Be warned! Before reading the following blogs about my trips to the Philippines, you must know that I am not a good bargainer. The cost of travel and other expenses mentioned below are likely to be overpriced. I can’t say for sure, but I get the feeling I paid too much sometimes. Even if I get pumped up to try bargaining I shy away as soon as I have to interact with an actual human being. At the very least, I think the prices I mention could serve more as a guideline for the maximum you should pay.
Late Night/Early Morning in Manila
So before talking about my day in Bohol, I wanted to mention I actually spent a couple of hours in Manila the night before. It was late and there wasn’t much to do. But, there was also enough time before my flight to Bohol in the morning that I didn’t want to sit around at the airport the whole time. So, of course, I went out to have my first meal in the Philippines. I read an article online about the best 24 restaurants, checked proximity to the airport, narrowed down, read reviews and decided on Kantos Freestyle Breakfast. The employees were so friendly and polite. And, they kept calling me ma’am.
I ordered a popular set that I honestly thought tasted just mediocre. I did end up ordering specialty pancakes to go that I could eat before getting on the plane. Those were fantastic!
Vigan Longganisa Set (Eggs, rice and special Filipino sausage)- 95 pesos ($1.98)
Goya Chocnut Ganache Pancakes- 95 pesos ($1.98)
I made a deal at the airport with a taxi driver to stay and take me back to the airport. Because of how early it was, I was super nervous about getting back to the airport on time. I paid 300 pesos per hour so paid 900 pesos ($ 18.79) for a total of 3 hours. It cost somewhere between 200 and 30o pesos just to get to the restaurant so I think overall it seemed like a fair price to pay for getting there, him waiting and taking me back to the airport.
After landing at the airport, I expected to see various forms of transportation when I walked outside or at least an obvious taxi area. I walked around like an idiot and couldn’t really find any. So, I asked someone and then ended up with a rented car. He tried to make me pay 3000 pesos for the morning, but I knew that was too much especially considering I only wanted to go to a couple places and not do a full tour. We decided on 2000 pesos ($41.75) which may have been a little high, but I was also a solo traveler and usually people get to split prices with their friends or the rest of their group.
First, we headed to the Tarsier Sanctuary. I didn’t see as many as I expected and I didn’t realize how hidden they would be. There are basically guides standing throughout this little area pointing out to you where the tarsiers are.I sure had to zoom to get pictures of them. But, they are weirdly cute little creatures, and they were fun to see. *The ticket cost 60 pesos ($1.25).
Travel Tip: Make sure you have small bills because sometimes they can’t make change! This is a good to do for a lot of places you visit in the Philippines.
Next, we headed to the Bamboo Hanging Bridge. This bridge crosses the Sipatan River and was originally made of bamboo and rope. Now steel cables replace the rope to help with stability of the safety of the those crossing. It was fun to walk across the bridge though it made me a little nervous at first. It can sometimes feel like the bamboo isn’t sturdy enough, but it really is. The view is also pretty, and you can get some coconut juice once you reach the other side. I forget how much the coconut juice cost, but it was pretty cheap and refreshing. * The Bamboo Hanging Bridge entrance fee is 20 pesos ($0.42).
The last stop before heading to the hotel, was the Loboc River. I decided to go on the Loboc River Cruise which lasted about an hour round-trip and included a buffet lunch. There live music and views were nice, the performance on the river was fun, and I thought the food was pretty tasty. Plus, I got to try a couple of new Filipino foods. *The Loboc River Cruise ticket cost 450 pesos ($9.38).
My hotel on the beachfront! I booked my Lost Horizon Resort room through Agoda and paid about $68 per night. I could’ve gone more budget friendly, but I decided I wanted and individual room and something near the beach. There are definitely even more budget friendly options though! (FYI: The beach picture is from walking around and is not the view directly in front of my hotel.) After checking in and relaxing, I went for a swim at Alona Beach. I was surprised by how many boats were so near the beach, and it wasn’t quite as amazing as I imagined. But, it was still enjoyable. I am always happy to be near the water.
Food! I wasn’t super daring on my first day or during the rest of my trip either really. The easiest places to eat were at the restaurants along the resort. To be honest, I generally failed on this trip at finding authentic places to eat local Filipino food. The hamburger was totally worth it though! It is the best burger I’ve had outside of America. They get how to make a good hamburger. This ice cream shop called Buzzz Cafe had super delicious ice cream, and there were some unique flavors. You could get a scoop for 50 pesos ($1.04). My favorite ended up being ube (sweet potato) which is a common dessert flavor in the Philippines. You would think the taste would be overwhelming, but it was actually so good!