So there we were, 2am stood in the middle of the road by the airport searching for an ATM that works so we would have at least a few Pesos to get us through to the morning. Being the stubborn cheapskate travellers that we are, we decided not to go to the hostel till the morning so as to save a nights price, funnily enough, this turned out for the best as a local family told us that the Pope - the actual Pope - was driving by very shortly. After a morning of waiting on the side of the road, being pestered 'to go out for liqueur' by the policemen lining the streets and having photos with the locals, we had the most amazing drive by to begin our Philippines adventure! We were so shattered that we slept so much of the day and met people in the hostel by sharing our Yorkshire teabags aha.
The following day we headed for the bus to Banaue in the north, we had our new third Shay, a German Sri Lankan to accompany us. After the most horrific bus journey we arrived in the north and it was freezing! Like being back home. We saw the rice terraces and had the most hilarious night with a load of travelling truck drivers who got drunker by the hour, and then headed back to Manila the following day to get back to the warmth.
The hostel arranged a trip to Mount Taal for us, the smallest volcano with a lake, which turned into the longest day trip ever after Gino decided to take us for hot choc and try our first litre bottle of Red Horse on the way back. We stopped about 3 times on the way home for bladder breaks ha. By 11pm when we arrived back, our Geordie friend Ryan was waiting to drag us out to the city so we got ready and headed to the red light district, why not. After Holly-Beth nearly getting arrested for drinking on the street, we bumped into some people who took us to a salsa bar where we got taught how to salsa by some locals. After that, Ryan was more than happy to leave and head to the Skybar which had a beautiful view of the whole of Manila. To carry on the class of the night, this is when we all tried our first Jollibee (filipino version of mcds).
The next day, as hungover as we were, after meeting Sam, we went off to the reggae bar for round two. Even more hungover, the next day the four of us headed to get the bus to Legazpi but when we went to the bus station it was full so headed back to Cozee Monkey where a whole new host of other people were there to entertain us (funnily enough the hostel was also full, so we slept on the beanbags).
When we finally headed to Legazpi the following day, there wasn't much to see there, even the worlds most perfect volcano Mt Mayon was covered by the clouds so we set about plans to leave. Sam stayed behind but Ryan, HB and I set a challenge to see how far we could make it to the south in 24 hours...
A jeepney, local bus, tricycle, ferry, 2 minivans, ferry and taxi later; we made it to Cebu and quite deservingly had a nap. Cebu doesn't have much to offer if your not a seedy white man, so we only spent a night there. We visited yet another skybar and reggae band then the following day we 'followed Ryan' to Siquijor, but only because it was his birthday tomorrow haha. The ferry port said there was no direct port so we got a 9 hour bus and ferry to Negros then slept like tramps at the ferry port until the ferry there in the morning.
Siquijor was beautiful, and we had some amazing days there, once the weather cleared up. We visited the enchanted tree, went to most beautiful clear waterfall and Ryan even swore he saw an albino Filipino hahaha. During the blackout that night we met Ash (a hilarious very gay 32 year old) and a German girl Lisa who had just arrived and played cards and went for a meal. The day after it was finally sunny so after a day by the pool we went back to the beanbag restaurant from the previous night to have a few drinks (2 bottles of rhum) and play cards during yet another blackout. That night turned into one of the funniest nights ever, and ended with us playing basketball with a group of local lads until after 3 in the morning. Safe to say the only thing we did the day after is laze by the pool.
The four of us, leaving Ash behind, then all headed to Moalboal, not our original plan but nevertheless worthwhile. Lisa kindly exchanged money with us after we were left with no ATMs around the town, then took us snorkelling for the first time and to have a beer at the diving place watching the sunset. After dinner and only a couple of drinks by the sea, we headed to bed as we were off back to Cebu the next day.
In Cebu, we parted ways with Lisa and Ryan, only to head off the following morning with the new third Jill, a bolshy 42 year old woman from Leeds to Bohol. The open top boat in the midday sun may have been a mistake as we were all well and truly burnt that day! But believe me, Bohol was worth it, it was beautiful. We stayed in a little cottage apartment just back from Alona beach. After a night settling in, we had a lovely beach day. Me and Jill went for a snorkel and it was too cold to dunk under when we heard a very mancunion 'oh just do it' - which is when we met Sam and Max. They were the sweetest of couples and we spent the evening with them like a little northern gang.
The day after we went on a tour round the island to see the chocolate hills, the tarsiers, lunch on the river cruise and a few even went zip lining in the valley. We met a great bunch of people and even met for dinner later. Only us northerners were up for a drinking sesh, which led to Maxine doing teddy bear rolls on the floor and Sam taking her home aha.
The following day was meant to be our last day but we loved it there so much we stayed for an extra beach day. Our real last day we spent at the beach, getting pedicures and enjoying 99 peso cocktails before heading for double portions of chicken. Then that was it, our time in Bohol was over. Jill left in the early hours and we went for breakfast on the beach before heading back to Cebu to fly to Manila.
Back at Cozee Monkey for our last leg of the Philippines. Met were reunited with Ryan and a girl from Scotland we met there weeks ago, Aisha. That night we went to a club called The Black Market and to Gino's aunties bar were she gave us a free bottle of wine, pushing Aisha over the edge who passed out and drooled all over me haha. Hungover, me and Aisha joined in the family cooked meal whilst Holly-Beth went on her Valentines Day date with Gino ooooh!
The next day we headed to the market were I was surprisingly restrained before heading to our last Reggae Bar. That was an eventful night which led to everyone nearly getting split up and Aisha shouting, she's very aggressive when she's drunk, I did say she was Scottish. Our last full day, not only was I hanging but the pain in my teeth/mouth that I had been fighting worsened so I was in major pain, I couldn't even eat this giant pizza we ordered.
Pancake Tuesday was our last day and we taught Gino how to make English pancakes, wrote on the thank you wall, and headed to Hong Kong for the next chapter.
It really is more fun in the Philippines!