Philippines: Negros and Panay

Our Journey began days ago in Cebu. After Bohol we headed west and then north passing the islands of Negros and Panay till we end up in the paradise of Boracay.

Dumaguete:

Our Journey began days ago in Cebu. After Bohol we headed west and then north passing the islands of Negros and Panay till we end up in the paradise of Boracay.

The breakfast in our hotel was not worth it to stand up early so we skipped that after the first day :) There was even a rule that said: “no leftovers”. The fine was 200 Pesos per plate. Also here in Dumaguete we rented a motorbike. This time only one as I felt not too comfortable to drive here. The traffic is just crazy! Sometimes I still had a bad feeling sitting in the back when 7 instead of 2 lanes were used during peak hours.

On our first day here we had to realize that rainfall is possible 😛 It happens not often in that season here on the Philippines, but yes, it did rain. After the rain stopped, we drove to a neighborhood town called Valencia for swimming. Our hotel here in Dumaguete didn’t have a pool so we were glad to get a short refreshment :) There in Valencia it had a resort with different swimming pools. The water comes directly from the mountains and was quite cold :)

On the very first day on the Philippines we decided to go for swimming with the biggest fish on earth – the whalesharks. These creatures are sharks but have the size of a whale and look much more like a whale than a shark. Since we are on the Philippines we were always a daytrip away from their habitat so we postponed this adventure till now. The whalesharks live in Oslob near the coast and of course they made the animals a big tourist attraction. Finally, the day came and we made us on our way to Oslob which was about 1-hour drive (30 mins on the road and 30 mins on the ferry called RORO – roll on, roll off). Swimming with those giant was fantastic and they gave us about 30 minutes’ time to swim with them. So we had enough time to get some great pictures. These Whalesharks where about 4 meters long but can reach up to 18 meters and weight up to 21 tons. It was an adventure of a lifetime for us and very fascinating to be so close with them. Luckily for us they had breakfast before, so we are still in one piece 😀

In the afternoon we went snorkeling in Dauin, a city south of Dumaguete. There you will find a coral reef just about 10 meters from the shore where you can see all the corals when you swim out.

On our last evening in Dumaguete we met our Scandinavian friends again who arrived 2 days after us in Dumaguete.

Bacolod:

Off we go to Bacolod which is located northwest on the island of Negros. So all the way up through the whole Island. This time by bus. The drive took 7 hours instead of planned 6 hours. Costs: about 12 euros for the two of us. It rained the whole day, so that way it was not too bad to lose a whole day. And it still rained when we arrived and the 2 days after it didn’t get any better. Bacolod itself has not much to offer as it is more of a drive-through town on the way up to the north, but we made the best of it and visited the park and a zoo which hosts endangered animals. The zoo is not in the best condition as it is normal for the poor Philippines. The animals at least looked healthy and they also had baby animals which let our hopes alive. In the evening we enjoyed a massage in the spa in our hotel. This time Mikael was treated by a woman again, which was not always the case the last few times :)

Iloilo:

One more time we took the ferry to cross the ocean. Iloilo is situated in the south of the island Panay. Ilo means river and the city got the name Iloilo because it’s a river-city like Bern or London. The river flows directly through the city and because of that there are also many bridges in Iloilo. Iloilo is similar to Bacolod and for most of the people just a stop on the way to the north, but we kind of liked Iloilo. Our hotel was located in the Smallville area which is popular for going out. It’s nice going there for having a beer but please don’t consider eating there. We had the worst food on our journey so far :(

Actually we only planned to stay one day in Iloilo but because we had more days left than planned we decided to stay one more day and enjoy the nice weather at the pool. In the evening I had to stick to my promise and go to the cinema with Mikael to see the new Starwars movie.

The next day, we continued our journey through Panay and took another Bus all the way up to Caticlan. It’s located up in the north and is the getaway to go to Boracay. This time the bus travel was not as good as the last one. They filled it up till the last seat was taken and it was really full. First we didn’t care about that too much, as the travel time should only be 4-5 hours. In the end, it took us 7 hours again to get there :/ At least they showed 3 films so we didn’t get too bored. Sadly, any writing or working was not possible in this bus. After we finally arrived in Caticlan we took a boat to Boracay. While buying the ticket we once again got to go through the Philippian bureaucratic. There are 3 counters and you have to queue up 3 times to get your ticket. 1. to get your actual boat-ticket, 2. To pay the terminal fee and 3. To pay the government fee. The boat took us in 15 minutes to Boracay and we were lucky as we could hop on a shared e-trike which is of course a lot cheaper than having a private tour. Sadly, our driver forgot to stop at our hotel so we got a free sightseeing tour of Boracay :) Well, it was dark, 7pm and we were happy after we finally arrived in our hotel. It was a long day of travelling. Our travel through the islands of Negros and Panay ends here in Boracay. Boracay was just beautiful, so it is worth it to have a separate post. So stay tuned to read about Boracay next.

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