Category Archives: Travel Review

Macau Trip: The Details

Macau is basically the Las Vegas of China, leaving much to be desired in this comparison (but I have no doubt that it’ll eventually catch up).  Not much is left from their Portuguese colonization days aside from street names and official signs.  No one speaks Portuguese, and even English was barely understood by service people (including those in the casinos).

If you’re into gambling, you can have fun exploring Macau’s casinos, but if you’re like us and gambling is not really your thing, the best way to visit Macau is on a day trip out of Hong Kong.  In one day you can see everything and even pop by a casino or two.

We arrived in Macau at noon, and left around 11pm.

Round Trip Ferry to Macau:  HKD 302/person ($39), with TurboJet leaving during daytime on a weekday, returning at night on the same day (it varies a bit depending if it’s on weekends, day or night).  The trip takes about an hour.

The ferries to and from Hong Kong run 24 hours, so no planning needed, go by your schedule and buy a ticket when you’re ready to go back to your hotel.

We bought the tickets right before leaving, and waited about 30 minutes until board time.  (There’s a ferry leaving every 15 – 30 minutes for the most part.)  One thing to note, is that when you get to the gate, make sure to see the agent for your assigned seats, as they are assigned at the gate.  We were lucky to get window seats in both directions on the second floor of the boat.  They were comfortable, air conditioned (maybe a bit too cold), and you can buy sandwiches/drinks on board.


Getting Around:

When you first arrive, definitely stop by the information office at the terminal.  The super-nice agents will give you a city map and explain what bus to take to your destination.  We hopped on a cheap city bus, got out around the Grand Lisboa Hotel, then walked everywhere from there.

If you’re off to a Casino, they all provide free shuttles from the ferry terminal.

Macau was very hot, so if you have an issue with the heat, it might be best to skipping all the walking around like we did.  We were sweating, got sunburned, but that didn’t stop us from walking everywhere – we still find it the best way to really see a city.  It is very safe to walk, but it will also be VERY isolated, since unless you are in a tourist spot, there will be no one else around.

But if we hadn’t walked we would have missed this cool view…


And this relaxing one…


And let’s not forget the on-course entertainment…


If you are pressed for time, you can hire a cab (though I heard they don’t always understand English so pointing at pictures on the map is helpful), or even sign up with one of the tours.  I believe the tour guide that approached us said the Macau tour took 2 hours.  I’m not surprised since it’s a very small place.

We snubbed the cabs and tours and just walked around the place, since it’s pretty small.


Food in Macau was not exciting.  Definitely try the Portuguese egg tarts they sell pretty much everywhere, and the almond cookies you also see all over the place (both are remains from the Portuguese influence) as they are delicious.  We were DYING to eat some Portuguese food, and we ended up eating no lunch on our attempt to find it.  Around 9pm we gave up, and had Japanese food (teppanyaki) in one of the casinos.  This turned out to be our most expensive meal of our Hong Kong trip (about U$100/person, ouch!), and though it was good, there was nothing great about it, and we weren’t even full when it was over.  It was also annoying that the meat got ready first, so if you wanted to eat the meat with your rice, you’d be eating it cold, if you wanted to eat your meat warm, you’re stuck with a bowl of rice at the end and nothing to go with it.

Of course, after finally eating, we found a Portuguese restaurant two blocks away.  Our last stop of the night was going to be the Sands Casino, and I almost cried when I found out that they have a Portuguese restaurant there as well (we had gone to 5 different casinos and asked all of them where we could go for Portuguese food).

We went on a Monday, so a lot restaurants in the casinos were closed (none of them were Portuguese though).  We didn’t find many restaurants that were not in casinos, just a lot of bakeries, which is why casinos were our only option.  If you’re adventurous and don’t really care that you can’t recognize the animal you’re eating, you might have a better time exploring the few restaurants that are outside the casinos.  We would stare at the pictures on the menu and go “WTF is that??” and we couldn’t go through with it.  (Karl has eaten a live octopus during his time in Korea, so that says something.)

We were promised a Portuguese-Chinese fusion in everything we read about Macau before going there, and were disappointed that such thing doesn’t really exist.

Karl’s biggest complaint about the casino food is that in Vegas you can eat amazing but affordable food (to spend your money on the casino floor after all), meanwhile in Macau we had sticker shock, and it was a fortune to eat at any of the places inside the casinos.  We wouldn’t have minded as much if the food had been great and plentiful.

Macau Tower:  MOP 120 (U$15)  We started the sightseeing trip by going to the Macau Tower, and walking to the other spots from there. 


