The Philippines: Bohol

img_20160824_120408A few hours passed before reaching Bohol. It was nearing the end of the day so the sun was starting to disappear. I managed to grab a Jeepney, which took me to my hostel about a 45 minute drive away over the bridge.

The hostel where I stayed was in the jungle with little wooden lodges with bed and outside bathrooms. It was such a cute place. Once I had dumped my bag in my room, I sorted out a Scuba Diving trip for the next day, spoke to some people at the hostel and ordered some grilled fish with sweet potato fries.
Excited about my scuba trip, I woke up early trying not to wake the two others in my room and headed to the social area to lie in a hammock.

Then I got ready for the day, showering and preparing my bag. My breakfast was ready as soon as I walked to the common area. I was surprised by the brekkie: it consisted of eggs, sweet potato, rice, banana and some other vegetables. It was so filling and delicious.
After breakfast, I got collected and taken to the scuba resort, which was stunning.
I met an older Australian guy there, who was going to be doing the same dives as me. Along with the guide, we sorted out our gear: BCD, goggles, wetsuit, flippers and regulator.

A group of us jumped into a Jeepney and rode through the town to the place we were departing from. Normally, we would go from the resort but as the sea was so rough, it would have extended our time massively to get around the island.
We took a small boat, where we transferred to a bigger boat to cross the water to our first spot. As the boat was hurdling over the waves with water spraying my whole body, I lounged at the end of the boat, talking with fellow divers.
It was time. Standing at the edge, stepping into the unknown of the ocean with my gear covered me, I held the button of my BCD and sunk under with my guide and an Australian guys.

The ocean was incredible, seeing stone fish, turtles, trumpet fish, green and red nudi branch, frog fish and flat head scorpion fish.

Still getting my buoyancy just right, I dappled through the waters for about 50 minutes. Time goes so quickly and with a 3 minute stop, my head peer over the sea.

On the boat, we rested as we were taken to the next area. The view of the island was so picturesque, looking like paradise.

Our next dive, we did the same motions until we were 18m deep. We saw turtle, frog fish, devon scorpion fish, flute fish, zebra mooray eel and bat fish.

After resurfacing, we just relaxed on the boat with the sun shining as the driver got us back to shore. Somehow a French guy from the boat offered me a lift back to the resort on his motorbike, which was just exhilarating as he was speeding along the path.

By the time I got back to the scuba centre, it was mid afternoon so I sat around chatting and eating some noodles from my hostel.

When I returned back to my hostel, I decided to go for a walk to the nearest beach about 1km away. The beach was peaceful with not many people there. As there had recently been some small natural disaster, there was rubbish and dirt on the sand, which ruined the whole golden look of the beach.

In the evening, I spoke to the girl from the previously day, where we had some dinner. I hung out and chatted for a bit but I was ready to sleep.

On my last full day in Bohol, I wanted to see as much as possible. I had arranged to meet the Australian guy from the scuba trip. I hired a motorbike from the hostel, which I was super excited about driving.

The first place we went to was a bee farm with a cute little shopping area with a café and ice-cream shop. I didn’t care that it was only 9 in the morning and it may not be an acceptable time to eat Ice-Cream. I ordered an Ube (famous fruit in the Philippines) ice-cream, which was a bright purple colour. We walked down to the water front to take some photos then headed back on the road.

Next, over the bridge, through the town then winding through the roads in the magnificent countryside, we reached out next destination: Tarsier Conservation area. On the way, we went through the man-made forest, where there were high pine tree on either side of the road, shading the whole road. It kind of felt enchanted.

Tarsiers are small little animals like gremlins, which are nocturnal and rare. As we walked around this forest, we could see some cuddling the trees with their huge eyes staring at me. They were so cute. It think they were well looked after and as much in the wild as they could be.

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We drove further down the road to the Butterfly sanctuary, where there were butterflies just flying around. There were beautiful butterflies just fluttering around. We sat down for a coffee before heading off again.

Then we drove through rice fields at high speeds to the famous Chocolate hills, which are loads of small greeny-browny hills popping up everywhere. From the view point, up about 50 steps, was an incredible view of them.

We decided to drive further around the island to look for a particular river but unfortunately it had all dried up so we decided to head back. As it was mid-afternoon, my stomach was feeling empty and in need of food. We found a little restaurant at the side of the road over-looking the rice-paddies. We were in the middle of nowhere so there were no people. It was a peaceful place where I had a noodle and fish dish.

After about an hour or two of driving on our motorbikes, we ended on the main touristy beach, where the Australian guy and I went in different directions. I parked then walked down to the famous beach on Bohol Island. I was slightly disappointed: the beach was dirty and it was just a very touristy spot with loads of bars and restaurants. I’m glad I saw it but also happy with the fact I was stayed slightly away from this part. I bumped into a couple of people from the hostel along the promenade.

While walking back to my bike, a sign lured me in to buy a waffle with peanut butter on. It was delicious but I definitely didn’t need to eat it.

Back at the hostel, I chilled for a bit before meeting the English girl. Together, we got picked up, which took us a decent drive away to see the fireflies on the river. Even though I have seen them in Thailand, I wanted the experience of kayaking to find them. However, they didn’t tell us the correct price so it was so much more expensive than expected so we did the boat cruise instead. It was an open round bus with chair nailed to the floor, looking in one direction. We saw clusters of fireflies, glowing in the trees around the river. It was so cool. Some of the other people on the boat caught them in their hands but I wanted to just leave them to be free.

When we returned to our hostel, a group of us sat around chatting and drinking dark rum, which was super cheap. I didn’t stay up too late as I was getting up early for a flight.

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