The Philippines is made up of more than 7000 islands, and we have no intention of ticking them all off during our time here, but a couple of recent trips have taken our total to 7.
After a late night on Easter eve for the post-vigil karaoke session, we were up early the next morning for a return trip to Bohol, the island we visited after Christmas. We would be back in the classroom on the Tuesday so spent just one night in the jungle hideaway of Nuts Huts. Although it wouldn’t always be convenient, I do approve of places you can only reach on foot: it gives a certain satisfaction to arriving! Not that we were energetic all the time: there was a lot of sitting admiring the view; but we did also kayak up stream to the nearby waterfalls, where, somewhat to my own surprise, I managed to get back into the kayak without capsizing it after a swim in the refreshingly cool plunge pool.
A week later we were back at the port, this time heading to the fabled city of Dumaguete on Negros. Fabled, because, home to one of the other Salesian communities in the Philippines South province, Dumaguete is spoken of with great love by the community here, all of whom would quite like to be assigned there ... and after a couple of days, it was easy to see why it might be a more popular place to stay than Cebu. A much smaller city than Cebu, Dumaguete is quieter, calmer and altogether more attractive. Appeal undoubtedly added to by its sea front promenade and beach, sea you could happily swim in, and spectacular countryside in easy striking distance, including the 30m Casaroro falls. Less accessible since typhoon Sendong destroyed the access path and bridge, it was well worth the scramble over the rocks and through the river to find them.