You can get a ferry to all sorts of places from Cebu City. The terminal is modern and well organised, as was the ferry itself. It took around two hours to get to Panglao, a small island off Bohol. Bohol is also an island. The Philippines are made up of lots of islands! This provided just enough time to show a film of the ferry. Amazingly they screened The Shallows, a film I’d already seen on a bus journey in Peru. I’d have thought that it was a bit taboo showing a film where people are eaten by sharks (apologies for any spoilers) on a ferry where sharks probably aren’t very far away. They were also children on the boat. Watching that as a kid would have scared the life out of me!
From the ferry terminal in Bohol it was about ten miles to Alona Beach at the bottom of Panglao. With the islands being connected by a bridge this journey was drivable. The guide book recommended taking something called a tricycle for a more authentic experience. These contraptions are essentially motorbikes with a connecting sidecar. I didn’t have to worry too much about the classic scenario of the sidecar flying off as it seemed to be built fairly solidly. Due to the age of the motorbike and the weight of me and my luggage in the sidecar, we barely got above about 15mph. It didn’t especially feel like a dangerous deathtrap. However the vehicle didn’t have much suspension. Even the religious slogans painted onto the tricycle couldn’t give any divine intervention to prevent me feeling every single bump on the road!
The hostel at Alona Beach was really good. It was clean and well looked after and the staff were friendly and helpful. The location was great, about a five minute walk from the beach and nightlife. Like Boracay, Panglao has some stunning beaches. Alone Beach is a lot more compact than Boracay though with a lot less tourists. There’s still plenty of bars and restaurants around and the place has a nice feel to it.
As I suppose with many countries where labour costs are relatively cheap most establishments in the Philippines seem to have plenty of staff. Tonight I was in a restaurant with a capacity of maybe one hundred people. Seven tables of customers were in. Working there were 12 waitresses plus another 2 outside drumming up business, 5 bar staff, a bouncer and at least 6 people in the kitchen that I could see. At least the service was quick and I doubt that anyone would have even able to do a runner! Bohol is renowned for its seafood and the fish and chips were excellent. For some reason it came with HP Sauce.