Grant and I took off early on Monday 8th June for Cebu Philippines. Arriving and having just cleared customs, Greg realized he'd left his bible in the seat in the plane. Doh! But in what would prove to be true Filipino accommodation, I had it back in minutes. Meanwhile, Grant had negotiated a pretty good deal at a hotel. Now I'm not normally a Hilton jobs of guy, but the deal was too good to pass up. A short cab ride and we were met with the tallest, and only pink building on the horizon. Nice room, but to be honest I slept better on the $10/night foam mattress you'll read about in my next update.
Shocked at the Hilton Spa massage prices we made our way down to one outside, stopping on the way for some delicious Spanish cuisine. I rather enjoyed the massage, but Grant said he felt like he'd received some sort of corporal punishment. I was in a different room so I can neither confirm nor deny his claim, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt this time.
Dinner was an adventure as we narrowly avoided the S$120 lobster from a hole in the wall seafood place. And the tricycle driver just couldn't get it through his head that, YES, I DO want a nice lady, but that I'd prefer to meet her at church rather than wherever he wanted to take us. Needless to say we parted ways quickly.
The Gustavian bistro was our fare of choice and the dining was delish!
Tuesday morning brought us a bright, clear, sunny day. Perfect for a dive! At the dive shop next door we met Big D who sorted out all the details for out dives and after catching a few rays we set out. Dive number one took us down to a beautiful wall. It's amazing the way the ocean floor just disappears beneath you! We saw lots if corals and sponges and at one point, sitting at 60ft deep, we saw a large school of fish just chilling above us. We also came across the remnant of a wooden ship's bow that has become home to several schools of fish. They all seemed to have staked a claim to a different decaying plank or board. That made for a nice finish.
Our second dive brought us numerous sponges and some cool fish. While getting a closer look at a clown fish and it's anemone it decided I was a threat and started attacking my mask. Fearless little creatures, those clown fish... Funny too. OK, yeah, that was bad, but had to be done. We also saw some barracuda, a cuttlefish, and one friendly remora liked Grant and took to swimming all around him and his tank and managed to avoid his detection even after I pointed it out.
After our dives Big D reminisced about the diving less than 10 years ago when he'd frequently see whale sharks, there was beautiful coral right off the shore, and scads of fish. Sadly dynamite fishing, and continued over fishing, as well as pollution have had dramatic effects and it will take ages for nature to come back. And that process can only begin once we stop destroying God's beautiful creation.
Dinner brought Grant and I into Cebu City. We were unimpressed with the food near Mango Square, but I did meet numerous street kids all asking for money or food. The one first to find me was lucky as I cleaned out my wallet on him at Jollibee with fried chicken, rice, upsize, coke, and ice cream. But I don't think he shared. Anyway, he said thank you. Please don't give money to the kids. It only goes to the big boss. Buy them food instead!
With a little time to kill we hit another massage place and oh boy! One tenth the price and better quality. Nice!
We decide to hit club Vudu, but only after u was assured there wouldn't actually be any voodoo performed on the premises. It wasn't quite what I expected. Karaoke was the main draw and in the end Grant and I stayed true to whitey by performing Ice Ice Baby!
The morrow brought more lounging and the impending departure for Manila where Grant and I Parted ways.