The Macau Tower has both an indoor and outdoor observation deck, but on the outdoors you’re still enclosed by glass (I hate getting glare on my pictures, but there’s not a way around that when you’re dealing with glass windows).


It’s definitely an iconic tower in Macau, but after visiting The Peak and the Sky 100 in Hong Kong, the view in Macau is not nearly as exciting, but pretty nonetheless.


If you’re the adventurous type (and we are, but we’re also the “cheap type”) you can bungee jump off the tower – they claim to be the tallest bungee jumping experience in the world.


Gate of Understanding: 
This was built in 1993 as a friendship symbol between the Portuguese and the Chinese, and since Macau went back to China, it seems that this place has been ignored and abandoned and in ridiculous need of maintenance. It’s gated off so no one can go there.  The sign at the gate blocking entrance to the path (where you would have been able to walk right under the structure) is so old that none of the words are legible as the whole thing has rusted off, and the concrete path cracked and overgrown by grass.

It’s a shame, since whether you appreciate your history or not, it should still be preserved.


A-Ma Temple:
This is the oldest temple in Macau, but just like the Gate of Understanding, it was not what I was expecting.  What was I expecting, you ask?  An old temple.  Not a very commercialized temple with brand new construction showing no signs of what the temple actually looked like in the 1700’s.


Senado Square/St. Paul’s Church Ruins/The Fortress: 
This was the part I was most looking forward to!  I had seen pictures and knew that the Senado Square would remind me of downtown Rio.  And it did, as the architecture is very similar, and even the sidewalks are the same ones you find all over Rio de Janeiro.  But a few steps from the square, the whole area is commercialized, with stores, stores, stores, all with brand new signs in old buildings.  Again, they’re not really appreciating the historic property they have.


St. Paul’s church is just a couple of blocks away.  The building got destroyed in a fire but the original façade is still there.  You can tell it used to be a gorgeous building.  Sadly the Chinese tourists around us were all taking pictures holding out peace signs with their fingers and sticking their tongues out, or other shenanigans.  Really?  It’s not even a matter of respecting other’s religion, is it appropriate on a place that got destroyed by fire?


Another block and lots of walking uphill and up never ending steps, you reach the fortress, lined up with canons.  There’s not much of a view left in this place, but you get to look at the tall casino buildings.  I bet the view from here used to be gorgeous!


If you like gambling, the casinos will keep you entertained for days.  Since we’re not big fans, it all looks the same for us.  We do like slot machines, but turns out my Atlantic City experience spoiled me:  it was a LOT more fun when you could insert quarters and have actual quarters coming out with each win.  Having everything done in credit on the computer is a bit boring, and it just looks like you’re playing in the computer, so you can just do it at home.  Some of the slots didn’t even have sound to them!  (Karl said that you can’t really find the quarter slots anymore even in Vegas, so this is not particular to Macau.)

Plus, all the buttons were in Chinese, so we had to ask the staff quite a few questions to know what button to push to get our credit printed, for example.


Lotus Flower:
Macau has  couple of statues we didn’t get a chance to visit (I was pooped), but on our way out of town we stopped by the Lotus Flower.  Cute, but not a must see by any means.


I’m glad I went to Macau, but I really don’t see any reason to ever go back, unless I’m living in Hong Kong at some point, then I’d go back because it’s calm, quiet, a lot less crowded than HK, and there’s no pollution, so it would be a perfect place for running (but I’d stick to the water side as the place is HILLY).  Plus, now I know where to find the Portuguese restaurants!


Filed under Asia, Pictures, Travel, Travel Review, Traveling in Asia

Hong Kong Trip: The Details

You can check out more pictures from our trip here.

Flight:  Cebu Pacific Air
Cost: Php 7,880/person (U$181) with carry-on only, no checked bags.  Direct flight Manila-Hong Kong and back.

For our second trip, Cebu Pacific once again had the best rates.  The flight was uneventful, only a couple of hours from Manila.  We had about a half hour delay leaving Manila, and an hour delay leaving Hong Kong — the HK late departure was due to airport traffic, not Cebu Pacific’s fault as we were all boarded, and ready to go before the scheduled departure time, then we were told to wait on the tarmac.  We checked in online leaving Manila, we saved us a BUNCH of time (I can’t wait until our printer gets here, and little things like that can become a lot easier).

Hotel: City Garden Hotel
Cost:  HKD 781/night (U$100) – Booked through Zuji.  Nightly rate averaged out from our total cost of HKD 3124 for 4 nights).

