Jul 14

Philippines 2014: Leaving Cebu for Davao; Davao City sights

Date: May 1st, 2014

Yesterday was an eventful day of sightseeing. I began early morning swimming with Oslob’s famed whale sharks and later enjoyed the beauty of Tumalog Falls. I was tired by the time I got back to Cebu from Oslob yesterday, so when I woke up in the morning, I decided to take it easy today.

Tr3ats guesthouse rooftop cafe Cebu

I had breakfast from the hostel’s roof top ‘cafe’

Roof view Cebu hills morning

The hills weren’t too far away from here

I worked for much of the day (ironic, considering it was May Day), only stepping out at 2pm to go to Ayala Center.

Ayala Center mall Cebu garden

A very nice mall not too far from the hostel. (Had to take two short jeepney rides to get here)

Felafel roll Cebu Philippines

I sat down at Persian Palate and had a spinach felalfel sandwich, a chicken shawarma rice meal and coconut water. Bill came to ₱242.

Since it was May Day, many shops were closed and the streets were far from buzzing.

The next day (May 2), I stepped out to do some shopping. I took a jeepney and went all the way down to the end of Osmeña Blvd. No fancy malls out here. Just a lot of street markets, shops and some much older shopping centres and department stores. I stepped into one and ended up buying some sandals for really cheap.

Cebu city alley street Philippines

Much of down town Cebu looks like this

Anti-America poster Cebu Philippines

Saw a bit of ‘anti-America’… for a change

I then took a jeepney to SM City, where I decided to have lunch.

Bacon hot dog onion rings Cebu

I had an bacon-wrapped hot dog from Monster Franks. And yes, that’s all the onion rings you get (plus a drink) for ₱130

After some window shopping and purchasing some souvenirs, I headed back to the hostel.

Pasta garlic bread Cebu

For dinner I ate at a small Italian eatery near Tr3ats Guesthouse. That’s fettucine pasta with meat sauce (₱140). This would be my final dinner in Cebu.

Date: May 3rd, 2014

I took a taxi to the airport as today I was leaving Cebu for Davao.

Cebu bridge road Philippines

It was bright and sunny today, so I hoped the flight would leave on time

After checking in, we got word that the flight was slightly delayed. *Shocker* -_-

Zubuchon lechon Cebu airport

In the departures lounge, the famed Zubuchon had an outlet

Zubuchon menu Cebu airport

Zubichon got really famous after Antony Bourdain called their lechon “the best he’s ever eaten”. So I too packed a lechon and rice meal (₱190) to have on the plane as my in-flight meal.

Cebu island from airplane Philippines

Goodbye Cebu!

Zubuchon lechon pork takeaway Cebu

The lechon was really well done and the meat was obviously good quality pork. I guess Zubuchon really is worth trying when in Cebu.

Davao from sky

The flight from Cebu to Davao takes just over an hour

Landing at Davao international airport

Landed in Davao — for the first time

Davao big sign airport

I hired a taxi to take me to the hostel I was going to be staying at for the next few days

Building Green Windows Dormitel Davao

This building with green tinted windows is the FTC Tower. It houses Green Windows Dormitel on the 4th, 5th and 6th floors (Oh, the taxi fare came to ₱166)

Reception Green Windows Dormitel davao

I chose Green Windows Dormitel because they have dorm beds for ₱188 all inclusive, and the rooms looked very nice and clean in the photos

Rooms Green Windows Dormitel Davao

Green Windows Dormitel has everything from dorm rooms to full service suites

Dorm room Green Windows Dormitel Davao

This was the ₱188 dorm room, and I chose bed E, by the window. I was quite impressed! Wooden floors, functioning air conditioner, and comfy beds. The wi-fi was spotty inside the room, but whenever it worked, it was good.

Lobby Green Windows Dormitel Davao

I would sometimes have to sit out on the couch to get a better connection

TV room Green Windows Dormitel Davao

This is the TV room, attached to the cafeteria

Cafeteria Green Windows Dormitel Davao

The cafeteria has a (pay) buffet serving breakfast, lunch and dinner (mostly Filipino cuisine) and the prices for coffee/tea and other items seem fairly reasonable

Store Green Windows Dormitel Davao

There’s even a store selling more groceries in the reception area

Mt. Apo street Davao city

The street Green Windows Dormitel is situated at is called Mt. Apo street. With a name like that, you would assume Mt. Apo is close by. Nope, Mt. Apo is no where near it!

Davao city traffic Philippines

Green Windows Dormitel wasn’t too far away from the main city center

I walked about to scan the area and was happy to find enough eateries (KFC, McDonalds, Jollibee, etc.), pizzerias and bakeries galore all within walking distance from the dormitel.

