Philippines: Visayas - February 2008
Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
Since my arrival Dumaguete, DauinOn Monday, the weather remains gloomy, between light grey and wet grey. It's raining under a sky of low clouds, which envelop the surrounding mountains and volcanoes with mist. It's not a big deal, under water, we are wet anyway!
The diving here is fantastic, the sites live up to their reputation, especially the reefs ofApo Island. But I'll come back to that...
Twin Lakes Excursion
Tuesday, before attacking for good the dives, I allowed myself a day of walk. A trip to the park of Twin Lakesthe twin lakes, three quarters of an hour drive from Dauin.
Lake Balinsasayao, about twenty kilometers from Dumaguete.
The tour is offered by The Lighthouse agency, run by a Swiss-German couple, next to the resorts Pura Vida and Eldorado.
On the program: a short walk on a path of big slippery stones in the mountains, between the lakes. Balinsasayao and Danao. The view is beautiful, despite the rain.
The misty rainforest where our small group (our Swiss-German guide Bettina, two German women, an American from Michigan and me) is progressing is easy to access.
Full of huge trees and more or less friendly critters to observe, from the dreaded millipedes of great size lurking under the ferns (their bites can be quite painful) to a majestic eagle, flying over the canopy of the trees.
On the way, we cross two cute kids, who take shelter under big leaves picked in the jungle, as an umbrella.
It is a popular place for walking. There are benches and awnings, sometimes with barbecue, on the banks of the first lake. Canoes can be rented and boats can be used.
But here, with the rain and the wind, we prefer to stay under the cover of the "rainforest", well named for the fact.
The walk is followed by a picnic by the lake, then, on the way back, a short stop at Dumaguete or I have to change money.
The operation is done in the street of the church, near the central park, with guys wearing caps and carrying calculators, their pockets filled with bundles of bills. They offer a more interesting rate than the banks. The place is known. Even the local hoteliers change their money here.
The old tower of the church of Dumaguete, in the Spanish style, made of coral stone.
Dumaguete is a big university town. Tricycles are everywhere, the atmosphere is pleasant, the streets are very lively.
The market is huge and I take the opportunity to try some local sweets. The sticky rice sticks with chocolate in their banana leaf, it's great! Except that afterwards we have a lot of them. I try not to stick too much on the camera...
Merchant of "bondieuseries" in front of the church of Dumaguete.
While strolling, I take some pictures of the church, of the vendors of bondieuseries, of the market, and of the kitschissime statue paying homage to the seven Sisters of Saint-Paul de Chartres, missionaries who landed here in 1904.
The kitsch statue of the sisters of Saint-Paul de Chartres.
The market of Dumaguete.
Then back to the black sand beach of Dauin, where the Germans are the most represented nationality, Pura Vida as at theEldorado. Because of them, everything was "fully booked" on my arrival, Monday.
But a nice guy in the street steered my tricycle driver towards a more modest resort, the Puerto Cita's, unknown to Lonely Planet, located right next to the Pura Vida. There was room. Night at 950 pesos.
Very charming family welcome, small but impeccable rooms in wooden buildings around a garden, with terrace. No restaurant, but we have a small fridge and a kitchen if you want to eat. Tea and coffee are available. I will stay there only one night, before moving to theEldorado, a bit more expensive, but more comfortable, which has availability from the next day.
I will learn about diving with Sea Explorers, the diving center of the Pura Vida, managed by a Frenchman, Hervé, moreover Breton, from Quimper. He puts me on the list for the three dives Apo the next day. Yippee!