Thursday, September 27, 2007

Malapascua Island



i just wanted to get out singapore for a while. spend a few days on the beach and explore cebu and bohol with friends. i was sort of hoping i can also dive which i wasnt sure i still can because i havent gone diving in years.

Day 1

we arrived on the island a few hours after lunch time, we were tired and hungry and we just checked in on the first resort we saw. it turned out be an excellent idea because we got a beach-front bungalow for only P2000 with free breakfast, very very cheap since june is not a peak season anymore haha! after congratulating ourselves on getting a top-notch accomodation, we head out to the nearby ging-ging's eatery for food. i couldnt remember what we had for lunch now, all i can recall were the horrible horrible flies. they were everywhere even with the electric fan in the background - so while we were eating, one of us was trying to keep the flies away.

we found a dive resort soon after, and the divemaster said i can still dive(yes!) as long as i take a check-up dive first. he said i can take my check-up dive first thing the following day, around 6am just in time to see the thresher sharks. huwaaat?! i was scared and excited at the same time but looking back now, i was really scared. so i backed out which wasnt like me at all. i never back out. "patay kung patay" or "never say never" used to be my mantra haha.

i just wasnt ready to see sharks yet so i signed up for a safer dive, id be very happy to see small fish and corals. jao on the other hand, signed up for the thresher shark dive. angas! divers go to malapascua to swim with the thresher sharks, they are big but harmless and very famous for their exceptionally long and thresher-like tails. they live in deep waters but swim daily on monad shoal dive spot to be cleaned by cleaner fish.

jac, jao and i swam for awhile while my sister slept. it was quite nice, the sand wasnt that fine but it was very peaceful. there were only a handful of visitors on the island and most are divers. after watching the beautiful sunset(no tripod!), we tried the la isla bonita for dinner. the food was very good especially the fish sarsiado.

at night, the island is dark and quiet. community generator only runs during the day and only a handful resorts has 24 hour electricity. we spent our nights lying on the beach, counting shootings stars until we get sleepy. (bring a torch)

Day 2
i woke up to the sound of the ocean waves and jao's silly grin. she just got back from her thresher shark dive and she saw one, gedemit! it was a very fast sighting but she had a glimpse so she's a one happy diver. we had our breakfast and then it was time to go to the dive shop for my check-up dive. only jao and i will be diving, jac will just hang out with us and snorkel while my sister will just stay on the island. bonch didnt want to snorkel, had a bad experince snorkeling before so i let her be. she said she'll do some exploring.

jao picked the dive site which is gato island. it was around 45 minutes from the beach and while on the boat, the dm was briefing/ refreshing me on the dive stuff i need to remember later. upon reaching the island, we geared up and started my check-up dive. the dm checked if i still know how to clear my mask, equalize, recover my regulator and other basics.

he signalled after some minutes that i am ready and i should follow him and jao, our first sighting was a cuttlefish couple. they were quite big, about the size of my hand and very cute. we saw some fish i could not identify and then the dm started to put his right hand on his forehead like a salute but pointing upwards. jao did the same and started pointing at me, i didnt know what that hand signal meant but i assumed its a warning to be careful that i might hit my head. i followed the dm and he gestured me to swim closer to what seemed a hole on the wall, he then pointed his flashlight inside it. inside were 3 white tip sharks sleeping! weee! we also saw a solitary white tip shark swimming in open, we just stayed on our spot and let him swim his slow swim.

everything after that was a breeze, we got back on the boat and then i started to feel very dizzy and nauseous. i think i slept for an hour, ate the boatmen's leftover lunch and then i was ready for the second dive. second dive was almost the same, jao reckons we saw the same cuttlefish and sharks but we also saw some nudibranch, lionfish, seasnakes and a seahorse.

we were already tired by the time we got back on the resort. we had our dinner again at ging ging's (no more pesty flies by the way), and just stayed on the beach for awhile lying under the stars.

Day 3
we rented habal-habal or motorbikes to take us around the island. the plan was to see the lighthouse which required a little bit of trekking. it was fun taking pictures with the lighthouse, we were jumping all over the place. the island was very small, the habal-habal was able to take us around in 2 hours.

we tried to look for dive shirts but with no luck, and then it was already checkout time. 2 days and 2 nights is just too short really, someday i'll come back for those thresher sharks.

sleeping white tip sharks*

how to get there:
from mactan airport, take a cab to north bound terminal. take the bus bound for 'maya bagay' (P60) which took us almost 5 hours. from maya, take the pump boat to malapascua (P40).

where to stay:
we stayed at cocobana beach resort. P2000 for a beach front bungalow with free breakfast for 4 people on a low season

dive shop:
dan's dive, cheapest dive on the island. it cost me P3060 for 1 check-up dive and 2 open water dive + environmental fee and additional fuel charge. (P1175 per dive)

more photos on my smugmug

* the sleeping white tip sharks photo is from www.malapascua.net

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sava Sprints


spc men's crew sa boat 3. sava sprints - 15-16 sept 2007

sabi ko sa sarili ko, matapos lang ang sava sprints ay magre-retire na ako sa pagpa paddle. parang nagsasawa na kase ako, gusto ko naman mag concentrate sa ibang bagay. kung ano ang bagay na yun, di pa talaga ako sigurado. pero ngayong tapos na ang sava, naisip ko isa pa kayanga karera - talagang last na.


spc mixed crew. first heat namin ito, umabot kami sa semis at plate finals. ako yung nasa 3rd seat sa kanan.


syempre dumating sina neil at joe para sumuporta :)


sumali rin pala ang pnp team. nakuha nga nila ang gold sa 200m at 500m. hanep! (naka-gold din pala ang women's team ng aqua fortis ng pinas)


habang naghihintay kami ng table sa hawker sa khatib para sa post-race dinner. dami na naming pinoy sa team, mahigit 10 na yata.

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