After our night out with Hiedrun it was time to leave the lovely island of Malapascua which had been a thoroughly enjoyable stay both for the diving and had been a really nice place to stay as well. First was the return crossing back over to the mainland and this was as they say ‘all plain sailing’. Next the bus drive back to Cebu, which although quite an arduous trek, even then I still think we managed to bob off to sleep a bit and that is quite a feat given the rickety old bus we were on and the state of the roads.
Whilst we had been staying at Malapascua and upon our arrival at Cebu we were trying to get everything sorted to go and do some volunteer work at a place called All Hands in Tacloban, Leyte, another island next to Cebu. We had received emails from All Hands saying everything was ‘good to go’ but they had asked us to ensure that our insurance would cover us for manual labour for the duration of our stay (two weeks) but resolving this with our insurers had been quite trying due to communication issues. All Hands is a disaster relief agency that tries to help those places that can be forgotten about when disasters strike. Tacloban was hit by the typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) nearly two years ago (8 Nov 2013) and All Hands had set up Project Leyte to build ‘typhoon-proof’ housing for some of the more deserving residents of Baranguay 83C. It sounded like a really good thing they were trying to do and it would cost us nothing but time and energy but how hard could it be (lol)?
At this point I must put in a note though as back home I am quite sceptical of voluntary organisations and the like, this even though I signed up for DD payments to two or three charities I considered worthy. I am always a bit dubious about where the money goes to when you hand it over to some of these ‘good-gooders’ so I was interested to see exactly what the situation would be with All Hands and voluntary work and I also hoped that they would prove my cynicism wrong – who knows!
When we reached Cebu we managed to find the worst taxi driver in town – first he knew where our hotel was then he didn’t and he was so slow too, then he kept stopping to ask passers by directions to our hotel, which turned out to be on a main road! If the taxis were not so cheap I would have told him where to stick his fare but there you go – why should I expect a taxi driver to know his own town eh!
The hotel seemed okay but we were hungry and also needed to buy some working boots for the volunteer work so out we went to the shopping mall that Hiedrun recommended to us, which was not far from our hotel (Bonus). The walk was a bit grotty but we finally got there and the mall itself was excellent. Buying boots,on the other hand was not such an easy task as we thought it would be. We went to the main department store ‘Robinsons’ and asked there if they had any steel toe-capped boots which had but these were very expensive named brands so we then asked them if anywhere else in the mall sold boots but were told that there was nowhere (remember this!) – so we bought the boots. From there it could not have been more than five minutes of walking round the mall and we found a DIY store which sold boots at a quarter of the price! So we went back to Robinsons and asked for our money back but we had originally paid by card so this became a nightmare to do – everyone seemed to be involved and the shop’s bank was even rung in an attempt to stop the transaction. The old lady helping us was very good though and got most everything sorted out and when we told her what the boots were for she was very happy that we were going to Tacloban to help out. With all of this rigmarole completed we finally went back to the DIY store and got our steel toe-capped boots for a fraction of what we had paid earlier. Hooray for justice.