Exploring Tudela The sun was finally up after a few days of drizzling - time to saddle up again and explore other parts of Camotes Islands. I've already visited the nearby barangays so I decided to go further out to Tudela - the last municipality within the Camotes mainland.
Getting There The road leading to Tudela from San Francisco is mostly paved - about 90%. The 10% is currently being paved. In a few months, I could imagine the concrete road to fully extend the distance. Halfway to Tudela is the municipality of Poro. I've been to Poro a few times, but it was a good coffee break before I resume my ride. The ride was entirely a scenic coastal spectacle - the water to my right and the mountain to my left.
Pink Bike I was using a pink ladies' bike complete with a front basket and a broad cushiony saddle. It wasn't designed to take the kind of riding I usually do, so I'm gentle with it. It's a typical Japanese surplus bike - used and already disposed of in Japan, but still golden in this third world country. It suited me just as fine. The basket was handy for my backpack - better there than on my back. It would still be more reliable than brand new local bikes at the same price level. I'm just grateful to have a bike to use - otherwise it's an expensive motorcycle ride!
Tudela Poblacion Finally, I reached Tudela. With it's coastal frontage, clean water and sleepy town demeanor, it seemed perfect for a weekend hideaway. I roamed a bit, talking to locals who seemed curious about this new face in town - who is Tagalog! I found them helpful and friendly.
Pension Houses Curious what kind of lodging they have here, I asked around. Given the right setting (fronting the sea or high enough for a view), adequate amenities (wifi) and right price, I don't mind moving here when my month is up in San Francisco. Of the 4 lodging places available, none made the grade. Maratas had a spectacular view but at P5k/month with no wifi, it was a deal breaker. Jean (Martinez) was cheap at P1,500/month but no beach, no view and no wifi. Oh well, my digs in San Fran ain't that bad anyway.
Busay Falls It was while leaving Tudela when I saw a sign to Busay Falls. Having biked 12 kms under the heat, it was too tempting. From the paved road, it was still a hike along single foot tracks crossing 2 streams until I reached it. It was a refreshing dip to say the least. The falls is small and manicured to smoothen the otherwise limestone sharpness. The pool has been worked-on for a flat bottom. It resembled more a swimming pool than a waterfall plunge pool.
Ending Thoughts I could have ventured further to McArthur for Bukilat Cave, then to Villahermosa for snorkeling in their coral reef, then to Puertobello, Rizal, San Jose, Adela, Esperanza, Mercedes and back to San Fran, practically circumnavigating the west Camotes Island. It was such a great distance for a demure lady's bike. Besides, I already had my fill for the day. I'll be here awhile - no need to rush things.
Camotes Islands is a group of islands composed of 4 municipalities:
San Francisco - this is the biggest municipality covering the West major island. Its town center is the busiest with the market, eating places, live music and the Baywalk. The beach resort clusters, however, are concentrated in Santiago Bay, Mangodlong and Esperanza
Poro - Poro is on the other big island to the East. It has its own port and the town center is likewise busy
Pilar - this occupies the small north east island
the busy area where most of the social gatherings take place, eating places, is located at the Baywalk area of San Francisco, 30 mins by motorcycle from the Consuelo Port. Travellers usually stay in their resort outside the Baywalk
the resorts in Camotes Island are scattered around the island. There are none around the Baywalk area of San Francisco
perhaps the only downside to Camotes Island is the inescapable deafening sound of karaoke - it is played very loud and it's everywhere. In Baywalk, there are 3 karaoke bars beside each other going full blast all at the same time
Camotes Island Cost Index
(US$1 = Php 49.82 as of Jan 15, 2017)
PHP 100 habal-habal ride from Consuelo Port to San Francisco
PHP 55 Pale Pilsen beer
PHP 10/pax regular fare for habal-habal within San Francisco
PHP 500/tour habal-habal rate for island tour up to 2 pax
PHP 800/tour tricycle rate for island tour up to 4 pax
Cebu City to Camotes Island
via Poro - from Pier One in Cebu City, take the Ocean Jet for Poro, 2 hours, daily trip - 6am and 3pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).
via Consuelo - from Cebu City, take the northbound bus passing through Danao and get off at the Danao Port. At the Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
Camotes Islands to Cebu City
Poro - Cebu City (fastest and most direct) - go to Poro and take the 8am or 5pm Ocean Jet to Pier One in Cebu City, P380/pax/aircon, 2 hours
Consuelo - Danao - Cebu City - go to Consuelo (San Francisco) and take the Jomalia Shipping boat to Danao, P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only). From Danao, take the Ceres Bus to Cebu City
Cebu City to Dumaguete, Negros Oriental by Boat
George and Peter Lines - Mon/Thur/Sat/Sun 10pm, (035)225.4337, 0922.557.1023
Oceanjet - via Tagbilaran, daily 6am, email@example.com, 0918.898.2188
Cokaliong - Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 7pm, Sun 12pm, 6 hours, (035)225.3599
Danao to Camotes Island
via Consuelo - at the Danao Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
via Poro - at the Danao Port, take the Super Shuttle Ferry for Poro (Camotes), P?/pax, 3 hours, daily trip - 9:00am and 5:00pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).
Camotes Island to Danao
via Consuelo - go to Consuelo (San Francisco) and take the Jomalia Shipping boat to Danao, P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
via Poro - take the Super Shuttle Ferry in Poro (Camotes) for the Danao Port, P?/pax, 3 hours, daily trip - 5:00am and 1:00pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).