So it’s been a while. My excuse being we’ve had our families visiting so we had a super busy Jan/Feb. So finally, here is the next episode of the Philippines adventure diaries from back in December.
After leaving Camiguin Island on Boxing Day we travelled back to the larger island of Bohol. On the boat journey we sat and booked our next air BnB – nothing like a bit of spontaneity! We decided we wanted to stay somewhere in close proximity to the Chocolate hills and other nearby tourist spots. We took a car from the ferry port to our newly booked air BnB. What a find! Off the beaten track and up a hill was a lovely large house with an annex which was used for air BnB guests. We were surrounded by goats and other farm life, but we had the best of both worlds with the green around us and a great view down to the ocean from the accommodation. That night we decided to stay local, but with not much in the immediate vicinity we chose to dine at a nearby hotel we had spotted the sign for earlier that day. We checked it out on Trip Advisor and the appeal of a nice boutique hotel with reasonably priced food lured us in. This ended up being super posh and we felt terribly underdressed but nevertheless we treated ourselves to some lovely food in the classy ambience around us.
The next day we knew was going to be busy as we wanted to have a day out on the bike exploring the Chocolate Hills. These were around an hour’s drive from where we were staying but the drive was one to enjoy with winding roads and beautiful forest surroundings. The Chocolate Hills are small hills which cover the landscape for miles. They are called the Chocolate Hills because in the dry season the grass and shrubs covering them dry out and turn brown, so from a distance all the small hills look like lumps of chocolate. This wasn’t the case when we were there as everything was pretty green, but still a great view to be had.
On the route back to our accommodation we stopped off at a few other tourist attractions including a tarsier sanctuary, wildlife centre and a bamboo bridge – all of which made for a fun afternoon being tourists and taking silly pics!
Our last stop was at Loboc Ecotourism Park where we had heard there was an incredible zip lining experience! As daredevils this was an experience not to be missed. We enjoyed lying on our tummies strapped into a sling-like harness and flying through trees and over the valley/river below. This was one of my favourite experiences in the Philippines, even though you can do things like this everywhere, the fact we were doing it in the Philippines with amazing weather and scenery really made it special. It also allowed Jonny and I to release our inner children as we screamed and giggled the whole way!
That evening we booked onto a local tour to see the fireflies. It was only a short tour on a small boat, but boy was it worth it! The small boat with around eight tourists sailed along the river with a local guide who held a huge beaming torch and shone it into the trees that lined the river. There were two spots that must have been known for fireflies as we stopped underneath two over hanging trees. When the boat turned off its lights we were plunged into darkness but then the magic around us was shown. Thousands of fireflies dancing in the trees, they literally looked like little star lights moving around in the sky. The guide told us that if we made noise they would shine brighter, so obviously everyone on the boat began clapping loudly to see the fireflies brighten up before our eyes. They were fascinating and a magical experience to see before bed.
Staying on Bohol Island, we decided to move to a different part which had been recommended for the beaches and boat trips. We moved accommodation to the Bohol Bee Farm. This was an actual functioning bee farm supplying their own honey and other organic products made on the farm. They also served their own homemade ice cream on site which we of course indulged in! The Bee Farm was situated by the sea set up on stilts which made for gorgeous views of the calm ocean from the hotel restaurant. It was also just 10 minutes drive from Alona Beach (a white sandy beach with many hotels, bars, restaurants and nightlife). We went down to Alona Beach at night to check out the area and dine in one of its many restaurants. Here we also booked a snorkelling day trip for my birthday the next day.
The snorkelling trip left at 7am in the morning which was when all the boat trips seemed to be leaving. We set off towards an island called Balacasag (good for snorkelling) in search of dolphins en route. Surreal enough being in a hot country on a boat trip for my birthday, we were also lucky enough to see wild dolphins up close and personal as they swam right next to our boat. An excellent start to the day was topped off when we got off the boat to snorkel and saw a turtle! We also got off the boat to paddle in an area with hundreds of starfish – I have never seen starfish so big and beautiful!
That evening we had planned to eat at the 5* Hotel at Alona Beach. Unfortunately the beach restaurant was fully booked so we had to dine indoors in the all you can eat part. Not complaining as we had a great evening stuffing our faces, and the couple on the table next to us heard it was my birthday and told the waiters who shortly after appeared in numbers to sing me ‘Happy Birthday‘. Cringing inside but I loved it really and it topped off the whole day!
The next day we took the boat to Siquijor Island pronounced Sick-ee-hore, where we would spend New Year’s Eve and Day!