|We are in Siquijor in the last 2 days. It's a small island Southwest from Bohol. We heard about witch crafts and woodoo but we haven't noticed anything unusual. As it's my last week,I decided to treat myself and get a bit better accommodation. So we are in a beautiful house on a beautiful beach. We arrived yesterday about 1pm from Bohol,Tagbilaran. The ferry ride takes about 1.5-2 hours and it cost 700 pesos/person one way. As soon as we arrived to the port,we bought a ticket to the way back because I wasn't sure if it won't be full and I can not afford to miss the ferry as we have a flight to catch from Cebu to Manila on the 10th. We took a tricycle which cost 400 pesos. I thought it's a bit too much but the guy told us,it's a fixed price (and he showed the price list) to where we go. The prices are set by the government. So when I asked how does it work,he said, it used to be 500 but the tourist office has changed it so it's good for tourists and the drivers. That guy is renting the vehicle and he has to pay 120 pesos per day plus the petrol. Everything above that,he can keep. When we arrived to the hotel I was just amazed how nice it is. We went to check the beautiful beach and we ate as we haven't been eaten since breakfast. We ordered some typical Philippine food which was sweet and sour chicken but made in their way. It isn't that sweet and they coat the chicken with something floury. After our nice meal,we went down to the nearest -to our hotel- and apparently nicest beach on the island. Well,I have seen nicer beaches before but it had its 'white' sand and nice water -apart from the lots of seaweed-. We were just sitting there and talking,couldn't sunbathe which was my original plan as it wasn't particularly sunny. We sort of walked around,picked some shells and corals,etc and then a guy found a massive starfish so we went to take a photo and made a movie as it moves under water. Not long after a Philippine family found more and more and the kids collected them -which I didn't agree with- to one spot -still in the water-. I went to look what they are doing and I took some quick videos how they move and turn when you put them upside down. We spent an hour with them and then came back to the hotel. Here we watched some Tv,went for dinner,watched more Tv and fell asleep. Today we knew that we want to ride around the island so we rented a scooter -350 pesos/day + petrol, 45 pesos/liter,we used 3-. We started with renting some snorkel mask and pipe from a nearby diving shop. The guy there was really nice,he offered to take us to a nice spot where we can snorkel,we just had to follow him to the place where he took some guests. The place was about 6-10 mins drive from here and it was a small resort. He also said, that there is NO private beaches in the Philippines,so when a big resort builds their hotel on the beach,it's still a public beach so if we find the way to get down,we can use the beach. This particular one wasn't even a beach just rocks. We had to swim in about 80 meters or so and then we saw the edge of the coral reef as the sea bottom dropped. It was really nice. We spent about an hour in the sea,saw lots of fish, beautiful starfish and corals. I saw a sea snake so that was when I decided,we should turn back. Sea snakes can be lethal and I didn't want to try it. As we got out we had a little rest and a drink and we went to our next beach which was again suggested by the diver. The place called Tubod beach, 3mins from the previous one and it was actually a very nice beach with white sand in front of a massive resort. Finally,I could have a little sunbathe, we stayed over an hour. Again,water was beautiful but with some seaweed. I actually had a previous plan as in what beached to visit before the diver's suggestions, so we headed to Kagusuan beach which meant to be a very nice and quiet one. Well,it was nice,nothing fantastic as the seashore was full of with seaweed but I can see why they say it's nice. The water is really clear and not much green in it if you swim a bit further. We had to pay 30 pesos/ person entry fee and also had to sign a waiver that the government doesn't take any responsibility for stolen stuff and for injury and the loss of life. How assuring it is? But we still went,took some photos,stayed a bit but as it's started to be late and I wanted to visit one more, we left. On the way to the last beach we found a cute restaurant in the middle of nowhere as we were riding in the forest and we had our late lunch there. Very good food and very cheap. Main course normally cost 200 pesos around the island, it was 150 here. The last beach was near Maria town,called Salagdoong beach. By the time we got there, the sun was going down so we couldn't see the real colours of the water but one thing I have to say,apart from the fact it was full of with people -as there is a resort on the side-, the beach looked very nice and the water looked very clear. I actually feel disappointed I didn't see it with a sun shining on the water but it was nice as it is. We had to pay here 25 pesos/person entry fee. From there it took about an hour to ride back. We didn't manage to ride around the whole but only half of the island. We literally didn't do anything when we got back. Had showers and watched Tv as we were knackered from sun,sea,travelling around.
One of my friend asked me on messenger if I feel safe here. And I answered yes. I know there are lots of rumours going around that the Philippines are dangerous and we have to be careful. It might be true in bigger cities like Manila and even Cebu but this little island? People are helpful,kind,still waiving and shouting hi,they even call me Madame everywhere instead of mister . I'm not saying leave your belongings unattended or walk by yourself on the street at night but we are walking around with our phone and iPad and no one seem to care. Of course take some caution as in our hotel there is a sign not to walk alone during the night,don't flash your expensive stuff and if anyone stalks you,go to a hotel or call the police. The waiver we had to sign gives a little worry but they are just being careful as better to be safe than worry,right? People are smiling and they seem to be very kind. Most of them speaks good English. They must love basketball on this island as here are hundreds of basketball courts around and almost every house has a basket. Some of them are 'real', some of them are home made but they all have one and everywhere you find them,someone plays. They also like playing pool as quite a few restaurants have them and again,people are all around playing. Seem to be a very sporty nation,at least on this island.
The island itself has lots to discover. We picked the beaches but there are at least 4x waterfalls, some forests and some part is high so people can do some trekking -nothing serious though-.We also gathered some information, back in Bohol. A guy told us, he only earns 200 pesos/day. It unfortunately also means that the food is very expensive for them as 1kg rice cost 45 pesos and the cheapest food in the eateries cost about 100 peso. The government is very korrupt and the biggest problem for the people here is that they want to put the prices up a bit but the government doesn't allow them. The Philippines so far is the cheapest place in Asia and I'm sure if the prices would be a bit higher, we would still happily come here and spend our money so the local people could earn a bit more and have a better life. I don't really understand why the government doesn't allow them to put the prices up as their people are struggling with the small prices and with the even smaller profit.
Also, when we were in Bohol and had a drink with Rich by the beach,we saw 3 gunmen standing around the restaurants and bars. I didn't think of anything as we saw lots of them in South America but the guy we talked to said,the reason they are there cos about half a year ago some crazy local people from the small islands travelled there by boat and as they got off the boat,they started to attack the tourists by the beach. They shot 6 of them, 3 of them run away. Since then,every day after sunrise they have 3 guards to make sure tourists are safe. Good to know,no?☺️ Tomorrow we are heading back to Cebu and the day after from Cebu to Manila. The last days journal will be ready in a couple of days.