PHILIPPINES PART 2 – IT’S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES

Bohol you’re beautiful, despite it took us some effort to reach you, we were happy we we did. What a relief to arrive on a chilled island after all the hustle in the big city. Beautiful beaches and nature made us enjoy our time on the island. We made so many kilometers on our scooter to see all the beauty Bohol has to offer that in the end our bottoms hurt like hell. A greener scenery than in Bohol is almost unthinkable, the people are friendly and everything is so relaxed, an unforgettable part of our journey. The difficult start made the island of Bohol even more enjoyable.

Rice fields at Bohol

On our last day in Manila we thought it was a good idea to check the weather forecast for Bohol. And what we saw was something that we definitely did not expect. We never thought about the fact that we could experience some bad weather in the Philippines. But unfortunately the weather forecast did show us nothing else than rain, not even one sign of sun. However, we tried to stay positive and told each other that it was an island an the weather can change in an eye blink. Back at our hostel we found out why the forecast was so horrible, a typhoon would hit the Philippines in the upcoming days. We didn’t expect bad weather in the Philippines but typhoons was the last thing we had thought of. Maybe a bit naive when you know that every year the Philippines is hit by approximately 20 typhoons. In our hostel the news got to us that ferries were already cancelled, but flights were still going so we kept good hopes that our plane would leave the next morning as scheduled. The next morning we took a cab to the airport still hoping for the best. Both of us were not looking forward to stay more days in Manila. When we arrived at the airport it was one big choas, many flights were cancelled. But, not ours! We were so relieved to see that our flight would leave as scheduled. Bye bye Manila.

The weather was not always good on Bohol

When we arrived at Cebu we got surprised by the good weather. Or at least no sign of a typhoon since it was dry and not windy at all. We left the airport behind us in a cab and headed for the port. Well, the idea was good, to take the ferry to Bohol, but despite the weather looked pretty okay all ferries were cancelled. Looking back now we know that the Philippine coast guard will avoid any risk in this situations and will give “signal 1” which means no passenger boats are allowed to sail out. The only option left was to find a fisherman’s boat that would sail out to Bohol, but this was not a very attractive alternative. We decided to look for a hostel and hoped for better the next day. Sometimes it’s hard to turn a negative experience into a positive thing. However, in this case it wasn’t that hard. Of course it sucked that the ferry didn’t leave, but if the ferry wasn’t cancelled we would never had met Erwin and Dorus. Another Dutch couple traveling for a few months. We got in touch with each other had a nice chat and both experienced a nice connection. The next morning we took together with them ferry to Bohol, this time, fortunately,  it was going. That morning Dorus and Erwin  made a booking for the same accommodation we had and that night we enjoyed dinner and a few beers together at Bohol Coco farm.

No complains, we finally got our beach day on Alona Beach

Surrounded by surreal green colors we spend a lot of hours in Bohol on the scooter, discovering what the Island had to give us. We drove between green rice fields, we pulled over where we wanted to, swam near a waterfall and we visited the chocolate hills, which are in our opinion not very impressive. However, the journey to the chocolate hills alone is worth visiting this piece of nature. Everywhere we drove we were enthusiastically welcomed and greeted by the locals. Like we said before the difference between the Philippines and Japan is immense, not only because of the chaos but also because in Japan you’re lucky if you find an English speaking person where in the Philippines everybody speaks English. In school kids don’t only got English as a subject but all education is in English. Because of this it’s very easy to get in contact with locals and the kids. Something quite unique compared to many other countries.

Waterfall on Bohol

Tarsier

Freshly caught sea urchin

We made so many kilometers on this little scooter

While we better and better understood the country it still kept surprising us. Like in many other countries we have visited the extraordinary got normal so easily. On our first days in the Philippines we were surprised by whole families including grandma and children on one scooter but in a few days you think it’s normal. Like the scenes that roosters got transported in handbags on scooters for cockfights first you’re surprised, but after seeing this ten times it got normal. Cockfights are very common in the Philippines, it’s a way of entertainment and money can be earned by it. The ethical side of these fight we skip for now but it’s unbelievable to see how many ways the locals have to transport the roosters on their motorbikes. Shopping bags are probably the mostly used method however, between your legs, under your arm, held by their feet or in cages probably for the better cocks. Most of our tricycle trips were also legendary. Tricycle are used for transportation and are good for transporting anything: whole families (we have to mention that it was for the two of us already small to fit in), complete sets of furniture and of course animals. It’s obvious that these tricycles are not very well maintained some are worse than the other but in general they all have their defects. And finding one wit a working speed gage is quite impossible. But there is only one traffic rule in Bohol don’t hit or get hit.

Tricycle

On Dorus and Erwin’s last Day On Bohol we went together stand up paddling had a nice lunch and said goodbye to each other. It turned out that this goodbye was just a short one the next day we were again drinking some beers together. The Philippines got hit by another typhoon and therefore again signal 1, in other words Dorus and Erwin got stuck once again. But fortunately they were in good company with us of course. So we made the best out of it, besides some beers we had a shisha and had a perfect rainy day together. In the meantime Sammi a Chinese Canadian girl joined us. Sammi was staying at the same place we stayed after the Coco farm. With the five of us we had a great dinner at the local pizzeria. After this meal it was finally time to say goodbye to Dorus and Erwin. With a few good hugs our roads separated. We had a really fun time with these guys, so hopefully we will see each other again in another part of the world.. After we said goodbye we still had to go back to our place and since Sammi had to go there as well we had the genius plan to go on the scooter with the three of us. Do what to locals do! We made it to the place in one peace and had actually good fun on our way back. The next day Ana our host and he brother invited us for a Christmas party they threw for their neighboring kids. They had karaoke, they danced did games but overall they served really nice food. The kids played with us and later in the evening we danced with the remaining adults and of course we drank too much beer. So the next day we just relaxed at the beach with our tiny hangovers, actually Tom’s was quite big. Despite we didn’t really caught the Christmas feeling, we were happy to celebrate Christmas with Ana and he family.

Last day with Dorus & Erwin

Christmas party with Ana and her family