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July 19th 2017
Published: July 20th 2017
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I've been travelling abroad at least twice a year in the past few years but have not traveled much in my own country lately so I thought I'd change that this year. Three Philippine islands were voted to be in the top 10 most beautiful islands in the world by Conde Nast and other travel magazines but I have yet to see those places! Boracay was number one, Palawan as top two, and Cebu in top 5.

Cebu was never really on my list a few years ago so I was surprised when I saw it in Conde Nast's list as the top 5. With the arrival of social media I've been seeing lot's of photos and videos of Cebu that made me want to go. When I was younger I thought it was just another big polluted city like Manila where I live. Well, Cebu city is but Cebu is a big island with lot's of little islands surrounding it. We spent as little time in the city as possible.

I flew in on a Thursday night by myself. My friends were coming the next morning. I approached one of the stalls in the airport to ask for directions. I was so surprised to see a familiar face I haven't seen in five years! Joy was manning the Globe booth I happened to pick to ask for directions! We were both stunned. I didn't even know she moved to Cebu. She thought I was living abroad because she kept seeing photos of me on Facebook travelling somewhere.

I stayed in a hostel which was too expensive for what they were offering. They didn't even have toilet paper! It was the cheapest hostel I could find. Which was still around two dollars more than what I'd usually pay in other Southeast Asian countries. It was my first time to stay in a hostel in the Philippines. I never travel alone here so I never had to.

First stop was the thing I was looking forward to the most. Canyoneering in Badian! After a four hour drive we hiked up and down the mountain for about 30 minutes before we reached the starting point. So in canyoneering you put on a vest and helmet (required) and start floating in the river in the middle of the jungle for about five hours. You don't float all the way down of course. There are jumps and slides which are the best part! It started with a 7 foot jump. Then 20, 25, 30, and finally 40. There used to be a 50 feet jump but they had to close it because lots of people were getting injured. There was an overhang at the 20 foot jump and I was a little too close to the overhanging rock for comfort. It rattled me a bit so I didn't do the next jump which was 25 feet high. But when we got to the 30 foot jump I couldn't pass up the opportunity and let my fear get in the way. My body wasn't straight enough when I landed so it hurt, a lot! I landed on by butt and it was a shock to my whole body for a few minutes. I was scared of the 40 foot jump but I spent too much money to chicken out! I managed to straighten my body so it wasn't bad. I'm glad I did it. That day ended in Kawasan falls which is one of the most beautiful falls I've ever seen. The color looks like Gatorade blue. We got on a bamboo raft to get close to the falls. We were all so giddy that I lost track of my phone. It fell into the water! I didn't want to ruin the fun everyone was having so I didn't make a big deal out of it. Luckily one of the guides was kind enough to dive in to the 15 feet deep water to look for it and found it! Gave him a generous tip.

The next day we went snorkeling. Saw a big school of sardines, several sea turtles, and lots of colorful fish! I loved the sea turtles. It was my first time to swim with them. Marine life is just so beautiful here in the Philippines. It's one of the things we can truly be proud of. There was also the whale sharks but they fed the sharks there which is a bad practice so we didn't want to support that. Headed up north on day four to spend the next few days in Bantayan island. Kota beach was so beautiful. I could easily have spent a week there. We rented motorcycles to go around the small island and it was perfect. I wish I had more days like that. Just driving around a beautiful tropical island to discover beautiful beaches, caves, and restaurants. There was a small cave with a fresh water pool. We found an old Spanish fort that was built in 1790 to protect the villagers from the Muslim pirates from the south that abducted women and children for slavery. I really enjoyed my time in Cebu. I'm Iooking forward to travelling to my next Philippine island.

Additional photos below
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20th July 2017

I too saw the list
Hi. I also saw the list you were referring to and I am also curious of knowing more about the islands on it. Thank you for posting this blog entry so I can see what it is like. I looks like a place I would enjoy visiting. /Ake
20th July 2017

I too saw the list
Yes you'll definitely enjoy the islands. So much to do and so many pretty places :)
19th October 2017

Pleasant time
Hello, I hope you had a pleasant time during your stay on the island. If you ever find yourself again in Cebu, I recommend to check out these places outside the city for a perfect evening under the stars.

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