A brief story of getting to Malapascua from Cebu, from Manila, from Korea. It was quite a journey.
Two weeks of bliss sitting on white sands and exploring the underworld was ahead of us, and after -10° mornings in garlic town it was an exciting prospect.
A bus train plane and plane later, we were in Cebu city, the unofficial capital of the South and second most populated area in the country. The prospect of another bus wasn’t too tempting on our newly found Korean salaries, and so we opted for a three-hour cab up the coastal road. At first it seemed like Yolanda had barely scathed the island, but as we moved further North the destruction became apparent. Bare fields were revealed, and uprooted mango and coconut trees littered the landscape.
Malapascua lost 80% of it’s coconut trees, completely changing the landscape of the island, but they are surviving and thriving with the help of the tourists they so desperately need to keep visiting.
We finally arrived in a tiny port town called Maya, and began searching for a boat to the island. Apparently the public ferry hadn’t been seen in days. Meanwhile, rain set in, waves toppled fishing boats, and locals spoke of the typhoon that was above us.
Now bearing in mind that these people recently experienced one of the world’s largest storms in recorded history, you’d have thought that we would have checked into the nearest guesthouse, had a shower, and settled in for the day.
But apparently our British upbringing had taught us not to listen to weather warnings and we’d recently met up with a group of like-minded adventurers, Kate, Lucy and Liesbeth, who too seemed keen to ride the waves and risk their necks for paradise, so we hopped upon some moto-taxis and rode the coastal road to the next town. The whole experience was hilarious, and many Pesos later we hopped on a Banca full of queezy looking tourists bound for Malapascua.
The seas initially seemed fairly calm, but an hour and a half into our trip, with the wrath of Neptune at our backs and the perfect storm above us, that seemed like a distant memory. Waves engulfed the rather flimsy looking boat, and the bow crashed down the ten foot swell in a way that seemed to terrify the live cargo on board. It’s safe to say we were not dry when we arrived.
Now most endured the experience with a frown, however we couldn’t help but laugh at how our vacation was starting out. The captain was some sort of saviour himself, and two hours later white sands appeared out of the grey – paradise was revealed. The experience, as travel often seems to do, brought the whole group together, and with a twist of fate we were sat round a table eating Panini and drinking San Miguel. In a blink of an eye disaster had been averted, and our newfound home was shaping up to be quite the destination.
The afternoon was spent exploring the minuscule island and experiencing a cock-fight. Cock-fighting is something of a national sport in the country, and it’s not by any means minor league or unassisted either. The cocks are armed with sharp metal talons, attached like stirrups, and the sport is even televised. The winner, of course, is the survivor, and the loser soon becomes a rather scarred dinner. I was quite surprised at the speed of the death, and how relatively un-bloody the whole affair was. What’s fascinating is the gambling which surrounds the spectacle, along with the matching of opponents which precedes the event.
Our first day was unexpected, a little strange, a tiny bit scary and exactly what we love about travel: random. A perfect storm sea crossing, meeting three awesome travelers, a cock-fight and a legit stone-baked pizza. We were back in our element and couldn’t wait to see what more the Philippines had to offer.
Tune in later this week to see!
Tell us about your last crazy journey? Where did it take you?