We took a bus from the bus terminal in Tagbilarean, close to the Island City Mall. It was a big green-yellow bus that had good seats and lot’s of space – going straight to Anda! Great. The ride was 80php per person, and took about 2 hours (100 km).
We thought we would have people offering us hotel when we got of the bus or something in Anda, but nothing – it was just a very sleepy small village center. A tricycle driver came to us and asked us where we had our accommodation, and we said we didn’t have anything booked yet.. And he was like ”oh, ok. There are some accommodations on that street there, you can walk there” and showed us where to go, about 100m away. We almost wanted to pay him just because he was so sweet and not annoying at all, haha.
We walked into 4 different accommodations, one was super fancy – like a small apartment with kitchen and everything, for about 1500 php per night, but the building didn’t have anything else but rooms, no hang out area or anything. The other three places were just a room with a bed in someone’s house, about 600 php per room. We looked a little bit online if there was some cheap resort here, and found one at Anda the Boracay offering a good price, about 1400 for a big room with sea view. We went there, but they didn’t have any rooms for less than 2000 php per night to offer, but we could still book it online for the cheaper price, so we did. Haha. So for 4 nights we are paying about 6100 pesos (118 euros/130 usd), which is quite good for this kind of luxurious accommodation! The resort has a pool, restaurant, massage, gym, shop and everything, and our room is perfect – with tv, AC, a really good bed with good pillows, bathroom, desk and everything. We are super happy we chose this place!
The pool was full of children when we arrived, it’s like the towns own local swimming pool, it costs 100php for them to use it. I like that this place isn’t exclusive and that the locals people can enjoy it too! ;)
After having a good dinner overlooking the sea, we walked along the Anda beach. We had some coffee at the only other restaurant/bar on the beach, the Old Castle. So happy to have real brewed coffee! And watch sunset :) The beach is really nice, it’s very tranquil since it’s not so much people here, and there is a breeze all the time, it was even a little bit chilly at night! Anda is really lovely, just what we had been looking for!!
At night, since it was Saturday, our resort had a live band playing there. When we checked in they told us if we were ok with the noice, ”yeah sure!” we said – and yeah, our room was just above where they were playing! Haha. So we sat by the restaurant having a few beers and watching the band. It was crowded with lots of local people, everybody in this town and the small towns next to Anda comes here for the weekends for some party :) They really like to party here in Philippines, more like hang out with a lot of people and drink beer – it’s true the philipinos are the latins of Asia, haha.
The band greeted us guests here, ”and Sofia Armenteros from Sweden” hehe. We were like 5 guests or something, the rest – over another 100 guests or more – were only locals enjoying their Saturday night here hehe. We had a bunch of guys talking to us and wanted us to dance haha, but we were happy to just sit and listen to the band.
Next day, a little hangover, we had a big breakfast at the café Coco Loco – yuuuuummmiiiiii!!! A little bit expensive, but so good with whole what brown bread and home made marmelade and everything. Loved the fruit, coffee, omelette… Just great! The owners are and english-slovakian couple with 2 kids, and they have been living here in Anda for 4 years!
We saw that they had vegetarian hamburgers there in the menu too, so we had to come back to eat dinner here! Twice! Hehe. I’ve been craving vegetarian hamburgers for a while now! :) We had a couple of artisanian beers from the Philippines, french fries and first night I had the sweet potato burger and Duilio had the beef hamburger. The second night I had the coconut burger :) Delicious!! Truly made with love.
In the evening they had some live music, a few guitars and singing, very small scale and acoustic, but it was cozy. All though they were drowned by the roosters that was just beside the house, and the karaoke from every house around. The philipinos really love the kareoke.. aaaall day singing, seriously, for like 6 hours in a row or even longer!
Sunday is a family day and the Anda beach is public and a lot of families and kids from the towns around Anda come to spend the whole day here, eating and enjoying some bath. Allthough the water is reeeeally shallow here, I couldn’t bath more than my feet, Duilio went out like 150 meters to have water up to his thies, haha. But another day there was actually a little higher, it changes a lot during the day too. But it’s nice, especially for kids :)
It’s still very quiet and peaceful in Anda, there are like 5 other tourists in Anda at the same time which we saw either in our resort, or in Coco Loco, or in the Old castle, like ”Ah, that’s the couple from the breakfast” ”ah, that’s the family from the beach” haha. :) You also see the same locals here, I love that they always greet ”Hello, good morning, how are you?” :) I got a lot of comments about my hair again, hehe. People can’t really believe it’s real haha.