Daylight Inn Davao city Philippines

To the left is Daylight Inn, a place I was initially going to stay at because it was the only listing available for Davao City on Hostels.com

Time Square mall panorama Davao

Times Square Mall to the left and more shopping centers all around

Davao city center panorama

I just roamed around town to see what else Davao City had to offer

City Hall of Davao Philippines

City Hall of Davao

Durian statue city hall park Davao

Durian is abundant in Davao and there they honour the fruit

Rizal statue Davao City Philippines

A statue honouring Philippine hero Jose Rizal

Jose Rizal bronze statue Davao Philippines

Philippines eagle shed Davao park

Davao is home to the country’s national bird — the Philippines Eagle. I would be visiting the Philippines Eagle Center the day after.

San Pedro Cathedral Davao city

I walked towards the San Pedro Cathedral, a Davao landmark

San Pedro Cathedral people monument-davao

This statue is the Commemorative Monument of Peace and Unity

San Pedro Cathedral Davao Philippines

San Pedro Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Davao and renowned for its odd boat-like design

San Pedro Cathedral Davao interiors

I checked out the interiors

Inside San Pedro Cathedral Davao panorama

Took a panorama

San Pedro Church boat shape Davao city

And then I left

Osmena park Davao city Philippines

Near by was Osmena Park

Massages at Osmena Park  Davao

And inside were scores of masseurs offering foot and shoulder massages :-)

Royale House hotel Davao

I walked around a bit more before heading back

Billiards Davao City Philippines

Billiards seemed to be a popular pass time

Bakery fresh pastry Davao city

A lot of nice bakeries in Davao City, and it was cheap!

I’ll be honest. When I read Davao City was the biggest city in the world (in terms of area), I still assumed Davao City would have its areas of world-class skylines. Far from it. It feels more like a very big town. It’s big in size, sure, but far from fancy. I saw so many pawn shops — a sign that the populace are looking to sell their wares (hopefully not stolen) in exchange for cash. Electronics stores hardly stocked the latest models and even the malls lacked any of the usual fancy brands. Definitely far more low key compared to Manila and Cebu.

Anyway, I wasn’t in Davao to hang out at malls. Tomorrow I would visit Eden Nature Park and attempt to visit Mt. Apo (which I realized only after landing here that the mountain is no where near the city)

FTC Tower Green Windows Dormitel Davao city

FTC Tower, at night


(All the above photos were taken using my phone camera, Sony Xperia Z1)

Previous posts in this series:

Philippines 2014: Tumalog Falls; Oslob church, Cuartel

Philippines 2014: Oslob – Swimming with whale sharks

Philippines 2014: Trek to Mount Pinatubo crater lake

Philippines 2014: The itinerary this time around; UP Diliman and Maginhawa

Jun 14

Philippines 2014: Tumalog Falls; Oslob church, Cuartel

Date: April 30th, 2014

After spending the early morning swimming with whale sharks, I then decided to visit Tumalog Falls, Oslob’s other big attraction.

Bus stop bike taxi Oslob highway

There were plenty of bike taxis at the entrance of the Whale shark briefing center and this guy approached me asking me if I wanted to go to Tumalog Falls. He said it would cost ₱120 to take me there and back.

Bike taxi ride Oslob

Tumalog Falls isn’t too far away from the whale shark briefing center

Way to Tumalog Falls Oslob road

Basically the road to Tumalog Falls is just off the main highway, heading back from the whale shark briefing center

Road to Tumalog falls

The driver dropped me off at a parking area at the top. From here, I had to climb down a steep slope.

Going down steep hill road Oslob

You can pay again to have a bike drop you at the waterfalls and back, but I just chose to walk not knowing how far it was (it wasn’t)

Oslob blue pond Tumalog

Once at the bottom, the beauty begins right away

Tumalog blue pond Oslob Cebu

How is the water so blue?!

Entrance to Tumalog falls Oslob

I really wasn’t expecting much from Tumalog Falls and planned to spend only a few minutes here

Tumalog falls stream Oslob Cebu

But even from here I could sense the beauty. You have to climb from the left to get inside the falls area

Tumalog falls blue water Oslob

Tumalog Falls is really beautiful!

Tumalog falls Cebu Philippines

It was so nice and cool to stand here… even though water droplets were hitting my lens

Tumalog broken waterfalls Oslob Philippines

The water was so blue, but it was hard to get the entire falls top to bottom in one frame

Swimming in Tumalog falls Oslob

There was so much mist in the air from the waterfalls!

Tumalog waterfalls mini umbrellas

I pictured Tumalog Falls to be one big stream — it isn’t

Tumalog falls bamboo trees Oslob

If you wanted to set up a BBQ or picnic, you could do it here. But mind you, it’s very muddy.

