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Dec, 06 || No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tarsier in BoholTarsier in Bohol

Welcome to the Philippines!
Did you know that in the Philippines…

..a jeepney ride is only about 8PHP?

..a San Miguel light beer costs only about 50 PHP in bars and restaurants? playing almost everywhere a liveband at night?

..José Rizal is one of the greatest heroes?

..wifi often isn’t working or if it is then very slowly?

..a Balut is a developing duck embryo which is boiled alive and eaten in the shell?

..CR means Comfort Room and means in our language toilets? find sooo many intrusive beggars and seller unfortunately everywhere? often have to pay an additional terminal fee separately to your ferry or flight ticket?

..if you grab promo flights with Cebu Pacific Air that you are paying less than 800-900PHP for a domestic flight (luggage and fees included)?

..Cebu Pacific Air just changes your flight without any notification to the customer and you always have to check on your own if there are any changes in your flight itinerary?

..if you are flying Cebu Pacific Air that they are doing quiz games during the flight and involve all passengers to join and win a prize? :-D

..Manila’s Airport is one of the worst rated in the world? You have different terminals and you need a taxi or bus to change between them and you often get stucked in traffic jam?

..if you enter a big mall, that the security only checks your backback but never your main luggage if you are travelling with them as well?

..almost all security guards are armed with fire arms? find more than 7’100 islands! need 3 different tickets for the boat trip to Boracay?

PS. for 1 Swiss Franc you receive about 46 PHP or for 1$ about 45 PHP

Once more, welcome to the Philippines :-)

It’s tuesday, Nov 4th, when I was leaving Bangkok and heading with Philippine Airlines (in the meantime I hate this airline, they still owe me a refund from my cancelled fligh from Taipei to Manila. Waiting now since more than 7 weeks and sent already 3 E-Mails – terrible customer service!) straight to Manila. If you are travelling to the Philippines without a visa, make sure you that you have a proof of a booked return or onward flight ready at the check in. They really ask you and they will notice your next flight in their system. After passing Immigration and collecting my luggage, my next challenge was in finding a serious, metered taxi. Manila’s Airport Taxis are famous to rip off tourists especially after sunset. So be aware! Passed all the touts and went straight to the taxi stall and got a ride to Makati Area for around 340 PHP. Wooohooo. Stayed in the Our Melting Pot hostel which has a great and safe location in Makati (Belair) area. Unfortunaltey if your room is faced to the street you hardly find any sleep. The hostel offered a free city tour which was great. Fortunately there was another traveller group in the hostel which hired a minivan, so we cruised with them the whole day around. Stopped at famous spots like the National Museum of the Philippines, Manila Cathedral, Fort Santiago or also Mall of Asia. The traffic in Manila is really one of the worst in the world and it felt hours to travel from point A to B.

waiting on the luggage in Manila Ninoy Airportwaiting on the luggage in Manila Ninoy Airport

Manila CathedralManila Cathedral

Fort Santiago, ManilaFort Santiago

José Rizal in Fort Santiago, ManilaJosé Rizal in Fort Santiago

tourits eating Balut in Manilaone guy from our group tried eating Balut (no I did not try :-D)

don't use the hammer when you are drunk ;-)don’t use the hammer when you are drunk ;-)

Due to my cancelled trip to Jeju Island and Taiwan I had more time to spend in the Philippines and decided to go to Subic (Thanks to my friend Kirk for the recommendation). The trip from Manila Victory Liner Bus Terminal took about 3.5hours (there are a few direct buses to Subic but I had to wait 2 hours) to Olongapo (218PHP) and about 15min from Olongapo to Subic by taxi (bargain to 200PHP, a trike is 150PHP). It’s less crowded there compared to Manila, has a beach and it was possible to dive as well. Especially if you like wreck diving. During the war many ships sunk here. Make sure you have the advanced open water certification because many wrecks sunk quite deep. Alternatively spend enough time here and pass your adv. owd certification in Subic :-). I did my diving at Johan’s in Subic (Baloy Beach). Johan also has a hotel, but my impression was that the rooms were very basic but the associated restaurant offered great food. Compared to other places and countries it was quite cheap (each dive was 1500 PHP, boat trip and equipment incl.).

Subic BeachSubic Beach

Subic BeachSubic Beach

wreck diving in Subic to USS New Yorkwreck diving in Subic to USS New York

wreck diving in Subic to USS New Yorkon the boat before our descent around 27m depth to USS New York

warning drunk peopleWARNING! drunk people around the hotel bar!

My next stop was Cebu (about 1 hour flight from Manila).