We hung out quite much in the Old castle during the days and sat there in their sun chairs and had some juice or shake or coffee or ice cream haha. We also arranged the diving, Anda Divers have their office there.
We went out for a 2-dive around the area of Anda, well, we had to take a van to another town about 10 minutes away from where the boat can actually anker to, because it’s to shallow here in Anda Beach. We were 5 divers and the instructor, well actually two of the divers were dive masters, german, and then one older man from France and me and Duilio. On the first dive the instructor and the french man dived together and me and Duilio went with the other two dive masters. We went down to about 25m along a wall, there is a place where there usually are many many different kind of sea horses, but it was quite current and sea horses are quite bad swimmers, they can’t hold on, so we only saw one :( We saw cuttlefish and nudy branches, and a a couple of turtles too :)The visibility wasn’t so good on the first dive.
The second dive spot was in ”Coral Garden”, and it really was a coral garden. Beautiful – so many different kind of corals everywhere – in all colors and shapes. And here we saw many many turtles! They like to hang out there, so we could really be close to them, like 1-2 meters, very cool. The visibility was a lot better on the second dive too, so we enjoyed it more.
We were supposed to be back around 13-14, but instead the boat took us to the dive resort that the dive shop has and where the germans where staying, which wasn’t even in Anda, we had a few beers and wrote or dive logs there, and then we took the van back to us, about 40 minutes drive or something. So we weren’t back until 17. The owner Michael was very sorry for this, he was waiting for us at the place where he dropped us of, wondering where we were, haha.
But it was ok for us, much longer day than expected, we had only bought some fruit to eat in between the dives since we thought we were going to eat lunch around 14, so when we got back we were quite hungry. We tried the ”Food court” they have here in town, and it was great! They had like 20 different dishes to choose from, half of them vegetarian, and 30php per serving. So for both of us we paid a total of 140php for lunch (3 euro/usd). :)
There isn’t much to do in Anda, just relax. There is a couple of attractions, one of them visiting a small island where there is some witch thing, we had plans on doing that but in the end we didn’t.. haha. Time passes by really quickly. We spent 4 days in Anda and one day of them diving, the rest of the days the plan was something like ”we eat breakfast there, then we go to the beach, then we have a massage/eat lunch or dinner/do some henna tattoos” haha. It was very nice!
So yeah, we got a massage in our resort, ahh, so nice! It was Duilios first massage ever, haha. Full body for 1 hour was 500 php, about 10 euros/usd.
I really don’t understand how they can make profit on this resort, because it’s at least 20 people working there during the day (reception, boutique, restaurant, bar, gardening, pool cleaning, security, massage etc) but there are only very few guests here!
It’s probably during the weekend when all the locals go to see the band that they earn money maybe. I don’t know. We felt a little bad about not using the restaurant that much, we had to pass by the restaurant from our room to go out from the resort, and the staff is very sweet and friendly. There were always like 3 staff members sitting there waiting for customers… we didn’t use it much because the breakfast wasn’t so good and they only had one vegetarian option for lunch/dinner, but we had a few coffees there at least.. haha.
And we both did henna tattoos – there is one artist by the beach, he is from Manila but he comes to Anda for long vacations about 2-3 months every year, you can see him by the beach doing poi when he doesn’t have any henna costumers, hehe. The henna was different from the one I had in India, this is darker but still lasts for 3 weeks, and I had my whole back done! I showed some reference pictures and let him do what we wanted, took a couple of hours, but the artist said it was his master piece :) Duilio had 2 smaller ones, one with a ”philippine sun” and another with a turtle. :)
We were really sad to leave Anda, we could easily have stayed 1 week… but the direct ferrys direct to Camiguin only leaves Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1pm from Jagna, so we wanted to take it on Wednesday and stay for 5 days. It’s Duilios last destination before heading back home.
