Getting to Bohol was a challenge, I won’t lie. We utilised almost all forms of public transport to get there and encountered some pretty hairy situations. Thankfully, we got to the Central Visayas relatively unscathed and in desperate need of a San Miguel!
The first leg of the trip was a 12 hour bus ride from Sagada to Manila. We made sure to request a decent set of seats this time and not the dreaded back row and for the most part, the bus ride was comfortable. That is, until it started pouring with rain, which is the last thing you want when you are descending narrow mountain passes in a bus with sheer drops on one side and rocky outcrops on the other. It was inevitable that we encountered a landslide and we were VERY fortunate to encounter the one we did after the fact as it must have just happened. I don’t want to think of what would have been if we were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
As the bus approached the landslide, men with spades descended and literally started clearing a path for the bus! Believe it or not, this wasn’t the worst part of the journey, however. The worst part was the Filipino romantic movie they were playing about a couple that couldn’t decide whether they were in or out of love and spent most of the 2 hours crying about it. Where’s a landslide when you need one? Every now and then when the cheese got too much, I could hear Bridget laughing out loud. It was brilliant!
Once we eventually made it to Manila at 2:30am, we found an airport hotel to crash in as we had a flight to catch bright and early (well, less bright and early than 2:30am – perspective is a funny thing). After the flight, another hour taxi ride followed by a 2 hour ferry journey awaited. But still, that wasn’t the end. We had to squeeze into a tricycle (motorbike with side carriage). Bridget and Bianca were sitting in the lap of luxury in the carriage, whilst I was hanging on for dear life behind the driver. The things I do for the ones I care about. I should be knighted 🙂
Having eventually arrived, we checked in and found a great restaurant called Geraldo’s to eat and drink away the pain. It’s amazing how quickly we can forget the difficult times when there’s good food involved!
Now Bohol – Dinks in Transit is a serious travel blog after all!
Bohol can be split in 2 clear parts: Inland and the sea. Inland, one is spoilt for options as the island is home to the Chocolate Hills (weird mountains thought to have been formed from ancient coral) and the Tarsiers (the cutest baby marsupials out there, the size of your hand).
Here’s an interesting fact about Tarsiers – they are anxious little creatures and don’t like to be disturbed. In fact, when their anxiety levels get too high – they commit suicide in one of 2 ways: Either holding their breath until they die or by banging their heads against a hard surface. How interesting is that? Do yourself a favour and read up on these little guys – I find them fascinating!
We arranged a day tour through Wow Bohol Tours and I’d strongly recommend you do the same – we had a great time and Bert, our guide, was a champion with a wicked sense of humour!
The second half of our stay there involved snorkelling around Balicasag Island. Honestly, I think Balicasag has seen its hay-day and having snorkelled in other parts of the Philippines, I’d say (with the benefit of hindsight) that Balicasag was a little disappointing.
There are a lot of warnings on the internet about hidden costs when it comes to the snorkelling trips but I didn’t find this to be the case. When I asked the tour operator, they were very upfront about the costs involved. Yes, food is expensive on the island but of course it will be – it’s a bloody small island far from everything.
We came across a sand bar called the Virgin Beach on our return to Alona Beach (main beach area in Bohol) which was pretty cool – quite a weird experience swimming in water that doesn’t seem to get very deep at all!
We stayed in Taglibaran, the city centre of Bohol, but if you want to be in the heart of the tourist area, then Alona is for you. I think there are more tourists there than locals! Also, check the terrorism alerts on Bohol before you go. At the time of our departure, we heard a report of an attack so just play it safe.
I’ve got one or two more blogposts on their way on the Philippines and I can’t wait to tell you all how cool Palawan was!
Cheers for now.