On the Road to Whale Sharks

We got a flat tire. In the middle of no where. In a third world country. On the road to whale sharks. Most people would panic and trust me, I had my times that I wanted to, but thank goodness the people in the Philippines are some of the nicest I’ve ever met. Oh! And most speak perfect English. I’m pretty sure my ‘almost’ freak out would have most definitely turned into a full blown freak out if we were in a country where we didn’t speak the same language. Just another one of those times that are truly unpredictable in traveling and you have no option but to sit back, laugh, and wait as your tire gets fixed.

broken down motorbike moalboal philippines

So first things first. Let’s start from the beginning. We woke up at the crack of dawn…ok, it was more like 6am but I’m pretty sure on vacation that can be considered before the crack of dawn. We woke up to the sound of pouring down rain on our little bungalow and immediately felt our hearts sink. Our plan for the day was to take our rented motorbike on the two hour trip to the town of Oslob where whale sharks can be seen daily. 

We would have been just fine waiting until the rain passed but the whale sharks usually leave the area around 11am. We were on a deadline. We were told that if we didn’t leave by 7am there was a chance we wouldn’t make it in time. As we looked out the window at the rain clouds that surrounded our hotel, we knew that it was now or never.
We gathered enough determination and decided that despite the rain, we would head out anyway, through the pouring rain and onto the whale sharks. Might I add that this is probably making it seem like we were a whole lot more upbeat than we were. I believe our exact words were along the lines of ‘screw the rain, let’s go see the whale sharks’.
Thankfully by the time we headed out at 7, the rain had cleared up. We went about twenty minutes out of Moalboal and were making our way through the countryside, dotted with modest wooden and concrete homes. I remember thinking how amazing this was and even with the rain, everything was working out perfectly. Tip: don’t ever think that because the minute you do, your motorbike will begin to swerve and slow down and you will find out you have a very.flat.tire. At least that’s what happened to us.

Broken down motorbike in Cebu Philippines

We rolled to a stop in front of a large wooden box of a house. No windows, no lights inside, this is what was common to see in the countryside of the Philippines. A friendly couple inside must have seen us and directed that there was a bike shop about a kilometer down the road. Well since the bike wouldn’t drive, especially with two people on it, I hopped off and told hubs to go on ahead and I would catch up on foot. I know, I should have been more worried and hubs gave me several nervous looks before I finally convinced him and he slowly rode off. But it’s hard to be worried or nervous when every person I encountered is so genuinely nice. I had several people stopping what they were doing to say hello and ask me if I was ok. Once I told them I got a flat tire, they nodded knowingly and pointed down the road. They must have seen hubs pass by just minutes before. When I finally arrived at the infamous bike shop, I saw five guys huddled around our bike staring at the gaping hole in the tube. Finally, the owner of the shop nodded his head and told us no problem, he’ll have it fixed shortly.

I was relieved but apprehensive as I watched our mechanic use technics that haven’t been seen in the states in decades if not longer. When he finally finished, and went to fill the tube with air, we were met with another disappointment. That hole was fixed, but there were five more that he hadn’t seen before. He shook his head and set it down. We would have to go to the next town over and buy a new tire. By now I was getting really anxious as it was nearing eight o’clock and we had hardly begun our two hour journey. Hubs jumped on the back of a workers motorbike and I sat at the shop playing an unofficial game of peek-a-boo with the shy little girls in the shop next door. As one point, I prayed ‘Why don’t you want us to see the whale sharks God?!’ It seemed like the trip just wan’t going to work out. After checking at two different stores, hubs finally found the last tube available and returned looking triumphant. Things were finally starting to turn around. He quickly installed the new tube but the most important question was still to be answered. How much? We were obviously tourist and in a country that blatantly posts two different prices for locals and tourists, we were expecting the worst.
Fixing motorbike in Cebu Philippines
Fixing motorbike in Cebu Philippines
The owner looked down, thinking of what to tell us, then talked with his shop mates to confirm. The total cost for his labor? 50 pesos or $1.25. As a traveler and tourist, these are the times when you double or triple the asking price without question. The total bill for labor, a new tube and paying the young man who drove to get the new tube was 280 pesos or $6.50.
broken down motorbike moalboal philippines
In our short time in the Philippines, I was amazed not only by the prices, not only by the genuine friendliness that you encounter, but also by the simple way of life. It’s a humbling experience to see how others live and to see a young man’s face light up when you give him the equivalence of a dollar for driving you a short distance. It is these experiences and realizations that I cherish from our trips abroad.
Linking up with Rolled Up Pretty and Shanna 

Rushing Water and Lines of Rope

I never thought that I would be able to mark ‘waterfall rappelling’ off my bucket list. Then again, it was never on my bucket list to begin with. But leave it to hubs to find a new activity that I have never heard of and make me fall in love with it.
When we arrived in the Philippines, hubs only had one thing planned and that was waterfall rappelling. The gist of it was that we took about an hour ride in the beast, hiked for 45 up the side of a mountain and then hiked/repelled down waterfalls on the Montaneza River until we reached the bottom. We repelled down a total of five waterfalls, the largest of them being 30 meters.
The walk up the mountain was a little less than enjoyable. The views were fantastic, the company was great, but walking uphill for 45 minutes in what my guess was 100% humidity was not my idea of fun.
moalboal, philippines
waterfall rappelling, moalboal, philippines
With it being low season right now in the Philippines, we were actually the only two that had signed up for the trip. This was great because we not only could we go at our own pace, but we got to know our guides a whole lot better.
rappelling down waterfalls,moalboal, philippines
action adventure in moalboal, philippines
Rappelling down waterfalls, cebu philippines

This was just one of the many ‘iffy’ walking paths that we had to take. Good thing we had helmets on!

