We both had a much needed lie in, before I got up and headed back to the centre where we'd had dinner the night before. We'd managed to find an ATM that didn't charge as most of them charged £3.50 per ATM transaction which would obviously add up eventually. I took out 20,000 pesos which is around £340 so that I also had enough for paying my PADI course in Bohol. On the way back to the hostel, I found a lovely little coffee shop where I bought Matt and myself some breakfast. Matt was just surfacing when I arrived back at the hostel so he was chuffed to be met with a ready made delicious breakfast!
We weren't all that sure what to do with ourselves. The weather was fine that morning but was forecasted to rain in the afternoon. We decided we would try and make the most of the day anyway and head to Carmen to see the famous Chocolate Hills via bus. We caught a tuk tuk to the bus terminal and waited for the aircon bus to arrive. It had just started to rain when a bus turned up so we, along with 30 Filipinos, boarded the bus. We were waiting for 10 minutes or so when someone shouted something in Filipino which obviously we didn't understand but everyone started to leave the bus and board the one next to us, so naturally myself and Matt followed. 15 minutes later, they all started to pick up their things and move back to the first bus! By this point, we were getting a little agitated but it seemed like a common occurrence for all the others who were very calm. 20 minutes later, the driver showed up and we were on our way!
It cost us 55 pesos each (£1) for a 2 hour drive which was awesome! The ticket officer gave us the nod when we arrived at the stop we needed to alight. The view point of the Chocolate Hills was a short drive to the top of a hill in which Filipino men with mopeds offered to take us. We thought we could walk it until the heavens opened so we paid 100 pesos between us to be taken to the top. After 200 or so steps to the peak of the view point, we could see the Chocolate Hills. The visibility wasn't great because of weather but it was still interesting to see them and learn how they formed. There was over 1,700 of them but we could only see about 80. So, no one is 100% of how they were formed but scientists believe they formed hundreds of thousands of years ago by the uplifts of coral deposits in conjunction with rain water erosion. They are between 30-50 meters in height and at the end of the dry season, they turn a brown colour, hence the name 'Chocolate Hills'. As it was the end of the wet season, the hills were a bright green colour but still amazing to see all the same!
After a little ponder round, taking our pictures, we decided to call it a day and head back, and thank god we did as a full on storm started! No w*** would take us back down the hill in any sort of vehicle so we had to walk... thank god we had our raincoats! We stood at the bottom of the hill in the pouring rain and waited for another bus to go by and in fairness, it wasn't long. This bus was much nicer too with a film playing, so the upgraded cost was 75 pesos each for this pleasure!
We didn't arrive back to Tagbilaran until gone 6pm and we were keen to move onto to Alona beach on Panglao island. We researched a place to stay and found a Backpackers hostel called Bohemian Hostel. It was the cheapest by a mile of all the accommodations so we booked for a night to see how it was. To keep the costs down, we were going to attempt to get a Jeepne at 45 pesos each but as it was late, the hostel receptionist was pretty sure they wouldn't be running so we haggled with a tuk tuk driver who agreed to take us the 40 minute drive for 300 pesos which was still expensive but we had to make it worth his while.
The Bohemian Hostel was very cute, with beach style decor. The two girls working there were lovely and welcoming. We paid 950 pesos for our two beds and headed down the road in search of dinner. We found an outside BBQ restaurant called Valemore's which was full of locals. For a street food place it looked pretty clean so we decided to try it out, and thank god we did as the food was incredible and so cheap! We filled ourselves to the brim and called it a night! I couldn't wait to explore the rest of Alona/Bohol tomorrow!