Thursday, May 10, 2012

Phil 'er up

Our trip to The Philippines was broken into three parts:  beach, jungle, and city.  


If you know me (which let's face it, if you are reading this you definitely do) you probably know that I don't like the beach.  The sun punishes me, I can't open my eyes underwater, and all that sand...I found Bill Hicks said it best:  "What's the big deal; it's where DIRT MEETS WATER."  

That being said, this was probably my best beach experience ever.  Even a sourpuss like me had a hard time being negative about this gorgeous beach.  We went to a small island off the north coast of Cebu.  Bantayan is an isolated little place, full of quaint resorts and fishermen.

These kids were trying to sail away in an old refrigerator.  They were having a blast.

The eeriest thing we saw were these fishermen.  They'd zoom past during most of the day, their heads fully covered straight terrorist style.  It was really difficult to look at them.

There aren't any taxis on the island, and the easiest way to get around is on these little tricycles.  The driver will take you around for little to no money, peddling as hard as he can.  It's a cutthroat business, when leaving our hotel it was brutal trying to be fair and choose the "first" one.  I love how the sidecar is heavily utilized in the Philippines.


From Bantayan we went to another part of Cebu, a much larger island named Bohol.  This island hosts The Chocolate Hills, a really strange natural mass of hills created by the ocean receding.  The hills were dense coral, and the water just went down around them.  We'd never seen anything quite like it.

We also saw Tarsiers.  I challenge anyone to find a cuter animal.  This is the smallest primate in the world.  They eat bugs at night and sleep all day.  Their eyes are about he size of a nickel, and their bodies are smaller than your fist.  We saw them at a sanctuary.  They're an endangered species (surprise!).

We ziplined across a breathtaking river.  It was actually quite relaxing.

Our hotel in Bohol had a giant pet albino python.  The owner told me they would feed him while we were there.  He went to the market, bought a live chicken, and threw it to the snake.  The snake was pretty hungry, I'd say he wrapped that bird up in less than a second.  It took him an hour to eat him.  It was pretty fascinating to watch.

Our hotel was on the river.  And when I say hotel, I really mean bungalow with a hose for a shower and a toilet that doesn't flush.  Still, with views like this it's worth it, right?


The Philippines has the highest Christian population of any southeast Asian country.  I attribute this to Spain and the US, both of which occupied the country for a time, introducing it.  Below is a motorized trike.  They litter the streets, and each have a different religious quote on back of them.  This one says "God is Love."

Each city has it's own "Fiesta," a party for different Saints.  We were in Tagbilaran for Fiesta, which wasn't exactly the party I was anticipating.  It consisted of a few boring bands and a ton of people selling used clothes.

One of my regrets from the trip is that I didn't get a great picture of a jeepney.  This is their version of mass transportation.  These buses are open air and incredibly ornate.  They are always packed to the gills.  The one we rode in had 33 people inside, with more hanging off the back.  An hour ride costs about $2.

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