After visiting Tumalog Falls, we went back to Oslob for lunch and found a tiny pizza joint (we could only find 1 other restaurant and we had already been warned against it by others staying at the hotel). We could see into the “kitchen,” which was simply a few tables, some small appliances, a tabletop pizza oven and a refrigerator. After ordering, the waitress/chef (sole employee) opened the window and spoke to someone outside. Then she got to work chopping some vegetables. She came back in a bit and told us it would be a bit of a wait because someone had gone to get the pizza dough. After about thirty minutes, that someone returned to the window, and five minutes later two pizzas were placed on the table. Even though they smelled really good, I didn’t have high expectations. But they were delicious–some of the best pizza we’ve had in the Philippines. We spent the afternoon playing in the sand and swimming. Clementine loved swimming in the ocean, even with some small waves. I can’t express how happy that made me.
That evening, Ben sat and talked with a Dutch man also staying at our hotel. They sat looking out over the ocean, comparing notes on European travelers versus American travelers. Ben was amused at one of the man’s observations. After talking about what Americans do and think for a little bit, he concluded: “Americans just stereotype everyone too much.” Ha.
We had planned to get up Monday and drive back to Cebu. But Oslob had been a bit of a disappointment for us. Most people go there to swim with whale sharks, which we weren’t ready to do with the babies (we hope to do it some other time). We didn’t realize that aside from whale sharks, there isn’t much to do in Oslob. The beaches aren’t that great where we were, and the waterfall expedition only took an hour or two. So we decided to drive down around the southern tip of the island and drive north along the west coast, up to Moalboal.
When we got to Moalboal, we thought “Now this is more like it.” This was a self-respecting tourist spot–restaurants, dive shops, hostels, etc. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant overlooking the coral reef, and watched as scuba divers dropped into the water from boats or waded in from land.
After lunch, we went to a dive shop nearby and asked if we could use their entry point to do some snorkeling. “Yes!” They said we could change there, leave the baby there, rent some life jackets there, whatever we needed. So we did! While Ben and the boys got changed into their suits and snorkel gear, I managed to get Clementine to sleep in her stroller. Then we left her in the back of the dive shop and descended the steps to the coral reef. Ben and I took turns keeping Knox, while the other went out and snorkeled. It was a blast. Ben and I have only snorkeled one other time in Mexico. And it was the first time for Daniel and Zion.
The reef was a sort of plateau along the beach varying from 3 to 8 feet deep. Then about forty feet out, there was a steep drop-off to 150 feet. Every time I swam out to the edge of the plateau and tried to steel my nerve to dive down and investigate the wall of the reef a bit, I pictured myself as Nemo at The Drop-Off. I pictured all the enormous sea creatures that were lurking just out of view, and then I quickly swam back to where I could see the ocean floor.
No sooner had Ben taken his first little jaunt to the edge than he saw a sea turtle. Daniel saw a puffer fish, all puffed up. And Ben, Daniel, and Zion got to swim with a sardine school, which is one of the things Moalboal is famous for. I’m only a wee bit jealous about the turtle and sardines.
We all got to see these fantastic starfish:
Sorry I don’t have pictures of our underwater adventures, but we don’t own a GoPro, and the entire point of this post is just to get my dad excited about coming to visit. And also to try to lure a few more of you out to Cebu.
That afternoon we drove back to Cebu City via a pass through the mountains. Clementine screamed for much of the last couple hours while we were stuck in traffic, but the next morning she had her very first brand new tooth. So we forgave her.