Travel Diary: The Last Minute Trip to Bohol in the Philippines with French People

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This trip wasn't planned. I have been day dreaming and night dreaming of my South East Asian trip when i was asked if i wanted to join some new friends of mine. I thought, why not. As they say, never refuse an invitation.

But the case was different this time around. There will be four of us traveling and i'm the only Filipino. These French people were going on a trip. I was suppose to go to Bohol alone, a week before because nobody wanted to join me. So when they asked if i wanted to go to Bohol, i said yes right away. 

I met up with them two days before the scheduled flight to pay for our plane ticket going to Tagbilaran in Bohol. I've been to some of the island provinces in Visayas, namely Aklan, Ilo-Ilo, Antique, Guimaras but i found Bohol quite different. I was expecting more: quiet town, calm waters, very friendly locals, white sand beaches and mesmerizing marine life. Bohol showed me there's more to discover than expect just the average Bohol. This province is captivating. No wonder, i've fallen in love with the province all over again. We flew via Philippine Airlines. The fare was pretty reasonable as compared to the low cost airline - Cebu Pacific. The seats were better, more comfortable and the flight schedules were better. We left Manila first flight at around 5AM and flew from Tagbilaran after 4 days at around 5PM. We pretty much used up our 4 days stay. When we arrived, we negotiated for a van that would take us to Panglao Island. After a few minutes we were dropped of at the back of the beach. A few walks up, we already saw the shore. The shore wasn't that big, maybe it's because of the high tide, but this is what i'm talking about. The air is different and the sea is just crazily beautiful.

We stayed at Bohol Divers Resort - the cheapest we've scouted amongst the beach front resorts. But it was a plain, small fan room. It has no television and the bathroom is only defined by the blue hawaiian print curtains. But i guess it was okay since it gets pretty cold at night and most of the time we go back to the room we're already pretty drunk anyway. 

We availed of a tour package. i know, touristy right? But we wanted to get a great deal  (sharing the cost among four people was practical) and see as many places in one morning. We rode a car, and it was cheaper than getting a van. The road trip to Carmen, the town of Chocolate Hills was pretty scary. Imagine winding roads, high edged cliffs, massive mountains with tall trees enclosing the road to get there. 

Honestly, they didn't enjoy Chocolate Hills because it took us a long time to go there and the weather wasn't cooperating. But the picture will say it all, how amazing the hills were. They're actually almost equally distant from each other. You might think twice believing this wasn't man made. It's gorgeous. But as we climbed the stairs going to the top, the rains started pouring. Whatever. We still got there and took pictures of us jumping instead of holding a broom stick all the way to your crotch. 

Gulping liters of water, we went to Loboc Hanging Bridge where we have to cross a poorly built bridge made out of bamboo sticks. I wouldn't be surprised if in a few weeks it'll fall. There was a part on the bridge, where i could already swear seeing my foot down.

Then it was time for the Loboc River Cruise. It was great to go upstream. But i think the next time i will go there will be when i'm with someone special. You enjoy the breeze and ride to the river with a girlfriend, not with loud buddies. This same place, you could see the tiny tarsier. My French friends were playing with it. But it was too small for me, too fragile. And at that time, their huge eyes were almost closing, almost falling asleep. I guess the tarsiers, small monkies are having a siesta.

We went to Baclayon church but since we were all tired and wanted to go to the beach already, we went back to the car because it was pretty boring.

Alona Beach was the perfect choice for us because we didn't wanna be bored with the same location, same people, same food every single day. We needed to explore, find something to do and do things we've never done before. Alona Beach has that. If you walk down south, the sand there is softer - almost like Boracay fine white sands. The water is clear but it had a lot of plants. But it was still okay for us. There were numerous restaurants and bars lined up if you want to grab something to eat, like a clubhouse sandwich for me. Some bars serve average priced beers and cocktails. But it wasn't cheap. I guess their prices are for westerners. My friends loved table soccer. The French loves football so much. I tried to play it, but they were pretty intense with the game. They want to beat the hell out of their opponents. I just wanted to grab a beer and enjoy happy hour. 
Note: Bohol bars don't follow the happy hour-50% off on drinks.

You can just go to a dive center anywhere and ask for their special price for diving and snorkeling. They wanted to go diving as they had their first one in White Beach in Puerto Galera. I just wanted to snorkel.  The pictures you see of the underwater world of Bohol is superb. Pure majesty!  Probably the best thing Bohol has to offer to her tourists is its amazing underwater world. The boat ride to Balicasag Island was pretty sleepy, but on our way back was a different thing, probably the roughest boat ride I've ever ridden. But the truth is, i enjoyed it a lot. I feel pretty safe. And Spanish men who were also on the same boat were singing "Ole, Ole, Ole!!!". That made me smile, and forget less about the possibility of a sinking ship. Just negotiate the price for the boat ride and snorkeling gears. I think the price i paid was pretty cheap. We went to Balicasag Island twice.

I know a lot of people say that Bohol is a sleepy town. It is! But it's how you party that's different. Everyday, i'd go to the bar and have a San Mig Light. I talked with the very friendly waitresses. They're lovely and charming. They smile a lot and joke a lot. As i order my beer and down it after a few minutes, my Marlboro Lights lit up, they would talk to you. I've lost count how many Camparis and Rhum shots i was given for free by them. My French friends were asking me if it's okay to drink the shots. I told them, we're lucky boys. The waitresses liked us. We're a pretty young group as compared to most European farangs who're family men leaving their wives and children back at home to get a score and taste of Filipina women.

We went to a 24-hour bar, as Jinky would like to call it. I was telling her we would go with you wherever you will go. It's our last night in Bohol and we wanna have fun. We want it memorable. So off we go, me with an average of 8 beers that night, we walked towards the city to the bar. We're like love teams in Filipino movies. One tourist, one local girl. And as my French friend says - "Too much competition!" Because our competition now were the Australian boys and that California dude who strutted to Michael Jackson and gave a head stand up that would kill any street boy stunt.

I guess Pinoys are still the best. We, Pinoys, know how to make a move on a girl. We know how to make them laugh in a good way. We know how to dance accordingly. We are gentle and charming, and we know when to say what. Well, i took care of my French friends. I told them, i'm a tourist in here as well but i'm a Filipino. "I promise you guys will have the best time in Bohol." And i think, they did. So my girl Strawberry (Don't judge me, this was in 2008) and i was ahead of the pack. And Mona and the California dude were dancing reggaeton. Strawberry was with me. But she is "Kapuy na!" that is the only Boholano word i know - meaning she is tired.

We left the bar at almost 6AM. The sun was already rising. We couldn't anymore think and see clearly. But i told them an American phrase if you want to urinate. "I will take a leak"... I took a leak at the beach, when all of a sudden we saw Korean tourists going for the dolphin watching already and some ladies preparing for their fish selling. So embarassing!

P.S. More stories to come when i think about them. Fuck, i think i got the hang of speaking this way. Easy english because of my friends so they could understand me more. But i think this way, i speak more universal, don't you think?