Over the previous bank holiday weekend I went on my first weekend excursion from Hong Kong. I was lucky enough to have the Friday off school as well (teacher training day in Cantonese) so me and my fellow English Teacher Jess booked a quick getaway to the Philippines!
There's one direct flight going from Hong Kong to Cebu airport each morning at 9, we decided to stay on Mactan island, where the airport is, as we were craving some beach time after our Easter city break to Beijing. A short pleasant journey (I think around six hours in total) from my flat in Mong Kok to our beach side resort in paradise. It was a great reminder of what a wonderful travel base Hong Kong is. We stayed in be resorts, a lovely boutique resort, complete with outdoor infinity pool, a marvellous cocktail bar and a great buffet breakfast included in the price of the room.
I was a bit worried that the trip would feel a bit rushed given we were only there for two full days and two half days, but we actually had a great balance of activities and relaxation time.
As my last trip to the Philippine's was to Boracay, is was nice to see a bit more local life and experience a Philippine city as well as enjoying the beautiful beaches. Not that there isn't any local life in Boracay, but the ratio of tourists to locals is definitely a lot higher! We had more opportunity to talk to the wonderful people of the Philippine's, definitely the friendliest country I have ever been to.
One the first day we went on a boat trip, I got horribly sunburnt but it was a great day.
Where we stopped for lunch
Our fresh seafood meal
Doing a spot of fishing, I caught three fish!
We hired a boat from a guy we got talking to just outside the resort. He was really nice, the price was reasonable and we had a whole boat to ourselves, but we did end up spending quite a bit more then expected given that he had told us a set price (charges such snorkelling fees, and we had a coconut incident not dissimilar to the one I had in Vietnam with a salesman in the snorkelling area, he gave us a coconut without asking if we wanted it then charged a fortune once we had finished it. Lesson: be wary of men with coconuts!) Still the amount we spent over the whole day was still very reasonable - the Philippine's is very cheap, just watch out for additional charges on day trips like this.
On the second day we went into Cebu to visit the historic area and check out city life in the Philippine's. We had a free guided tour around the beautiful Fort San Pedro - our guide was marvellous and we learnt some genuinely interesting things about life in the Philippine's during the Spanish era.
Some local children at the Tabo-an market.
A great weekend, a day at sea, a bit of shopping, a bit of history, wonderful people, lots of Chi-Chi cocktails from the Salt bar at be resort (freshly blended pineapple, coconut milk, coconut rum and vodka) and a well needed break from my currently very hectic Hong Kong life!
It's definitely more fun in the Philippine's!