I left Moalboal and began my 6 hour journey to Bohol. A bus, taxi, ferry and Tricycle saw me on the Island of Panglao, connected to mainland Bohol by a bridge.
I had some time to kill before Balthazar arrived so I went exploring the various dive shops around the island trying to cut a deal and was surprised at the varying prices for minor things. The differences between the cheapest and most expensive shops were around 1500 pesos (£22) for 2 dives. It goes to show it pays to shop around!
I found the cheapest shop and booked myself in for 2 dives the following day, joined by Balthazar who had arrived by then.
As there was a lot of dive shops around the island, there were also a lot of places selling equipment, so I put my £25 savings towards a new mask and dive computer. The computer was an absolute steal at less than £100. 2nd hand as it had been used once!
We boarded the boat and headed out towards a beautiful island for our 2 dives. The first dive of the day would be my 50th dive, so I decided to celebrate. By doing the dive in my boxer shorts!
It was surprisingly pleasant, although a touch cold!
We ended up doing 2 4 dives over two days and it was really nice. Pleasant visibility with a bit of currant. The highlights of the dives being the sheer amount of turtles. I must have seen 10 over the 4 dives, some of the coming incredibly close!
Another highlight was during a drift dive (literally floating underwater as the current takes you along) I looked forward to see Balthazar looking at the wall, behind him was a huge school of Jackfish, hundreds of the things about half a metre from him. I got his attention and told him to turn around. I think the poor guy almost had a heart attack when he saw the hundreds of huge fish surrounding him.
At one point I was in the middle of the school and my 360 degree view was jackfish! Very disorientating but amazing!
Ive also began wondering how I ever dived without a computer. Diving with a computer allows you so much more freedom as your Depth, Deco time, dive time etc are all on your wrist.
Kate, whom we had met in Moalboal arrived in Bohol in time for the 3 of us to rent some motorbikes for the day.
I opted for a semi automatic bike. It had a foot break and gears, but no clutch. Having not really ridden a moped bike since I was 16 i was a bit nervous but it all came flooding back to me as we got onto the road. It was so easy to ride and just so nice to explore independently. I love having a car in the UK and hadn’t realised how much id missed driving!
We headed inland towards to famous Chocolate hills passing through the beautiful manmade forest.
The chocolate hills are a series of bizarre naturally occurring small dome hills.
We climbed up one of the domes and were treated to some spectacular views.
We left the hills and began making our way back to Panglao. We had a few stops planned out.
The first of which was a zip line with a twist. You got on a bicycle and cycled along the line! I’m pretty comfortable around ropes and heights but I must admit it was a bit disconcerting cycling along the swaying rope!
As we went to leave the zip wire we noticed that disaster had struck! Balthazars bike had suffered a flat tyre! A quick stop at a road side garage of which there’s plenty, saw it fixed within 15 minutes. A new inner tube was needed as the DIY fixes on the old tube had all failed thanks to a nail! Fortunately Balthazar was able to able to claim back the 200 pesos for the repair!
Our next stop off on the route home was to a tarsier sanctuary. Tarsiers are tiny little monkeys that are native to Bohol. They are critically endangered so it was a real treat to see so many! These little Primates must have been where the inspiration for Yoda came from!
With seconds to spare we arrived at our final stop before home. Another zip line. This one going over a huge forested canyon. The 520 metre long zip line runs 120 metres high over the river offering incredible views! Unlike other zip lines ive been on, on this one you line on your tummy in a superman position as you fly! It was amazing and a real rush!
We finished the day back in Panglao with dinner, all exhausted and burnt from the strong Philippine sun!
The next day, bright and early Balthazar and I rented the bikes once again, Kate having opted against it due to the previous days burns.
We planned to ride for 3 hours to the other side of the island to some caves we had heard about.
After the second hour my love of the bikes began to wear off as my back and ass started to hurt so badly!
We reached Anda after 3 hours, what a difference 100km makes! We were the only tourists in site. Anda was obviously a popular spot for locals and it being the weekend meant it was quite crowed, but everyone was so friendly to us!
Before looking for the caves we went in search of a local waterfall. We had heard the place, although difficult to get too, was a great place to swim.
Difficult to get to was an understatement, we ended up riding along a dirt road. If it could even be called a road! Track or trail would be a better description!
When we got to the waterfall we discovered it wasn’t a waterfall, but a man made swimming pool filled with locals! I think something somewhere got lost in translation, never the less we were made to feel very welcome after people got over the surprise of two westerners there!
After a quick dip we made our way to the first cave on our itinerary. The shallow cave was a popular swimming hole for locals and after the day riding in the heat, a pool of shaded water sounded amazing!
After clambering into the cave we jumped into the ice cold crystal clear water! Refreshing doesn’t begin to describe how nice it was!
The water was so clear, we took some photos underwater and honestly you would struggle to notice they were underwater photos! It made me want to have a go at cave diving when the opportunity presents!
The second cave was much bigger and busier, a big hole in the group with water at the bottom! The only way in was to jump! So jump we did! While this cave was quite cool, more a cenote than a cave, it was salt water so not as refreshing as the previous one. Amusingly while its free to go into the cave, a charge of 50 pesos applies to use the ladder to get out!!
The 3 hour drive back was excruciating and made worse by the heavy traffic. Thankfully we got back safe, despite one or two near misses!
I collapsed in bed exhausted, but had to be up early the next day to move on to Puerta Princesa