On Monday, I caught a two-hour ferry to the island of Bohol. I had read about the unique ice cream flavors from Bohol Bee Farm so I decided to check them out. I had fourteen options, five of which were local flavors that to me didn’t really have a taste. I settled on one scoop of avocado (where else serves avocado ice cream??) and one scoop of salted honey. While the flavor of the avocado ice cream was spot on to the real thing, avocado is just not an ice cream flavor. The salted honey, on the other hand, was excellent! It was the perfect mix of sweet and salty. So much so, that I ended up indulging on it three more times this week.
On Tuesday I rented a scooter and explored half of the island. First stop was Chocolate Hills. I wasn’t really expecting much because it was just a lookout over hills. I only went because it’s what Bohol is known for. I was pleasantly surprised with just how cool it was to look at these giant mounds for as far as the eye can see. Next I headed up to Anda Beach. The beach was white and pretty empty which was great. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend much time there because it was already 4pm and I had a little under a 2 hour drive back to my hostel. The sun sets around 5:30pm and I had been warned it wasn’t exactly safe to drive a scooter at night (no street lights, animals and humans frequently crossing the road, poor road conditions, etc.). I turned my iPod on, found a road that hugged the coast for the whole return trip, and sang my little heart out. About 20 minutes into the trip, I caught myself unable to wipe the smile off my face. The immaculate views, fantastic tunes, and the wind in my hair – it was all so great! While I wasn’t able to make it back before dark (they were right, driving at night is awful), I was able to catch the whole sunset and it was so gorgeous!
Wednesday was my chill out day. While researching some things I wanted to see during my time in Bohol, I started to chat with a lady from Chicago. She quit her marketing job two and a half years ago, rented out her apartment in Wrigleyville, and has been traveling the world ever since, solely on the money she makes from her apartment. It came up in conversation that she had hiked the Anapurna Circuit so I spent the next two hours dissecting her experience. It was nice to hear first-hand accounts of the trek as well as confirm some of my thoughts and research on what Flynn and I are about to get into.
My plan for Thursday was to chase waterfalls around the island. First stop was Mag-aso Falls. I knew the last part of the route was going to be on some back roads. While driving, the road started to get dicey…. As in sharp rocks practically cemented into the ground. Should I keep going? Maybe I’ll ask the next person I see if I’m on the right path. Just when I was about to turn around, I made it to the entrance gate! After descending 197 slippery concrete stairs, I made it to Mag-aso Falls! While it was nice to only have to share the destination with a family of four, the waterfalls weren’t as majestic as I was expecting.
Next up was Ingkumhan Falls. Again, I was prepared for the last bit to be on back roads. And just like before, the road started to get dicey. Just keep going. All roads to waterfalls must be this way. Then, five cows emerged from the country-side and started walking on the road I was trying to drive on. Well that’s interesting. I wonder how they react to scooters. I’m either going to spook them or they are immune to these things. As I started to approach their backsides, a man emerged from the same spot as the cows. I honestly couldn’t tell if he was their owner or a homeless man. After coming to the conclusion that he didn’t speak English, and him giving me a blank stare when I tried to motion if it was ok for me to drive around the cows, I forged ahead. Turns out, the cows are desensitized to scooters.
As I continued along, the road turned really dicey. Sharper rocks, part of the road eroded away, a hefty drop off over the edge…. Do I keep going? I really don’t like where this is headed. Should I turn around? That man back there clearly won’t be able to help me if something happens. I think I’ve reached my stress level for the day. Yep, chalk this one up to a failure. After reaching defeat, I turned around, drove past the cows and the odd man, and then noticed my scooter wasn’t driving the same. After a quick inspection, I saw that my back tire was flat. With the exception of that weird dude, I haven’t seen another human being in quite some time. Looks like I’m going to have to walk the 8km back into town. After walking maybe 20m, two guys on a motorbike came around the bend. I frantically waved at them. “Help me?!” They asked how long my tire had been flat for and then said one would drive it into town while I rode with the other one. Staying true to Filipino hospitality, they stopped their day to help me, waited until my tire was fixed and I was safely back on the road (even after I insisted I was ok and they could get back to their day), refused the money I offered them as a token of my gratitude, and offered to take me to the waterfalls on Saturday.
I was a beach bum during the day on Friday. That evening, I met some really awesome people at my hostel during the meet-and-greet activity. There was nine of us – two guys from the UK who were traveling together and then seven of us solo travelers who all just clicked. We went out on the town that night and my birthday was kicked off by a shot at the bar when the clock struck midnight.
Saturday… my birthday!!! I was up and on the road by 7am to meet Ago, the local who helped me with my flat tire. He took me to both Ingkumhan Falls and Twin Falls. Again, Ingkumhan Falls wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be thanks to over-edited photos online. Twin Falls was much better than expected and we had both places to ourselves since it was so early in the morning. That afternoon, I met up with my Bohol Entourage (our hostel group of 9 people). We went cliff jumping into the Philippine Sea and swam in Hinagdanan Cave. Yay for other thrill-seeking travelers! We caught the tail-end of the best sunset I’ve ever seen. Colors of orange and red light up the horizon and then turned into deep shades of ruby and purple. My birthday ended with another night on the town with my Bohol Entourage.
By Sunday afternoon, everyone except Curl and I, had left to continue on with their individual Philippine journeys. It was crazy how much we all connected over the 48 hours together… you would have thought we had all been friends for 10 years. It was mix of nationalities spanning the whole world – UK, Germany, Brazil, Nicaragua, Philippines, Spain, and the US. Thank God, everyone (besides the UK boys and myself) were bilingual with English!
After saying the goodbyes, I sat down to write my blog. I was really struggling to put words on the page. It hurt my head to think… my thoughts were confusing and didn’t make sense. Something is not right…. Am I lethargic? That’s when I realized I was lacking sleep (I had slept a total of 6 hours the last two nights), fluids, and nutrients (I hadn’t eaten for 36 hours)…. you know… the basic necessities to life. I was having so much fun that taking care of these three life necessities never crossed my mind. I inhaled a pizza (yay for a nearby Italian restaurant!), slept from 5-9pm, made plans for the next morning with Curl (Filipina from my Bohol Entourage), and went back to bed from 9:30pm-6am.