With over 7,000 islands making up its archipelago, it’s easy to see why we are headed back to the Philippines for the third time. (If you missed the first four islands, you can check them out here and here.) This week, we are headed to Samal with Ruben and Rachel of Gamin Traveler as well as to Bohol Island with Meira from Oimeira. Here are their answers to my Travel Interview series questions…
Let’s start on Samal with Ruben and Rachel…
Ruben and Rachel are from Gamin Traveler (http://gamintraveler.com/) and will be talking about Samal Island. They loved this island because it is not touristy, the water is very clean, and life on the island is very quiet. Ruben and Rachel note that Samal Island is one of the most untapped places in the Philippines and definitely a treasure to be explored now. Samal Island is a small island with very few tourists. The water is blue and clear and life is generally very quiet and lax.
Ruben and Rachel would recommend staying on Samal for at least 2 days if you like to travel slowly, as they do; they note that it would really be good if you could spend an entire week to get the full vibe of the island.
One of Ruben and Rachel’s favorite thing about/memory from their trip to Samal was swimming and snorkeling around the island. The water was very clear and they saw many starfish. Swimming and snorkeling for free was an amazing experience for them. They saw starfish as well as other fish without snorkeling too far. They also enjoyed seeing how clean and untouched the water was as well as watching children swimming in the banks while enjoying nature.
Other activities that Samal provides are renting motorbikes to go around to the beaches and hiking around the small mountains.
In regard to restaurants/places to eat, Ruben and Rachel ate in Carenderias (local Filipino restaurants). They noted that all of the Carenderias were great with fish, soups and vegetables. Prices were very affordable since you can eat for $1.
What surprised Ruben and Rachel was the quiet life on the island and the absence of tourists, observing that most of the visitors are locals.
As far as travel advice goes, they always recommend staying with locals; they used Couchsurfing. They also suggest visiting local markets to allow yourself to meet people who will give you the best advice on where to visit and where to eat, plus you infuse yourself with the local life.
If you want to hear more about Samal, check out this link from Gamin Traveler:
Next up is Bohol Island from Meira. Meira is from Indonesia, and her blog is www.oimeira.com. She chose Bohol Island in the Philippines because she has noticed that most people only talk about or are more interested in Palawan, while Bohol is also a beautiful island.
Meira would recommend staying on Bohol Island for 3-4 days to explore the island. The island is not very big, but Meira suggests planing which sites you want to visit.
Meira’s favorite memories included traveling with her friend, Jens, to the island. They wanted to try budget travel so they chose the least expensive transportation to cross from Cebu. They planned to do a day trip to Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Sanctuary, and the beaches. Meira and Jens rented a motorbike in order to have more flexibility in their schedule. However, the owner only gave them 4 hours, so they were somewhat rushed. Moreover, it was rainy, so they ended up riding in the rain and only making it to the Chocolate Hills.
Meira’s “can’t miss” activity on Bohol is seeing the Chocolate Hills, noting they are especially beautiful in the summer months. Other activities include the Tarsier Sanctuary and the beaches.
As far as restaurants/places to eat, Meira and Jens ate street food and at a small restaurant. She shared that there are small restaurants along the road to the Chocolate Hills. They had grilled pork and chicken with hanging rice near to the port before going back to Cebu.
Meira was surprised by the bad weather on the island. She didn’t expect that it would be almost constantly raining and wishes she would have considered traveling there in the summer.
Meira had several points regarding travel advice when traveling to Bohol Island on a budget. She would recommend using couchsurfing to connect with the locals. Because not all people on the island speak English well, she feels that using couchsurfing aids in gaining knowledge about the culture and habits of the locals. She also noted that you can find a room near to the beach using agoda or other services. Meira recommended visiting the island in summer. She was happy with her experience with the street food and noted that she did not get sick from it. Finally, Meira suggested looking into the price of motorbikes before renting them so you know whether or not you are getting a good deal.
Although Meira hasn’t written any articles about Bohol Island yet, she is planning to in the future. She did, however, write two articles about Philippines. Here are the links:
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