We finally found each other outside the airport in Cebu around 5 pm, both very tired, Fredrik with no suitcase and Gunnhild with a damaged one. We said goodbye to Fredrik’s new friend, Helle, and got into our pre-booked van. It turned out that it was the end of the holiday in the Philippines, so the traffic was terrible. The trip that should have taken 2,5 hours ended up taking 4. We had one short stop at a super market on the way, buying some basics (t-shirts, shorts, toothbrush, flip-flops etc) for Fredrik.
Our hostel in Moalboal, Chief Mau, was very nice and just a few months old. We were welcomed by the staff who had received updates on Fredrik’s delays, and were very happy that we both finally arrived. We got a private room which was so new it was still lacking a few things (night lamp, mirror, hooks, curtains), but the beds were comfortable and the staff was very accommodating with whatever we needed. We didn’t spend much time in the room anyway, since the hostel had a great social area by the bar. They served basic but good food, had hammocks and other places to relax. Most people there were divers, so we had a lot to talk about.
The hostel staff where amazing trying to track down Fredrik’s suitcase, and we left most of the communication to them. After a couple of days we got a message that it would arrive the next day, but it didn’t arrive to Cebu as expected, and we had to go shopping again. That was an interesting experience, since the local shopping center had different departments for everything, and we had to pay at different counters. Also it was completely impossible to understand the sizes, and all packs had to be opened to see if a shirt had long or short sleeves. After more than an hour we finally got out of there, with almost everything needed for the next few days (we gave up finding shaving cream and a couple of other things). After that we didn’t receive any useful updates about the suitcase at all. We did some laundry and extended our stay by one day, but had to give up in the end and plan our next stop.
We had a total of 7 dives over 3 days with Cebu dive center, just down the road from our hostel. Fredrik had to rent gear since his was still stuck at an airport somewhere. He was a bit unlucky with the regulator on the first dive, but after that there were no problems. Most dives were a short boat ride away, in their traditional bancas (double outrigger boats), but the house reef just outside the dive center was also a great dive site.
We saw lots of frog fish, turtles, small moray eels and pipefish, a few sea snakes, octopus and leaf fish, several different nudibranchs and sea slugs (the electric one was pretty cool), reef fire gobies, flounders, scorpion fish and barracuda. We also got to see what Moalboal is famous for, the sardine run. We just noticed that it got dark, and when we looked up we saw a million sardines moving around, creating different shapes and forms. Pretty cool!
The dive center had a bar, so we normally had a beer or two there after our last dive. We spent a long evening talking to an Irish couple there, and also some late evenings in our hostel. Especially our last evening got a bit later than planned. Everyone had trouble getting money from the local ATM, but one of Fredrik’s cards worked fine. We met a quite desperate Swedish girl there, who didn’t have any money at all. We ended up lending her 10000 PHP, and spent the evening (and most of the night) drinking beer with her, a Swiss guy and two Canadian brothers. Good times!