The Chocolate Hills, Bohol

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The Chocolate Hills are Bohol’s most famous look out point. We stayed at Nuts Huts – a cool hidden jungle guesthouse 40 mins away in Lobok. It’s a little worse for wear after October 2013 earthquake, but there’s still half a dozen bamboo treehouses, a flock of tame goats, and a shangri-la style bar on stilts. Best of all you get to arrive adventure style, via dugout canoe.

Pic of the week; Alona Beach, Pangalao

Sunset view from the balcony of the lovely Charlotte Hotel, Alona Beach - Bohol's 'Mini Boracay.'

Peach coloured sunset from the balcony of the Charlotte Hotel, Alona Beach – Bohol’s ‘Mini Boracay.’

Malupascua, The Philippines

Threasher Shark

A flight to Cebu. 3 hour drive to the port of Maya. A midnight sail in a outrigger boat by moonlight…. But where else in the world can you wake up at 4.30am to dive with thresher sharks?

Everything else is classic Philippines; San Miguel, cockerels, dogs, Bruno Mars ringtones, hammocks, an annual village barrio fiesta, Tanduay rum.

What makes Malupascua extra special is that it’s still defined by the above, and not it’s near devastation in typhoon Yolanda only 6 months ago. Support it with your tourist dollars, it’s an amazing place.

Where we stayed: The family run Aabana Beach Gorgeous beach bungalows with breakfast served on your own huge veranda. It’s also right next door to the best dive school on the island: Evolution Where we ate: The amazing Angelina Italian and inland budget shack JinJins.

Pic of the week: Thrills in Manils…

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A guy in Starbucks making dreamcatchers on road named Jupitor Street. Cosmic. In Makati City, Manila.

The Philippines

A nice little tangent that i’m really glad I chanced in the end. It’s definitely hard to really do the highlights (Bohol, North Luzon, Manila, Cebu, Boracay, Palawan) in three weeks. A 21 day visa is free so most people stay only this long. However unless you fly, you tend to lose days to boats and once a week ferries and the like.

I kind of wish i’d done some planning and squeezed more in, like the rice paddies in Banaue and the wide-eyed monkey face things that have eyes like Puss in Boots from Shrek. But when faced with the dilemma of countryside v’s city v’s culture v’s remote villages etc there is only one clear winner for me. Swanning about on beaches instead!

Liked:

1)      So I hate the sweeping statement that is: ‘Filipino’s (Thai’s/Laotians/insert Asian country here) really are the friendliest in the world.” But you can’t deny here has to be noted for immaculate manors. You can escape that level of hassle or confrontation that you can’t in other SEA countries, and generally the friendly vibe feels slightly more authentic and less loaded. Ok, being referred to as ‘Ma’am,’ 24h a day is a little OTT unless you are the Queen but if you ask for directions on any given Jeepney, chances are someone will hop off and walk you there. Love thy neighbour.

2)      San Miguel recycling. Each beer bottle comes with a napkin stuck around the rim for wiping the recycled bottle clean, DIY style. You get to drink and save the planet. Win win.

3)      The magical coconut pie to end all pies. $10 peso. Best thing to ever be sold on a bus. Fact.

4)      Jeepney’s. 7 peso – wherever you want to go – in a psychedelic patterned tin tractor. Cars just seem so dull in comparison.

5)      Dirt cheap £10 ish flights. You can take to the skies for cheaper than a UK cinema ticket/round/bag of fish & chips.

Disliked:

1)      Boats. You are slow, you sink a lot, and you make everyone feel sick. I’m over you.

2)      Sex Tourism.

3)      Music.  Not that I don’t enjoy a bit of Michael Bolton ‘How Can we Be Lovers If We Can’t Be Friends’ whilst on an early morning minivan from time to time, but people playing their entire cheesy MP3 players out loud in public (This goes for China and in fact most of Asia too) kind of grates after a while. Earphones are $50 peso. Buy some.

4)       Cockfighting. I know the little shits are not your fave at 4am, but don’t strap them with razor blades and let them peck each other to the death. Give them a cuddle.

5)      Room prices. So there is a backpacker scene if you look for it, but at $500p ($10) rooms and only fractionally less for dorms, the PP is pricy (relatively) to do alone.

Where I stayed: Friendly’s Guesthouse  Manila, Tuna Joes Puerta Galara, Ruby’s Puerta Galara, The misc bamboo hut/someone’s house? Boracay, Treehouse Borocay, Banwa Guesthouse Puerta Princessa, Tribal Guesthouse Sabang, La Banane El Nido.

Previous Older Entries

An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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