Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bohol

We left Flager on a jeepney heading out of Donsol, separating as she headed home to the north and we to the south. We had both a sea and land route option for getting to Bohol, but since we are crazy we opted for the land route. The transport connections in this country are either truly amazing or we've just been really lucky because as we were stepping out of our jeepney to wait at an intersection for a bus heading south, thinking that we were going to have to travel by bus-hopping for 2 days, there pulled up a packed, ordinary bus going all the way to Bohol island direct. Sweet! There was only one problem, it was pretty full and one of those ordinary junky buses and it was going to take 29 hours all told, including 2 ferry rides (for a total of about 4 hours). Did the parents feel up to it? Not really, but hey, this is what we do.....
We drove through the other islands of Samar and Leyte through pouring rain with the bus leaking all over until parking near the ferry terminal at Bato and sleeping for a few hours. Ok, so it wasn't exactly driving the whole time, but we were still on the bus. It actually wasn't that bad a ride, all things considered, because we could actually lay down as most of the people had already left.
Of course after landing at Ubay, Bohol we had to switch buses to get to the capital of Bohol, Tagbilaran, another 4 hours later. So a total of 34 hours (including the initial jeepney ride) after leaving Donsol, we were finished our journey. We were supposed to be hosted in Tagbilaran but it didn't work out as planned.
The following day we were guided around to the two most famous tourist attractions on the island, the Chocolate Hills and to see the Tarsiers. The Chocolate Hills are a bit over-hyped but are an interesting looking and unique geological formation. They have been caused by the uplifting and later erosion of coral, forming 1268 small conical hills in an area of about 50 sq. km. The hills don't really have a soil, so unlike the land around it they don't grow much vegetation other than grasses or moss or something, so during the dry season they turn a chocolaty brown. Of course right now it is very wet so they are still green.
Our second stop was to see the Tarsiers. Tarsiers are not actually the smallest primate in the world as advertised but they are really small. They are also one of the first primate species to evolve so look like little rat monkeys. They are nocturnal so have huge eyes, a body that can easily fit in your hand and a rat-like tail much longer than the body. The most interesting part is the hands, they look like perfect little hands. Unfortunately they are an endangered species and are kept in little cages by locals wanting to make a quick tourist buck and are constantly harassed all day when they should be sleeping. The whole area of Loboc, where the Tarsiers were, was all underwater as the nearby river had flooded the day before, destroying sections of road and making it impassible. We knew it had been raining hard on our way over here... The rest of Bohol had looked partially flooded or swamped as well and the coastal road reminded us exactly of the south coast of Sri Lanka.
After staying the night in Tagbilaran, we went to Panglao island to stay with a new host, Ogs. Panglao island is a small island just off Bohol but connected by bridge. Panglao is one of the most popular and famous scuba dive sites in the Philippines too. The great part is that Ogs is actually the manager at one of the dive shops here, Bohol Oceanic Adventures, so was able to give us a good deal on some dives. How could we refuse that? So we've spent the last 2 days doing a total of 3 dives after a quick refresh in the pool. Wow, the dives out at Balicasag Island just offshore were amazing! I don't doubt that the area is one of the best. Tons of variety and tons of fish and colours to see. I think the best was the sea turtles! The surface weather wasn't the best but the water was a nice and warm 27C. That's my kind of diving :) Wish I had the money to do a lot more....
Tomorrow we move on, heading north again towards Panay island.
Ammon

1 Comments:

At 9:19 AM , Blogger The Bear said...

Okay now I'm jealous, first snorkelling with the sharks, then scuba diving of the coast, AND you got a sun burn, can't be raining all that much..... Seriously, I think you three are having way to much fun, where's the suffering, the sleeping in train stations, the crappy food, lice, fleas, touts which are worse than all the above LOL. It truly sounds amazing down there. How are you going to top this? Where next?

Relay my love and hugs to your parents.
Big Bear

 

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