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esfahani Tagbilaran City - A travel report by Ralph
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Tagbilaran City,  Philippines - flag Philippines -  Tagbilaran
5956 readers

esfahani's travel reports

Just like Holiday...

  23 votes
It can be quite difficult to make a choice out of 7000 islands, finding the right place to go. This report may help to make a decission: BOHOL - right in the center of the philippines, easy to reach and offering a varity of things to do...

towards Bohol
towards Bohol
Every year we hear about terrible taifuns, landslides or volcano eruptions from the philippines, mostly happens during the rainy season, more or less from june to november. so propably if you have the choice, decide to travel during the dry season, the "cold months" if you want to name it. But its still hot, believe me!

My first destination as passionated diver took me to Mindoro, the first large island south of Manila.
Too many friends been recommending the place for worldclass divesites, and facinating marinelife.
Sabang is a busy little village, with plenty hotels, restaurants, pubs and bars. Octopus Divers runs a nice Hotel, just at the seafront, fair rooms and a swimmingpool (Sabang is not famous for its beach). German owner! - so: quite a lot of german guests! (just as a warning... nobody likes too many germans on one place, specially not when they're in holiday :-))

When you cross over, take care to take a larger ferry, instead taking a private ride on a small bangka, the famous outriggers.
The Batangas Channel is one of the dangerous, even big ships getting in trouble there and making the headlines in tv and magazines.
From Manila they offering a full service transport wich includes the bus and the ferry directly to Sabang or Puerto Galera. 600PHP (Philippine Peso) - starting from Citystate Tower Hotel in Ermita daily at 8.00 am, ask for SIKAT

Favourite spots:
Sabang sunset
Sabang sunset
Anyway: I wanted to write the report about Bohol! - After a couple of days, we dicided to leave the place. the Batangas Channel was rough, as he is famous for, the rain got stronger every day, so: the best time to make a move!

At home, while planning the trip I really look up for Palawan, the filipine tourism board is calling the place: "the last frontier" - wow, that sounds challenging, isnt?
Unfortunally, through the weather conditions I did not wanted to take the risk, spending my days hooked up in a rosty, old bus on a muddy road.
Up in the Palawans north, at the Calamian group you find one of the most attacting dive sites of the whole country, near Coron you find a large number of japanese shipwrecks from the 2nd worldwar, and the amazing barracuda lake.
Filled up with half fresh and half salt water and extreme temperature vary, from ca. 30 degr up to almost 40 celcius.

Bla, Bla... back to Bohol - my emergency travel plan: daily flights, only 45 min from Manila... just perfect!

What's really great:
outrigger ferry
outrigger ferry
You ever heard about the famous "Chocolate Hills"?! - thats Bohol!

Right at the domestic airport of Manila you'll find the office from Cebu Pacific, one of the worlds low-fare-airlines. Good service and new planes, you can book as low as 600 PP to Tagbilaran, the islands capital.
Of course in front of the airport are waiting hords of taxi drivers, like big dark clouds on the sunny sky - take it with a smile.
Usually I just take me some minutes have a sit somewhere and smoke a cigarette. After that time most of the drivers disappeared already.
The last one tried hard to find us the right place, recommending hotels at ALONA BEACH - the tourist spot on Panglao Island about 20 km away from the airport, a pleasant white beach! depending on the season and your feeling to bargain, rooms starts from 500 PHP, but at the beach you can find also some "better" places for up to 150 USD. Have a look at Alona Palm Beach Resort, a swiss couple runs the place, with an excellent restaurant!

Roadside Restaurant
Roadside Restaurant
Alona Beach is about 1km long, white sands, palm trees just like a postcard. Many hotels and guesthouses providing a wide range of standards, in between restaurants and pubs, not as crowed as Sabang but charming.
After making friend with some dive instructors and other travellers we extend our stay to almost two weeks.
Of course I spend many days on diving: should be worth, to carry about 10 kg on equipment with me to the other side of the world!

But of course, guys like motorbikes too! - A friend runs the local bike club! Bohol Riders.
Can you imagine, some roads there are good enough to speed up on 240 km per hour!!! - well more decent and relaxing can be a motocross bike with 250 cc only - 100km/h are definetely enough!

Of course up to the chocolate hill, the highlight - as well as the Tarsier monkeylike creatures (see pic below) and one of the world larges phyton snakes, or the hanging bridges crossing blue water rivers in the jungle.

at the chocolate hills
at the chocolate hills
The most facinating: Hmm... I really enjoy riding the bike through the jungle in between the hills, meeting the people in the villages there. The green of the paddy fields along the roadsides.

Of course you can book package tours to the hills, driving comfotable in a aircon taxi, being back to your room right before diner, but... I can only recommend to get your own bike, just be free to do what you want. Accept in Tagbilaran there is not much traffic, so dont scare even you are not a experienced driver!

Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills
same like the bars. some are opening up at sunset, offering delicous seafoods, preparing them on your choice.
By the way: instead of a common italian green salad, try out the filipino seaweeds, or after a couple of beers: balut... duck eggs

Other recommendations:
hmmm... may be soon
in the first time, 1992, I went to the philippines I visited the magnificent south, all around Mindanao, Basilan Island and the Sulu Archipelago...

Published on Friday December 15th, 2006

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Thu, Mar 22 2007 - 11:09 PM rating by biya67

A great report! Very enjoyable and informative read!

Fri, Feb 02 2007 - 06:04 PM rating by mrscanada

My son just go married in th Philippines and it was interesting to read about one of the destingations there.

Fri, Jan 12 2007 - 08:18 AM rating by britman


Mon, Jan 01 2007 - 12:21 PM rating by jorgesanchez

Good report and WONDERFUL pictures!

Fri, Dec 22 2006 - 05:53 AM rating by bhairavee

Good report to read and enjoy the beautiful pictures. last picture is some thing amazing,best of luck and merry cristmas.

Wed, Dec 20 2006 - 12:44 AM rating by eirekay

Ralph, I would love to hear more about the diving! Sounds like a great adventure!

Sun, Dec 17 2006 - 03:04 PM rating by davidx

Really fascinating stuff.

Sun, Dec 17 2006 - 10:28 AM rating by marianne

a good read. Love the photo of the Tarsier. Is it easy to get very close?

Sat, Dec 16 2006 - 03:26 PM rating by rangutan

Great stuff! [Info: The Batangas-Puerto Galera ferry sunk last week in typhoon "Seniang", all 100 passengers were saved by bangka boats]

Fri, Dec 15 2006 - 05:47 PM rating by bootlegga

Great sunset pic!

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