Tumalog falls Oslob Cebu GoPro

I decided to pack up my DSLR as I didn’t want it getting too wet. It was time for the GoPro to come out.

Tumalog waterfalls Oslob Philippines

I held the GoPro sideways to take this shot

Picnic area Tumalog falls Oslob Cebu

I took my shirt off and carefully stepped to the left of the waterfalls

Tourists showering Tumalog waterfalls Oslob Cebu

It was slippery and the water felt cold, but I felt like taking a shower after a swim in the sea :P

Tumalog falls water splash Oslob

The water sure was chilly — but it felt good!

Tumalog falls closeup Cebu Philippines

I tried to get closer to the falls from the left

Tumalog waterfalls sunrays Cebu

Tourists Tumalog Oslob Cebu

I decided to go to the other side

Tumalog falls panorama Oslob

I figured I would take some photos of the waterfalls from another angle

Tumalog falls pond Oslob Philippines

Seemed to be less splashier on this side

Tumalog falls full Oslob Philippines

You could get a full shot from this side, with no tree obstructing

Sky Tumalog falls Oslob

Fortunately the skies were clearing up too. I got in the water to try and see if I could stay under the water splashing down.

Mithun cold splash Tumalog falls

IT. WAS. COLD! And heavy!

Mithun filipino woman Tumalog falls

Then for some reason, this woman asked for a photo with me. After that, her group asked me to take a photo of all of them.

Mithun group photo Tumalog falls

Finally I thought, why not, handed one of them to take a group shot on my camera. Clearly not the best camera for such situations. I didn’t know any of them but that’s how it works in the Philippines :-)

Tumalog waterfalls Cebu Philippines

I took a parting shot

Leaving Tumalog falls Oslob Cebu

It was now time to leave

Bamboo trees Tumalog falls Oslob

I enjoyed Tumalog falls more than I thought I would. It was really beautiful and you have to be here to experience its beauty! I ended up spending close to an hour instead of just a “few minutes”.

Steep climb Tumalog hill road

I walked back to the top where my bike taxi guy was waiting.

Tumalog falls road Oslob

I took these photos using the GoPro

Road Tumalog falls sea view Oslob

You can get a nice view of the sea from up here

Bike taxi stop Tumalog Oslob

I asked the bike taxi driver how to get to a bus stop in town from where I can catch a ride back to Cebu. He dropped me here and told me I can take a jeepney going to the market area. (This photo and the next few are taken on my phone)

Oslob town main road Philippines

I hopped on a jeepney and this was the last stop. This was the main market area.

Oslob municipal road Philippines

Since I was in town, I decided to check out some of the attractions near by

Oslob municipal park Philippines

This is where the municipal offices and government offices were

Stilt house Oslob Cebu

There were a few houses around

Oslob municipal office Cebu

Pulis = Police

Oslob covered court Cebu

A covered basketball court

Oslob church Cebu

Church of the Immaculate Conception — Oslob’s oldest church

Church of Oslob Cebu

I couldn’t go in, the doors were closed

Conception Parish Oslob Cebu

I wasn’t sad or anything. I had seen enough churches in Philippines.

Cuartel walls Oslob Cebu

Next to the church was Cuartel, an unfinished structure by the Spanish colonials that was meant for soldiers

Cuartel remains Oslob Cebu

The stones used came from the church when its floor had collapsed in 1899

Cuartel Oslob Cebu Philippines

It is still well-maintained

Crow church Oslob Cebu

I decided to shoot some photos using my 70-200mm lens

Bell church ruins Oslob Cebu

Stone arch Oslob Cebu

Oslob church bell tower Cebu

Cuartel park Oslob sea side

Behind Cuartel and facing the sea is a public park

Cuartel garden Oslob Cebu

There used to be an old lighthouse here

Hall Cuartel park Oslob Cebu

I sat under the tree shade for a while as it was scorching hot

Girls Oslob sea Cebu Philippines

Blue water Oslob Cebu

I just love how clear and blue the water appears here

Blue sea Oslob Cebu Philippines

Oh so blue

Sea side Oslob park Cebu

I decided to walk on the edge too

Clear blue water Oslob Cebu

Ahh, felt like swimming in these waters

Oslob sea park Cebu Philippines

Oslob Cuartel street Cebu

I walked back and decided to leave Oslob

Once back at the main highway, I asked the townsfolk from where I could board a bus to Cebu and they said, “Right here”. I figured I would eat an early lunch (it was just past 11am) as by the time I would reach Cebu, it would be past 3pm.