We took a bus in the morning to Jagna, about 1 hour from Anda.. But guess what – once we are there we get to know that the ferry was cancelled!!! We couldn’t believe it… it was because it’s ”holy week” or easter, and apparently a lot of people go to visit their families or to spend the holidays in Camiguin, they have a pilgrimage there during these days. And there is only one ferry, which they had taken from another city instead of from Jagna… so typical!! We were like… ”Fuck, we could have stayed in Anda 2 more days!!” It definitively would have been the best option to go back..
So we didn’t really know what to do. We met a polish couple there that also where supposed to take the ferry to Camiguin. They told us that they had talked to the travel office and they said that you can rent a private boat for about 5000php to get to Camiguin, but there is some problems with the coast guard, they don’t allow private boats to do it.. The other option was to take a ferry at 10pm instead to Cagayan de Oro, about 8 hours away, and from there take a 2 hour bus to a port, from where there were ferrys going to Camiguin… So we wouldn’t be there until next day around noon.
A Philipino lady that also needed to get to Camiguin to visit her family for easter, started to arrange a boat for us together with another french girl there. She spoke perfect english and philipino, and talked to some local people there that could fix a bout that could take up to 8 people and that it would be 1000php per person… Ok, so we went to a fishing village next to Jagna from where we would get the boat. We thought it was going to be a bigger bungo boat, like the ones we used for diving… But it reeeeally was a very very small boat, there was no sun shade and there wasn’t even a place for us to sit in, we sat on the proa! At first we thought we would take this little boat out to a bigger boat, because there were bigger fishing boats docked in the middle, but no, it was this boat going the whole way!! And it was about a 3 hour journey.
We had put all our backpacks in plastic bags inside the boat, but once we got out a couple of hundred meters from the shore, it was quite wavy and water kept coming in all the time in the boat, and we were already completely wet and I really didn’t feel ok with this, we were over weighted and it was very crazy, if we would have some motor problems or something we would probably go under.
I said to Duilio ”Duilio, this is crazy, I we should go back now before it’s too late, don’t you?” and he said ”YES PLEASE!” he was super scared. I asked the other people if they were ok about going back, at least we would, and they were all ”Yes yes yes!” haha. So yeah, we turned back. I think even the philipino lady was happy about it.
We had paid 2000php in advance for the gasoline, which we said they could keep (I think 1000 of them was for muting the coast guard or something), but we just felt that it was the right decision, that we get to live another day. :) Duilio was still all shaky about this. So we went back to the port in Jagna and bought the tickets to Cagayan the oro at 10pm for 570php each. Then we went to a café and sat there for about 8 hours haha.
Once in the ferry we were surprised to find it was a sleeping ferry! So it had bunk beds! Yay! We are happy we got there at 8pm because you could border the ferry before. I felt asleep early, super tired. We arrived in Cagayan a little before 6am, saw a beautiful sunrise.
We got a jeepney for 10php each to the bus terminal and from there a van for 150php to Baligoan port, from where the ferrys were leaving to Camiguin. The van was quick, took only 1,5 hours to reach the port…. And…. Disaster. There was a looong que to the ticket booth.
I had previously arranged with our contacts of the house we are renting through airbnb in Caminguin to meet up at 11am, if it would have been a regular day, that’s when we where supposed to arrive. But there where literally thousands of philipinos in cue to get to Camiguin. We started queing 7.30am and at 6pm we finally boarded the ferry that took us to Camiguin, at that ferry only takes one hour. It was crazy. You could see Camiguin from the port, it would have been quicker to swim there!
I was truly surprised that the Filipinos were in such a good mood! Like happy, talking, waiting without pushing or anything, just staying there in line. And they only have a couple of days of, so waiting 11 hours for a 1 hour ferry ride across the sea should be harder for them then for us, because we have months! We were tired and hungry and just wanted to arrive, but they didn’t show it.. Such a different mentality.
But yeah, we are aware of how bad this was organized, like really, the worst. Everything was suuuuuper slow, and just completely.. bad. One ticket booth for maybe 3000 travelers… Stupid!!! When we left, there was still about another thousand people waiting to cross… Really crazy!! So after this experience, yes, we would definitively have enjoyed to turn back to Anda and stay 2 more nights and take the direct ferry on Friday instead, with less hustle. But but….. an experience too.
Well… next post will be about Camiguin :)