After spending a couple of days in Bangkok, enjoying the Thai food and buying some stuff we couldn’t find in Sri Lanka, it was time to move to another country again. Next on the list: Philippines!!
When we left Sri Lanka we knew we wanted to go to the Philippines next, but because the flight connection wasn’t very good we decided to make a stopover in Bangkok for a couple of days. We checked the flights online and the price difference wasn’t that much so we booked our flight to Bangkok thinking we would book the flight to Cebu when we arrived in Thailand. What we didn’t realise is that the “high season” prices would start on the first of November. So when we finally came around to booking the flight prices were increasing rapidly and we changed our plan. We wouldn’t fly to Cebu but instead we would go to Bohol, an island next to Cebu. We had to fly via Manila because there are no direct flights. Our flight leaving Bangkok was at 15:00pm and we would arrive in Manila at 18:00pm local time. To continue the trip on the same day would mean we had to take the next flight at 1:00am, which we didn’t want to do with Jace after already skipping a night flying from Sri Lanka to Bangkok.
Lisa found a hotel only seven kilometers from the airport, which we thought was good knowing we would return the airport the next morning. First thing we usually do when arriving in a new country is get cash. We checked all the ATM machines at the airport but none of them gave us any money. Thankfully we had some Thai bath left from Bangkok which we changed for Philippines pesos. Next, find a taxi. Sounds easy, but the airport taxi is just a big rip-off!!! They wanted to charge us 2300 pesos, which is around € 45,-, for a seven kilometer ride. After a lot of talking and looking we found one who took us for 800 pesos, which still was too much but what can you do standing there with your two year old son.
Manila was CRAZY busy. The seven kilometer drive took us more than an hour and the streets were really packed with cars, bicycle taxi’s, jeepney’s and trucks. When we finally made it to the hotel we were happy to see it was good enough or us to stay. The area we stayed in (we later learned) wasn’t the best of Manila but it was for only one night so who cares. We went looking for an atm that would give us some cash. We found one pretty quickly and also managed to find some diapers for Jace. After a quick bite at one of the street bbq stalls we went back to the hotel to get some sleep.
The next morning we had a simple breakfast and got in a taxi early because of the crazy busy roads in Manila. The hotel called a taxi for us and we agreed on a price of 350 pesos (remember the 800 we paid the day before??) to go to the airport. The taxi driver told us there was the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit coming in the next couple of days which would close off some of the main roads of Manila. We hadn’t realised the APEC was so soon. We were happy with our timing and glad to leave this busy city.
At the airport check-in was easy and we passed the security check in a couple of minutes. The plane boarded on time but because of a delayed plane at the airport of Bohol we had to wait for almost an hour on the runway in Manila. Tagbilaran Airport on Bohol has only one small runway so when a plane is delayed all the flights coming after it feel the pain. When we finally left we had a short comfortable flight and Jace slept most of the way. The good side of being delayed was that I got to finish watching my movie which otherwise wouldn’t have happened (if you’re looking for a nice happy movie watch “Chef” :-))
At Bohol airport Sander, the Dutch owner of the Airbnb house we rented for the next couple of days was already waiting for us. Nice of him to pick us up from the airport for free! It was a thirty minute drive to his house and the roads were surprisingly good. When we arrived we were happy to see the house was really nice and had a big living room for us to sit when Jace was sleeping. Let’s drop our stuff and go look for some food because it’s already 6 pm. More in our next post……