Under the sea, down there it’s wetter, down there it’s better, take it from me!
Moalboal is the best place we’ve ever been snorkelling – sea turtles greet you every time and the sardine run is nothing like you’ve ever seen before.
On our way to Moalboal from Siquijor, just us two again, we stopped into a little place called Oslob, where you can swim with whale sharks. This was something Neil and I both really wanted to do and was one of the main things that had attracted us to the Philippines. It also made a lovely break in our travel day which involved two ferrys, two tricycles, two jeepneys and two buses, all in about nine hours.
We got to the spot and spoke with one of the guides, he was happy to take us out for 1200PESO ($34NZ). We rode a jeepney to the boats, we were joined by another couple, the four of us jumped in a little fishing boat with two guides – one swam, while the other stayed on the boat – and off we went.
You get a total of 30 minutes in the water with these magnificent creatures. As soon as we got in we were surrounded by five friendly sea giants.
Whale sharks are about 12 metres long and can weigh over 18,000 kilograms! Thankfully they eat plankton, and the likes of, so are completely harmless.
As much as we loved seeing the sharks we both couldn’t help feeling a little bit sad. It has become such a popular tourist attraction to swim with these beautiful big fish that the locals feed them everyday to keep them in the same spot and because they have learned they will get fed their migration patterns are all a mess. I’m not sure how bad this is for the sharks, but I feel like it can’t be all that good.
A PLACE TO REST:
After our swim we jumped on another bus and a few hours later we arrived in Moalboal, in traditional fashion we hadn’t booked accommodation in advance – a big mistake. Everywhere in the little beach town was fully booked, bar one dodgy as looking hotel – Vivian’s Nipa Huts. The lady running the place was lovely and it was very cheep for a double room 700Peso ($20NZ) a night, but it really needed a good clean and an insect bomb – Neil said he felt something crawling in his pillow and mine smelled of vomit.
We wandered back down to the only backpackers in the area – Moalboal Backpackers – and booked for the next three nights, 350Peso each for one night ($10NZ). This was one of my favourite hostels yet!
The staff were super friendly and keen to help, they were singing all the time and everything was clean and well run. The beds were bunks, each had a mosquito net and were comfortable enough for a backpackers. We were relieved and happy to change quarters after the first night!
SARDINES, SEA TURTLES AND CANYONING:
After our long journey to Moalboal we didn’t really want to hang out in our hotel room (eww) so we thought a quick snorkel before sunset would be the best thing to do, especially since the sea was on our doorstep and the reef only a 20 metre swim out.
On our way there we bumped in a friend we had meet on Siquijor Island at a party, Roderick from the Netherlands, and he joined us in the water and became our travel buddy for the next few weeks! Great dude.
What a beautiful, colourful reef, mother natures very own well groomed underwater garden. We only had about 20 minutes of daylight left, but it gave us a small taste of what was to come, we ended up spending three out of our four days in Moalboal in the water.
To one side of the reef there was a massive protected sardine run – it’s literally a wall of sardines.
These guys made awesome patterns around you when you dove down to see them. It really is a whole different world down there.
Check out the video:
Just as I was about to go back in after seeing the sardines something big was coming up through them to my right, at first I was a little nervous and then, there it was – a massive sea turtle, one of the kings of the ocean, even bigger than the ones we saw on Apo Island.
So calm and slow, it swam along and looked at us like, “hey dude”. We soon realised we had followed it back down the other side of the reef and there were heaps of turtles just munching on the seaweed – this happened each time we went out. Amazing.
That basically explains three of our days. The other awesome surprise we got was Leiali whimsically decided to follow us and showed up the next day with Nikki, Mario and Johannes not far behind!
We also made friends with an Australian couple Sarah and Ryan on our canyoning tour so we ended up with an awesome gang to explore with!
The canyoning tour was a treat. Growing up in the South Island of New Zealand I spent a lot of time swimming in rivers and jumping from rocks, but man this was something else! We had three Filipino guides with us, they were awesome, they gave us all life jackets, helmets, shoes and made us feel very safe – you didn’t have to do the jumps if you were scared or didn’t feel comfortable, they always had another way down, of course we did all of them!
They started us off with a 1 metre jump, not even a jump really, but it escalated fast from there – we moved to a 15 metre jump second up! Alright, why not? It’s strange, normally once you’ve jumped you don’t have time to think, this one was so high you were mid air and thinking, “shit, what do I do with my feet?!” What an adrenaline rush! I lost count of how many jumps and how many waterfalls we saw that day, but it was amazing and I think our highest jump was 17 metres.
Jumping around the Moalboal canyons – such fun . . . . . . #jump #gopro #goprohero5 #splash #moalboal #backpacker #backpackerstory #travel #instadaily #instagood #amazing #perfect #nature #life #honeymoon #trampslife #photography #lonelyplanettraveller #relax #islandvibe #instafollow #photooftheday #picoftheday
One of my favourite parts was sliding backwards down a waterfall – the water smoothed out a natural waterslide just above a small drop, the guides positioned us and told us what to do, “just don’t look backwards,” they called as you were sliding blindly down and then plop! The water broke your fall as you calmly floated to the next jump. We did our tour through our backpackers, it was 1500Peso each ($43NZ), this included lunch and all the gear. We started at 9am and finished at 4pm, an awesome day – we would definitely recommend giving it a go.
On our last night with the whole squad together we thought we’d better celebrate and went along to Chilli Bar – the local – for a few “quiets”.
All I can say is it was a great send off and I remember at one stage the owner decided to drive a quad bike through the bar, just for fun – great spot to have a final group bonding session.
Moalboal was awesome, the backpackers was great, the canyoning was epic, and that snorkelling, you can’t beat it! Go on, get over there and jump in!