Buses in Bohol.
Visiting the chocolate hills and tarsier sanctuary in Bohol, Philippines.
Getting anywhere in the Philippines requires taking at least three modes of transportation. So far some of my journeys have included…
Car, plane, bus, boat, tricycle.
Tricycle, boat, tricycle, plane, cab.
Cab, bus, boat.
Boat, bus, cab.
When I got to Bohol, by cab, boat, and motorcycle, I had a few goals. I knew I wanted to see the chocolate hills. I knew I wanted to see the tarsiers. And I knew I wanted to spend as little money as possible to do so.
When I got off the boat I asked the information desk at the pier about lodging in town. The woman behind the counter was surprised that I didn’t want to stay at the beach but, quite frankly, I was getting a little sick of beaches. Plus I only had two real days in Bohol. Plus I had a lot of work to do and wanted to avoid socializing to get shit done. Plus, I knew if I stayed in town I’d save money by being near the bus station and the airport and not have to take extra transportation to another part of the island.
For the next two days I resisted any temptation to take the easy way out, to just hire a car or a motorbike driver or a take a tour. And instead did all of my sightseeing by public bus and jeepney. Anytime I thought that maybe I could just take a motorbike I reminded myself of what happened the last time I hired a motorbike driver and set myself straight.
Sure, hiring transportation would have taken less time. And sure, I would have been able to make more stops, see more things. But the bus worked just fine…and I avoided marriage proposals in the process.
And, let me tell you, the buses were an experience in themselves.
They all were painted with Christian sayings and were adorned with rosaries hanging next to Hello Kitty paintings. One had a sign on the dashboard that lit up “Pray for Us” every time the driver broke. Passengers banged on the ceiling to signal that they wanted to get off.
And then there was time that the bus back to town was so full that my only option would be to wait and pray that an emptier one would come or put on my brave face and climb onto the roof rack for the two hour ride. I chose the latter.
And, let me tell you this: it doesn’t matter if you can’t speak the local language, if you are riding on the roof of a bus and someone yells something out, what they are saying means “duck!”
But hey, I made it back alive.
And I got to see the chocolate hills…
…and the tarsiers.
And that, my friends, is all that matters.
p.s. How cute are those tarsiers? I totally want to steal one.