We departed from Kalibo airport with the masses of other travellers after seeing in the new year on Boracay Island. Our destination was Bohol and continuing with the beach vibe we based ourselves in Alona Beach and our first day was spent chilling out on the beach (which is actually well needed after a whole day of travelling – it is a tiring business). Nicole even found herself a Swedish restaurant and re-familiarised herself with the taste of panbiff, potatoes and lingonberry jam.
We booked ourselves onto the Bohol countryside for our second day. This took us all over the island starting with the Sandugo Monument which symbolises the Spanish and Philippine Natives coming together to sign a blood compact in the 1500’s. We then went to visit Baclayon Church and then the worlds biggest python held in captIvity! Well, not quite. Yes, we did see snakes and some pretty big ones but the biggest had actually died 3 years ago and only its skeleton remained. False advertising springs to mind.
Next stop was the Tarsier sanctuary. Tarsier’s are the smallest mammals alive on earth and they really are tiny but have huge eyes that bulge out of their head. A single tarsier needs at least a hectare of space per individual, they can jump forty times their length and they commit suicide during captivity due to trauma from touching and loud noise so you have to be very quiet!
Following lunch sailing along the Loboc river (cover photo), the tour then took us the world famous Chocolate Hills. The hills were formed by a unique geology movement and named after chocolate as they turn brown during the dry season in the Philippines. Our last stop was walking across a bamboo bridge that a few Germans really did test to the limit by jumping up and down the whole way across.
We also decided to do island hopping from Bohol. We were up at 5am to go and see some dolphins, before we made a stop at Virgin Island and then Baclayon Island. Here we donned on our snorkels and we managed to see 6 turtles in total and an amazing coral reef with an abundance of colourful fish!
Our last planned trip from Bohol was going to be to Oslob to swim with whale sharks. Alas, the weather let us down again. Another typhoon was hitting the region and our trip was cancelled. Not only that but all the ferries from Bohol to Cebu had also been cancelled. This was a problem for us as we were flying from Cebu to Singapore that day so we needed to get off the island! Cutting a long story short, we ended up getting a small fisherman’s boat across the Cebu strait with 14 other backpackers. It was perfectly safe in the end but probably not the wisest thing to have done in hindsight. Whilst the boat was bouncing up and down over some pretty big waves, the phrase “don’t do anything stupid because you are desperate” came to mind!
Many hours later and considerably wetter we made it to Cebu and then to the airport with 45 minutes to spare before our flight departed. Anyway, you can read Part One of our Philippines blog here – The festive season in the Philippines! and check out our Youtube highlights of the Philippines below.