8.31.2006

Bohol: Land of the Green Chocolate Hills

After a few very relaxing days in Boracay, S and I headed back out to the airport for our second of many crazy interisland flights. The plane we were on holds about 20 people max and the maximum altitude is 15,000 feet, which is less than one of the skydives I have taken (18,000 feet) but for some reason that doesn't really make it feel any more safe. We safely arrived in Cebu City, Cebu, where we had to battle the barrage of people trying to overcharge us for a taxi to the pier. We finally found an honest (??) taxidriver who used a meter which was not broken and made it to the pier just in time to catch the ferry to Bohol. We were met at the ferry building in Tagbilaran, Bohol by a man with a sign(!!) bearing our names. It was a nice change; usually you have to battle all the dishonest taxi drivers before finally settling on a still overpriced fare to get anywhere. This guy knew who we were, knew where we were going and didn't overcharge us too much. We arrived at the Bohol Divers Resort where Doyle and Rachel were supposed to be staying. The resort did not have anyone registered in either of their names, but did remember a white girl/Filipino guy combo who had checked in the day before. Luckily it was them and we found them without too much trouble.

The first day we took a tour around the island of Bohol, which included a trip up to the Chocolate Hills (a tour guide laughed at us when we said we wanted to go there - "they are not chocolate right now," he said, "they are GREEN chocolate". Well, green or not they were quite impressive) where we even hiked to the top of one of the hills, having to go through a local's yard to do so. We also got to see the world's smallest primate, the Tarshier, which is a tiny (smaller than my hand) monkey-like animal with eyes bigger than its head. We saw also a man-made forest, the area of the Blood Pact between the Spanish and the Filipinos and the oldest stone church on the island.

The next day we went island hopping for the day. We spent the day snorkling, laying around, eating fresh caught grilled fish and drinking San Miguel Beer. I got totally burnt and Doyle almost got sick on the boat ride back to the mainland (it was a little bit choppy). The entire time, I was waiting for him to unclench his hand from the railing. Either that or to put on snorkel, mask and fins in preparation for a dip in the deep.

The last day we went scuba diving twice. Both dives were wall dives, and there were a lot of things there that I had not seen before. The wall dives are also very cool becuase you can look down and the wall just goes down, down, down, but you cannot see where it ends. There were tons of glow in the dark fish and corals and all in all, we got to dive for almost two hours. The boat ride back was fun; the water was pretty choppy and so every time it went down a swell, the water would come crashing up on deck. The only place to avoid that is the very front of the boat, so I rode on the front where you get a good 6 feet of air sometimes when the boat goes over a big wave.

Things I learned in Bohol: S is deathly afraid of crabs (I plan to put one in his bed sometime before the end of the trip). Sinigang (sour soup) is really good (who would have thought!). Doyle and S both take longer than me to get ready in the morning (it is a toss-up as to who takes the longest - I am betting on Doyle). When driving, if you lay on the horn heavy and long enough, you can run over, go around or pass anything (legally/safely?). Philippine time = + at least one hour past or 1/4 of the proposed time. Lancones (sp?) is a fruit that we definitely need to get in the US.

Things I want to take home with me when I leave this country: a baby (they are sooooo cute!), a monkey (not quite as cute as the baby, but close!), a massage lady (for obvious reasons - can you say...daily massage?), a boat hand (they may be smaller than me, but their bodies are nothing to sneer at!)

Next Stop: the island of Palawan!!

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