It was really hard finding an affordable hotel in Hong Kong, specially when you’re not familiar with the area.  But after a lot of research online, we were able to find a great deal on City Garden Hotel, on the Hong Kong Island.  Though the hotel is not close to any of the places you want to visit, it’s only a block from the Fortress Hill MTR station, putting you a 10 minute ride away to Causeway Bay (2 or 3 stops away, I can’t remember).  The staff was friendly, the hotel was clean, provided enough toiletries for our stay (aside from your usual shampoo/conditioner/soap, we also had a sealed comb, toothbrush and toothpaste, which was a really nice touch, since I’m known for forgetting my toothbrush and having to use Karl’s instead – of course, this time I remembered to bring it).

The hotel had a restaurant, a gym and a pool.  I have to admit we didn’t visit any of it (we prefer to explore things outside of our hotel).  They also provided two complimentary bottled waters a day, which was perfect to take with us for sightseeing.  There is a 7 11 just a block away from the entrance, so we also easily loaded up on more water, beer and snacks as well.

Getting Around:  People told us we couldn’t really walk around Hong Kong, that we would need to take taxis (we didn’t take any) or the MTR to get to places.  And though we did take the MTR to get to/from Kowloon, Lantau or the ferry station, we walked pretty much everywhere after getting out of our first stop.  We basically took the MTR in the morning to where our adventure would start and at night on our way back to the hotel.  Everything in the middle we walked to.

Traffic in Hong Kong is not great, so I wouldn’t recommend taxis.  You can take the airport express (HKD 65 – U$ 8.35 – each way) to get to/from the airport, and it includes free shuttles to most hotels.

I recommend getting a hotel close to the MTR.  The metro is cheap, fast and frequent, and it runs until about 1am or so (it varies with the day of the week).  Our most expensive metro fare was HKD 24.50 (U$3.15), when we went from Fortress Hill all the way to Tung Chung station on Lantau Island.  Most times our trips would cost around HKD 6 (U$0.75).  They sell a “tourist pass” for HKD 50 (U$6.50), but for us it would only have been worth it on the day we went to Lantau Island and the airport, aside from that, our daily total for the both of us would come out to less than HKD 30.  We usually just bought a one-way fare each time.  (Please note that they expire at midnight, so don’t do like us and buy an extra to use the next day so you don’t have to worry about waiting in line for a machine.  Lesson learned.)

You can buy the passes on the machines at any MTR stop.  Note that they do not take credit cards or bills larger than HKD 20 (but the customer service desk will give you change if you don’t have smaller bills).

If you’re like us and prefer to walk a city in order to see it, make sure to grab a map from your hotel, it’ll make it a lot easier!

Food:  Eating in Hong Kong was very expensive.  Though we ate some yummy Vietnamese and Korean food, both in Causeway Bay, and delicious Japanese food in Kowloon, I didn’t write any of the names of the places down.  It’s not hard to find good food in Hong Kong, however, you just have to be willing to spend money.  It’s a foodie’s paradise, that’s for sure.


What I do recommend, not for the food which is far from exotic, but for the spectacular view, is a couple of drinks and snacks at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at The Peak.  I usually avoid chains when travelling (because what’s the point?) but it’s worth making an exception for this because of the amazing view (we had arrived late afternoon, so we killed time there in order to see the view both during the day time and during the night).  I recommend the lychee pomegranate margarita.


I also HIGHLY recommend grabbing a drink at the Coconut Master, just a couple of blocks from the Temple St. in Kowloon.


I had the most amazing Mango + Coconut Juice drink.  And though it sounds boring, the coconut juice is made of fresh coconut water mixed with dried coconut and milk.  Add fresh mango to that, and I about died.  We went there three times, once late at night after visiting the market, and two more on the same day, while we were exploring Kowloon.  He also sells fresh squeezed sugar cane juice, which I was never a fan of, but we drink it in Brazil as well, so Karl grabbed a bottle of it for himself.  And the price?  A steal at HKD 23 ($3) for the large juice.



The Peak: HKD 65 (U$8.35) for the round-trip Peak Tram ticket + the Sky Pass.  The Peak is definitely a must see activity in Hong Kong, since you can’t beat the view!


The train ride was frustrating, as you deal with a long organized line to buy your ticket, then after buying it, it’s a free for all, with no proper line and people just pushing through to the entrance (the rudest people I encountered in Hong Kong were during the tram ride – in both directions – and at the Sky Pass view).  There was a bit of wait since we had to wait for a few trams to come and go since it was crowded, but it wasn’t too bad – looking at how long the line can be, it’s good we went in the off season!

