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    Philippines

    Dhaka to Philippines: My Shortest Trip Ever!!

    August 4, 2019

    Singapore airlines! Is that real? I haven’t thought about to fly by that airlines this time. However, I didn’t have time to think and also had less option to fly as quick as possible. I just started checking the flight details and ended up booking a one-way ticket to Cebu, Philippines.

    Every time I plan for a new country, my situation remains the same! Yes, very unpredictable about visa, ticket, leave from office and so on! This time the situation was a bit worse than before because someone was waiting for me in the Philippines and I had to give that person an answer that I am coming or not!

    Getting visa for seven days is the funniest things that has never happened with me and spending money on that was the joke of the year. Still I decided to be a part of it and surely succeeded! Traveling is something that you can’t plan without having enough money, especially when you belong to a country where we don’t have enough limit to buy flight tickets, need huge cash to carry all the time, have a valueless passport and limited access to everything.

    Immigration Police who doesn’t bother about other people will definitely bother about me when they see my passport! Immigration thinks that I will be staying back to country, marry someone and will never go back to Bangladesh! Why? The answer is still very hard to find but it’s okay. That has become a habit and nowadays if someone doesn’t ask me a lot of questions, I get suspicious about their skills. Maybe they are not serious about their job.

    Yeah, back to the airlines! The flight was long and two stops in Singapore and Davao! Finally, when I arrived in Cebu, I have already utilized one day from my seven days visa! Lord, but still they allowed me to be inside the country and that was a blessing. I checked with the taxi and as usual they tried to rip me off! Sure! I am a tourist man! That’s how I am allowing myself to be a guinea pig for their experiment in every possible way!!

    According to my friend, I need to find a taxi that will charge me not more than 400 Pesos from the airport to the hotel and must have a meter that will be start counting with 40 pesos. So, I didn’t change money because my friend had enough with him to survive for six days in Philippines. Those who already have been to Cebu, can totally understand that they have traffic during office hours! My Taxi driver was nice and we talked about the city, people and places to visit within six days stay. Like others he was also surprised to see that a girl from Bangladesh is visiting Philippines alone. Yeah man, I am here to surprise the entire world.  

    My friend picked me up and paid 380 Pesos for the ride which was totally fine. I took a quick shower right after went to the room and realized that I need to sleep. Though later we went to the seven eleven which is the cheapest place to eat, had a dinner and took a taxi to a bar. Well, that was not a random bar! Actually, my friend has been invited by some local friends and we joined for drink. We left that place early because I was super exhausted.

    On the next morning, we took a grab and changed the hotel! Grab is the best way to travel inside the city but also you can take mini buses which are cheaper than the taxis. We were two people and split the amount, so for us it was convenient and reasonable. But to take mini bus, you must need to know the routs properly.

    I was still tired but planned next five days in Philippines which was important.  I need to do something, to utilize the effort, money and energy that I have spent for this country. It was raining all day and we were lazy to go out for a meal! So, if you want you can order food by food panda which can be the best way to chill during heavy rains.

    Honestly, if you really want to explore Cebu, you need some time! But since I didn’t have enough time, we thought about to go to an island called Boracay! A bit touristic but beautiful and full of activities. Flights tickets are quick & cheaper, so we have decided to fly to the island.

    On our fourth morning we took a grab from the hotel and went to the domestic airport for the flight from Cebu to Boracay Island! Guess what? They thrown away my umbrella, which was very new experience for me. What is the point of throwing that? However, I was less bothered about that and took the flight.

    We arrived and started another adventure to get into the island! Those who wants to go there, must know some information…. you have to take a package trip that includes terminal fee, car ride to the boat terminal, boat to the island and a tuktuk from the terminal to the hotel! When you get out of the airport, you will find many travel agencies are waiting outside with in their counter. You can ask their price and decide by yourself.

    The boat ride was average for me! Why? Because, I belong to a country of rivers and boats! I have been traveling with different types of boats for many years. But yes, for others, that ride looks pretty amazing. Our hotel was close to the beach and interestingly we could see everything from there. You can call it the centre of the island from where people take packages for island hopping, helmet diving, jet ski, scuba diving and many more.

    We were chilling on our first day! We planned our next day trip to some islands and helmet diving! The packages were a bit expensive but you can always bargain or book online to avoid confusion. But, most of tourist has to pay the same amount. We spent 2500 Pesos per person for 15 minutes helmet diving island and 5 hours island hopping that includes buffet lunch.

    The weather was a bit confusing since it was sunny in the morning and rainy in the afternoon. Island hopping is just a commercial idea if you don’t want to stay there for a night. There was nothing special to see in 30 minutes time! I believe they should have given us more time to explore. After having our lunch, they dropped us to another place for the Helmet Diving that requires some time because you need to wait for your turn as well as the instructions given by the operator. You must listen to the operator for a enjoying the activity in a better way.

    The helmet that they use for the diving is 37kgs but under water it becomes 4kgs! Insane but don’t need to be scared! It was fun because we didn’t feel the weights of our helmets inside the water.! We went inside the water, enjoyed 15 minutes diving and came back! Interestingly, there was a platform from where you can jump into the ocean which was a bit scary! My friend tried his best to make me jump and finally I did!!! That was actually fun and I wanted to jump again!

    Yea! We were done with our activities by that time! The irritating part was when we were going back to the island! It was heavily raining and low tide in the ocean! So, we had to change the boat, take a small one and go back to the island.  Everybody was shivering and felt we need to rest.

    The last day was a bit lazy with a small walk to the white sand beach, lunch and enjoying the nature. I was walking around the ocean and seeing people taking lessons for scuba diving.

    I know it doesn’t sound very appealing but honestly, I didn’t enjoy a lot! That was an average trip for me to Boracay Island! I forgot to tell you one thing, actually when we decided to go back to the airport, the lady from the hotel reception told that we can do everything by ourselves! I mean taking a tuktuk from the island to terminal, boat to cross the ocean and hire another tuktuk to the airport. Well, she was right and that was way cheaper than the package we have taken from the airport on our first day!

    We reached to the airport; the flight was delayed! We were flying to Manila to go to Phnom Penh and though the flight was delayed, we were on time. We got down in the domestic airport, took a shuttle bus service that cost 20 Pesos per person and go to the international airport for the flight to Cambodia!

    The immigration, the check in luggage created more stories but finally we boarded in the flight!

    I have heard many interesting stories about the country, but personally I couldn’t experience any of them! May be because being an Asian, everything seems very similar! Or, I had such a short time and couldn’t explore properly. I am a person who believes in walking, chilling, sitting and observing. Seven days were too short to explore, even for a city!

    But still, I felt good about my struggles to see Philippines successfully and added a new country in my travel dairy! So far that’s it!