Diving into 2012 – Moalboal Cebu, Philippines


I have not done a group travel for a long long time. Am I anti-social? No, that probably would not be quite the right description of me. I do not deny my love for solo traveling, but I do usually come back with a whole load of friends added to my facebook.

So, I like to see myself as a pretty sociable and friendly person.

But, having done this for the good part of 2011, I decided its time for a little change as I take the ‘plunge’ into the new year. I would say this in the most literal sense because I will be diving right into the new year.

This is the view from the resort in Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines.

Amazing sea view

A little introduction, my ‘daddy’. Hopefully you can tell he’s not really that old and he is daddy simply because he is such a loving and caring friend to have. But i did remind him, its time to lose a bit of weight. Then Hilary, a dear friend as sweet and as innocent as her smile. And yes, please tell her, she needs not lose any more weight for there will be nothing left of her if she goes along this path. These are my 2 roommates and family during my Cebu trip.

My roommates

On a side note, thanks for putting up with me hanging my clothes all over to dry. And oh, daddy, thanks for that triangular ‘flag’ that nicely greets me first thing I wake up every morning. I should really have taken a picture of that.

And a whole bunch of other crazy and fun peeps…

Cebu dive team

The first day of diving ended with me telling daddy : if its another wall dive on my right hand side tomorrow, my neck and shoulder will break! Yes it was wall dives after wall dives.

The first day of diving was a bit disappointing. We did see some lovely creatures, nudibranches, nice soft corals, plenty of nemos in various colours, equally fierce and possessive of their little turfs. Not forgetting huge turtles. Nothing that really takes your breath away though.

And talk about angry nemos… here’s one of my favourite shots.

Angry Nemo
Underwater shots

As it was the first day, we were also starting to know our dive guide and divemaster, so there was a bit of interaction to familiarize ourselves with one another. He is really experienced and one of the oldest divers on board. Always eager to go, he would be the first to descend after giving us a hand signal. Nice one there.


Oh, he had a soft spot for one of our divers and I love the way he took care of her. He was holding onto her practically the entire time to keep her from floating away. I love this shot of how he will ‘park’ her along walls and reefs should he need to go check something out.

We ended the day with 3 full dives. I was meddling around with the camera that I borrowed from a friend. Lazy me did not check out how to use it before bringing it down so half the time I was trying to figure out how to operate the camera in different modes. Okie, my fault.

The dive sites we covered were Taisay, Tongo and Tongo Sanctuary.

We had an eventful New Year dinner. Not exactly the kind we were expecting. Well, I’ll leave that for another story to tell. In short, it was a night of drinks, laughter and tears as well.

The second diving day was a gloomy day. The sky was overcast and it was dizzling. Putting on a damp wetsuit wasn’t exactly the most welcoming experience. Arghhh…. I long for the sun.

The boat ride was not a pleasant one and I was shivering really bad. The sea was really choppy and we were all drenched from both sea and rain water as the boat crashed through the waves. I was wrapping myself up with towel and the 3 divemasters on board were having fun laughing at me. I was really hoping the water temperature will be better than staying on board under rain and cold lashing winds.

One of my first on this trip is doing my backroll entry and i am seriously falling in love with it. I did not have to go though any backbreaking walks to the end of the boat. Seriously, I swear I was shivering so bad underwater during my morning dive. Half the time I was hugging myself real tight. And it was a wall dive again and on my right again. I was having a stiff neck and my shoulder was really aching. But i just had to maintain my posture and stare at the wall, really hoping to see more stuff on my second day.

I caught a chill and I wasn’t able to do my second dive. It was really raining now and the water is going to be real cold too. I was looking forward to Pescador Island dive so I wanted to rest and be well enough for that. Pretty glad i made that call when I saw the other came up shivering. But I was disappointed too that I missed out on the ghost pipe fish. Guess there’s always a next time. Now I have an excuse to head right back to Cebu.

The current around Pescador Island were rough and I was really worried. Luckily the spot we were descending was kind of sheltered from the choppy waters so that calmed me a little. There was a bit of current underwater but it wasn’t really that bad.

The dive sites we covered were Dolphin House and Pescador Island.

We started our third day of diving with something slightly different. It was an airplane wreck. I got pretty excited for a moment. I have been wanting to do a wreck dive for the longest time but to my disappointment, this was a tiny plane that was dropped and sunk to create a airplane wreck site. Guess it was better than nothing and it was a real shallow dive too so its a wreck dive without having to go deep.

Underwater shots

We were back to dolphin house for our second dive before a little shopping treat at some local stalls by the beach. They were the usual T-shirts and souvenirs. What caught my eye was a lady selling some stuff in a little bucket. I really should not have gone after her. She was selling live urchins.. that was really cool. I just couldn’t resist it and the old lady was kind enough to let me try one. When she cut it open, the innards were still moving. Her grandson came with a metal spoon and scrape off some ‘meat’ for me. By then, the guys around me looked pretty disgusted. Slimy as it looked, the taste was fantastic. It was so fresh and sweet. Sashimi at its very best, I must say.

The last dive was really a highlight of the day. I wasn’t able to get a decent photo of the mandarin fish darting among the corals but they were beautiful. The best time to get a full view is actually in the late evening or during the night when they come out of their hiding to mate. Unfortunately I’m not a big fan of night dives so I have to make do with stealing glances at them.

The dive sites explored were Airplane wreck, Dolphin house and Mandarin house reef.

Underwater shots

It had been a long day and I wanted to take a good rest. I would be skipping my morning dive the next day and I was really excited to go do a bit of trekking. Most importantly, I needed some ‘alone’ time. I wanted to go do something I know I will like and yet enjoy the solitude.

I rejoined the guys for their afternoon dives. Rejuvenated after my refreshing waterfall trek, I was actually excited about doing my last 2 dives. This was the first sunny day dive out of the many days we were in Cebu. I had a bit of a suntan, sitting right at the front of the boat to enjoy the warmth.

The last dive was my first murk dive so I was pretty excited. We were going to walk back to shore. I was initially a bit concerned that there was going to be so many divers all at the same site and with a sandy bottom, we could really end up seeing nothing much more than an underwater sandstorm. Lucky, the sea is vast and we all found our little corners. Saw many sea creatures that I’d never seen before. Really really cool.

Our last two sites were Parangsara and Moalboal Bay.

Underwater shots
Underwater shots

This had been a very eventful trip and I made no mentioned about the dive resort we were in as that had been grossly unpleasant. But the divemasters and the diving had been nothing but great. I thoroughly enjoyed the dives and yes, I will definitely be back in Cebu again pretty soon.

A shot of myself enjoying the Cebu waters. 🙂