Garlic chicken rice sizzler Cebu

I had (garlic) fried chicken and rice (₱60)

Inside bus Oslob to Cebu

Soon after lunch I boarded a bus going to Cebu

Blue sea Oslob Cebu

I passed by so many houses by the sea. Imagine waking up to such blue seas every morning.

I really enjoyed Oslob more than I thought I would. Definitely a place to visit and worth spending a day at! I’m glad I woke up early. A visit to Oslob is highly-recommended if you are in Cebu. I’m glad I didn’t do this trip via some travel agency. It can by done by yourself and for a lot less. As a foreigner, I spent around ₱1500 today (to & fro bus journeys + whale shark experience + bike taxi + Tumalog Falls + lunch), half of what was quoted to me by some of the travel agencies back in Cebu yesterday. I could make up for sleep on the bus journey back. I was going to take it easy tomorrow anyway.

Previous posts is this series:

Philippines 2014: Oslob – Swimming with whale sharks

Philippines 2014: Trek to Mount Pinatubo crater lake

Philippines 2014: The itinerary this time around; UP Diliman and Maginhawa

Jun 14

Philippines 2014: Oslob – Swimming with whale sharks

Date: April 29th, 2014 – Leaving for Cebu

Today was a Tuesday. I had a nice one day break after the Sunday trek to Mount Pinatubo. I was to leave Manila and head to Cebu by flight. I thought I’d take the train to Pasay and then take a taxi or jeepney from Pasay/TAFT Avenue to the airport.

But that was a mistake. When I got to the Cubao station, first there was a line for tickets. After I got the ticket, there was another line just to pass through security. Then another line after security just before taking the steps up to the platform. Then another line to get inside the train. This was done because that’s how many people there are during morning rush hour! It took an hour after getting my ticket just to get inside the stuffed train. It was such a struggle to stand inside with my two bags but I somehow survived! I got to Terminal 3 in time… which was not that important as the flight was later delayed by half-an-hour.

Anyway, my Cebu Pacific flight landed in Cebu safely, but getting to my hostel took more than an hour due to the line for taxis, first, then the city traffic. As irritated I was arriving past lunch time, it was nice to be back in Cebu since 2011.

Tr3ats guesthouse Cebu hostel

I was staying here, Tr3ats Guesthouse. (Just read it as ‘treats’). The hostel was a short jeepney ride away from Fuente Osmeña circle which has a Robinsons mall and many other eateries

Dorm beds Tr3ats guesthouse Cebu Philippines

This is the room I was given. They would later shift me to another room a day later but this is how little space there is to walk around once you leave bags on the floor

Bathrooms Treats guesthouse

They have 3 bathrooms, but the shower heads needed some cleaning up. You had streams of water shooting in every other direction besides your head.

Treats hostel washroom Cebu

Beside the bathrooms

I stepped out soon after to first, get some drinking water, hand over my laundry, and then to have lunch. Fortunately, just across the road from Tr3ats Guesthouse were many laundry shops (₱25/kg). I then took a jeepney, paid minimum fare (₱8) to get to Fuente Osmeña circle. It was already well past 3pm and I was late for lunch as it is. I went downstairs where the supermarket and food court is.

Garlic chicken seafood fried rice stuffed crab Cebu

₱170 for some garlic chicken, stuffed crab, and fried rice

After lunch, I went around to find travel agencies offering trips to Oslob for the whale shark sighting tours. A few of the travel agencies I visited said they need a minimum of 3 people for them to organize a tour and even if I managed to group together 3-4 people, they told me it would still cost me ₱3k or more, per person, which was way too much. Back at the hostel, the staff told me how to get to Oslob by bus (which I also read online). I convinced myself to wake up really early — like 3am early — and so I went to bed early.

April 30th, 2014 – Cebu to Oslob by Bus

I woke up at 3:30am and took a taxi to the Cebu bus station, which only took 10 minutes to get to due to the lack of traffic.

Inside bus Cebu to Oslob

Even though there were air-conditioned buses to Oslob, I hopped into the first regular bus leaving the bus station — mostly because I didn’t want to wait, or freeze. The one-way ticket to Oslob cost ₱150.

Oslob early morning Cebu

I slept through much of the journey, but by the time I woke up, the bus had reached Oslob province

Oslob sea morning calm Philippines

Look at how amazingly calm the sea is. It was beautiful.

Oslob dive center main road Cebu

The bus dropped me at Tan-awan, which is where you need to disembark and right where the Oslob Butanding (whale shark) Briefing Center is

Oslob dive center main road

It was just past 7am, which is when the center opens

Oslob briefing centre village Cebu

I walked straight to the briefing center

Oslob butanding briefing centre Cebu

I assumed at 7:30am in the morning, things would be just starting up

Whaleshark centre Oslob beach Cebu

But there was a trail of boats already out in sea!

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