I recommend going there late in the day, seeing the daytime view, killing time at one of the restaurants in the place, then going back after the sun sets (which will cost you HKD 30 – U$3.85 – for another Sky Pass).


Star Ferry:
HKD 3 (U$ 0.40) each way.  We took the Star Ferry at night to cross to Kowloon Island from Hong Kong.  The ride was quick, we got the tickets right at the port a couple of minutes before leaving, and once again the view was amazing!


Sky 100:

HKD 65 (U$8.35) The Sky 100 is BRAND NEW, so I don’t think a lot of people know about it – we didn’t either, we just pointed at the tall building and asked a waiter “do you know if there’s an observation deck there?”  He had no clue, but he asked around and we found out it did.

It just opened up in April, at the ICC building, one of the tallest in the world, and the views are amazing.  If I could do it again, I’d go back during the night time as well to see all the lights.  There weren’t many people there so there were no lines, which was the complete opposite of The Peak.


Ngong Ping 360:  HKD 169/person (U$ 21.70) for the round trip on the Crystal Cabin.  This was AWESOME!  I totally recommend the trip and splurging for the Crystal Cabin (glass floors).  The standard cabin is HKD 115/person.


You can go here for more pictures of our trip to Ngong Ping.


The cable car takes you from the Tung Chung MTR stop to the Tiang Tan Buddha Statue.  There’s a few more things to see around Ngong Ping, but since we had a flight to catch, we only visited the Buddha and took the the cable car back to the station.


Temple St. Market:
  This Kowloon market is also called the Men’s Market because it’s at night.  There’s nothing male-centric about it, so don’t let that turn you off.  If you’re white, pretty much everything you want to buy, you’ll be quoted the “white price” which most times it’s more than what the same thing would cost in the US.  So make sure to bargain, bargain, bargain, and for the most part, you can get things for half of what you were quoted.

I got two oil paintings on canvas (though Karl says they’re likely mass produced, and they might be since they’re not signed and you see the same things everywhere, they’re still oil paintings and super cheap, so it doesn’t bug me much, I just wanted something from our trips on our walls!).  I should add that framing in Manila is not expensive (I just need to find out where to go).

I got a canvas with the amazing view of Hong Kong (HKD 80/U$11.30) Though in the picture it looks like a drawing, in person you can clearly see the brush strokes and the texture details.


And for the same price, this one with a view of a Chinese street (yes, they really do have those skinny double-decker light rail cars in Hong Kong).


And to have an idea of how big these frames are, here is a shot from further away, they’re about 4 feet long, I think:


Ladies Market: 
The Ladies Market is the day market in Kowloon Island.  The bargaining stuff works the same as the Temple St. Market.  To be honest, I bought a lot less than I would if you only had to bargain a couple of bucks.  Knowing that you are being quoted ridiculous prices at first gets so frustrating after a while, that you don’t even bother looking at something and asking for the price unless you really really really want it.  Before I got frustrated, I got a few things for myself there…

A purse holder (HKD 20/U$2.60), so when I’m out for dinner, I can have my purse dangling from the table instead of behind a chair (a no-no here in Manila, since you are guaranteed to have it stolen if it’s on your seat).   I was tired of having my bag in my lap every time we went out to eat.  The other good thing is that the holder clips to the bag, so no chance in forgetting it!


Please ignore the condition of my bag – I have a TON of handbags, but it’s all coming in our move (which has arrived in Manila, but we’re still waiting for it to clear customs so we can finally have our stuff home – car included!).  So in the meantime, I’m using this Nine West bag, that for some reason is falling apart after using it for only month (it’s an old bag, but one that never got much use until now).

The dining table we have now (ours is coming in our move) has a ledge, so excuse me for using a bookcase to demonstrate how it works (and ignore Lucas tail sneaking into the picture).


I also got a rubberized tote bag (HKD 35/U$ 4.50) that you roll up into this tiny little bag and attach it to your purse (I ended up using it every single day of the trip, since it made everything we bought easier to carry!).



And this cute wooden little Chinese doll (HKD 50/U$ 6.50).  The enameled metal owl box next to it I bought at the Temple St Market (for the same price, even though it was first quoted at HKD 180).


