Seda: We took a fast ferry to Bohol which was a 90 minute journey which was quite pleasant. I kept seeing these small birds flying barely above the water and they really did intrigue me. I’ve found out later that I’d just had my first sighting of flying fish. In the meantime Andy had managed to see dolphins jumping out of water just as he was looking around, imagine that there are people paying for tours with the hope of catching that sight and my rather economically sensible husband got that experience included in the price of the ferry ticket! I should perhaps mention to you that the rest of us on the ferry also jumped to Andy’s side to see the dolphins, almost tilting the boat, but to no avail!
Andy: We spent a few quiet days in Bohol, not really doing much apart from wandering up and down the short beach, and thoroughly testing out the multiple coffee shops and restaurants having a very relaxing time. We also found a small fruit stand on the way back to our hostel where we would buy something each day to eat in the evenings.
After a few days of relaxation we went on an awesome countryside tour around the island. It would take us to about 5 places all over the island by minibus with a group of other people.
After picking up everyone on the tour there was an hour journey to our first stop – A Tarsier sanctuary. Tarsier are the worlds smallest primate and found exclusively on the island of Bohol in The Philippines. They are about the size of your fist with a fairly long tail and enormous eyes due to them being nocturnal. We were told to keep very quiet whilst walking around as they would be sleeping. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw them for the first time. They were so tiny and unbelievably cute clinging onto branches with their alien like fingers. They look like a cross between the Mogwai called Gizmo from the movie Gremlins and an Aye Aye lemur. A very odd looking creature but lovely at the same time.
Seda: Turns our whether they are English or not, everyone can keep their cool but me! There I was whisper-screaming “oh my god, how cute are they…!!!” whilst everyone else were just saying “yeah very interesting hmmm….”
Andy: In the end, we saw 5 Tarsier although I was assured by one of the guys working there that there were 8 in the fenced off area. They just couldn’t locate the others that morning.
Part of the tour was a river cruise including a buffet lunch, and onboard entertainment so this was our next destination. At first we thought it a little expensive, but once we got going we soon changed our minds. The views alone were worth the money. We ate first, and then set sail down the river.
The water was a beautiful green reflecting the amazing forest flora found on both banks. Either side of us were tall coconut palms leaning over the water amongst other beautiful trees housing a wide variety of bird life.
It was over this lunch and cruise that we started to get to know the other people on the tour as we sat together and chatted. Halfway along the floating restaurant boat stopped alongside a platform where local ladies were playing music, singing and dancing for the passing boats.
Of course we had our own onboard entertainment in the form of a man singing and playing guitar. It was a mix of Filipino and Western songs, and I must say, he was pretty good. The cruise culminated in a couple of beautiful little waterfalls feeding the river before the boat was turned around and we headed back to the pier.
Seda: The lunch buffet had this rather nice looking dish that I was keen to try. I asked what meat it had in it and the answer was it was only green jack fruit. I thought the guy probably didn’t understand what I was asking but I got some anyway. The jackfruit pieces look and taste like meat, I swear! Never seen anything like it. The taste was so delicious and fragrant, I could see why jack fruit was so popular in veggie dishes. Yum yum!
Admittedly, it was a bit of a strange experience, there we were a couple from England with beautiful American country music in the background, talking to a German couple and a Russian family who now lived in New Zealand, floating on Filipino waters eating Indian curries! Global cruising, eh?!
After our lunch cruise we needed an adrenaline kick so we went to cross over the river on this dubious looking bamboo bridge. Funny how quickly one loses their sense and reason once she’s been travelling for a few months! I could literally hear the bamboo bits cracking under my feet with no other layer of protection underneath.
I guess the worst case scenario was falling into the water below. Andy and I made a quick calculation and decided that if we did fall, it would be no crazier than one the canyoneering jumps we made in Cebu. So we decided it was ok. One way first and then back on another bridge next door – nice and crackly…!
On our way to the chocolate hills, we stopped for a picture in the man made forest. What you do is run to the middle of the road Filipino style and pose for the camera sitting on the centre line. If you are still not run over, you can have a few other poses as well. That’s it, simple and life threatening!
Finally arriving at chocolate hills after leaving half the group at the ATV centre, we had a 200 step challenge ahead of us! The only chocolaty thing in this place was the chocolate colour painted rails by the stairs.
Andy: The chocolate hills are a geological formation of grass covered limestone hills numbering over 1500. They are so called because during the dry season the grass perishes and turns chocolate brown.
Seda: We climbed up to the top and took a bite of the chocolate hills. Marc in our group had a rather different preference at this point as he was enjoying his pack of grubs which apparently tastes like woody peanuts!
We met Claudia and Marc during this tour and got on really well. Meeting again the next day we had a meal together, walked by the sea and watched Marc play with his new toy, a drone that Marc refers to as “she”.
They are both police officers in Stuttgart and were travelling The Philippines on holiday. Bearing in mind The Philippines is not really a backpacker destination, it is sometimes refreshing to meet people actually enjoying their holiday.
Andy: We met Claudia and Marc again for dinner and a couple of beers. It was great to catch up with them again and discuss ours and their travel plans. They were heading to Cebu where we had spent a wonderful week so of course we recommended Canyoneering which I’m sure they will love. We on the other hand were about to leave for our last Filipino island – Palawan. Thanks for a lovely day guys and hopefully see you in England soon!
Seda: I took this photo of the lightening as we become aware of the threatening sky on the way back to our hostel and surely enough the rain arrived shortly after. The roof of the hostel was corrugated iron and it really multiplied the noise of rain. There was ongoing construction at the hostel to build more room upstairs. I imagined 20 construction workers up at the roof banging their spoons and forks on the metal roof wanting their dinner, I don’t think the noise would be much different. It was good fun to be listening to it indoors though as I really didn’t want to check if there were any people actually on the roof getting soaked.