My 5-day trip to the Philippines began early enough. My plane left Bangkok at 1:30am and landed at 6:30am, and thanks to my seatmate, I didn’t get a lot of sleep.
I caught the bus from the airport to SM Cebu, the 2nd largest mall in all of the Philippines. From there, I caught another bus to the pier. I arrived at 9:00am.
My plan was to hop on a boat and arrive in Tagbilaran, the main city in Bohol by 11:00am. Little did I know that everyone wanted to go island hopping that day.
1.5 hours later, I finally got to the front of the queue only to be told the next available boat would be at 12:40pm.
The boat left on time and was crammed full of people. But at least they put on Loganfor our entertainment.
I tried to nap during the 2-hour boat ride, but that was foiled by another seatmate who kept swaying back and forth while sleeping and hitting me with her hair in the process.
I got to the hostel and crashed. Can I say how nice it is to sleep horizontally?
My first night in Tagbilaran was uneventful. After my power nap, I went in search of my first Filipino meal.
Out of pure laziness, I crossed the street and ate pork sisig. I based my choice on the picture. I later found out it’s a concoction of miscellaneous pork parts on a sizzling plate.
I was awakened in a pool of sweat thanks to a girl in my room who decided it was too cold for her. But it was all good because I got an early start to my day.
I headed to the Chocolate Hills. Way back when, I loved playing with Super Mario World. For the longest time, I was always stuck in World 6, Chocolate Hills, especially if you don’t complete level 6-2 correctly, you end up in a big loop.
Needless to say, World 6 was inspired by Bohol’s Chocolate Hills. I hopped on a tricycle then a bus for 2 hours before a steep uphill climb to finally get to the Chocolate Hills.
Yes, the place was overrun by tourists, but it was a sight to see.
Nobody knows how these hills were forms or why at this specific location. I wish I could’ve climbed one of the hills. Would I find a pipe to lead to a secret world of fire-breathing plants and coins just magically floating in the air?
Next stop was the Tarsier Sanctuary. A tarsier is one of the smallest primates in the world and is native to the island. Sadly, their population has dwindled thanks to a loss of rainforests, making them an endangered species.
There are several tarsier conservation centres throughout Bohol.
The one I went had 5 tarsiers on display. The other 150 of them were hanging out back. They’re small and most were sleeping under the shade. I’m jealous…
I decided to have dinner at a Filipino institution, Jolibee. I’m still trying to figure out why people like this restaurant so much. I could barely finish my plate. Perhaps it’s the lack of vegetables?
Day 3 in Bohol took place at the beach. It would be a shame if I didn’t visit the coast of a Filipino island, right? I headed to Panglao, a small island next to Bohol that’s reachable by bus.
Alona Beach is also known as White Beach and rightfully so. The water was so clear and the sand was white and free of trash. It did feel like paradise.
I didn’t prepare well for the beach, however. Silly me forgot a towel and a swimsuit. But I still was able to dip my feet in the water.
After the beach, I headed to Panglao City. There wasn’t much there, but I was reminded how religious the Filipinos are. It’s hard to miss a big Catholic church that’s surrounded by nothing else.
Since I was missing vegetables, I spend ₱200 ($3.87 USD) for a bowl of lettuce with edible flowers. Then I treated myself to an Ube Halo-halo Cornetto.
- Hostel: Oasis Balili Heritage Lodge is a house with lots a history. The floors creak with age, and the facilities are lacking. But the staff makes up for it.
- Food: Truthfully, I really did struggle with the food in the Philippines. Every dish I encountered lacked vegetables, which is something I crave. But I do have a new love of ube (purple sweet potato).
- Coffee: The Philippines isn’t a coffee country, but I did find Bo’s Coffee, a Filipino coffee chain that uses home-grown beans.