Tranmere were on television this morning. With the eight hour time difference it’s a difficult choice to make regarding sleeping arrangements for a 3.45am kick-off. You can either stay up late or wake up early. With a busy day ahead planned, I opted for the latter. It was somewhat surreal watching football on my laptop under the covers in a hostel bed during the middle of the night. At one point the occupant of the bunk above me stumbled in, struggled to get up the ladder before snoring his head off! Tranmere beat Chester with a last minute winner which is incredibly difficult to celebrate in silence.
There’s a Bohol tour that everywhere in Alona Beach seems to sell. For about £7 you are transported around for a full day to most of the tourist attractions on the island. These are optional to visit and most only charge small entrance fees. First up was some sort of wildlife sanctuary. I usually try and avoid these places on animal welfare grounds but they only kept snakes, crocodiles and butterflies. Without sounding harsh I’m not sure if keeping such in captivity can be classed as cruel. Butterflies only live for a few days, crocodiles just lie there and the snakes appeared to be well looked after. There was a huge albino python. One of the staff asked if I wanted to go into the enclosure for a photo but I politely declined. When its head was a safe distance away I did get a quick touch of the snake. It felt warm and a bit dry.
Next stop was a zip lining place, something I don’t have a particular urge to try. There was a nice view of the green scenery though. It was then onto a boat trip. Again I wasn’t especially bothered so opted for a walk along the river bank. When I later tried to locate the minibus I realised that there were tens of busloads of people being driven around essentially the same route. Most vehicles were white Toyota minibuses. Luckily I spotted our driver by his bright orange trainers.
I’d never heard of a tarsier before I came to the Philippines. They seem to be blazoned on t-shirts in tourist shops. Tarsiers are one of the world’s smallest primates and live in a few of the South-East Asia islands. We visited a sanctuary where tarsier breeding takes place. They are tiny creatures and would be difficult to spot if staff members weren’t pointing out their whereabouts up in the trees. Thankfully the staff also enforce behaviour rules such as keep the noise down, no flash photography and no selfie sticks. Apparently if people get too close to the tarsiers they can become stressed and have been known to commit suicide. I had to use a lot of zoom to take a photograph of them despite standing right next to the tarsiers as they are tiny. They’re funny looking creatures and aren’t too dissimilar to ET. It as though their eyes are far too big for them and seem to almost be popping out of their heads!
Perhaps the most famous attraction on Bohol is the Chocolate Hills. They are an interesting collection of what appear to be giant mole hills that dominate the landscape in a section of the island. It’s supposedly a bit of a geological mystery about how they were formed. Apparently in the dry season they turn brown, hence the name, but today they are very much green. For a small fee you can walk up a couple of hundred steps to the top of one of the hills and have a nice panoramic view of the area. I spotted Dave from Norwich at the Chocolate Hills. He’s the bloke I met in a bar yesterday who was treating his wife like crap. Luckily he had latched on to another poor sap to bore and never noticed me!
On the way back to Panglao we stopped off at a village whose tourist attraction was a bamboo bridge that you can walk across for about 20p. While it was an impressive structure over a river and ridge, it was also as wobbly as heck. Two local kids thought it was hilarious to start jumping up and down on the bridge when I was near the middle. This would have been a vertigo sufferer’s worst nightmare.
Back in Alona Beach I headed out for a couple of beers. The first bar had genuinely the worst music I’ve ever heard on a juke box. They played Foreigner, followed by Milli Vanilli, followed by Foreigner. It felt like I was in a 1980s time warp and Patrick Swayze was about to walk in! The musical tastes of Filipinos are somewhat questionable. Every live band I’ve seen has played Heaven by Bryan Adams and Total Eclipse of The Heart. I even noticed that the bus driver today was shamelessly singing along to Boyzone! At least there was a reggae bar on the beach to move along to for some better tunes.