There comes a time when men have to bond with their fellow men. A time of overflowing testosterone and masculinity. This is Sausage Fest 2013! Kidding aside, we wanted to go back to Mantalip and it just so happens that all us cousins who could come were guys.
All of us who came on the trip had been to Mantalip at least once except for one. I brought some of them in 2011 when they volunteered to help in my field work (the original Sausage Fest). Since then they’ve wanted to come back for some R&R and snorkeling.
I on the other hand, have wanted to visit Dauin since I first heard about its MPAs. I was never able to visit it despite being in the vicinity for close to a year so I suggested including it in the itinerary.
So it was that we got into our cousin’s car at 345 AM and started down the southbound road to Liloan. We were able to get the 730 AM RoRo to Sibulan via Maayo Shipping Lines (1280 PHP roundtrip inclusive of 2 passengers + 70 PHP per additional passenger) and settled down in a nearby carinderia for breakfast. We decided to buy our supplies for Mantalip in Robinsons Dumaguete so to pass the time until it opened we headed straight for Dauin.
Our cousin who has been to Dauin before brought us to Bongo Bongo Divers. Supposedly there is a 50 PHP fee for snorkelers and a 150 PHP fee for divers of the house reef near the dive shop. The latter is included when you avail of the fun dive (1150 PHP including all equipment and divemaster) but the former is collected at the shore. As we later found out, the non-divers in the group weren’t able to pay the fee since no one collected from them. Divers with cameras are also charged 250 PHP as a camera fee but snorkelers apparently are exempt. Our dive master Marvin suggested we hide the cameras until we were underwater already.
I had no idea what to be expect from Dauin. I only heard about how well managed the MPAs are, similar to Apo Island (which is also a part of the municipality). Once we got in the water I immediately regretted not bringing my underwater camera with me. I brought my Go Pro but left my Canon in Manila due to space limitations. This was macro heaven! Gurnards, sea moths, frog fish, scorpionfish, ghost pipe fish and cuttlefish were just a few of the varied sea life we encountered. Sadly, macro is the weakness of the Go Pro. I couldn’t frame the shots or see it the subject is in focus. I was still able to get some good footage as I later found out but nowhere near as good in terms of photos.
After satisfying dives for divers and snorkelers (they saw a turtle) alike we headed to Dumaguete for supplies and lunch before going on the road north to Bindoy. I paid Mayor Yap a courtesy visit and he was very gracious in making sure we were ready for the overnight. I was even able to borrow a cooler for the night since we forgot to bring our own.
Mantalip now has an array of solar panels installed which can support the light and charging of small electronic devices like phones. We arrived at the station around 530 PM already so we decided to swim the following day. The night was spent bonding over drinks and a very not-so-funny Jackass Movie. As always, overnights in Mantalip are nice and isolated from the rest of the world.
All of us were up early the following day to welcome the sun rise and start the day with a nice long dip in the ocean before breakfast. Thankfully, the sea was calm and clear and these are the best conditions for underwater addicts like us. Fish are always plentiful in Mantalip although not always the largest (yet) and we saw the usual array of parrotfishes, damselfish, surgeonfishes, needlefish and even a large octopus.
By the time we got back to the mainland it was almost lunch time but we went directly to Dumaguete hoping to get a bite to eat there. Time wasn’t on our side as the RoRo back to Cebu was about to leave when we got to Sibulan. So we got a light snack instead while waiting for the ferry to leave. To end on a high note, we had the best summer snack in Cebu, a Cool Savers Halo-halo/Mais con Yelo.
Another year, another fun sausage fest!