Previously on Passport and Chill:
We had just run out of gas and pulled over to the side of the road more than 10 miles from any city.
Nate quickly jumped off the bike and asked the only locals populating the area if there was a gas station. After a couple confusing answers, a nice man walked up and pointed up the road. He let me ride on the back of his bike to the gas station while Nate coasted down the hill and pushed the bike the rest of the way in. The local peeled away on his bike before we could thank him. The generosity is outstanding here. We were lucky enough to run out of gas within 100 meters of a gas station right around the corner.
With a full tank, we continued on a much prettier drive along the coast. We arrived to the Nobelesse “Resort” around 3 and jumped in the pool to cool off from the hot ride.
The word resort should be used very loosely, the toilet in our room didn’t work, so they gave us a bucket to flush and their Internet “was down”. After failed attempts to order several items on their menu because they were out of them, we ordered two chicken dinners and we’re both served five large pieces of fried chicken.
On the plus side, they had lots of English tv channels so we (I) got to watch an episode of Friends and Pitch Perfect 2!
We woke up at 5:15 am to get on the road by 5:30. Our sole purpose for driving this far south was to be in Oslob by 6 am to swim with Whale Sharks. We were told weekends get very busy, so we arrived early to avoid the madness.
Unfortunately, we made another stupid mistake. We didn’t replenish our cash so when we arrived, we didn’t have quite enough on hand to actually go swimming with these beautiful giant fishes. I’m not naming any names on who’s fault this was, but it rhymes with Shmate.
We were told there was an ATM twenty minutes away in the next town, so Nate took the bike while I waited patiently, hoping throngs of tourist buses wouldn’t show up. Forty minutes later he rolled back in with no more money than before. The ATM was out of cash. We checked the next resort over to see if they would take a credit card but that was another big fat NO.
Anyone who knows me, knows I’m obsessed with whales and sharks and even though this is a fish, I have wanted to see a whale shark in the wild ever since I was little. Considering this was the number 1 activity I wanted to do in all of the Philippines, let’s just say some tears were shed having to miss out. Shmate has promised we will make up this chance in the future and already researched a place in Mexico that is more eco friendly, so all is well and our relationship is no longer hanging by a thread 🙂
We continued on with our day towards a hike at Osmeña mountain, which took us just under two hours by bike to get to the base. We were greeted by friendly young boys who offered to “guard” our bike and cover the seat with cardboard while we hiked. You can also use these little 7 year olds as a tour guide if you want the company! We got to the check in point to pay our fee to climb and were welcomed with cheery smiles and hellos from the girls manning the entrance. We left our backpacks and helmets with them and made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with items we picked up on our drive.
At the market we stopped at for our Peanut Butter and Jelly items, I noticed that they sell Cheese Flavored Ice Cream. Strange.
The hike is very easy, straight up for about 25 minutes. Unfortunately it was crowded, surprisingly, for being pretty far removed from any major city. The view was still enjoyable but if you can go during the week, it might be less crowded. The views are worth the extra trip of you are going to Oslob to see the whale sharks.
When we hiked down to the base, our cute motorbike guards had the bike ready for us. Seeing us walk down, they uncovered it and then wiped it off before we even walked up. We kindly thanked them with 20 pesos and they were so excited! As we drove back toward the city, locals waved at us and said goodbye. Seriously, the kindest people.
We couldn’t believe it but it was only 11 am at this point, it felt like a full day. Our next stop was our destination for the evening at an air Bnb an hour away. We booked a stay with an American who is retired and now lives in the Philippines with his wife full time. Billy and Joy welcomed us with open arms to their beautiful property. They got us to our room quickly, realizing we needed a shower and a nap pronto! After a glorious nap on the best mattress we have slept on in weeks, we went downstairs to see about food. There aren’t any restaurants in the small provincial town of Argao, so Joy cooks everything. She is the most incredible cook. She whipped up a salad with homemade dressing, cucumbers, tomatoes, mango and lettuce. Not having had fresh vegetables in a while, we basically shoveled the bowl of veggies into our mouths which is also why we didn’t snap a picture of it.
We sat with Joy and Billy and talked for a couple hours about food, New York, traveling and work. Nate needed a hair cut bad, so Billy offered to accompany us to his barber. When the barber was closed, he took us to another one.
Nate got a great hair cut for 40 pesos and the compliment of being called “guapo”. After a stroll around the tiny town we went back to Billy and Joys. We couldn’t wait to eat another meal of hers, it was that good. For dinner she made us a burger, dynamite (which we have come to love, it’s the Filippino version of a jalapeño popper) and spring rolls.
Our next day was consumed of logistics, driving back to Cebu City to drop off our bike and checking into a bad hotel near the airport. The one highlight was our sunset drinks at the Scape Deck Bar. We can’t recommend the margaritas but the overall experience was quite nice. If you have an evening in Cebu City or Mactan waiting for an early morning flight, you should swing by for happy hour. Our early flight was taking us to paradise (or Boracay)!
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