I also couldn’t resist and bought another painting.  The cheapest I could find was for HKD 100 at one of the stands.  Since she was the third stand I visited that day, I told her I was going to look around and come back.  I did go back, after only finding it for HKD 120 (U$15.40).  So I went back to her, and said “Ok, 100, I’ll buy it!”   And she REFUSED to honor her price.  The lowest she would go now was  HKD 120, and she didn’t want to talk about it!  Out of principle I didn’t buy it from her (WTF, I have never seen stuff getting MORE expensive an hour later, heck she had followed me 4 stands down trying to get me to buy it for 100 and I told her I’d be back!).  I ended up buying it at the another stand that had quoted me HKD 120 and didn’t change their price (and yes, I made sure to cross in front of the rude vendor chick with a smile on my face and my new painting in tow).

I love the painting though!  I can’t wait to get them all framed!


Jade Market:  This market was a bit strange, because even though it was called Jade Market, which would lead you to think it’s where you buy real jade, I saw way too many fake things, to the point you don’t know what’s what, and then how can you trust when people tell you it’s real?  None of the prices were good even for the things that were obviously fake.  So we were in and out, and I left empty handed.

Victoria Park:  If we ever move to Hong Kong, Victoria Park is where I’d go for my runs.  The place is very relaxing!  Now is it worth a visit when you’re there on vacation?  Not really, unless you have plenty of time in Hong Kong (or you are looking for a place to jog!), otherwise, I’d prioritize other things to see.

Causeway Bay:  If you want to shop (in stores, not markets) and find the delicious (but expensive) restaurants I told you about, Causeway Bay is where is at!  A ton of buildings with multi-floor malls, and restaurants you need to take elevators to get to (but worth the trip!).

I think these were all the spots we hit that are worth mentioning.  I know we did miss some places, like the long escalators and the A-Ma temple, but when you only have 2.5 days in a city, you really have to learn how to prioritize!

Next:  details of our trip to Macau!


Filed under Asia, Pictures, Travel, Travel Review, Traveling in Asia

Bohol Trip: The Details

Flight:  Cebu Pacific Air
Cost: Php 6,644.96 /per ticket (U$154.79) – carry-on only, no checked baggage

Everyone told me that it is very cheap to fly from Manila, that it shouldn’t be more than U$100 for local destinations, but I have yet to find tickets that cheap.  After checking prices at Cebu Pacific and Philippines Airlines, Cebu Pacific was by far the cheapest. 

The flights were only a little over an hour long, and it arrived on time both ways.  The seats were comfortable, and we even scored exit row seats on the way back!


Hotel:  Alona Tropical Beach Resort
Cost:  Php 3,460.00/night (U$80.60)

We got the “Deluxe Air Conditioned Room” that included breakfast for two at their beach front restaurant.  The weather in Bohol was not hot – it was actually quite a bit cooler than Manila.  I’m not sure if that’s the usual weather there, or if we just got a cold spell, but we definitely could have saved the Php 1,000 per night by choosing a fan room.  We turned the AC on and off as needed, but it was off more often than it was on.


The room even had an outdoor patio with a table and chairs.


The breakfast was definitely worth it, though you could have just bought it on the spot, it was nice not having to carry cash with us for breakfast.  Plus, the only day that the restaurant was very busy was Saturday morning, and the beach front tables were reserved for those with the breakfast coupons.  Breakfast could also be eaten at anytime during the day, so even taking excursions in the morning didn’t mean we would miss it.  There were three options:  Filipino, Continental or American Breakfast.  We chose the American breakfast all three days, and it’s your standard eggs, toast, bacon, fruit juice, coffee setup.

The hotel had a lot of green area (which is probably one of the reasons it was a bit cooler) and a really nice pool. 


It also had (which was heartbreaking for me) a monkey and many types of birds in cages, including an eagle, that would cry in a way that was saddening. 


The beach wasn’t the long white sandy beach that I’m used to like we have in Brazil.  It had sand, but also quite a few rocks, so going in the water was tricky, as you had to be aware of what you’re stepping on.  (Water shoes might be a good idea though!)  If you like to snorkel, there’s definitely tons to see, right outside the hotel. 

The main problem with the beach?  Tons and tons of seaweed washed off right in front of the hotel.  I’m not sure if it’s a year-round thing, or just seasonal, but it was gross.  Said that, once you got past the seaweed, the water was clear.  Also, walking a bit further away from the  hotel and you had clear sand as well.  And no, I’m not exaggerating on the amount of seaweed…


But as you can see, just on the other side of it the beach was much clearer.


The day we left the seaweed had gone down a lot as well.