Cebu Pacific Airlines during boardingCebu Pacific Airlines during boarding

Arrived at Cebu Lapu Lapu Airport late at night, my friend Emelyn picked me up and guided me then around in Cebu and Bohol. Her birthday was already 2 days after so we celebrated together with her friends and enjoyed a fancy dinner.

fancy birthday dinner in Cebufancy birthday dinner in Cebu

Ayala Mall in CebuAyala Mall in Cebu

one of the many jeepney's in the philippines/Cebuone of the many jeepney’s in the Philippines/Cebu

Later we went to Bohol by ferry (Oceanjet, return ticket about 800 PHP, there are about 3-4 different ferry companies). First you arrive at Tagbilaran after about 2 hours (which also has an airport). From there take a trike to Bohol and Alona beach for 300 PHP (about 45min). Enjoy the ride on a bumpy road!

Oceanjet ferry from Cebu to Tagbilaran/BoholOceanjet ferry from Cebu to Tagbilaran/Bohol

Trike in the Philippines/BoholTrike to Alona Beach at the pier in Tagbilaran

Housed in Bohol at Alona Swiss Resort (check the review here) which was a small, nice and quiet place with a swimming pool. To Alona beach it was about a 7-8min walk. One day we we booked a private boat trip for 1500 PHP (boat) to avoid all the big groups, which was a great deal and experience! If you are joining a group it’s already 500 PHP per person, so the extra money was it absolutely worth. Went to Bacsilag Island for snorkeling (hello fish and turtles!) and later to Virgin Island which was very beautiful. Also dolphin watching on the way was part of the trip. We were the only 2 tourists on Virgin Island at that time, so it was great to take some pictures :-)

Bohol/Alona private boat tripour boat for the private trip to Bacsilag and Virgin Island

dolphin watching on the waydolphin watching on the way

Bacsilag IslandBacsilag Island

Virgin Islands, Bohol, PhilippinesVirgin Islands, Bohol

Virgin Islands, Bohol, PhilippinesVirgin Islands, Bohol

jumping on Virgin Islands, Bohol, PhilippinesVirgin Islands, Bohol

Virgin Islands, Bohol, PhilippinesVirgin Islands, Bohol

Virgin Islands, Bohol, PhilippinesVirgin Islands, Bohol

Virgin Islands, Bohol, PhilippinesVirgin Islands, Bohol

Another day we booked a land tour (minivan transfer for 400PHP per Person) for visiting Chocolate Hills an the Tarsier and some other little attractions. Regrettably it wasn’t possible anymore to hold the Tarsier in your hands. The guard told us that some visitors (especially Koreans) squished the Tarsier such hard that they died. Stupid people. On this day trip we met Stefano, a guy from Südtirol, which I will tell you later more about.

Chocolate Hills, BoholChocolate Hills, Bohol

Chocolate Hills, BoholChocolate Hills, Bohol

Tarsier in BoholTarsier in Bohol

Tarsier in BoholTarsier in Bohol

Tarsier in BoholTarsier in Bohol

Tarsier in BoholTarsier in Bohol

Alona Beach is not that big and was not that crowded like many other tourist spots. In the evening  you can marvel at fireshows or just enjoy dinner at the beach – great! There are a couple of bars and many restaurants with live music.

Alona Beach, BoholAlona Beach, Bohol

Alona Beach at night, BoholAlona Beach at night, Bohol

Alona Beach at night, BoholAlona Beach at night, Bohol

crab is on the runcrab is on the run

If you have time, do a trip do Dumuluan Beach! The beach is almost empty and is one of the most beautiful beaches I ever have seen. It’s about 6 Km from Alona beach. A trike cost about 150PHP one way to get there. The entrance fee to the beach is 25PHP. Make sure you have the phone number from your trike drive for the way back or pay him for waiting.

