Hurray, we are finally back with part 3 of our trip to beautiful Philippines. Last time, we ended up on a boat from Liloan Port to small island of Siquijor. Originally, we thought that we’ll get to Siquijor earlier, but Míša’s health didn’t allow us to do that. Anyway, let’s dive into the story of few following days.
As it is always in Philippines, immediately after we arrived, we got surrounded by people shouting and offering various rentals, ride, or accommodation. We looked for some accommodation beforehand, so we only needed to get a scooter and as we already got experience in that matter, it was fast. Unfortunately, the accommodation we looked up earlier was fully booked. After some hassle and trying out several places, Míša found on the internet an absolute blast of a deal! Pretty luxurious hotel with over 80% discount for online bookings! It sounded too good to be true, but it was indeed true. This hotel was located a bit further than we wanted and we were fully loaded with 2 big bags + 2 backpacks on one scooter, so it wasn’t very fun comfortable ride. In the end, we arrived safely, got the room and headed out to explore Siquijor!
First, we had to see some waterfalls! Lugnason falls were the nearest, so easy choice. Again, we were met with a group of locals offering guide to the falls and we got an amazing kid! That kid (I wish to remember his name) was a fun companion for sure, he definitely deserved the tip we gave him. There is a about 10 meters high jump, which I didn’t do. I lost my confidence when I stood up and looked down. Of course, Míša had no problems to jump it.
Lugnason Falls with the option to jump from the top!
Sun was quickly going down, so we went back to our hotel while watching lovely sunset. For the evening we found the best restaurant in Philippines (based on solely our experience) - Dolce Amore. We were craving Italian food and Dolce Amore exceeded every expectation we had. So much so we returned next day and the day after too. The food was simply amazing, Míša loves spicy pizza and this one was truly spicy, which is rare. My gnocchi were fantastic too, but that was nothing compared to the desserts! They were simply spectacular – homemade panna cota and tiramisu, yummy stuff.
After a cosy night, we went on a proper exploration of Siquijor! It needs to be said that Siquijor is a small island. You could probably ride scooter around within 1 hour, but there is so much to stop for! First, Siquijor is a paradise for snorkeling! We have chosen one spot (Tubod Marine Sanctuary) near our hotel based on the reviews on Google and spent a nice hour of watching rich underwater life. You just have to pay small fee and rent snorkeling equipment if you don’t have any with you.
Then we continued our journey to Old Enchanted Balete Tree. Another thing you should know about Siqujior is that it is an island of magic and mystic traditions. This tree is just a small part of it. You can buy various local medicaments, protective crystals etc. if you are in this sort of things. If not, you can just dip your feet into the water and enjoy Garra rufa fish eating your dead skin.
Old Enchanted Balete Tree and pool with dead skin eating fish.
We noticed a small waterfall on Google maps nearby called Cambugahay Falls, nothing too interesting. Just a nice, calm place with tiny waterfall, small pool and a chance to swing jump on the rope into the water. Here we had probably the worst guide. The lady didn’t speak to us at all, maybe she didn’t understand English, but she also looked very annoyed the whole time. However, it was nothing that would ruin our experience.
Pretty cool place is Hapitanan! It’s just small deck with broom on it. You can jump with the broom between your legs and a local guy will take a cool pic from the bottom view, so it looks like you are flying on the broom. It’s free but donate them some money or have drink there to support them.
Cool flying pic from Hapitanan!
After this quick stop we continued our ride around the island that led us to the underground river of Sambulawan. Again, we got lucky on the guide. He was very enthusiastic and knew loads of stuff about the cave. For example, no one knows the depth of the river. He told us about a German scientific team which studied it, and couldn’t find the bottom even in the depth of 400 meters! He thinks that the river goes even kilometres down. Plus, he was surprisingly agile even though he had only one arm, respect to this guy! The cave itself was stunning. Of course, we saw only a small portion of it, but it is big and to see so many bats at one place was cool too. The “room” of stalactites and stalagmites was mesmerizing. It is only pity that the tourists touch them so often with their muddy hands, but there are still enough untouched ones to admire. Cool thing for us Potterheads was the encounter with the spider from the Moody’s class in the Goblet of Fire. It belongs in the Amblypygi order and they are harmless, but they look a bit scary. We exited the cave smiling and happy considering this as a highlight of the day, but the day hasn’t been over just yet.
They may look scary, but they are harmless!
Last thing on our itinery was the Salagdoong Forest and Beach with 10- and 15-meter jumps into the ocean. The sun was going down once again and to spend the last hour on such a beautiful place was simply the best. Plus, the jumps were fun addition. My fear of heights limited me to just jumping, but Míša managed to do few tricks too. She is so brave with these adrenalin things!
Salagdoong beach with 2 different platforms to do some cool jumps!
Anyway, we couldn’t finish the best day of this vacation up until this point in any other way than going again to Dolce Amore for fantastic dinner. So, the day was over, we relaxed for a bit in the hotel pool and then the best day thus far transitioned into the worst day thus far.
