After having travelled to different parts of the globe (thanking God I am so blessed to be able to do that), I have finally visited one of the cities of the Philippines I have always wanted to visit. Cebu!
For so long I have only been the listener to stories of the fun parties of Sinulog and I have always wondered why people flock the city every January for it.
It’s just a festival. I’m sure there’s nothing special. Right?
Wrong! Never have I been so wrong. So, in this (very late) post, I will be talking about the activities my friends and I did during our 5-day trip to the Queen City of the South – Cebu.
What I will always remember was the grand welcome the Cebuanos gave to new arrivals at the airport. A group of dancers in traditional costume performed while a band filled the arrival area with music. Then and there, I already felt the energy of the upcoming Sinulog.
My first day there was more of a city tour. I met up with my friends and we spent the rest of the day just catching up and preparing for our first activity the next day. Before Sinulog, we would stop by Oslob to visit the gentle giants, the whale sharks.
How much I miss these guys. I also met three new friends! Tiff, George and Melvin. And all too soon, the next day came. It was a very early day for us because we all had to drive to Oslob.
A (not so) quick stopover at McD’s for breakfast! I don’t know who that girl in pink is but she looks troubled.
This was when Steph decided to challenge George to a slapping game. Guess who went to Oslob with red hands?
But anyways, we reach Oslob. It took us around 4 – 5 hours to get there but it was a relatively safe drive with Master Driver Mike on the wheel. No more rage modes please..
We went to the Briefing Center where most tourists go to to experience swimming with the whale sharks. Safety first, though, so we had to attend a short briefing before we were allowed to change into gear.
Everyone was so entranced by the mini lecture. Well, just Jo, really…
Fast forward into swimming gear! All of us had to wear life vests, even Steph, Jo and Mike who chose not to dive into the waters. I just realised my life vest looks tiny on me. I took it off when we were out in the deep waters, anyways.
GoPro Group Selfeh!
And we’re off! We all got one boat to ourselves! Whoop!
I wanted to take a selfie with Mr. Boat Rower but he didn’t seem to want one.
George was very happy about this experience.
The diving ladies are ready!
And into the waters we go!
It was a magical experience. The moment you dive into the water and knowing you’re not the biggest one down there. It was a different world.
A separate video blog will be made for this experience but here are some stills from the videos I took underwater.
Sexy spit photo.
Into the water!
And there it is! A gentle giant. The other men on fishing boats dump food into the ocean for the whale sharks, and the big guys just vacuum them all up and filter.
And just to show how big they really are, here’s a photo of George and a whale shark together. Looks like a scene from a Jaws film, no?
After swimming with the whale sharks for a good 30 minutes, we headed to the nearby waterfalls called Tumalog Falls. It’s around 5 – 10 minutes away from the briefing center via car. Then maybe a 5 minute walk to the falls from the drop off point.
It’s downhill and you can opt to ride a motorcycle down for a small fee.
And then, even from a distance, you can hear the crashing of the waters. The path widens and the bamboo stalks and the forest opens up to reveal the cascading falls. The place is still a bit underdeveloped. There were a few people working on making pathways and supports at some areas so most of the place is still natural.
It’s pretty easy to get under the falls because the water isn’t deep. Most falls I’ve been to require a raft to get to where the water falls.
It was very cold there. So cold that I got muscle pain after shivering so much. But it was so much fun! Here are some photos I took of us enjoying the water!
Find Gollum!! O_O
After our adventure to Oslob, we had a free day to do whatever we wanted!!! Explore the city? Do a food trip? Go shopping, even? Anything was possible!!
But… we ended up hanging out at George’s house for most of the day playing Mahjong. I guess swimming with Whale Sharks and playing under the chilling waters of a waterfall drained us too much. We didn’t even notice we hadn’t had lunch yet! We all had lunch at around 4 in the afternoon.
Despite the rather unproductive day, we were all very excited for the next big Sinulog festival!
On the morning of the Sinulog, we decided to leave the car at a mall parking lot and walk to the main event area.
Here’re the guys giving Steph her Sinulog-ready hair style!
After a short walk, we’ve arrived at our destination! Team BJ++, reporting for Sinulog 2015!!!
The first thing we saw was the parade! It had already started when we got there and the place was not as packed as I had expected. Didn’t take too many photos of the parade because I was too afraid of the warnings people kept telling me to keep my things safe because they might get stolen. But here’s two from that one group of kids who wore colorful lizard costumes!
Also, while making our way through the crowd, I heard someone call my name! I met my friend, Diana, among the parade watchers! Never thought I’d just bump into her like that! Hi, Yang!! 😀
Anyways, after having lunch and buying Sinulog shirts, we went to this one area looking for a certain bar.
The streets were packed like I’d never imagine! And there was a party every few meters! The crowd all chanted “Pit Senyor! Pit Senyor!” with that same, catchy beat! Everywhere, people blew whistles to the same tune! Groups of people would pass by, smile at you, and greet you “Pit Senyor!”
It was a lovely feeling. I felt one with the Cebuanos! It was one, giant, lively party and I loved every moment of it!
We were pretty clean at the beginning, when we had just entered the party area. But it didn’t take long until we were covered in color, thanks to the friendly locals who were very much eager to add to our Sinulog getup!
I think Steph had it the worse out of all of us. Either she looked like she got a really bad tan job, or she just finished a murder and was really sloppy at it!
It was crazy!! I just wanted to disappear into the crowd and dance and sing with everyone! It was a whirlwind of music and color!
After milling around, dancing, singing, and jumping up and down with the lively crowds on the streets, we went and settled in a bar (finally) to rest and cool down. By then we were all a mess and all just a little bit tired.
But, really, who gets tired at a time like that, right? After a few drinks and once the bar’s DJ started blasting music, we were up and dancing again!
It was a totally awesome experience. A great first Sinulog for me and I am hoping I get to go back next time and stay up late for the foam parties and whatnot! Anyways, we all headed back home pretty early… It wasn’t because we were tired or anything… but we had one final activity in store for us the next day – which I’ll be talking about on another post! I will also be making videos for this trip!