Trip Start Mar 11, 2006
45Trip End Aug 01, 2006
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Where I stayed
We slept most of the way to Bohol, and due to limited tickets left, the ladies took first class while the two gentlemen made like Titanic in the lower berths as the vagabonds (Hobo Misha) and the Irish (O'Hallahan). Bohol is the tenth largest of the Philippines' 700+ islands and "coincidentally" enough (the itinerary was planned by Case) the place where, just a month and a half earlier, we were inveited to be wed by the Filipino fellas in the bar in Hiroshima where I met her in the first place
After some silly haggling with a few of the drivers in Bohol harbor, we found a great guy Pancha who loaded up into his jeepney (leftover US Army vehicles now painted in beautiful colors and portraits) and took us off to find a place for the night. Despite Wully's advice not to worry about it, it was surprisingly no easy go in finding a few rooms. Nearly every place was booked solid, and the ones that weren't had just one room for an astronomical price. Getting creative, we even hit up the Bird Sanctuary which was rumored to have a nest available or something. We knew it wasn't going to work out when we abruptly turned off the road down a narrow, rickety path through a jungle thicket and parked in the very this-is-the-scene-for-a-scary-movie tiny lot. Resolved to try anyhow (as one of the key ingredients of a scary movie is separating the group to explore that strange noise/light/shadowy figure over there), Lisa and I wandered towards a building visible by a single light (especially brave for Lisa as she is afraid of both birds and gruesome movie death) while Pancha disappeared to leave Ryan and the slightly-more-petrified Casey in the open-air jeepney under the flickering light and and on the other side of the fence from the rabid manic barking dog. Casey was not amused when Ryan mused, "Hey if this were a scary movie dontcha think the bad guy could already be on the roof?" and they were relieved when the barking stopped but unrelieved when they saw the reason for that was that the fence was now open and the dog was likelier than not was watching them through the jungle as potential prey
Finally, three hours into our search, we settled for a double room for four, literally the last room available in the Leoping Island area. Even after all the extra work, Pancha asked for no more than the original fare and we sent him off with a heavy tip and happily accepted his offer to be our guide around the island a few days hence. After a lovely dinner on the beach and polishing off the rest of that Vietnamese scorpion wine (how that got through customs three times I have no idea), we had a beautiful nighttime walk on the beach before calling it a night.
Our first goal the next morning was to find cheaper, less cramped, possibly lizard-free accommodations. But first things first. We loaded up on mangoes (Lisa and I are both aficionados) and while waiting for a jeepney to take us away, made friends with Oliver, Joseph, and Grace who were our age and having a picnic on the beach with their extended extended families. We jammed on the our guitars for a bit, including a particularly raucous "I Will Survive" (which along with "Hotel California" everyone in the entire world knows the words to) and made plans to meet up again later that night to show us the island.
A Bananaland Bungalow was just the ticket, a quaint (only because it sounds weird when I say "cute") 2-story thatched bamboo building with the chickens running around the hammock in front
We awoke early the next morning (6:30!) so we could get out on the water to see the dolphins and whales around the island on our way to Siquihor, the nearby witchcraft island
We had another early morning wakeup, this time to meet Pancha (driver from the first night) again and explore Bohol. We stopped at several interesting places, including a famous cave (also self-proclaimed on the sign) and a ginormous python cared for by a none-too-convincing and rather handsy ladyman (this is not an unkind term, his/her words). There were two stops, though, that were most memorable. The first was a boat lunch cruise, which took off from behind a tarsier sanctuary. Tarsiers are the world's smallest primate, nocturnal, suuuper freaky looking, and (Ryan believes) probably delicious. We took far more photos than the stop justified, and as they proved too wily for Ryan's gaping maw, we had to gorge on drumsticks on the water instead. On board, a but tired of hearing the same made-up song about Bohol and the river, the crew sent me up to hijack the electric guitar and mic to play a song for Casey; G-L-O-R-I-A became C-A-S-E-Y- ..
One more beach visit, showers, internet, and picture CD-burning later (even when travelling to interesting and exciting locales there needs to be left time for the mundane), we all gussied up a little nicer for our last night together. We had such a fun time, in large part due to Casey's inability to stop her chair from falling over in the quicksand she was sat over, and then being confused when the staff came over to sing "Happy Birthday" to her to practice their English. Lisa grew increasingly, and from our point of view extremely comically, concerned about her ever-increasing cankles ("All jokes aside, are they OK?" Ryan: "In reverse order, no, and no such promise.") and we laughed until it was time to knock out
To celebrate the decade-anniversary of my Bar Mitzvah in style, we again rose early (hey aren't we supposed to be on vacay here!) to get to the harbor for our ferry back to Cebu. In an adventurous mood while shopping for snacks at the harbor store, we came away with mostly things we could neither pronounce nor recognize which was all good except for the dried jackfruit which both smells and tastes like BO-ridden armpit (how does he know what armpit tastes like?). Not even any of the Filipinos around us on the ferry wanted anything to do with their native fruit, and it was dried which is supposed to mellow it out.
For the checklist we saw Magellan's Cross and a church that none of us knew quite why we were there (though outside I did buy some quality and dare-I-say-authentic indestructible Ray-BaMs, and yes that is how they were labelled on the side) and found a Chinese restaurant, some feisty chicken, and Dr. Love of 97.9 Love Radio before a discreet and satisfying flight back to Manila.
Moral of the Story: Jimmy Buffet only found a Cheeseburger in Paradise. We came away with witchcraft, chocohills, tarsiers, cankles, and nothing but love from the people around us.
Though Ryan did nearly take a page from Jimmy and satisfy his carnivorous habit at the expense of a wee monkey.