Bohol is a relatively big island in the central Visayas, just off the coast of Cebu, the region’s main city. Panglao is the small southern sibling of Bohol, connected to it by two bridges.
For our rather short stay on Bohol, we chose Tagbilaran as our base. It’s where our ferry from Cebu arrived and it’s conveniently located between the Chocolate Hills, Bohol’s main attraction, and Panglao island. The ferry ride from Cebu to Tagbilaran was once again a smooth thing, the only moment with potential for surprises was the check-in of our luggage. Prices per bag vary from port to port, depend on the mood of the person at the counter and your haggling skills.
To reach the Chocolate Hills, a curious geological formation of 1268 hills in the form of my favourite Teuscher truffle pralinés spread over 50 square kilometres, I had to take a tricycle taxi to the terminal and from there a public bus. The whole trip took me around three hours each way and cost me approximately USD 2.50 per leg. The bus dropped me off at a corner from where I had to walk up to the viewing platform on top of one of the hills. It was raining. First just a bit, then a lot. After travelling for three hours basically just to get a nice view and take a few pictures, I had no other choice than to have faith in the tropical weather and sit this one out. An hour later, things started to look up for me. Funny looking hills in a brownish green as far as you can see. Not a sight you get every day, but also not one I would travel a total of six hours for again.
The next day, it was time for us to make our experience with the Philippines’ most common way of transportation: the Jeepney. Originally Willys-Jeeps left behind by the Americans, these vehicles have been remodelled to transport up to 14 people. In reality, the number of passengers is more likely to be 20 to 25. When the benches are full, people sit on the roof or hold on to the back. They are usually in a terrible state, not comfortable, not safe, not environmentally friendly but, and this is important, they are often very colourful. They stop wherever people want to get on or off. Even relatively short rides seem endless but on the positive side, they are incredibly cheap.
Our destination: Alona Beach on Panglao island. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening walking along the beach, enjoying a few drinks and some nice burgers. Yes, burgers, no rice, no chicken.
After this rather short stopover, we once again took a ferry the next day. This time to beautiful Siquijor island.