My Travel Unraveled eat well, travel often, and always enjoy the journey

The Answer Is No

22 - The Answer Is No

Those beady eyes staring at you through the branches belong to a tarsier, one of the world’s smallest primates and one I spotted during my visit to the Tarsier Foundation on the island of Bohol.  As a child, I was an avid lover of all things animal kingdom and thus it’s always a treat to witness exotic creatures in their natural habitats.  But were these little critters and the Chocolate Hills, Bohol’s other main attraction, worth the two hour ferry at 6 AM and the nearly 6 additional hours of time I spent in transit to see them?  The answer is no.

Traveling on a budget is a fucking challenge.  And when you’re trying to limit your monthly spending to less than what it takes to rent a studio apartment in San Francisco for 30 days, you’re going to have to make some concessions.  Unfortunately, this means forgoing convenient, all-inclusive tours and finding your own means of visiting a country’s attractions.  Thus describes my trip to Bohol, a place I learned is best experienced via tour and not by your seemingly ambitious lonesome .  Attempting to tackle the island by yourself, though largely more cost efficient, leaves you at the mercy of unpaved roads, inefficient routes, and wildly unpredictable public transportation.  Did I at least enjoy the things I got to see?  The answer is no.

The Chocolate Hills, Bohol’s main attraction, are the epitome of overrated, overhyped tourist buffoonery, a non-deserving regular on all those aspirational “20 Places To See Before You Die” lists wistfully cast onto our Facebook news feeds.  I don’t know what bewitched me into thinking that the same hill copy and pasted a couple thousand times across the horizon would be a majestic site to behold.  You can’t even climb any of the hills and “seeing them” involves 50 steps, a viewing platform, and 10 minutes of pictures.  What’s worse is that public transportation only takes you there along the scenic route.  For the low cost of $1.50, you can turn a one hour route into two hours while giving up the luxury of paved roads.  What a deal!  Was it all worth the bumpy four hour round trip spent bouncing around the back of a bus like a fucking popcorn kernel trapped at the bottom of a bag?  The answer is no.

23 - The Answer Is No

Without time and money on my side, I succumbed to my beckoning inner child and opted to visit the Tarsier Foundation in lieu of Bohol’s other topographical “wonders.”  A short 15 minute ride away, I was anticipating a quicker, more pleasant journey but was instead subject to a harrowing, white-knuckle ride on the ultimate bitch seat.  See that little platform at the back of the crowded jeepney in the picture below?  That was my fucking “seat.”  And on top of that, there were three other mother fuckers clinging for dear life to the back of the vehicle with me.  Was it safe for me to use one hand to retrieve my camera and snap the subsequent photo of my view while the vehicle was moving?  Was it a good idea for me film this video as well?  The answer is no.

24 - The Answer Is No25 - The Answer Is  No

Tarsiers are adorable creatures with comically gigantic eyes that make them look chronically alarmed.  Furthermore they’re known for killing themselves by bashing their heads in when stressed making them extremely susceptible to camera flashes or chatty tourists.  The Tarsier Foundation,however, provides a safe, open habitat that mitigates tourist interaction but still allows for viewing of the tarsiers without putting them at risk for suicide.  But with only eight of them in their sanctuary and at most 4-5 visible on a given day, a visit is nothing more than a fleeting, 5 minute trek and a handful of photographs.  Was it worth the terrifying jeepney ride, the blistered hands, the bugs in my face, and the nearly 45 minutes of waiting in the scorching sun for the jeepney back home?  The answer is no.

26 - The Answer Is No

The moral of this whole tale is if you’re planning to travel on a budget, you better be prepared to find yourself in some shitty situations.  Am I overreacting a bit?  Do I need to relax and calm down?  Should I just chill out and bask in the fact that I saw two things that a lot of people will never see in their lifetimes?

The answer is no.

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