The Philippines’ Santiago Bay, Camotes Island

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Day 1

Better late than never. This is probably one of the most used and abused quotes in the history of human creation. You might be wondering how this is connected to the title. Well, there has not really been a great connection between the two. But it’s quite logical for me to connect it to what has really been happening around me or for that matter, the situation I was in. Before I begin, I want to warn everyone not to expect any dramatic series of unfortunate events-ish tale. It’s just the usual sentiment of a thirty something (is there really a need for me to mention this?) single, broke and lazy traveler who more often that not, would prefer to just curl up in bed or do a movie marathon the whole day through than wander to unfamiliar territories.

Now summer is over. In fact, it has been over four months ago. Tis the season for gusty winds and constant rainfalls. Not an ideal weather to go on frolicking in white sand beaches or crossing seas for an epic summer getaway. But hey, this is “the” Philippines. And in this country, summer is unpredictable. Sometimes, it even goes on the whole year round!

My daily routine consists of deafening daily alarms, dragging traffic and dull cubicles. Thanks to the Internet, I can now have easy access to the outside world while being a prisoner of my own lifestyle.

Speaking of Internet, I have this uncontrollable habit of checking vlogs of people who feature local tourist destinations. To be honest, I am more into sariling atin than soaking myself into admiring the beauties that foreign countries has to offer. Well, not that I’m a flag-waving scamp. Socioeconomic status is also one thing that I should consider. So it’s better for me to stick with local activities or having such interest for that matter.

While surfing on Facebook, I happened upon a vlog that features local beaches. I was hooked as what usually happens whenever I watch this kind of content. And one vlog led me to another vlogs and another and so on and so forth. This series of events made me realize the essence of stagnation which has greatly described my current state without me even realizing it. Then I started to notice that both my friends in the real world and in social media have gone to so many different places within the year. Others have even gone back over and over to their favorite travel destinations. One of my officemates visited Camotes Island 5 times in his lifetime. Pictures of people decorated my newsfeed. They were like telling me to go f**k myself coz I’m a loser. Then all these names of great and not-so-great places dawned on me like how they used to do flashbacks in the movies. One by one, I had to choose the best. And guess what, that invisible screen in my brain? It went entirely focused to one name out of  the many choices I had, like it was the Major Arcana of tarot cards – Camotes Island. The most accessible and common destination in North of  Cebu. Yet, one of the many that I took for granted. What do you expect? I’m a lazy, broke traveler so I’m choosing the nearest and cheapest travel destination in the world.

Of course I had to gather friends and friends of friends to make a crowd. These people were going to make the trip worthwhile. I couldn’t just go to a place as beautiful as Camotes Island and have no one to talk about how amazing the place is. That’s what happens when you are single (should I really need to mention this? I mean even this?). So I came up with roughly 12 people then went down to 3 during the actual trip. Because some people are drawing.

So enough with my useless laments and check out some of the mobile photos we got from the trip.

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So these were the good souls that went with me during my 3-hour trip to the island. This was taken inside Danao port terminal while waiting for boarding time.

We left Cebu City North Bus Terminal by minibus at around 6:30 AM. It was roughly an hour ride from North Bus Terminal to Danao City, Cebu. If you’re not familiar with the route, you need not sleep during the trip and keep asking anyone where the port is.

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This is how the port looked like. Nothing special.

At our back is the smaller Jomalia Roro vessel that took us to the island via Consuelo port. We were on board on a second trip at 8:30 AM. It was more or less a 2-hour trip. It was an average ferry where you have to sit your way thru. Good thing they have canteen that offered short meals and basic coolers.

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The weather was fine during the short voyage although LP was forecasted a day earlier.

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This is what you’ll usually see upon arrival at the port of Consuelo, Camotes Island. A colorful crowd of eager tricycle, habal-habal and jeepney drivers selling their services.

We arrived at Consuelo port at around 11:00 AM. From there, we went directly to Santiago Bay thru a rented L300 jeepney, a public beach which has the widest expanse of white shoreline, shallow waters and the freshest of air.

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The same jeepney will tour us around the island the next day. We stayed in Santiago Bay for the most part of our first day. After we set ourselves and our backpacks in our rented room, we went somewhere for fresh fish and meat. The small stalls were located somewhere in Consuelo so I think we made a U turn. It was roughly a 20-30 minute ride from Santiago Bay.

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Fish stalls somewhere in Consuelo.

It was unlikely that there were not so many seafood in an place surrounded by body of water. The variety of fish were very limited and I didn’t see any other seafood aside from fish.

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Meat stall and what not.

Again, for an already known island destination, it’s very atypical to not produce more food regardless of which area you are in the island especially wet markets because that is what tourists are expecting of an island. Seafood, fruit stand, produce, etc.

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After we had our brunch, we pitched our tent at the beachfront. We had our very first beer of the day with some house music in the background from my Sony XB10, a good start of a long and relaxing work-free day.

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My pack, enjoying the soft sand.

The beach was not crowded that day. In fact, there were only a number of us there. It was entirely free of unnecessary noise.

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See how wide the shoreline is and how fine the sands are? The place is a paradise in its own rights. Who’s not gonna love it?

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No wonder people always come back for more. Because they can’t get over with the serenity and peace of mind that the place can offer.

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At the end of the day, it is not the amount of money we spent that would only matter.

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But also the inner peace and reawakening of the spirit that the new experience and camaraderie has given us.

 

TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES
(Exclusive of tour and food expenses)

INDIVIDUAL EXPENSES

Taxi fare from downtown Cebu to North Bus Terminal ─  ₱81.00
Minibus fare from Cebu to North Bus Terminal to Port of Danao City ─  ₱40.00
Shipping fare from the Port of Danao to Camotes Island and vice versa ─  ₱420.00
V-Hire fare from Danao PUV Terminal to SM City Cebu  ─  ₱60.00
Taxi fare from SM City Cebu  to downtown Cebu ─  ₱71.00

Estimated individual expenses:  ₱672.00

GROUP EXPENSES
Vehicle rental (good for 2 days) ─  ₱2000.00
Room (good for 3 persons, additional  ₱ 100 for extra head) ─  ₱1500

 

SHIPPING SCHEDULE

FREQUENCY DEPARTURE ARRIVAL
DANAO CONSUELO

JOMALIA SHIPPING CORPORATION

SAT/SUN/MON 04:00 AM 06:60 AM
DAILY 05:30 AM 07:30 AM
DAILY 08:30 AM 10:30 AM
DAILY 11:00 PM 01:00 PM
DAILY 3:00 PM 04:30 PM
DAILY 05:30 PM 07:30 PM

JOMALIA SHIPPING CORPORATION

FRI/SAT/SUN 09:00 PM 11:00 PM

 

 

CONSUELO DANAO
DAILY 05:30 AM 07:30 AM
DAILY 09:00 AM 11:00 AM
DAILY 01:00 PM 03:00 PM
DAILY 03:00 PM 05:00 PM
DAILY 05:30 PM 07:00 PM

 

Check out some of our photo and video compilation here!

 

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