My expedition starts with a little adventure. Instead of buying a flight to Cebu City I decided to take the longest and the toughest way considering that Philippines is an archipelago. This trip would be inter islands.
The only plan is to be in Cebu 27th of May to catch a ferry and be on the site 28th of May at Coral Cay Conservation, San Francisco, Southern Leyte, Eastern Visayas.
Day 1. From Boracay Island – Iloilo – Bacolod
So the trip started with a tricycle trip to the port, out triggered boat to cross the island, and a bus to Iloilo City. Last minute decision I wanted to drop by Iloilo for Molo balls or batchoy (both are soup) when I was on the bus. I’ve been craving for Iloilo’s local soup for ages and wanted to visit my best friend’s mom as well but due to lack of time I bail out and opted for Bacolod’s chicken inasal instead. From the bus terminal I met Chris – a Texan guy who plans to head to Siquijor. I suggest that we take the night bus together.
Sunset view of Iloilo City from the fast craft to Bacolod City.
Stopping by Bacolod for the famous chicken Inasal. Upon docking we head straight to the inasal restos and to meet a friend. Last time I was here in Bacolod I went to the food stalls in front of the hospital for cheaper chicken inasal.
Day 2. Dumaguete – Apo Island – Dumaguete.
We took the night bus and arrived around 6 AM in Dumaguete. Chris and I split as I want to try again my luck in crossing Apo Island whilst he head to Siquijor Island as he had room reservations already. Traveling on a tight budget I can’t afford to rent the boat by myself so I decided to wait for other tourist and ask if I could share with them but this time I am eager to reach Apo Island. While waiting the locals invited me for breakfast. I tried the local produced fresh mangoes and bagoong (fish/shrimp paste).
I am super lucky that day when this family allowed me to join them. I feel like being a part of a touring family. Adopted for a day!
Double that when I was finally able to see the turtles grazing off the grass. The effort of mitigating the coral reef as a marine reserve had paid off, really! Although the coral reef was damage years ago by a typhoon. This is a win-win for both locals and tourists. They both enjoy the economic and aesthetic services of coastal resources while preserving the resources. Coastal community that caters tourist should be like this and Boracay Island should be like this – sustainable eco tourism destination .
Apo Island Marine Sanctuary is one of the oldest protected marine reserves in the Philippines due to its success it became a known model to other countries due to its exemplar management and biodiversity. The locals are very nice. One of the guides insisting to show me more of the other turtles.
I decided to go back to Dumageute yet unsure where to go next. Just eager to find local food.
After I finish the most delicious halo-halo ever (the reason why I’m back here) I decided to stay. Unfortunately, Harold’s Mansion has no vacant accommodation and I was forced to pay more to book a boring room in a different hotel.