Míša woke up at night with a sore throat, every swallow hurt like hell. So, after quick investigation on Google Maps, we found that there is a hospital nearby. The experience gave us mixed feelings. We had been waiting for about 90 minutes until finally some young doctor came. He told us he is only a dentist, but he can check Míša. Well, by checking he obviously meant just asking how she feels and then writing prescription without actually looking on the scorching red throat Míša had that morning. With the prescription in hands we went into the closest pharmacy and spent almost 4000PHP on antibiotics. Such price would be impossible for locals to pay, so they definitely robbed us there, but we were insured, so it didn’t really bother us. Just a side note, we got all our money from the insurance company without any issues, smooth.
We originally had pretty big plans for that day and stubborn Míša didn’t want to cancel it at first, but we had to. Although, we first went to rent jetski as planned. However, Míša felt like shit and we had to stop after 15 minutes. We spent the rest of the day in a Capilay Spring Park with swimming pool, relaxing in the shadow with occasional swim. We had lunch in the park restaurant, although I can’t really say we had lunch. We ordered food, yes. It was supposedly a burger. I wish to have a picture of it, but the “meat” was disgusting. Plus, the sauce they used made it even worse.
In the evening, we headed to the port to catch a night boat to Tagbilaran on the island Bohol. Míša didn’t feel better at all, so being on a boat with hundreds of people in the hot and humid weather (even at night!) was far from ideal. She suffered through the whole 4 hours long journey! Another bad thing was how dirty the boat was. We could choose between seats and beds and we went for the beds. It was relatively good for comfort but disgusting from any other point of view. The smell was also a bit sickening. Even though the boat was open, the air in the centre of our deck didn’t move one bit, adding to overall discomfort. To add even more discomfort into Míša’s journey, she started to feel pain in her already clogged ear. We read that putting a piece of garlic into the ear helps and it actually relieved her from the worse.
Good to know: You have to pay small "terminal fee" in every port. I do not know the exact purpose, but it is always very cheap (5-15 PHP). They will give you a piece of paper that you have to present with your ticket when entering the boat
Basically, the only cool thing during this boat journey was the crew singing Christmas songs and raising money for poor families. It made the time run at least a little faster.
As we got of the boat, everything got so much better. Fresh air gave us little bit of energy to get to our accommodation, which was located just 5 minutes from the port and the room was nice and clean. Míša recharged her batteries little bit in the shower and even more when we went out to eat. It was close to midnight, so the only option left was street food. No problem for us! Maybe even better! Given the fact, that we fell in love with Filipino street food, it made our day waaaay better.
We had only one full day in Tagbilaran, because we had to previously prolong our stay in Oslob, but in the end, it was a good decision. From what we found out, Bohol isn’t as interesting as other islands of Philippines. We heard good stuff about its eastern part, but with only 1 day, there was no point of going that far. So, we rented scooter from the hostel owners and headed towards the one place we truly wanted to visit on Bohol – Tarsier Sanctuary.
Tarsiers are the tiniest primates you can encounter on our planet. They have maximum size of human adult fist. If you go there too, don’t expect anything spectacular. It is basically a short walk with few stations where tarsiers sleep hidden in the trees. You should know they are nocturnal animals, so there won’t be much action neither. And you must be quiet as well. Tarsiers get easily scared and can die from heart attack. We saw three of these little guys! Their appearance reminds me now little bit of Baby Yoda. Anyway, after this cool experience, we were just riding around, while doing breaks on nameless interesting places.
The best shot of tarsier we got, they are so tinyyyy!
There is nothing more to say about our stay on Bohol. It was time to move to Siargao – island of surfing! After landing in Cebu City we avoided the first wave of drivers offering expensive rides to the airport (1000PHP!!) and got our taxi and paid just 400PHP. Plus, we shared taxi with a couple from Ireland, so we saved even more money.
Anyway, next time we’ll talk about Siargao, stay tuned! In the meantime, you can watch short videos from Philippines on our Instagram!
Summary of expenses:
Bus from Oslob to Liloan Port: 60PHP
Trip from Liloan Port to Siquijor: 400 PHP
Trip from Siquijor to Tagbilaran (Bohol): 760 PHP
Summary of our stay in Siquijor:
Length: 3 nights
Accommodation: 530 PHP (got lucky with 80% discount promo)
Scooter rental: 700PHP (350 per day) + 120 PHP for gas
Activities and places, we visited:
- Lugnason Falls: 100PHP (tip for the guide)
- Snorkeling: 100PHP
- Underground river: 770 PHP (including tip for the guide)
- Jetski: 1500 PHP (what a waste of money to be honest)
- Balete tree: 20 PHP
- Hapitanan: 300 PHP (it’s free but why not support them, right?)
Food: 4780 PHP
Summary of our stay in Bohol:
Length: 2 nights
Accommodation: 1600 PHP
Scooter rental 400 PHP + 50 PHP for the gas
Activities and places, we visited:
- Tarsier Sanctuary: 140 PHP
Food: 3710 PHP
Boat from Tagbilaran to Cebu City: 1200 PHP
Taxi from Cebu Port to Cebu Airport: 200 PHP
Result: 14366 PHP = 250 eur*
*We spent bit more on other stuff like cigarettes, but that is different for everyone, we just wanted to show the basic expenses, so you have something to start with when planning trip to Philippines
*I also didn’t count those 4000 PHP for antibiotics and other medicine, which we then got back from our insurance company