Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:
First stop on my Philippine journey: the southern tip of Leyte Island. For dives in Sogod Bay, hoping to cross the road of a whale shark…
The few tourists in the area are there for that too. Sogod Bay is known for being frequented by these nice giants of the seas.
I dream to meet again this huge shark (that I saw once in Thailand, in 2006). It is the largest fish in the world (it can exceed 10 meters, I refer you on Wikipedia) and he is totally harmless to the man (he has no teeth and feeds on plankton).
But for now, nothing! Already three days that I dive in Sogod Bay, without having crossed the shadow of the tail of a whale shark. At the same time, it's not a big deal. The coral is superb here, remarkably preserved. And the tropical underwater fauna abounds.
I indulge in nudibranchs (sea slugs) unpublished, toad fish and other critters, including a nice snake "striped knit". A tiny pink hippocampus-pygmy has even been found today.
There are not many divers on the sites. Only two-three resorts operate in the area. And then this part of the island, away from tourist routes, is not so easy to reach. Schedules of ferries departing from Cebu, the central island of Visayas, where there is the airport, are more than random.
Mine, ferry, finally, the Cebu Bato 18h that I thought to take the exit of the plane, had by chance been replaced by another ... at 13:30. That I missed. No luck. No boat to Bato ...
I fell back on that of 21h, with berths on the bridge for the cheapest tickets. But me, I traveled with the rich, tiny First Class cabin, four berths with TV (!) And air conditioning fridge. Arrival at Bato at ... 4am!
Fortunately I was able to call Sogod Bay Scuba Resort (SBSR) with whom I contacted by e-mail before departure, and they sent a guy to pick me up before dawn by car at the exit of the boat. Then, about an hour's journey from Bato to Padre Burgos, a small town at the crossroads of two roads, near which is installed the resort.
Dead Coral Beach and Sunday Mass
In this season, the wind is blowing every day on Sogod Bay. On the beach of dead corals, big sound waves crash non-stop and cradle my sleep. My room is facing the sea, at a nice lady who welcomes tourists for the resort, right next door. I like being here too. My terrace is more intimate than that of SBSR side by side cubbies.
On my right, I discern in the mist the blue shadow of Limasawa, the island where Magellan landed. It was there that the first Spanish Mass was celebrated in the Philippines in 1521 ... First stage of the Christianization of the country.
I live right in front of a chapel, which I did not notice at the moment, arriving Sunday morning, at dawn. I collapsed on my bed, exhausted, and a few hours later, happy songs woke me up. It was Sunday Mass.
In front of the chapel, a large blackboard, marked "Welcome visitors 2008". Inside, karaoke atmosphere, with a guy at the microphone to blackmail the faithful on a catchy air, everyone standing and arms raised, with words to follow, written at the bottom on a whiteboard.
Those in the back row turned with smiles and nods to watch me approach the door. A little gentleman came to shake my hand and offer me to come in. But I was hungry. I did not stay. I hello everyone like the Queen of England, and I went to the resort to have breakfast.
PS. I will fulfill my dream of meeting whale sharks on other trips, years after this first stay in the Philippines ... First in Mexico in 2014, then in the Philippines in 2018. See below these two posts: