Sunday, February 5, 2017

Joining the Chinese in Spring Festival Tour of Dumaguete and Negros Oriental

Wheels of Happiness

Rizal Philippines
February 5, 2017

                                          Whale shark up close and personal in Oslob Cebu

This post was unable to bike and post since Feb 1,, 2017.  I joined the family tour of Dumaguete and  Negros Oriental from February 1 till yesterday.

Our itinerary which set us back by a good 5 numbers consisted of the following:

Day 1 - Plane ride from  Manila to Dumaguete and checking in at the El Dorado Hotel and resort in Dauin, some 20 km from the City.   Most of its guests are foreigners who are divers at dive sites around the area where there is Marine Sanctuary and to Apo island, one of the top 10 dive sties in the world

Day 2 - Trip to Apo island.  We did snorkling to be with the pawikan, (big turtles) which are in a turtle sanctuary;  then trekking at view deck (it was very technical, very steep and with plenty of rocks)

                                      Disembarking at Malapatay Zamboanguita

                                             Globe signal is strong at Apo Island

                                        Fresh tuna, 18 kgs in all for kinilaw and belly dish

                                       MB Gigi  leaving Malapatay port

                              Destination, Apo Island, one of the top 10 dive sites in the world

                                     Note the clear bluish water

                                           Look like twin buddies rock formation

                            It is low tide and the moss could be slippery

                                        The DENR regulates the island and collect fees;
                                              (I hope that Sec Lopez does not close this soon)

                                       Plenty of boats await their guests (ours GIGI did not and was
                                        abusive;  our travel guide censured the boatman)

                                      Ragged rocky seashore, you have to be careful

                                                Broken sharp corals make walking difficult, you
                                                   have to wear booties

                                           Foreigners dominate the island; outnumber locals 4 to 1

                                    Snorkling to see the pawikan

                                             Edible birds nest inside a house, they say the swallow
                                                 bring luck to the house owner

                                                     Bakawan - endangered species

                                  Chinese lady tourists in bikini

Day 3 - Trip to Santander via an refurbished Navy LCT from Sibulan, Negros Oriental, at 7:30 am, arriving some 30 minutes later at the Santander port, then having whale shark viewing at Oslob.  IIt was a great experience being up close and personal so some 2 of the 8 juvenile whale sharks during  a feeding session.  The municipality must be raking it in, with some approximately a thousand tourists waiting for their chance to ride the paddle propelled boats with outrigger at P300 to P500 per pax.

                                  The LCT of Maaya  shipping loading vans for trip to Cebu
                                      That is Cebu as viewed from Sibulan port

                              Hundreds of foreign tourists waiting for their number to be called

                                       Whale shark watching in progress; about dozen bancas bearing
                                       tourists near the whale shark which are being fed shrimps

                                       Ready to board, fishermen now turned paddlers
                                                 tourist guides photographers

                                              Dining table in the shape of banca at Jos Inasal

                                             Large birds at the acacia tree

                                    It started to rain in Cebu at this hour, we were luck to finish
                                         the Oslob whale shark watching

                                           What the resto is famous for - chicken

                                            They also serve crabs

                                               Pawikan back table

                                           Meal consiting of grilled prawns, pancit canton, sinigang
                                            na hipon, and grilled pusit

                                                 Grilled pusit and leche plan

                                        Chicken inasal and Phil sushi

Then in the afternoon, we went to Valencia, to see the twin falls, white and red, bathe in hot spring, then see and experience the hot steam vents (with toxic sulfur to boot)

                                     The red falls

                                                        The white falls

City tour late in the day after checking in a Manhattan Hotel:  visiting Silliman University (for which Silliman is famous for), the Bay Blvd, the Cathedral, Silliman U, and the chain of restaurants along the Blvd featuriring Hayayay, La Paz. It is owned by the Fuentes who owns the travel tour we used Orient Wind.  Later in the day we said a little prayer at the Cathedral

Day 4 trip to Manjuyod, dubbed as the Maldives of the Phil.  They say it is a bout  7 km of sandbar.  We acccessed via a boat ride from Bais.  We had free lunch of  grilled pork chops, bangus, squid, and steamed crabs with plenty of spices.   The sand bar was not very visible though.  Only about 2 hectares 3 km were visible.  The strong winds swamped the sand bar.  No snorkling.  Only wading and walking enjoying the sun and wind.

Tourism in Negros has dramatically increased in the last 5 years according to the tourist guide boosting growth of number of van for rent, tourist guides, restaurant and hotel.  The Manhattan Hotel near Robinson is only 3 years old, and whose guests are mostly guess - guess what? Chinese tourist.

This maybe due to the  efforts of DOT and DOTR.  The Roroa between various points from Dumaguete to Cebu has boosted the tourist arrival.  There are fast crafts too that made the travel between Cebu and  Negros faster.  Then there is  the Ceres bus, cheap and with AC that makes travel north and south Dumaguete faster and convenient

The PAL and Cebu Pac, low fare promo (advanced booking) helped tremendously drive local tourism

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