This weekend I finally had the chance to take a mini vacation and explore outside of the island of Cebu. I went with my friend who is visiting from the states and two members of my host family, and we had an amazing time. We woke up early on Saturday morning and flagged down the bus my host sister and her boyfriend were already on with reserved seats. The bus ride took about 3-4 hours to get to the very southern tip of the island before it embarked unto a ferry which took us the rest of the way to our destination of Dumaguete, on the island of Negros. We arrived around lunch time and quickly found our hostel before eating delicious, brick oven pizza.
Our next priority was a beautiful waterfall in a nearby town so we took an hour-long jeepney ride, then a 30 minutes trike ride before arriving relatively near the falls. However, to get to the waterfalls one must trek down 335 stairs and climb over ¼ a mile of rocks and boulders. Then go back. It was fabulous and I loved every single minute of it. It was gaspingly beautiful and just the right amount of adventure I desperately needed in my life. The waterfall was enormous and splendid and worth all the various climbing. We headed back to our hostel to shower (which was much needed) and then went to eat on the bay walk of Dumaguete.
Our next morning we woke up and feasted on a breakfast of mangoes, bananas, and sticky rice before spending most of our day at a lovely beach nearby. We had a late lunch at a Mexican restaurant (I think that was the theme they were going for) and then went to another restaurant where we proceeded to try various desserts for about an hour. Our day ended by strolling the board walk, eating tempura, balut, and dirty ice cream – which translates to prawns, aborted duck egg (Katie ate it bravely, I refuse), and ice cream sold on the street. We went to bed early because the next morning we woke and boarded another boat to take us to our next island.
The island of Siquijor is called the Healing Paradise and is known for witches, love potions, and magic. Unfortunately we did not come into contact with any of these three, however “paradise” is a very apt description. Though I did not see any magic performed, I would definitely call the island magical. It was absolutely beautiful and we all loved every minute. My host sister had already arranged transportation before we got there so we were picked up from the port and taken to our hostel to drop our belongings before being toured around to several amazing places.
Our first location was to a foot spa, which was a large shallow pool with tile around the edges. You sit on the edge and place your feet into the water and tiny fish come and nibble at the dead skin on your feet. It was crazy, ticklish, and wonderful all at the same time. There was a lot of squealing at the beginning, but your feet become surprisingly used the feel and then you are able to relax. We loved this spot and had a great time experiencing such a cool activity. (There was also a magnificent, century old tree standing guard over the spa).
Our driver then led us to a gorgeous spot with three tiers of waterfalls. The water was a beautiful blue/green and was teaming with Filipinos and foreigners alike. We splashed around in the water for quite a bit and Katie and Gail sat underneath one of the falls to get a free back message along with their previous foot treatment. We also ate local donuts for nourishment and strength to keep going.
The last event was at a resort about an hour away where we delighted in mango shakes, halo halo (a Filipino dessert), and some French fries before enjoying the ocean and watching cliff jumpers. After we had had our fill we decided it was time to eat again and so we journeyed to the enchanted resort and restaurant UStory. I never wanted to leave because I loved this place so much. It was a cliff resort overlooking the ocean and it served French and Filipino foods. We enjoyed the view, the food, and the overall ambiance of the entire place. I ordered a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, mangoes, and local cheese, and we all split crepes for dessert. It was picturesque and a complete delight. It was also the perfect way to end our mini vacation before heading back home the next morning.
We all had amazing time filled with beautiful people, delicious food, and God’s splendid creation.