The Hidden Philippines

Trip Start Dec 05, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Philippines  , Luzon,
Thursday, March 15, 2012


 Manilla is madness, big city. But as I am planning a trip to the islands I unfortunately didn't do much in the city. I was still tired from all of the adventure in Cambodia I think. And I was just ready to go to the islands. Go figure.

After a little planning I decided to go to the Island of Bohol in the central region of the PH.
I randomly chose an out of the way resort that is about an hour and half away from all of the normal tourist crap.  I bought a round trip ticket to get there for about $80 and I was on my way.
Its kind of a secret place even. Bohol is a large island with many places to hide and get away from it all. Which is exactly what I did.

I was surprised when an older German gentleman was waiting for me at the tiny airport in Bohol. He is Werner- the owner of the resort. He used the opportunity to get supplies in town while he waited me for me to land.

But it turns out I picked a good place, its extremely quiet and relaxed. And there is a dive outfit run by a young Swiss couple.  I had not planned on diving really- just relaxing, away from tourists, reading, napping, enjoying the last bit of my trip. But at $38 a dive....and such a relaxed atmosphere...I def. picked a great place.

So far so good. There are only about 5 other people staying here. Did I mention it was quiet and relaxing? And there is a perfect private beach. The dive operation run by Misha and Carmen is so relaxed. "What time do we dive?"  ....whenever is the answer.  So we launched in the small boat right from the beach to their little dive boat. After about a 10 minute cruise we were at the first dive site of the day. Wonderwall.  Since there are only a few Germans staying at the resort, it was just me and another dive instructor, Eddie.  We had the whole reef to ourselves it seemed and I got a private guided tour. Then it was on to our next dive spot, a short break and another amazing dive. We saw sea snakes, all types of multicolored snails and many fish swimming down the "Wonderall"  We saw lines of fish zooming across it. TONS of coral hanging off into the ocean attempting to stretch and make the most of the open sea. It was relaxing and casual. It was easier than the Great Barrier Reef to become a part of the undersea life. The current was strong and there was very little kicking with our fins if any. We literally floated across the face of the reef suspended in the kaleidoscope of every color you can imagine.

Then later in the day I was invited by Jan, the bartender at the resort, to play some basketball in the little town down the road. Basketball in the Philippines is HUGE. And they were good.

And then started the rest of the week....beach, lounging, reading, drinking, etc.  I wondered down the beach and found my original place I was looking for on the Island.  The place was called Vitamin Sea and it was owned by an American couple, Buddy and Annie. They lived their with their daughter, two wonderful german shepards and some hotel staff who were basically family.
They were still in the process of completing the resort so I decided to stay there because, and this is the best part, I had the whole place to myself. It was totally empty. I was the only guest they had for the week.

One day me and Buddy went snorkeling right off the beach with their little outrigger paddle boat thing. I just dropped in over some coral and such. Normal lazy day. But then one day they took me cave diving! They knew a secret cave where you had to have your own rope ladder to get out. It was a random clearing in the jungle with a 20ft drop into the clearing at the bottom. We brought some beer and we all had a blast jumping in.

 Buddy's resort was an amazing place to begin the conclusion of my this little journey I have taken.  It was great because he was an American who owned a secluded resort in the Philippines.
To give you an example of how secluded this area really is- we went into the small town nearby and I briefly met a British guy at a food stall. He said, "Besides the German kitesurfer, you're  the only foreigner I have seen in a week!"  Now THAT is what I am talking about. You know you are in a secluded place when somebody says that.

I'd imagine it was just about as close to perfect as you can get. Buddy plugged in my I-pod at the bar in the resort and I had an endless supply of San Miguel light with of Filipino lime, it tasted very much like Corona. It was nice to get some Vitamin Sea...

Next stop Manila!
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