IJsselstein, Wednesday, 1 February 2006 (updated: Friday, 3 February 2006)
A few taxi companies operate on Bohol. If not at the pier or at one of the malls, you will have to call the company to get one. Taxis are supposed to switch on the meter, and will bring you to any destination within the city of Tagbilaran. Outside the city limits, the driver may multiply the amount on the meter with 1.5 or 2, which is fair, as he has to drive back to the city to pick up his next passenger. Most taxi drivers in Bohol are friendly, and can tell you a lot about the place. We normally use Varescon Taxi, phone 038 411 2548. For more addresses see our business directory. When leaving from your hotel in Panglao, count on about 40 minutes before a taxi can arrive to pick you up.
A typical Filipino mode of transport is the tricycle, a small motorbike surrounded by a metal construction that can hold up to 4 passengers, and a suprizing lot of luggage. Foreigners can also use them, but I advise two passengers maximum in that case. Since some tricycles are much under-powered, the driver may ask you to step out on particularly steep hills. You normally use these for short trips within the city, but some may be willing to bring you to neighbouring towns.
For the somewhat longer distances, you can use either Jeepneys or Minicabs. The jeepney is the icon of Philippine transport, and is often wonderfully decorated. Inside, you will sit with your back to the "windows". Jeepneys drive a fixed route, and normally depart only when all seats are filled up. That includes the wooden benches that will be placed in the middle. Most long westerners will find they will barely fit. Luckily the ceiling is often cushioned.
When a jeepney passes, you can stick up your hand to stop it and enter. When you want to get out, shout "Para," and it will stop. You pay directly to the driver, and if he is too far, can hand some money to the person sitting next to you, who will hand it to his neighbour, and so on, until it reaches the driver. Your change will come back to you the same way.
Jeepneys will go upto about 20 kilometers from the city.
|Manfel Bus Lines|
When you want to go to towns a little bit further away, your best bet is to take a bus. Most of these depart from the Integrated Bus Terminal in Dao. Use a tricycle to get there.
When you arrive at the bus terminal, you will be greeted by people (dispatchers) who will ask you where you want to go. They will then guide you to a bus supposed to go your destination. These people are paid to bring passangers to the bus. Always double check with other people, as these dispatchers may not bring you to the fastest or most comfortable bus available.
On the bus, you will pay to the conductor, who will ask you your destination during the trip. If you only have large notes, he may not immediately have change, but you'll get it after some time.
Unlike other Philippine provinces, Bohol has a large number of small independent bus companies. Most companies consist just of one or two busses on a single route. To the major towns, regular schedules are followed. For smaller towns in the inland, there are often only a few rides per day.
More comfortable than busses are V-Hires (Short for van for hire). These are air-conditioned mini-vans, that can accommodate 12 people, and operate on routes between the bigger towns. They have designated stopping places, where you can board or leave them. They cost about double the price of a bus ticket, but are twice as fast.
Habal-habal is driving on the back-seat of a motorbike. This is often the only way to reach towns in the inland when you have missed the bus, or don't want to wait. Most westerners will consider this a fairly risky mode of transport, as some drivers like to drive fast over bumpy rough roads.
You'll need a valid driver's license, and this will sometimes be checked by traffic police. Outside Tagbilaran city, the roads are not too crowded, and driving yourself can be fun. Note that some roads in the inland can be quite rough, and are difficult to ride, especially during rain.
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