The Philippines – White Beach Moalboal
So finally I sit down at the computer to write something for myself. Ooops...sorry...for my dear readers! I will confess that the last four months have proved a little isolationist in many respects and I’m sorry not to have been able to involve myself in matters other than work. I’ll not go on about that particular matter now, other than to say it’s been a pretty tough period, but work has been significantly better than last year. Hard work never killed anyone, I’ve heard it said, but this belies the number of people taken seriously ill through over doing it, whether this be at the coalface, office desk or in a classroom! Balance is what is required and I have failed miserably to find that since August. I intend to relaunch my blog with a piece on our recent Philippines trip and will attempt to fill in the missing quarter in a later offering.
A quick glance at a globe, or a two-dimensional world map for that matter, will provide clear evidence of the distance between Doha and the Filipino archipelago. Quite obviously our choice of Cebu Island for a one week holiday destination was not made due to its proximity to our place of abode! The fact that Qatar Airways offer direct flights was a factor; the fact that it is one of their cheaper routes was another, more significant, determinant. (Just as a casual aside the slightly shorter flight to Johannesburg is 57% more expensive with Qatar Airways than to Cebu. (Please see my piece on Qatar Airways Pricing Policy if you want the full low down; this comparison was based on 29 November for one week.)
Just prior to our trip Qatar Airways blessed me with their “Silver Privilege Club” membership before we departed. Basically this mean they have ignored everything I’ve written about them being major rip off merchants and I will confess it brings with it various benefits. One of these is the airport lounge in Doha, which has a few soft seats on which to rest your weary behind before take-off. In many airports this is provided for all travellers! Another plus is an extra few kilos of baggage allowance; which is a distinct benefit when travelling with Andrea! Finally the icing on the cake is to be allowed to use the Business Class check in, which can be a huge boon if there are long queues, and although this doesn’t really satisfy my left wing inclinations, it puts a big smile on Andrea’s face!
It’s a nine hour flight to Cebu and ten on the return leg; it was the westbound journey that proved the killer and the massive immigration and taxi queues at Doha have forced us to the conclusion that we must get the e-immigration cards. Getting back home at one in the morning when work starts at seven really doesn’t sit well with my aging body. Still I run ahead of myself, chronologically speaking, as we haven’t departed on holiday yet as regards my tale.
We had booked a taxi transfer through our hotel; it is a three hour journey and it seemed prudent to pre-book. The problem was that the lift did not turn up; an irritating hour and a half after clearing customs we finally secured an alternative ride. This wasn’t for the lack of taxis, or willing drivers, it was the time taken attempting to find our planned ride and then trying to contact the hotel to find out his whereabouts. When we finally set off, our driver, already an octogenarian at least, had slipped into his nineties. The delay also meant that we spent almost the entire journey in darkness; something both of us always find irritating when we’re trying to orientate ourselves.
Our destination was Moalboal or, to be more precise, the low lying peninsula lying to the west of Moalboal, on the western shores of Cebu Island. Further west, some 15 kilometres across the Tanon Strait, lies Negros Island; clearly visible and equally clearly beset by thunderstorms on a daily basis during our holiday. It might surprise some of you but these travelogue type blogs are quite often used by folk researching holiday destinations so it seems only right to let them know that we were there from the 5th to the 12th November.
Our taxi driver was not au fait with the Moalboal resorts and it took some time before he (mainly me actually) located the Ravanala Resort and we were able to settle in for the night. The resort consisted of a group of bungalows, set in tropical gardens leading directly to the beach and seemed quiet delightful; a perfect setting for a week away from it all. In fact the place had a few downsides.