The Philippines. Now! I think I keep falling in love with every single Philippine person. They are just so sweet. You walk past them, they look at you with their child-like chocolate eyes and give you the best widest smile ever. Everyone. Fortunately, Jack is the same so we decided to take our lovely receptionist Dominic from the first hostel in Cebu back home with us. If only he didn't speak so sweet to every guest.
The greatest highlight of Cebu city was our first ever jeepney. It was pretty cool! We weren't sure what exactly we were supposed to do, so we just stood by the road waving at the jeepneys with a number we needed. One stopped and we squeezed ourselves between ten Filipinos and realised only minutes later that we need to pay. Pay by passing the exact amount of money through people to the driver. Should I explain? Jepneeys are vans or jeeps transferred into public transport by painting them with crazy colours and installing two benches inside. They are dirty cheap, dirty and real funky. And I love them!
We also did some "malling" in Cebu and then chilled out in the hostel drinking a couple of beers. San Miguel didn't keep up to my expectations - it's rather warm and watery. Still better than Pearl River though!
We somehow ended up in Alona beach on Panglao island. The beach itself is nice. There's white powdery sand, turquoise water and the bluest sky I've ever seen. Every hour is a happy one. Seriously, in some of the places the happy hour starts at 10 am and finishes at 10 pm. Cool thing about Panglao island was that it was pretty close to the island of Bohol. We took a day trip and went to see the Chocolate Hills and tarsiers. Tarsiers were incredibly cute. So small and fluffy! Chocolate Hills... They are like younger and cute cousins of Guilin Carst in China, Cool but not that impressive. Thing is, not every country and island should be impressive like Grand Canyon or Niagara Waterfalls. The Chocolate Hills are nice and interesting.
The best thing of this trip was definitely the journey itself (sorry for the cliche). We didn't want to do a tour and now I am glad very much. Tricycles were quite cheap but really uncomfortable and boring. Jepneeys, on the other hand, were so cool! I mean, they were still very uncomfortable and slow but it was great to see how people actually live in Bohol.
The guy standing outside the door shouts at the driver when someone needs to get off, collects the money from passengers, drops off the massive bags of rice at the lonely settlements in between the villages. When we needed to get somewhere, we always just asked around about a jeepney or bus to a particular destination and then waited by the road. It feels like hitchhiking rather than taking public transport. We waved at every bus or jeepney we saw in the distance. Or at the lorry transporting pigs. They look awful lot like jeepneys from far away.
Also, we met a really nice Swedish girl called Amanda. And at the end, we happened to have one of the most unexpected conversations with her. On scuba diving. We thought about trying it while planning the trip to the Philippines but we only realised in Alona Beach that to do certain dives we would need a diving certificate. And to get to that point, we would need to take a three day diving course.
We did some counting and agreed that our budget would definitely manage. And then the conversation with Amanda came. She loves diving! We were already excited about it but her enthusiasm decided for us.
This is not a blog post about how we went diving. This is about how ready to do it we are right now.