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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
After filling our eight days with family bonding and fun with friends in Moalboal, it was time to move on and explore another island…
Next up: Experiencing a slice of The Most Beautiful Island in the World for 2014