Now that you’ve waited long enough, here’s the next leg of my Moalboal trip.
By the time we decided to leave Kawasan Falls, it was lunch time. Because I didn’t get a chance to look up places to eat at in Moalboal, I left it up to Jarel, who told me about this great food place that he was always taking his guests. A few minutes on his bike and we parked at an open-air eatery called LRR Restaurant.
The menu is rife with mostly Filipino food, and I longed for the grilled items, but because Jarel said he was buying, I didn’t want to order anything too expensive. I opted for some pork sisig, which we shared. Paired with hot rice, the sizzling platter of porky goodness really hit the spot after a long morning. But the day wasn’t over; we wrapped up our meal and got back onto the bike.
The next stop was Lambug Beach. Jarel said this place wasn’t on the radar of many tourists yet, which is good because I was looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet. When we got there, I had a sense of “Huh, that’s weird.” As I looked around, I realized this was the beach I went to with my parents almost 10 years ago. I small wave of nostalgia washed over me, especially when I saw the nipa hut where we stayed.
The water was just as blue as I remember, and the sand just as white. Some things were new (there was a concrete path stretched over the water, and a few more establishments were present, but its relative isolation felt the same. A handful of locals were up front at the karaoke bar and some were in the water, but the farther we walked, the fewer the people got. By the time we found an area to sit and take a breather, there were just a couple of foreign tourists sunbathing.
At this point, it was too hot for me to swim. Also, considering that I forgot to apply sunblock, I decided it wouldn’t be safe. We decided to park our asses in the shade of a tree and enjoy the breeze instead.
When we’d had enough, I said a silent goodbye to the beach, wondering how many years will pass this time before I can visit it again.
Now came the part I was most looking forward to: swimming with marine life. The first part would be swimming with pawikan (sea turtles), so he first took me to a hidden stretch of beach where some boats were moored. Other than the two of us and maybe a couple of fishermen on siesta, the place was deserted. I was confused because yesterday, he said our trip would only involve his motorbike. Turns out, we weren’t there to ride a boat; the area was known by locals as a place where turtles like to hang out.
Excitedly, I grabbed my snorkel gear and the GoPro I borrowed from my sister for this very reason. Jarel offered to take the videos and photos and I agreed since he was obviously the better swimmer.
In the water, I was doing my best to look for turtles, but no luck. I looked over at Jarel and saw him waving me over and frantically pointing to where he was, saying “Dito!” (“Over here!”) I swam over and looked. Sure enough, I saw the biggest pawikan I have ever witnessed swimming in the sea. From where I was (close to the surface) its shell was definitely wider than me, and it didn’t seem to care that two humans were swimming close to it and gawking. The water was silent enough that I could hear it chomping on sea grass.
Then disaster struck: not even a few minutes after taking a short video, he said the GoPro had died. What the fuck? I charged that thing before I left home. I checked the thing and sure enough, the battery was flailing. I’m not sure how it happened, but my sister later on said I must not have turned it off before packing it. Ugh. Below is the only proof that I was actually near a Moalboal pawikan.
Jarel has his own underwater camera, so he suggested swapping SDs. That way, I can still take home photos and videos even with a useless GoPro.
Jarel then called me over again to where he was. This time, I saw two much smaller sea turtles swimming close to each other. They were swimming a bit faster than the big one, so while I can swim, it was hard to keep up.
All in all, we probably saw six or seven turtles, though I have no way to confirm if they were all different. The biggest one was the standout as it kept appearing and showing off. Try as I might, I couldn’t swim down, close to where they were; the water kept pushing me up. In a few instances, though, it would break the surface to take a breath and dive back down. In one moment, I was able to softly brush my fingertips on its back, giving a mental shout-out to my sister, a big fan of sea turtles.
Later on, a few of Jarel’s relatives arrived to swim. Now I’m not being possessive, but this kind of ticked me off. One, as I established, I like isolation, and his relatives came in droves. Also, wasn’t this supposed to be my tour? All of a sudden, he was swimming with his family, taking their photos and videos. Mind you, I don’t really like having my picture taken, but again, my tour.
Good thing I’d already had my fill of sea turtles (I mean watching them, not eating them) because I suddenly felt a bit disheartened, so I got out of the water and began drying off. A few minutes later, Jarel must have noticed because he followed suit. After telling them a bit about me and that we were on a tour, he and I packed up and got on his bike again for our last stop: the sardine run. But because I feel that this has gone on too long, I’ll have to save that for another post. Hope you’ll still be here when I get around to it.
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