I spent a ton of time trying to plan out Mom and Dad’s stay. Mostly, I needed to decide exactly where to visit and which hotel to stay in. Ben can take vacation days pretty easily, but there was an important meeting he needed to attend right in the middle of Mom and Dad’s visit. This meant we couldn’t take a trip longer than 3 days–we could either take 1 short trip or 2 short trips. If you have little kids then you know half the struggle is simply getting there, but we decided to plan 2 short trips anyway.
We’ve stayed in some really terrible accommodations in the Philippines, so I wanted to make sure that we didn’t repeat those mistakes with Mom and Dad in tow. So I really did my homework this time—reading reviews and ratings on two separate websites, mapping the places on google to make sure they were close to the beach, calling ahead to get the best rate directly through the front desk. Unfortunately, even with all the preparation things did not quite go as planned.
On day 2 of Mom and Dad’s visit, we packed up the car and drove four hours to Moalboal, a diving destination on the other side of Cebu island. This was our third visit there. On top of the incredible underwater sights, it also has a good selection of restaurants and resorts. It was low tide when we got there, so we spent our first afternoon poking around in the shallow water and gathering blue starfish.
The resort in Moalboal was not as close to the beach as it appeared on Google maps. We didn’t mind the walk much, but I was glad I had just purchased a new carrier for Clementine that made it easier to put her on my back and walk long distances comfortably. I expected the heat would make Mom and Dad uncomfortable, but the combination of the heat and the jet lag took more of a toll on them than I even anticipated.
The next few days we spent snorkeling. While Ben snorkeled, Knox rode along on his back like a baby sea turtle. Eventually he conked out and we laid him on a raft tethered to to the wall.
I’ve mentioned it before, but Moalboal is best known for its sardine run. It is one of the few places on earth where you can swim with sardines without scuba equipment. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it is to swim with the sardines. It’s like being in the center of a murmuration. This video doesn’t have the best visibility (pretty murky) but it’s exactly what it’s like to swim with the sardines in Moalboal. In fact, it was taken exactly where we swim:
In addition to the sardines, there’s all sorts of underwater wildlife. The coral is beautiful, the fish are varied and plentiful, and there are also sea turtles. There was also one species we would have been happier not to see: jellyfish. Our other two visits, they haven’t been a big issue. But this time around they were everywhere. We all got stung multiple times.
Our last day, Dad arranged for us to take a boat out. We shared the boat rental with a scuba diver. She was a Chinese woman who was alone in Moalboal to do some scuba diving. She was getting ready for a visit to the United States. She picked Dad’s brain about which state park to visit. We went out and got to see other varieties of fish than were visible right by the shore. The highlight was the needlefish. We also saw mackerel schools. It was a stunningly beautiful day, and Knox and Clementine were thrilled to be on a boat. In fact, they’re a little too comfortable on boats.
Then we headed back to Cebu!