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Paul & Luiza´s World Tour

Philippines - Bantayan & Bohol Islands - a bit of island Hopkins

PHILIPPINES | Tuesday, 20 December 2011 | Views [1714]

Church in Baclayon

Church in Baclayon

Destination – Philippines  - Bantayan & Bohol (Panglao) Islands – A bit of island Hopkins

Bantayan Island - we take a tuk-tuk, a local boat, a 5 hour bus trip, a tuk-tuk and a ferry just for the first half of the journey. We get the “Presidential Suite” on the ferry, not Imelda-worthy but still quite ok, AC, DVDs, nice clean bed and private bathroom for only USD$60 for 2 people.  A curious fact about ferry trips in this country is that, just before the ferries leave, the captain says a prayer for passenger and crew safety during the journey, we wonder if we should be worried…

In the morning, we take a shuttle bus, a taxi, another bus for 3 hours and a ferry for 1 hour, then a van and finally get to Bantayan island. The first hotel we look at is very basic ie no hot water, no TV (wtf???).  We are really tired but decide to keep looking and soon find out hot water is a luxury here, even more than AC.  Most of the hotels are very “rustic”, some have TV or AC (essential to fight mosquitoes as some islands have malaria and dengue fever) and even Wi-Fi, but hot water is definitely for the rich and famous. We are told that electricity is expensive here and try to argue that AC uses more electricity than hot water heaters but somehow our arguments were received with a cold shower, literally.  We find a decent enough hotel in the end, the Seaview Apartelle (still no hot water) but somehow we just know Bantayan island is not going to be a place for us to set up camp.  We asked for quiet but not this quiet, ZZZZZZZZZ

We kind of at least try to get into it but even the weather is shit and not cooperating at all. The beach is ok but not even close to the beauty of Boracay. I immediately want to go back to Boracay but Paul wants to keep on trying other islands, you know the argument, we’re already here… Kind of makes sense… Back to Bantayan, the village is the kind of place you stop to pee while driving on a country road, however I have to give it to them, some of the restaurants, mostly run by (s)expats, are pretty good.  The place is teeming with old, creepy, weirdo sexpats again enjoying the bounties that only extreme poverty can generate. They look like they came straight out of a bad 70’s movie. Back home they wouldn’t have enough cash for a pint, yet here they are “kings”, or at least they think so. It’s pathetic, really. Anyway, after 3 very long days we decide to leave. Sorry, no pics of the beach as the weather was crap but some nice ones of their 400 year old church in town. Ciao Bantayan island, hello Bohol

Bohol – We get up at seven, take a tuk-tuk (here it’s called a tricycle), then a 1 hour ferry, a 3 hour bus, a taxi, a 2 hour speed boat to Bohol island, then another tricycle to Panglao island, the place we wish to call home for the next 3-4 weeks.  We are really tired and checked in to the Alona Beach Resort. The room is great but the TV reception and the Wi-Fi don’t work and the AC is pretty weak. The hot shower however is a novelty, pure decadence. Service is definitely not on the menu. Back to the drawing board. We wake up and check out the beach, again, it’s no Boracay but it’s more than OK.  We progress looking for a new place and move into the Tip Top Resort, nice, big, bright rooms, nice pool and a very accommodating owner negotiating a good discount for our long term stay without us even asking. We think we can stay here for 3-4 weeks and finally unpack. What a feeling not to be moving again till next year.   

We enjoy our nice room, pool, beach, walks and restaurants. There are also some extremely cute stray dogs on the beach and for them we buy some dog treats to carry in our pockets. We take the local “public” transport and go to Tagbilaran City to visit the nice shopping centre and supermarket. We are nested now. There’s a tropical typhoon and sadly over one thousand people die, it comes near us but thankfully does not hit our island. A very sad day for the Philippines just before Christmas.

 A few days later, we hire a motorbike and go around the island.  We see the gorgeous chocolate mountains, the cute tiny tarsier (the smallest primate in the world) and some lovely churches, built using coral stone, over 500 years ago. What a lovely day. I also take some pics of the “jeepney”, this very Philippine form of public transport.  They are so unique and colourful and they sure take will take you from A to Z stopping along the way at B, C, D, … yeah, you got it. By now, we are more than familiar with all sorts of public transport, and believe me there are many and they are so colourful.   We also know well our way around the island shopping centre to catch a movie(caught the new Mission Impossible movie - really good!!!)  and a great meal at Chowking, our new regular Chinese fast food joint in the Philippines.  In the evenings all the restaurants on the beach have seafood barbecue and the place is starting to pump for the season.  After two weeks we are officially bored out of our minds.  It’s way too small and a lot of tourists, not exactly the kind of travellers we are have been enjoying meeting along the way.  The room is still great but the weather’s been crap, raining non-stop and we are not really impressed with the food.  But for now, we need to stay put until the New Year.   Just grateful for red wine and Tanduay Superior (local rum), the local book swap place and the internet.  After Christmas and New Year and an unthinkable amount of rain later, it’s time to move on again.  So its back to Manila and explore the main island Luzon before continuing on to Indonesia and Australia...

 

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