Right after Seoul, South Korea, Jill and I flew down to Cebu in the Philippines for 10 days to celebrate her 29th birthday #shesgettingsoold! #sisteradventure Nate, unfortunately, had to go back to work #someonesgottapaythebills Jill wanted to go to the Philippines because many of the nurses she works with have visited and had nothing but great things to say - and it was still on my list of many countries to visit - so I was definitely in!
The Philippines consists of over 7,000 islands #damn and has some of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen. On top of the gorgeous views, the country is filled with friendly, happy-go-lucky people everywhere - many of which speak English - making our vacation even more enjoyable.
Our first stop on our Philippines adventure was Cebu, located in the central part of the country. It is the oldest city and was the first capital of the country. We didn't land in the city until around 2am. From there we were able to head to our hotel and get some rest. The next morning, we woke up and exchanged our cash for pesos at the mall. Once we got to the mall, there were security guards at every entrance (with guns) as well as metal detectors - is this normal??? Apparently it is - don't be alarmed...? Then one of Jill's friends from work in LA, her sister lives in Cebu and picked us up and drove us to our main hotel on Macatan island - the Movenpick. Because her sister knew the owner, we were upgraded to a room with a view of the beach #score
Once we checked in, we immediately headed down to the private beach so we could relax in the sun for the day. We got to enjoy some pina coladas out of coconuts, while relaxing and reading #perfection
After a nice relaxing day, we headed back up to the room to relax some more and order dinner. #thankyouroomservice
Unfortunately, only about 2 weeks before Jill and I headed down to Cebu, a terrorist alert came out for Americans on the US embassy website. There were warnings of planned kidnappings of westerners in the southern part of Cebu, where Jill and I were originally planning on staying and doing some activities. Rather being safe than sorry, and not knowing how credible the threats were yet - Jill and I opted to stay near the main city of Cebu and avoid the threat area. (Check the bottom for recommended activities to do in Cebu that we didn't do (but wanted to!) due to the terrorist threats - should be all good in the area now and nothing has happened since the threats came out last November).
Jill and I still wanted to do something while we were in the area so we opted for island hopping. We were able to rent a private boat to ourselves for the day and visit two islands around Cebu. The first island we headed to was Pandanon - a beautiful small, white sand island located between Cebu and Bohol. The island has a long sand bar stretching out into the turquoise waters - making it a great spot to relax and soak up the sun.
After splashing in the warm, blue waters of Pandanon Island, we headed over to Nalusuan Island. To protect the marine life surrounding the island from over fishing and dynamite fishing, the area around the island has been designated as a Marine Sanctuary.
Not sure if this is true, but according to Wikipedia, "The island was originally and locally known as "kalusuan" meaning "a place of penises" in Cebuano. The local fishermen named it as such because the waters surrounding the island is teeming with sea cucumbers, which looked like the male genitalia" lol #what?! - update - I've found multiple sites also reporting this - hahaha
Here, we were able to enjoy a tasty BBQ lunch before snorkeling and checking out all the fish in the area.
After our day of island hopping, I went down to the Ibiza Beach Club at the hotel and enjoyed some dinner, and mango and lychee martinis from the bartenders who entertained me #thanksfortheawesomedrinks
See video below for some of the 'movie night' entertainment at Ibiza Beach Club - had some fire dancers for Pirates of the Caribbean - pretty entertaining
On our last day in Cebu, Jill and I felt good enough about the situation to try and book a tour farther south for the waterfalls and whale sharks - but it was too last minute and we weren't able to squeeze on a tour (unless we wanted to pay an arm and a leg) :( Hopefully next time! (see recommendations below) But we relaxed our last day on the beach reading, drinking, and snorkeling. I even joined in some afternoon beach zumba that the hotel organized #wheninrome #gottaburnoffthosepinacoladacalories My zumba participation encouraged others to join and ended up being pretty fun - and earned Jill and I some free drinks from the hotel staff #ohyeah #dancingmyheartout
Big thanks to the Movenpick staff who made our time in Cebu great. The next stop on our Philippines tour - Coron, Palawan (one of my favorite spots I've been to so far!) - tune in for the next blog.
Follow in our Footsteps:
Movenpick Hotel (great hotel, located right on a private beach, nice rooms, great staff)
Cebu Watersports Complex, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, Philippines
+63 32 492 7777
Island Banca Cruises (island hopping around Cebu)
IBC Dock | Punta Engano, 6015, Philippines
+63 917 630 0736
Other recommendations for the area (wish Jill and I would have been able to do these but were too nervous after the warning came out :/)
Megan Bond - AUTHOR
Just a girl raised in California and loved exploring Southeast Asia with my husband! We're back in the States but still exploring the world as much as we can!