Updated: Nov 12, 2019
With dreams of white sandy beaches, BBQ pork belly and dreamy sunsets, I’ve abandoned the grey wet Vancouver winter for the sunny Philippines. After 30 hours of traveling, a 16-hour time difference and the loss of Tuesday, my boyfriend Chris and I were driving through the midnight streets of Manila in an overpriced cab. I was excited to be back in another bustling Asian city with only our backpacks and a small guitar in tow. Our budget hotel was as expected. For $20 USD we were provided a small loft-style room with AC, a private bathroom and one very uncomfortable couch. It was a perfect hideout for conquering the first two nights of jet-lag, testing the Islands' coffee (not bad), and acting as a base for the busy city. We soon realized Manila is not where we wanted to spend our time. Partially this was because the city is reminiscent of the underbelly of hell (I’m exaggerating, but it is pretty awful) but mostly we ached for the tranquility of island life away from constant city reminders of our life back in Vancouver. We booked a flight to Bohol, an island known for its shallow beaches, hidden waterfalls and, most famously, the Chocolate Hills - a group of small, round mountains that resemble chocolate gumdrops.
Last night we arrived at the accurately-named White Beach, not far from the Tagbilaran airport. It’s still low-season, so hotels are cheap and mostly vacant. Fan rooms are $14/night and there is only one other guest staying at the resort. (He’s from Finland and I can’t remember his name, even though he’s told us twice.) We hadn’t noticed any mosquitos earlier in the evening, but both awoke in the night covered in itchy bites. It would have been worth packing a mosquito net, if only for Bohol. After a mostly sleepless night, we were itching to eat the free breakfast our hotel provided (pun-intended). As a celiac, I was pleased to discover a selection of bacon, eggs and veggies. The instant coffee was terrible, but I’m willing to try anything twice. Chris and I rented a motorbike for $10 and spent this morning exploring Hinagdanan cave and Alona Beach. I haven’t caught up with the time change yet, so I’m finding myself tired and hungry at weird times. I’ve already had two breakfasts today, and still, all I can think about is my next meal: the Filipino specialty “Liempo” - a hefty portion of pork belly, slow roasted over an open-pit.