Hello Philippines!

street scene in Cebu city

After a long trip Lyon – Paris – Dubai – Cebu, I finally arrived in Philippines ! Cebu is the second biggest city of the country after Manila, lots of travelers choose this destination to join the touristic islands.

My first impression was « Wouah ! This is Philippines ! », it reminded me of Cairo where I lived for three years : people and noise everywhere you go, but you never feel unsafe…well this « bazar » was even reassuring.

In Philippines, you should take your time, but don’t worry, the long queue for white taxis (because the yellow ones are much more expensive, they don’t use a meter !) outside the airport will teach you patience. After 30 minutes of waiting, here we go !

First thing to know, if you are particularly stressed on the road, take some pills, then if you are an adventurer you should enjoy your travel ! I think one of the first rules here is : « always use your horn, never your rear-view mirrors ! »…I might get my driving licence here !

I stayed at the Tropical Hostel where I shared a room with five other people, most of them were backpackers. I met Thomas, a British guy who was travelling in Southeast Asia since last December and Manoëlle, a Belgian girl who spent three weeks in Philippines and was on her way back-home. We went to the restaurant and to the cinema, funny first night in Cebu city !

Wandering around Cebu City you find many small chapels in unexpected places
A quiet backstreet in the heart of the city
Escaping from the city means escaping from the relentless traffic

26 April – Another great day today ! I am leaving for Malapascua island where I will join the PepSea team !

Took my time this morning so I only had a walk in the streets near the hostel, I get lost a moment but finally found my way back. Filipinos looked surprised to see a tourist walking in those streets, most of them will talk with you, even if it is just a « hello » (something incredible in France but completely normal in Philippines), and this is really welcoming.

My first malapascua sunset from the People and the Sea office.

11:00 am : Time to leave the hostel and go to the airport where I will meet Annelise, another PepSea volunteer just arrived in the morning !

(Anecdote: I was in a taxi going to the airport and Eduardo, the driver, was talking about a new bus that also goes to the airport and insisted on the cheap price, 25 pesos (approximately 0,50 euros while a taxi course costs 200 pesos). I told him that I was okay with the taxi and didn’t understand why he was talking about his « competitor », but then he insisted and five minutes later, stopped the car and said « here we are ! ». We were not at the airport but at the bus station ! In fact, he didn’t want to drive me to the airport because there was traffic jams. Finally he had a great idea even if I was a little bit angry and surprised at first, the public bus service was really good and completely new – it was launched on mid-April –  I get to the airport really quickly (30 min) !

Morality : close your mouth and listen to Filipinos’ advice, they know their country better than you do )

Click here to read more stories about life on Malapascua

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