camotes has to offer, but little did we know that more adventure awaits in the lake, cave and cliff.
To be continued..
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