The beach is not a bad beach for people that have kids – no waves to speak of, just calm water, and you had to go quite a while before the water got deep.  The day we left there were a ton of jellyfish, but we didn’t see any on the days before then.  The good news?  The jellyfish were almost an orange color, and the water was so clear that it’s not hard to spot them quite a ways away from you.

Despite the seaweed problem, I would still recommend this hotel for the price.  The room was comfortable, clean, the area quiet and quite beautiful.


On that we were quite boring!  We ate at the Ooops! Bar just a little walk down from the hotel the first night, and shared the seafood platter.  The seafood was ok, and included a crab, but no mallets, so we wasted a bit on the parts we couldn’t crack with our hands.  Drinks were expensive, same price you would pay for a drink in the US.  Service was crap, we even had to get up to pay the bill, because no one would come to us despite trying to signal the hell out of it.

On the other two nights we ate at the Alona Tropical restaurant, which was the hotel restaurant.  For us it was perfect because we didn’t have to get sand on our freshly showered legs, but we were still just a few feet away from the water.  The food there was really good, we had beef both days.  The prices were reasonable as well (cheaper than where we live in Manila!).  The service was excellent – super-friendly waiters!


Countryside Tour:  Php 2,500/car (fits 4 people, 3 comfortably – you can hire a van for another Php 1,000 if you have more people in your party)  NOTE:  Price does not include entrance fees/lunch.  Expect to pay anywhere from Php 10/person for the hanging bridge to Php 50/person for the Chocolate Hills.

We booked this tour with the same guy who drove us to the hotel from the airport.  The prices however are pretty standard whether you book through the hotel or with another driver, I guess the difference is that the hotel doesn’t get a cut when you book directly.  The tour included:

Tarsier Monkeys:
  it disappointed me that it was in a little tourist area, they were not in the wild, and there were quite a few other animals in cages as well,


Chocolate Hills: A must-see if you go to Bohol!


The butterfly conservatory:  A small little area setup with butterflies, but very interesting, with a knowledgeable tour guide.


Man Made Forest: you drive by it for quite a while and the driver will stop for pictures.  It’s really pretty.


Hanging Bridge:  It was fun – you cross the bridge once each way.  Pretty views of the river while you’re up there too.


Riverboat Cruise:  You stop here for lunch (note that all these things are optional and you can tell your driver to skip it if you’d like).  We almost skipped it, but then we got hungry.  It isn’t cheap at Php 400/person, and the food wasn’t too great (noodles, rice, etc), but it was a relaxing boat trip and in the end it was a nice break for the day.


Baclayon Church:  One of the oldest churches in Asia, and the oldest in the Philippines built in the Spanish era.  They also have a museum, which we didn’t visit (we were pretty tired at this point).


Blood Compact Site:  A statue of a memorial friendship treaty.


All in all, the trip took about 5.5 hours, and it’s definitely worth it to get to hit pretty much all the spots in Bohol.

Dolphin Watching and Balicasag Island Boat Trip:  Php 2,500 (for a boat that fits up to 5 people.  Another Php 1,000 if you need a bigger boat)

I loved this trip!  Dolphin watching was my favorite part of the whole trip to Bohol!  At first I was expecting to see a couple of dolphin here and there, but instead we saw at least a couple of DOZEN of them.  It was awesome!




We spent about 15 minutes watching the dolphin then we went off to Balicasag Island.  Karl had a coffee while there, and I had a mango juice.  They were out of all the other flavors of juice.  The island was nice, but we couldn’t relax, there was this one guy there that was trying way too hard to get us to rent snorkeling stuff.  There’s even a trip you can take on another boat so you can go to the corals for snorkeling, but he was so persistent following us everywhere that we got sick of it and left the island sooner than we would have otherwise.

It was hard to walk on the island since it wasn’t sand but crushed corals, so our walk was cut short.  There wasn’t much of a space to go to the water either.  The picture below shows our boat, but ten minutes later the whole coast was covered with boats, and you were forced to swim on the 5-10 feet gap in between boats, so it wasn’t much fun.




From there, we went to the virgin island, which is this TINY little island a few minutes away.  No one trying to sell you anything, not that many boats docked on the island itself, just on the sand bars that were near the island and just calm water to relax in.





All in all, I really recommend this trip!  We were out for about 4.5 hours on the boat, for the cost of about U$60.  Since you don’t pay per person, this is even cheaper if you have more people on your party.

Bohol was the perfect first trip in the Philippines!


Filed under Philippines, Travel, Travel Review, Trips!