We flew back to Cebu from Palawan, and stayed in Cebu City again for one night before taking the boat the next morning to Bohol. On the way back to the airport in Palawan, the bus company we used forgot to charge us for the bus, they just dropped us at the airport and drove off before we’d even got our bags sorted, so that was 1,000 pesos saved.
We got to the boat pier the next morning, to go to Bohol, to be told all the normal seats had been sold already, and only business class was left, to save waiting a few hours for the next one, we’d have to pay for business class, which coincidently cost us an extra 1,000 pesos, it’s funny how karma works sometimes.
The two-hour fast ferry passed by quickly and we were at the other side negotiating with a tricycle driver to take us to Panglao Island, a 30 minute drive away. We knew this area was quite touristy, and there were plenty of tourists there, but nowhere near as compact as El Nido, so by staying out of the centre a little, it all felt quite nice and local, quite a pleasant place to relax by a pool for a few days, a bit of a treat.
The accommodation was nice, friendly staff, nice big room and terrace so we made the most of the space each night and sat out on the terrace playing cards and drinking some crazy cheap local rum (the small bottle of rum here cost 50p). A candle-lit cup noodle dinner on the balcony was also a throwback to El Nido food 🙂
We had planned to do some snorkelling trips in the nearby area, but unfortunately once again, conservation and sustainability wasn’t really thought about that much so we decided to give it a miss. As we got there, we saw an advertisement for a tour to go dolphin watching, it intrigued us both but we decided we’d like to know more about it before doing it, Google didn’t really give much information about it here.
The first time we walked down on to Alona Beach front, we were asked by a European woman with a clipboard if we had been on a Dolphin watching tour here, we said we hadn’t so she just moved on to the next person. I was very intrigued, as she hadn’t tried to sell us anything, which is quite unusual, we went and asked her why she was asking people. It transpired that they had been researching these tours and the damage done to the Dolphins, it obviously wasn’t being done with conservation in mind, I asked her if it was sustainable how the tours were being run now and unfortunately the answer was “No”.
They were a research project trying to work with the boat captains to help protect the Dolphins so hopefully in the near future things will change. We didn’t want to take part in this, so passed it by, as with the rest of the wildlife tours around here, of which there are many, most of the time people are just ignoring the damage being done.
The food in Panglao was certainly an improvement on El Nido, a very tasty Vegan (I know, tasty and Vegan don’t normally combine, do they?) burger place served good food and good cocktails, we went there a couple of times. The local bar stocked dozens of craft beers from all over the Philippines, so we worked our way through quite a few of those also.
A great last few days in Panglao Island brought the Philippine adventure to and end, it has all been great in unique ways, the people all over where we have been in the Philippines have been incredible, particularly the Cebuano people who have been the friendliest people we have ever come across. The food is pretty awful most of time, but the people and the feeling of spending time here just makes that seem irrelevant somehow. An amazing place, and we both hope we can return.
I know the three weeks we spent in the Philippines definitely deserves more words than I have written, but I can’t quite put in to words the way the country makes you feel while you are there. It’s difficult to explain, but it’s the people that make the place so amazing. All the worst parts of travel don’t seem to matter so much in the Philippines and that’s definitely different to other places we have been in SE Asia, it really is more fun in the Philippines.