Hold onto your seatbelts its going to be a long final Philippines blog.
With Christmas over we had the New year celebrations to look forward to. We took a boat to Siquijor (pronounced Sick-ee-hore), another island well known for its lush beaches and island adventures. One of the main reasons we wanted to go there was to take a boat trip over to Apo Island, also known as turtle island.
The day we arrived on Siquijor we spent chilling out and wandering around near our b&b we had booked. Nearby was a 5* resort, so most of the afternoon was spent on their beach chilling out for a change and snorkelling in the shallows. That evening we found a lovely restaurant on trip advisor called Luca Loko which served breakfast, lunch and dinner – soon to be our favourite breakfast haunt.
The next day was December 31st and we booked onto the Apo Island tour for the next day. Strangely, only one hotel on the whole island sold tours over to Apo island, but luckily enough it was the 5* resort just over the road from where we were staying. The rest of NYE was spent exploring Siquijor, once again by moped (our favourite way to explore). We found a lovely secluded bay area to swim and snorkel with minimal others around. Unfortunately, this is where we had to say bye bye to Jonnys old iPhone 5 (thank god) as he went swimming for 15 minutes without noticing it was in his pocket. Even a night in rice couldn’t save that old thing! With spirits still high and some exploring to do, we went to an old ancient tree with a fresh water pool at the bottom filled with fish which fed off human skin. As we arrived we could see plenty of people sat with their feet in the water, screaming at the tickling touch of the fish on their toes. There were huge fish which looked like they would take your toes off, right down to small finger length ones which nipped in between your toes.
The evening of the 31st was spent glamping and what an experience that was! Our tent was right at the front of all the tents in the site, and we had prime viewing of the beach and sunset later that evening. Our tent was decked out with a double bed, lamps, fan, and our own decking and chairs out front. We loved chilling on the deck of our tent and going for dips in the water, which was surprisingly very hot as it was so shallow. We managed to watch the last sunset of 2018 on the beach outside our tent, with lots of other tourists and locals coming down to take a shot of the scene. We headed out for dinner nearby before crashing into bed around 10.30pm, we had planned to get up and watch the fireworks on the beach.. but when midnight struck there was no chance we were getting up! With an early start to Apo Island the next day, a cosy nights sleep in our tent was had.
The Apo Island tour started early and we had to meet the rest of the tour group around 7.30am. There were around 40 people on the tour who were all escorted down the road to the docking station where we saw the boat we would be taking to Apo. A gorgeous small yacht-like boat with seats inside a bit like an aeroplane and huge windows to look out of. It took about an hour to get to Apo, but the staff on board gave us endless banana and carrot cake to keep us going.
The day consisted of a morning guided turtle swim, free time on Apo with buffet lunch, and another guided turtle swim in the afternoon. The morning swim wasn’t overly successful on the turtle front, only seeing the one turtle. However the fun came when we had free time, where Jonny and I decided to have our own snorkel around after lunch. We separated and enjoyed swimming around in the cool water amongst the corals. To my surprise I spotted a turtle right next to me, immediately fascinated I followed it for a few minutes. Not wanting to leave Jonny out I frantically tried to shout him, but without much success.. I still had my snorkel pipe in and discovered that shouting with this in wasn’t very effective and just sound like Darth Vader! I managed to get over to Jonny and bring him to see the turtle I’d found. We swam alongside it for a while and managed to get a video or two before we swam off to the other side of the cove. Here we spotted yet another turtle. I was starting to think any man and his dog could be a turtle guide, me included! But in all fairness the afternoon guided swim was amazing and we saw over 15 turtles!! They were everywhere we looked and all varying in size which was amazing to see. The boat journey back was a bumpy one so Jonny and I decided to sit outside on the edge of the top deck. Here we enjoyed the ocean breeze and warm sunshine as we watched the sun start to set in the distance. All in all a great day out.
However, the evening did not end up so great as I turned into a sick-ee-hore with food poisoning. I think it was from the seafood pasta I had eaten the night before. Most of my night was spent back and forth to the toilet with very minimal sleep.
The next day we were travelling to Cebu and to our last stop in Moalboal. I was very uncertain about travelling that day as I was still feeling rough and extremely nauseous. The idea of staying in Siquijor an extra night crossed our minds as my body was incredibly achey and my stomach still churning. But I decided we should just make the trip and I’d have to deal with the consequences. The day would consist of two ferry journeys and a 2 hour car journey… dread filled my mind. The taxi from our hotel to the ferry port was my first chunder spot. We had only been in the car 10 minutes when I had to tell him to pull over so I could empty the waffle I had just tried to keep down from breakfast.
Onto the first boat, this journey was set to take around 45 minutes. I could do this, I thought… The ocean that day was incredibly rough which didn’t help matters. We were allocated seats inside the boat which I swiftly declined and immediately moved outdoors where I sat next to the edge of the boat in case of more puke episodes. On this journey we encountered two episodes where I gracefully spewed out over the side of the boat. My worst memory was when the crew were trying to dock the boat, but the ocean was so rough that it took over 15 minuets to get us docked. In the meantime the boat was stationary and bouncing up and down on the waves which aided the onset of a third puke episode. I can remember as soon as my feet touched solid ground I sat on the nearest step I could find and gathered my breath. I had made it through the first boat journey alive! Even Jonny said he was starting to feel sick towards the end with all the bouncing up and down on the waves… no fun at all.
Luckily the second boat journey was only 15 minutes, and with my focus on breathing deeply and looking straight ahead we made it without any more episodes. Off the second boat and into a car transfer where I was beginning to feel more human again. The taxi driver was chatting away to us the whole time and got on with Jonny really well. He subsequently invited us over to his house to meet his family the next night! We made it to Moalboal as it was turning dark and I finally knew I was feeling better. I crashed into bed for a nap and the air Bnb staff made me some toast and butter (as requested) to settle my stomach before bed.
The next day we had booked a canyoneering experience which was another one of our best days!! The day was spend swimming, climbing, sliding down and jumping off waterfalls. The experience lasted around 3/4 hours but time flew as it was such a hoot. Adrenaline rush at its very best. We also met another British couple in our group who were similar age to us and ended up getting on with really well. They kindly offered to film us with their Go Pro and send us the footage afterwards so we could relive some of the moments again. That afternoon was spent down at the beach snorkelling with the famous sardine run. Easy enough to do by yourself, we just followed the other people snorkelling to where the crowds of sardines could be seen.
Later that evening we dropped in on the taxi drivers house to meet his filipino family, who were all extremely thrilled to have us in their house. We stayed for an hour or so before saying our goodbyes and heading off for dinner.
The next day we had to take a 3 hour transfer back to the airport. Some would say good timing because it had been raining since we woke up and continued to rain until we got on the plane!
Wow oh wow, Philippines you were amazing. We will definitely back. One thing I will say is that Filipino people are probably the friendliest and most accommodating people you will ever meet.