My first impressions of Cebu:
-I’ve never seen a vendor walking around with a bucket of honeycomb trying to sell a bottle of honey. Gave him 10 pesos for a photo and to taste it.
-I’ve also never seen a coin machine at the gym to pay for Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi was crap by the way.
-Rush hour and crossing the street is not fun but manageable. Some of the crossing lights will literally start counting down from 200 seconds.
-I’ve never seen a more prominent population of trans people in my life. There’s nothing wrong with it, I just didn’t expect it. Especially more so than Thailand.
-I feel like the film “Hostel” is the most inaccurate depiction of hostels. Been to probably a hundred or so at this point and have only had bad experiences at a handful. I’ve actually had worse experiences at hotels or AirBnBs.
-Overall, Cebu comes off to me as a big, dirty city like HCMC. There is so much pollution and strays everywhere. I walked by a stream outside of my gym and in the water was a dead, bloated dog and chicken.
-Filipino people though, are probably the kindest people I’ve ever met. I’m knocking on 50 countries and I say that without hesitation.
Day 1 in Siquijor, Philipiines (1/21/23):
-It took me two Grab taxis, two ferries, a tricycle (like a tuk tuk but a motorbike attached to the side of the carriage), a jeepney taxi (a mini-bus), and a private van to get to Siquijor Island from Cebu after learning the ferry was sold out and we couldn’t buy tickets online. About a solid nine hours of travel.
-The weather isn’t great right now in the Philippines because the country is transitioning from rainy to dry season. Just make the most of it. Go to the spa, eat good food, go to the gym, thank God that your biggest problem is bad weather.
Day 2 in Siquijor, Philippines (1/22/23):
-We are staying out at an Airbnb in San Juan, Siquijor, Philippines.
-Our first one was crap despite good reviews. No aircon, bad Wi-Fi, no lunch service, no water in the shower. We left after one night and got our money back. Our new one is a little paradise.
-The weather has been cloudy and drizzling off and on but honestly it’s not that big of a deal. I would love to get a tan or go snorkeling but, instead, I went to the beach during low-tide this morning and was blown away by the amount of sea life in the shallows. Everything we saved from being stuck on dry land or put back.
-We also met our next-door neighbor who is also the owner of our Airbnb. He has around a dozen dogs. At least half of which are Rhodesian Ridgebacks. He owns multiple properties and resto-bars on the island. Basically, he’s living out my and most people’s dream.
-I have to tell you all that I haven’t had a bad meal out here yet from street food, to Filipino, to western. The Philippines are pushing the top of my list for foodie countries.
-Can you see the sea snake in my video?
-The Philippines are so cheap it’s not even funny. Meals, transportation, and accommodations would be at least 5-10x the price in the States. For example, I took a Grab taxi for about two hours yesterday. It cost me the equivalent of $18. In the US, it would be between $100-$200 easy depending on the city, state, and other factors.
Days 3-4 in Siquijor Island, Philippines (1/23/23-1/24/23):
-My new greatest fear is stepping on a sea urchin.
-My new dream is to live on an island saving starfish from the shallows and dry land.
-I am certain at this point there are hundreds of different flavors of Doritos, Pringles, and Lays around the world. 46 countries and still finding new flavors from pickle cheeseburger to hotpot to roasted corn and many more.
-I didn’t bring my international drivers license thinking I won’t be in any countries where I need to drive and, if I do, they won’t care about your license – like Vietnam. Turns out the Philippines does and so I’ve been taking a tricycle everywhere (like a tuk tuk).
Explored the whole island:
-Went cliff diving. It was low tide. So high points weren’t allowed.
-Took a beer and coffee shot with the locals.
-Went to some spring where fish ate the dead skin off of my feet.
-Went to the falls.
-Went cave diving.
-Went to the beach.
-Ate some good Filipino food.
-There were hidden fees everywhere we went but, honestly, they were so inconsequential that I didn’t mind. The whole adventure cost me $45USD for two people.
-In the Philippines we don’t often use knives or chopsticks. It’s weird for me to cut my meat with a fork and spoon.
-Good Wi-Fi out here is hard to come by.
-The alcohol out here is good and cheap.
-There are strays everywhere you look.
Overall, I didn’t do nearly as much as I could have in the Philippines, but that’s the risk I take when I wing trips and I came in January when the rainy season is ending and the dry season is beginning which translates to the weather is anyone’s guess. Also, I came to relax a bit as opposed to just having a packed itinerary. I’ll be back for sure as there’s so much to explore and do. Would I recommend the Philippines? Definitely, but Cebu City is uninteresting to me personally. Nothing to do but drink and eat.