Dumuluan Beach, BoholDumuluan Beach,

Dumuluan Beach, BoholDumuluan Beach

Dumuluan Beach, BoholDumuluan Beach

Dumuluan Beach, BoholDumuluan Beach

Dumuluan Beach, BoholDumuluan Beach

Dumuluan Beach, BoholDumuluan Beach

Dumuluan Beach, BoholDumuluan Beach

The time passed quicky and I was founding myself again at Cebu Lapu Lapu Airport. My next stop was Boracay. Unfortunately Cebu Pacific Air cancelled my nonstop flight to Kalibo (of course without any information) and I had to flight via Manila (at least the luggage could be checked through). I was lucky enough that I checked my flights again 1 months ago and I was able to adjust my flights to a better arrival time in Kalibo (without any fees but was hanging 30 min in their customer service line). They seriousely booked me at first on a flight which I would arrive at Kalibo Airport at 23:00 at night! So if you ever book Cebu Pacific Airlines or another airline in the Philippines, check your flight details from time to time! To be honest I shouldn’t complain that much, only paid around 1000 PHP (incl. fees and luggage) for this or now for these 2 flights :-) If you only have 10 Kg of checked luggage better fly to Caticlan Airport (200PHP additional charge for every Kg exceeding the limit). Caticlan Airport saves you an almost 2 hour minivan ride from Kalibo to Caticlan pier. Unfortunately you have this strictly policy in Caticlan and the prices to get there compared to Kalibo are much higher.

touts outside Kalibo Airport for heading to Caticlan Piertouts for transportation outside Kalibo Airport for heading to Caticlan Pier (paid 125PHP for the minivan including boat ticket)

Caticlan Pier for leaving to Boracayat Caticlan Pier, you need to buy 2 additional tickets (if you have to boat tiket for 25PHP already) for the environmental and terminal fee before boarding (together 175PHP).

boat from and to Boracayboat from and to Boracay

Arrived at Boracay Pier, take a trike to one of the 3 stations. If you take a shared one it’s 20 PHP, if you decide yourself in riding a private one you get charged with 100PHP. Altogether a one way trip from Kalibo Airport to your hotel in Boracay takes about 3 hours. Arrived in Boracay and White Sand Beach I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was like a little Korea, Korean where everywhere and my feeling was that there were even more Korean than Filipinos. So, whatever welcome to touristy Boracay. I stayed at Station 2 in the Boarding House hotel (check the review here), which was quite nice and in a good location (almost in the middle of everything). Unfortunately the weather during my stay in Boracay was too bad. To cut a long story short, it was raining the most of the time. As a coincidence I bumped again in Stefano (which I met in Bohol) and we spent 3 days together in Boracay until he left back home.

In Boracay itself you find many many restaurants and bars but compared to the rest of the Philippines, where I have been, Boracay was very expensive. If you like partying, there is also a “Boracay Pub Crawl” for a fee of 990PHP (incl. free T-Shirt, Shot glass, 10 shots and a around 3 entrance to clubs). My opinion was, that it was overprice and too commercial with groups more than 100pax. Feel free to join ;)

at White Sand Beach in Boracayat White Sand Beach in Boracay

Bulabog Beach, Kite Surfingat Bulabog Beach, where all the kitesurfer enjoying their passion

having a beer in Boracayhaving a beer with Stefano in Boracay

at White Sands Beach in Boracayat White Sands Beach in Boracay

Good morning coffee in Boracay's recently opened Starbucks with an amazing beach viewGood morning coffee in Boracay’s recently opened Starbucks with an amazing beach view

fire shows at night at Boracay's White Sand Beachfire shows at night at Boracay’s White Sand Beach

Swiss chocolate in BoracaySwiss Chocolate in Boracay

Finally the day has arrived when I had to leave Boracay and also the Philippines. So I had to go the whole way back to Kalibo Airport. My flight was in the late afternoon back to Manila Ninoy Airport Terminal 4. In Manila I had to change to Terminal 3 by taxi (took about 10min with low traffic) and checked in again at the Cebu Pacific desk for my flight to Bangkok. I was happy that I arrived on time from Kalibo and that I got my luggage. On my flight to Bangkok I won a prize at a quiz game from Cebu Pacific. It’s such a funny airline. They have that kind of games on every flight (domestic and international) and involves their passengers to join. So Funny! Swiss Airlines you have homeworks now! Landed in Bangkok after midnigh and was at my hotel around 1am. Welcome to Thailand again.

crowded check in area at Kalibo Airportcrowded check in area at Kalibo Airport

crowded boarding area at Kalibo Airportcrowded boarding area at Kalibo Airport – terrible. All seats were taken and people were standing and waiting everywhere on a very little place.

my Air Asia aircraft from Kalibo to Manilamy Air Asia aircraft from Kalibo to Manila

Cebu Pacific check in at Manila Ninoy Aiport Terminal 3Cebu Pacific check in at Manila Ninoy Aiport Terminal 3

Cebu Pacific Airlines quiz prizeMy Cebu Pacific Airlines quiz game prize :-)

Thanks for joining my blog about the Philippines! Probably have to go back to that country soon and visit Palawan as well.

See you next time again in Thailand at Koh Samui, KohPhangan, Koh Tao!

Finally will add some of my favourite filipino songs from Kamikazee :)

Tarsier sleeping in Bohol

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