Montaneza River moalboal philippines
Montaneza River moalboal philippines
Go Pro Footage, Cebu Philippines

After we were finished, we ended back where we had started and the driver had prepared a feast of a  meal including fruit, barbecue chicken and fish, rice wrapped in bamboo and and my favorite, shandies. I tried to get hubs to stay behind so he could learn how to cook but it was a no go. 

action adventure moalboal philippines
I couldn’t get over the landscape in the Philippines. Everything was lush and green when we went and the areas around the river were astounding. I would highly recommend if you ever make it over to the Philippines, find a spot to go repelling!
About BelindaHello lovely little jelly beans! My name is Belinda and I am the writer behind the creative space of Found Love, Now What? I moved from Seattle to Northern Wales all to be with my British husband. I write on travels throughout the UK and beyond, life as an expat, advice on long distance relationships and more. Hop on over and say hello. I look forward to meeting you!
Her Favorite Trip: That is a tough question Chelsea! Hmm…. of all the places I have seen and visited I would have to say that one spot that would make my short list would have to be Istanbul. I loved the combination of the different elements of history, design, colors and cultures. I was mesmerized. I hope the dissent in Istanbul is resolved soon so the city can welcome visitors back with open arms.

The Simple Life

I’ll be the first to admit that the Philippines was not high on my travel bucket list. I’ve heard great things about their beaches but with us being more of the ‘go go go’ type of travelers, beaches alone didn’t draw me in. With the Philippines being just a short four hour flight from Korea and with tickets as low as $150 per person, it’s the perfect getaway for a long, or even in our case, a short relaxing getaway.
Moalboal, Philippines
Moalboal Philippines ocean view
Gorgeous views in Moalboal, Philippines
Children by the water in Cebu Philippines
Cebu, philippines
Ocean pier in Cebu, Philippines
We stayed at the Tipolo Beach Resort in Moalboal, Philippines, about  two hour drive south of Cebu City. While I admit, it’s nothing luxurious with basic rooms including a bed, wardrobe, mini fridge and nothing else, the genuinely friendly staff and ocean views far made up for it.
Tipolo Beach Resort Cebu Philippines
The hotel has a total of eight rooms, three of which offer prime ocean views. But don’t worry, they are all close enough to the water that you can fall asleep to the sound of the tide breaking against the shore. And that alone is worth the four hour plane ride.
View from Tipolo Beach Resort Cebu Philippines
I can’t speak highly enough about the staff here. They go out of their way to help you and to make sure that your trip is everything you hoped it would be. Many times we sat around chatting with the staff after eating or while we sat by the ocean. This is part of the reason I love staying at smaller accommodations. You have the chance to get to know the staff, their lives and more about their culture.
Tipolo Resort, Moalboal, Philippines
They also had absolutely amazing food! (that’s the most important part right?) Breakfast, lunch and dinner, residents from other resorts walk over to try their food. Wood-brick oven pizzas, mango smoothies and….well we stuck with that because once you find a good thing you should stick with it right? The staff also introduced me to a new drink. This probably isn’t new to anyone else but the concept of mixing beer and Sprite blew my mind. Finally, a beer drink that I can get behind!
Shandis in Cebu Philippines
Brickoven Pizza at Tipolo Beach Resort, Cebu Philippines
As a part of the hotel, they also have a side business, Planet Action Adventures. You can sign up through the hotel to go on day excursions like repelling down waterfalls (what we picked), river climbing (what we want to do next time), horseback riding, mountain biking, and city tours. Below is a picture of the beast that took us to the waterfall location, custom built by the hotel workers.
Plenty of activities at the Tipolo Beach Resort, Cebu Philippines
On our last day, we called a ‘tricycle’ to come pick us up and take us to the taxi stop. These are extremely popular here and both tourists and locals alike use them. Pretty much a small cab attached to a motorbike or bicycle. A great and cheap way to get around. 
Tricyle, Moalboal, Philippines
Tricyle, Moalboal, Philippines
Some of these tricycles serve as food vendors. My favorite by far were the ones that served up fresh pastries. You could see locals carrying around huge bags of these and at only 5pesos(12cents) each (seriously guys…12 cents for fresh pastries. My jaw literally dropped when I converted it), I was stocking up too!
Street food, Philippines
Stay tuned next week when I highlight repelling down waterfalls and our motorbike road trip through the pouring rain!
moalboal, philippines