I wrote and wrote about the devastation and confusion of typhoon Haiyan, but I never got around to the vacation time we had after Praxy and I were reunited. Here we go.
Praxy came back with a serious cough and chest infection. She had been given antibiotics by a doctor at the evacuation center, but the medication did little or no good. It was viral, a nasty and tenacious cold bug. It was two weeks before should could shake it off. It held on to me for 10 days.
We waited at the Mactan house for a few days after Praxy’s return. I wasn’t sure at first what she had contracted. Diseases can spread easily during a natural disaster. Pneumonia? Cold? Flu? Also, there cold be some other nasty thing incubating (typhoid, dengue fever, etc.) and I wanted her close to Cebu and Cebu’s outstanding medical facilities. It soon became obvious she had a common cold that had taken a good hold in her chest. The best cure? A sunny beach and warm sand.
I search around the internet a bit and come up with Moalboal. It looked a bit expensive, but there are beaches and excellent snorkeling. It is a very popular destination for foreigners, especially foreigners from Europe.
Off to the south Ceres terminal for a Ceres Liner bus to Moalboal. It is about a 3 hour bus ride from Cebu, via the town of Carcar, over the mountainous spine of Cebu island, then down the east coast to Moalboal.
It turned out to be a big disappointment.
I booked five nights, then come down with Praxy’s bug on the first afternoon while eating lunch. I hung on for a couple more nights, but to no avail. I won’t go snorkeling with a cold.
Lesson learned while on vacation in the Caribbean. I dove to about 10 feet with a head cold and ended up with a horrible sinus infection that night! Lucky for me, I had my usual antibiotics and stopped the infection the next day. However, I had a terrible headache and missed exploring Georgetown Grand Cayman because of my foolishness. We walked around downtown, or rather, I crept around downtown. Walk for a couple of minutes, then sit for 20 minutes. What a waste. I missed the famous “stringray city”.
Rooms were very expensive, the resorts in Moalboal run towards the exclusive end if you are near the beach. The place I chose was full of people from Germany. They were certainly nice people, but we didn’t fit in.
Moalboal is a long ocean-side cluster of resorts, expensive ones on the shore and cheaper one across the little access road. The access road turns into a sidewalk in places as it winds through resorts, restaurants, sari sari stores, and dive shops. Many different cuisines are offered at the restaurants. The Mexican restaurant was good, there was also Italian and German.
The room was large and beautiful. TV, sun porch, clean bathroom; everything a foreign tourist could want. And a thing I didn’t want. Cockroaches.
I learned a little trick about those nasty critters at this resort. I’m not mentioning the name of the place, though. To pick on the resort would be unfair, because…I never even complained or told them about the problem. I probably should send them an email. Yeah, I’ll do that now……………………….OK, done. (They never contacted me back) Continuing on…
Roaches are thick in the Philippines and very annoying. I see them everywhere. During the first night, I noticed a hoard of the blasted things in the bathroom when I got up to visit the restroom. The room was well sealed and squeaky clean. How were they getting in there?
Praxy told me the next morning. She had gotten up to go to the bathroom and found roaches crawling in and out of the sink overflow drain! It was a fancy, tall, floor mounted fixture, and there were no gaps in the wall. But the overflow drain was about 2 inches across. She was disgusted. So was I, but… AHA! I’ve struggled with roaches in bathrooms every single trip to the Philippines and couldn’t figure out how they got into the bathroom at night in many very nice and well sealed motel bathrooms. I searched through our luggage and came up with a small plastic bag. Wadded it up, stuffed it into the hole, and PRESTO! No more nighttime roaches.
Of course this trick won’t work in any place that isn’t well sealed around the sink, toilet, window, or door. Just have to deal with the little SOB’s in that instance. Which I do. I tolerate them. Begrudgingly.
I will now keep plastic bags of various sizes on any trip to the tropics or Mexico.
Time to leave. Nothing much to do when you have a head cold. Rooms were $85 usd per night, a little higher than I care to pay considering there was nothing for us to do. So, the third morning, we left.
We walked out and caught the first tricycle to Moalboal proper. And lucked out. The driver, a nice man, was full of advice. We talked for the full 15 minute ride to town, I learned a lot about the area. Pulled up to the bus stop and…his cousin was waiting for a bus to Dumaguette!
She was a pretty young college girl, going back to school after the Christmas holiday. She knew every shortcut and every way to save money on the trip. The driver asked her to accompany us to Dumaguette and she was happy to oblige. We bought her bus and ferry fares, she more than paid her way. We went to three different terminals by tricycle after leaving the bus. Finally, she located a ferry that took us within a 5 minute ride of brother Presco’s house.
First things first. We needed a place to stay. The place we had stayed in two years ago, Lita and Presco’s house, was now occupied with Paul and his family, Janet, Gabriel, and Zach. No room at the store, Presco and Lita have a small house behind the store. So, we decided to stay in a nearby motel. Praxy and her kids had stayed at a nearby resort and she liked it. She thought I would like it as well. I did. I loved it!
We opted for the deluxe “air conditioned ocean view” room at a whopping $25 per night. For $15, you get a pool view and no air con. Queen bed, nice clean bathroom with hot water, and a little porch that gave us a great view of the islands of Cebu and Siquijor. It was a wonderful treat every morning. We would sit outside and watch the sun rise over Siquijor while drinking coffee, nibbling on sweet rolls, and eating fresh fruit. Afterwards, down to the restaurant for our breakfast; toast, eggs, and green salad with vinegar dressing. Odd, but, the salad tasted good. It was a dollar extra for bacon or sausage.
