Days filled with outdoor fun – Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines

This is the 3rd in our series of posts about our trip to the Philippines.  Check out #1 here and #2 here if you’re interested in the first two installments.

Laughter and good times were the order of the day!  With Beboy, Gigi, Bebut and Gwen

Aside from spending quality time with family, we also sneaked out to have some outdoor fun with my longtime hometown friends.  A favorite pastime during our visit was to show up at a friend’s house where we would sit, talk, laugh and eat all day long – forgetting about time as we can only do while in my country.

My childhood bff Gigi and her husband Stan flew in from Australia while we were there.  Although we don’t normally talk very often, when we do, it seems like we just pick up where we left off the last time.  You see, we have known each other since kindergarten, as our mothers were co-teachers at our public school.  During our growing years our hometown was very small, and we knew everyone.  Most of the original “locals” are gone now, but Steve was still amazed when I yelled out the name of someone and started an exciting chat as we walked down the street.  But I digress…

Anyhow, I am proud that my  hometown has one of the best scuba diving areas in the Philippines, and according to many of the divers there, some sites are world-class.  That’s why Steve selected Moalboal as his place to get certified during our trip in 2009.  Although he hadn’t dived since then, he was excited to get back out there on this trip to enjoy the beauty – after taking a “refresher” dive off the beach at the resort where he stayed for 2 nights.

It’s quite ironic that an island girl like me who grew up here has never seen and experienced the beauty below the surface of the sea.  But Steve and Stan dove together several times; Stan is a very experienced diver, and Steve was happy to tag along as his partner on their adventures.  Judging by their big smiles and excited talks afterward, a good time was had by all!

Scuba Diving in Moalboal
Diving partners Stan (left) and Steve heading out to the diving boat
Diving in Moalboal
Off they go to Pescador Island, the destination for this dive – that little island in the left of the picture

Since we don’t have underwater cameras, I found this video clip of some of the amazing creatures they saw under Pescador Island:

Steve assured me that this is exactly what it’s like there, although they didn’t encounter the “clouds” of sardines swimming around on this dive as he did in 2009.  But what a fantastic adventure!

On another day we took an early morning walk with Stan and Gigi, but halfway through a sudden rain storm hit us.  Although the rain felt good, we didn’t want to get drenched. We were happy when Gigi asked a lady along the road if she could spare some banana tree leaves for us to use as umbrellas.  We showed our husbands how we dealt with rain storms in the days when we didn’t have such luxuries – they were impressed!

Four umbrellas coming up!
Banana leaves
And viola, we have instant umbrellas!

The rain did not let up after we donned our new rain gear, so we took shelter near a school to wait it out.  When it was apparent that the storm was going to last for a while, we were finally able to flag down one of the ubiquitous “pedicabs” that service the areas around town.

As I explained to Steve, in the Phlippines a pedicab is a motorcycle-propelled cab that holds up to 4 passengers or more and the driver.  A “trisikad” is the same except the propulsion is via a bicycle.  You don’t want to get stuck behind a trisikad when you’re driving through town!

Just another day in the Philippines!  Isn’t it obvious that Steve loved riding around in these things?

Near Moalboal is a big tourist draw, the Kawasan Falls.  It’s only a 30-minute drive from home, but believe it or not I had never been there.  Because of my ultra-strict mother, I was a sheltered child (cue violin music here) and not allowed to go anywhere she thought danger lurked – and swimming at the falls was one of them.  Although she gave her blessing this time, she didn’t fail to offer us many warnings about what not to do while there.  At 96 she is still very protective.

Kawasan Falls
The walking bridge had been destroyed during the typhoon “Quennie” we endured on our first day here, so we had to walk with a guide across this hazardous passage.  Good thing mom didn’t know about this!

The waterfall consists of three tiers, but we were told by the locals at the gate that we could not go above the lower falls.  The recent typhoon had washed away foot bridges and trails, and we had to have a guide to get us out there.  Due to the recent heavy rains, the waterfall was gushing with beautiful clear water.

Kawasan falls

Kawasan Falls
Stan, Gigi, me and Steve – look mom, we survived!

Along with all the fun was a little business I had to take care of.  On Facebook I led a group of Moalboalanons to take on a small project in our town.  Thanks to FB, our membership is global.  We mostly chat on Facebook or use Skype for our meetings.  Since I had not met most of them, this visit was my chance to meet, in person, the active members who were doing a lot of our project’s work.  We have had limited success on our initial project, but we’re looking forward to doing more good things for our little town.

Trashbins in Tulay
Our first project  – installing trash bins along our rock pier – called  Tulay
Facebook Tulay
Facebook Tulay group local active members – Joe D, Dong B, Creamz Blue and Vincent E

After filling our eight days with family bonding and fun with friends in Moalboal, it was time to move on and explore another island…




  1. I am just loving your posts about your home town. What a gorgeous place!! Everyone looks like they are having such a fun time even in the rain. LOVE the banana leaf umbrellas!! Your friends are obviously so happy to see you. So sorry to hear about the typhoon destruction at that gorgeous waterfall but glad you got to go there. Seeing Steve in the water and you guys in swimming suits makes me REALLY yearn for warm weather. I’m surprised you all came back before summer here. 🙂

  2. Everything looks so exotic! I would love seeing the reef — except for that enormous black and white snake! Did Steve see one of those? I’d be walking on water if one of those swam toward me. The waterfall is absolutely gorgeous. Glad you finally got your mom’s approval to go there. 🙂 How fun to reconnect with friends and share adventures and banana leaf umbrellas!

    • Hi Laurel, I didn’t see the snake on this trip, but I did see an eel and 2 frogfish. It is apparently fairly rare to see frogfish in that area, and I wish I could have taken a picture as one of the other divers did. My instructor and I saw a large whale shark while I was getting certified in 2009 – a very rare sighting there according to him – he had never seen one in all of his years of diving! Take care! ~Steve

    • Steve, you are quite the adventurer! Very, very cool that you saw a whale shark and frogfish. I love snorkeling, but mostly in the tame waters of the Florida Keys. 🙂

      • I started diving in my 20’s, but only rarely when I was at a good place for it. After going through the basics before each dive (as you have to if you’re not certified), I thought after about 15 dives that it might make sense to get certified. Every dive has been beautiful and exciting – I highly recommend it! Happy holidays to you and Eric! ~Steve

  3. What a wonderful experience for Steve to revisit your homeland and participate in the cultural differences! You two look like you had a great time. How neat to be able to tour around with an old friend and her husband from yet another different country! The underwater world is so beautiful in the warmer water. My first and only experience was snorkeling in the Caribbean on our cruise. It was an amazing time. The video was great. Steve sure had an adventure if that is what he saw!

  4. I love that you got to spend time with your friends and family again in paradise. The photos are beautiful and they makes me want to go to the Philippines. I love the tropics! The typhoon must have been scary. Beautiful waterfall! Happy Holidays!

  5. What a real treat for me to see these beautiful pictures and read about your experiences in your hometown Mona Liza!

  6. How wonderful to reconnect with friends and enrich Steve with such great cultural customs. Yours is a beautiful country that we would love to explore someday.

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