Thursday, August 18, 2011

my travel notes: camotes islands, cebu

i hail from the north of cebu but it's a shame that i've only been to camotes just last year. as i was growing up, the sea was considered a great threat to us. my siblings and i were never allowed to swim farther than 2 meters from the safe shoreline. for the nth time that we hit to the beach, i never got to learn to swim. :( i know, it's tragic.

i remember an ojii-san (old man) i met in japan who was utterly surprised when i told him that i can't swim. he knew that i'm from cebu and cebu for them connotes a perfect setting of a tropical get-away, the sun and the turquoise sea with the powdery white sands along the shore. how could i not possibly learn to swim?

he then shared to me one of life's lessons that i should teach to my children (gosh, it's a long shot from now!) the basic things when they're young for in this phase, they're able to learn quickly like riding a bike and of course, swimming! it's a wisdom that i keep with me until such time that i can actually and possibly do it.

even for my lack of talent in swimming, it doesn't stop me from taking a dip in knee-depth waters and i sometimes even braved to the great depths! after all, what's the use of life vests? :P

and here's my take in camotes.

Santiago Bay Garden Resort, Camotes, Cebu

i'll be sharing what i had experienced in camotes and i'll try to pull out as many memories from the dark recesses of i-don't-know-which-part of my brain. i hope i can get something useful.

☀ how did we get there?

Jeep to Danao City
Jeep to Danao City
'we' was composed of everyone in my last project group from my previous company. our meet-up time was at 5am at chowking in mandaue highway. just enough time to catch our boat in danao which was scheduled to depart at 6am for camotes. there's no traffic to consider around this time yet. yes, the most common way to get to camotes is through danao. the camotes islands happen to be just across danao city with only a 3-hour boat ride that separates them.

☀ what did we do in camotes?

we had our day tour around camotes islands on our first day. we only threw our bags in our rooms and hastily went on our way. i'm kidding. definitely, we had time to do some vanities. i'll just parade some photos of our day tour to save you from my incessant fury of words.

Buho Rock, Camotes, Cebu

Buho Rock, Camotes, Cebu
Buho Rock
Entrance Fee - 10Php/Person

Market in Camotes, Cebu
Raided their market for lunch!

Timubo Cave, Camotes, Cebu

Timubo Cave, Camotes, Cebu
Timubo Cave
Entrance Fee - 15Php/Person

Danao Lake, Camotes, Cebu
Lake Danao

this is not the danao city. however, the two places seem to have that special bond for camotes named its lake as danao. i am so making this up. anyway, you can go around the lake through that impressive motorized raft and the raft men will eagerly tell you about an old tale on how the 2 islets came about in the lake. i actually forgot the details of the story. come here to know it! :P if you can't wait to find out, i found this link for you.

Mangodlong Beach Resort, Camotes, Cebu

Jellyfish in Mangodlong Beach Resort, Camotes, Cebu
Mangodlong Rock Resort

there were a lot of jellyfishes in humongous sizes but in a sad state along the shore. because as the tides receded, some of them had dried up on the sand under the merciless sun. it was too late to bring them back to the water. :(

☀ where did we stay?

we stayed in the uber famous santiago bay garden resort which you can always hear when the idea of getting away to camotes comes up.

Santiago Bay Garden Resort, Camotes, Cebu

Pool in Santiago Bay Garden Resort, Camotes, Cebu

Santiago Bay Garden Resort, Camotes, Cebu

i think that this resort has caught all the lucky stars since it is situated overlooking this vast expanse of white sands and there is no other resort in this area. yeah, just how lucky they are. 

as far as i can remember, it was a pretty decent stay although how rowdy we were that time certainly comes to mind first. i blame it to "pinoy henyo", the classic game of every team building which never fails to stir up one's innate boisterous behaviour.

Santiago Bay Garden Resort, Camotes, Cebuanyway, the resort provides enough amenities for you to enjoy your stay there. there are billiard tables, although they are not for free. then, they have acoustics at night with their local singer who does everything on his own while you eat your dinner.

since it does not have a neighboring resort and the residence area is quite distant, you'll really feel that you have finally left the bustling life in the city and have taken it slow in paradise.

they also have the pool that's kinda shallow for adults who are incredible swimmers but too deep for kids (me included!). seriously, i was content doing some butterfly strokes with my feet on the pool's floor. LOL although it gets rather deep for my comfort at the opposite end.

the pool is perfect when the tide gets too low and the sea is like a kilometer away from the shore. honestly, i was somewhat disappointed with the sea there. for a brief period of time, we decided to head out to the sea during a high tide but when the sea water had finally owned most part of the shore, we noticed that it took away several unsightly trash like plastics. i then deduced that the bay is only perfect for photos because it has that right curve and white sands that seem to extend to infinity.

Santiago Bay Garden Resort, Camotes, Cebuas what i always hope for Phl is to have that discipline for cleanliness. i instantly frown on people who think that the sea is their giant trash can! :(

forgetting the trash, you must also be wary with the translucent jellyfishes that will surely sting. i'm not sure if the abundance of jellyfish happens all the time. with regards to the sand, it isn't a pure sand for it's mixed with a considerable amount of soil and this is very evident during low tide.

☀ was camotes worth it?

absolutely yes! for one, it has that rustic character that even phone network signals seldom come through. the day tour is definitely a must there although the beach area of santiago bay garden resort definitely has a room for improvement. well, camotes is way more than what i've talked about here. :) there are a lot of mysteries left to discover according to this exclusive travel site for camotes.


day tour: we hired a multicab. well, we had it for the entire duration in camotes.


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