Here is Cebu, a few miles away. You can pay a lot more for a room and get a view like this in Boracay, Alona, or Cebu. Me? I’m a cheapskate. I’ll take this ANY TIME.
The restaurant was good, breakfast was included with the deluxe room. We had a couple of lunches and dinners, the food was good. The water park was great. Only rub against the place; location. The Sea Forest Resort is a long ways from anywhere interesting for a tourist. Downtown Dumaguette is 25 minutes away by jeepney. Other tourist attractions to the northwest are even farther. But for us, Gab and Zach store was a 2 minute ride away by jeepney or tricycle. Perfect.
I believe the nicest thing about the resort was the birds. Cage after cage of well kept parrots and other avian critters.
A Rufous Hornbill. It was fed a variety of fruits and nuts. I got a kick out of watching it handle the food with that ungainly looking bill.
My favorite. Amigo. This little fellow was charming. The sign said that “Palawan Hill Myna birds” are the best mimics in the world. I believe it. This little guy even mimicked people in the shower room right behind him. It was hilarious, somehow he managed to catch the sound of echoes in a concrete room. I mentioned on Facebook that Amigo “caught” our colds from Praxy’s adventures in Eastern Samar. He “coughed” real well. He wasn’t too bad at “sneezing”, either. I taught him to “wolf whistle” as well. Took him a few days to get it, then he wouldn’t stop.
Talking parrots. These two were good, but not up to Amigo’s standards.
A cage of red parrots with a nearby cabana. The cabanas are rented to people that want a little privacy for lunch while swimming. Maybe $5.00 per day.
The animals here are fed only the very best of foods. I saw their dishes going out almost every morning. It was definitely food fit for humans, let alone birds. Each one was given it’s own special diet, some with vitamins spread on top. It was a bit annoying, though. I would have liked fruit for breakfast, but the resort refused to sell us any. We brought it in.
The spotted leopard cat was given fresh chicken breast for breakfast. Other than being raw, it was certainly fit for human consumption. This cat was beautiful. From what I understand, they make decent pets.
The main pool with it’s water slide. The resort is owned by a Japanese man and his wife. The grounds are kept scrupulously clean by a small army of people. Every morning. The first week we were there, the local day cares were given a “deal” to bring the children. It was mayhem! Hoards of local kids with their families. They had a blast. The noise and turmoil didn’t bother me. I enjoyed watching them having fun; going to a resort that most likely FEW families could afford normally. They all left by five pm and we were visiting our relatives during the day anyway. And then…clean up. By dusk it was hard to tell that anyone had been there during the day.
As I mentioned, there isn’t much going on nearby. There was a large statue of the Virgin Mary looking over the ocean nearby. Both times we went to visit, the park was closed. Looked very inviting, lush greenery ascending the hill across the highway, with some sort of shrine at the top. Across the street, one of the best eateries I have found in the Philippines. Jo’s Chicken Anato. Chicken anato is basically skewered chicken cooked over a charcoal fire. But, everything we ate there was outstanding, including the humble skewered chicken. There is also a small playground for children. Prices are very reasonable, people come in from miles around for lunch and dinner.
Aside from going to another chicken fight, we attended the local December fiesta. These photos will look familiar to followers of my blog. We went to the same houses as we did in 2011.
The family at Lita’s brother’s house in nearby San Jose.
Up in the balcony sipping San Miguel beer and watching people drive by. Again. It’s a blast. Dinnertime!
Rice, fish, chicken, and something I’d never seen before. White beans with pork. All very tasty.
Kind of warm up there. But it doesn’t seem to matter. I’m warm everywhere in the Philippines.
We also visited Rudy again. We were so stuffed, we could only eat token bites of food. It was just as well. Rudy had a lot of visitors and the food was pretty well cleaned up by the time we arrived. Rudy was a chef for the bigwigs in Manila for the Philippine army when he retired.
A few days later, it was time to treat the family. An afternoon and evening at the Sea Forest resort. They were a little hesitant at first, it’s a bit above their normal price range. But I wanted to treat everyone, and the cost wasn’t that bad. Admission for everyone ran around $10 usd. No problem. Here they come!
Down the ramp to the entrance. Ulp, raft couldn’t go into the pool. Too large. The young boys in front Zach and Gabriel, were all over this one. They had a ball.
So did I!
You can see it is getting dark, and Gabby is still going strong. He simply loves water and wouldn’t get out until he was starving. We ordered up a big dinner and everyone ate their fill. Gabby would have gone back in, but everyone was ready to go home. Work and school the next day. For us two tourists? Sleep in and chat with people on the free WIFI.
I set up a little corner with a fan pointed towards me. After I was done, Praxy would take her turn. Nice. The birds put up quite a fuss early on. Until their food arrives. After that, peace and quiet as they preen and digest. I loved it.
We thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing week in Dumaguette. We visited the downtown area a couple of times. Mainly, to get money from ATMs, but also for hamburgers and halo halos at Chow King. A large open air market was set up near the bank so we bought our breakfast there and toted it back to the Sea Forest. There was an ATM near the local ferry terminal, but it was out of commission most of the time. The Sea Forest, Jo’s, and everyone else takes cash only.
Next, off to Cebu and preparations for the flight home.