Monday, 26 March 2018

Philippines- pleasantly surprising!

We left New Zealand and had to go through China to fly to Cebu. We thought we would have enough time to visit China for the day but our airline thought 12 hours wasn't enough time to go into the city and back again so we ended up watching a lot of Netflixs in Chongdong airport. This was also Stacey's first experience in Asia and was met by the most terrifying security people I have ever encountered.

Anyway, we finally made it to Cebu city in the evening so was just time to check in and go to bed.
The next day was my birthday and to start the day we went to the Dessert factory and had blueberry pancakes for breakfast.

We then walked through the really busy streets full of interesting things to look at and found our way to the oldest church in the Philippines, The Basilica del Santo Nino. It was massive and there was a mass on so it was packed.

Outside was the Magellan's Cross which symbolises the place where the first catholic sermon took place.

Then we went to Fort San Pedro. This was the old fort and most of it still remained today. A lot of the architecture was quite spanish looking.

Cebu was very hot, very busy and full of traffic and people trying to sell you stuff, but being in the fort was quite peaceful.

Then it was time to get the ferry to Bohol. We had a mad rush to get the ferry as we had to wait in queue for a ticket only to find we still had to pay terminal fees and luggage fees and present our ticket to various people so we managed to get on 1 minute before departure. The ride was two hours and then we found a tricycle on the other side (a motorbike with seats on either side).

We arrived at our resort (living the backpacker dream). It had two pools and a nice restaurant etc. We walked to the beach which was very busy, full of cafes and restaurants and had dinner and drinks by the sea. I also had a coconut.

The next day we had booked a tour of Bohol. We didn't realise it was a private tour until a man turned up in a big air-conditioned car and we thought he was just taking us to the bus. But no...  it was ours for the whole day.

We started of at the Taiser sanctuary where we saw the world's smallest monkey. They were really cute but hate noise and light so we had to be very quiet around them.

After, we went to see the chocolate hills. They are thousands of big hills in the same shape and in season are brown so look like chocolate. These were amazing and went on for miles.

Then we went to a man-made forest built entirely by Boy scouts! I was really impressed with it being a Guide leader myself.

After we went to a wildlife sanctuary which was really upsetting as the animals were in really small cages with nothing but concrete cages. There were birds and cats and monkeys all caged up.

Then we went to the bamboo bridge which was terrifying as it was entirely made of bamboo and i had to walk across it... and back!

We then had lunch on board a floating river restaurant and met an older man from Essex who was in the Philippines meeting his new asian girlfriend for the first time (yep one of those). He was really nice though.

We then went to an old church and to the Blood Pact site (which was where the Spanish and Natives made peace) before going back to Panglea Island which was where we were staying.

We then went for dinner at the beach again.

The next day was horrific! We had booked a boat to take us to see whale sharks. We thought we were getting a luxury bus and boat but no.. A tricycle turned up to take us to the beach. There were 5 of us on it when it was designed for three. Then we got to the beach, which was beautiful at 5am and very calm with lots of boats in the water. We then had to wade out to a speed boat which had a hole in it and lots of people with heavy luggage. This took us to our boat. It then started to pour in rain and we sped through the sea in the rain and the waves crashing over us. By the end we were freezing and soaking wet. At the other side we had to get on a rowing boat and the man pulled us to shore with a rope. Then Stacey and I ended up on the back of a tricycle to the whaleshark place. We then ended up on very long thin canoes and luckily we didn't fall over. We did see whale sharks though, the biggest shark in the world. They were amazing and made up for the awful journey there and back. However, it was soooo wet we didn't take our phones or cameras out so never caught any pictures of them.

We then had to do the whole journey back with the added bonus of waiting for an hour on the boat for a family that didn't turn up. I felt like I was on the sea again every time I closed my eyes for the next two days.

The rain had cleared when we arrived back to Panglea so we went and sat on the beach. It was a lovely beach, then had a look at some souvenir shops and had dinner and drinks again before bed.


We then had to get our flight to Boracay which involved a 6am ferry ride complete with 10 cockerels (needless to say no peace for 2 hours). But we made it to Boracay.

We had to get a boat to the island and it was similar to Bohol island but the beach was a lot nicer. We spent the next two days looking at the shops in this really cool outdoor mall and wandering the bars and restaurants and also sunbathing and swimming on the beach.  They also had lots of performers singing at the cafes and fire dancers. We also met two guys and a girl from London and one was really cocky and after asking us to watch their things while they go paddleboarding proceeded to take the mick out of us for being two white and blending into the sand. I don't think he realised that we were actually quite tanned and he should have seen us before. He then started boasting about being rich and then they then left all their rubbish on the beach next to us and we had to clean it up. They weren't great people especially as we did them a favour.

Our trip back to the airport was again eventful when we had to wait an hour at the ferry terminal after getting up at 4am, for a school bus and then waiting 4 hours in the airport for our flight to Bali. Our flight was also delayed so when we got to Manila our connecting flight was in another terminal building and we had to wait for the shuttle bus. We waited an hour to find out we had to pay and we had no cash left. Then they told us that we could get a free transfer but we had to wait another hour for it. We had no choice but to wait and arrived in international just in time. Why do our flights never go right?

I liked the Philippines. I prefered Boracay to Bohol even though Bohol has more to do, but the beach in Boracay was beautiful. The people are friendly and do not pester you for things and we never got scammed once and it was very safe. It wasn't as touristy as other asian countries either with a bit more of a rustic feel.

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