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Old 09-03-2014, 03:34   #1
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Travelling from Bohol to Siquijor by banca.

We found ourselves staying at Alona Beach (Panglao Island, Bohol, Philippines) with an accomodation booking on Siquijor Island but with the ferry not running due to "technical difficulties".

We could go by hire car to Tagbilaran, take the ferry to Cebu City, then bus down Cebu Island, then vehicular ferry to Negros with the bus continuing to Dumaguette and then take the ferry to Siquijor (a tiring two day journey) or we could hire a local banca to do the 20nm trip.

No wanting to spend two days travelling only to arrive exhausted two days late to an irritated resort staff I decided to risk the banca.

No sooner said than done. Our trusty driver knew the owner of a large diesel powered banca and for a modest P5,000 they would whip us over to Siquijor next day. So down to see the banca, which turned out to be a modest perol engined craft (with a new engine) of about 11m, looking, from what we could see from the shore, rather the worse for wear.

However after at least 5 minutes of careful consideration and with half a dozen locals looking on my SO negotiated the price down to P4,500 (about $100US) and it was agreed that we could go from Alona Beach to Larena, Siquijor leaving before 7:00am the next morning.
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Old 09-03-2014, 21:03   #2
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Re: Travelling from Bohol to Siquijor by banca.

So it was that after rising at 5:30am we got a phone call that the boat was at Alona Beach and that the captain and crew were on the way up to collect our luggage.

The arrived, picked it up and we headed down to the beach where our boat waited.

Luggage was loaded (I deigned not to notice the sheen of water in the bilge) and it was at this point that it was explained that, due to a less than understanding Coastguard detachment at Larena we would be going to Solangon, not Larena. Well it was becoming difficult to hop off so I mumbled something uninteligible, the anchor was weighed and the first attempt to start the engine made just a few coughs then nothing.

The second attempt met with the same fate but the third try had a few additional coughs and the 16hp "Honda" four stroke settled down to an irregular pattern.

The bowman poled us to point in the right direction and we were off to Siquijor.
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Old 11-03-2014, 04:03   #3
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Re: Travelling from Bohol to Siquijor by banca.

I'd checked the weather the night before with PAGASA and the Aussie Asian MSL map and it had looked good. No lows close the the Philippines with the NE trades blowing strongly on the Eastern Coasts but only 7.5 knots expected on the Bohol Sea.
As we moved off I noticed a nice looking cat and a large ketch that were taking advantage of the shelter available off Alona Beach during so parts of the NE trades.

Moving away from Alona Beach my not totally trusty eTrex was showing 7.5 to 8.2 knots. Waves looked to be 0.6 to 0.8m however the wavelength was short, maybe 12m. The banca, with it's wide beam, handled it well.

Balicasag Island showed up on our starboard side surrounded by fishing boats. At about this time the swell moderated, and we piched up additional half knot on the GPS.

A little further on I checked the cell phone (Globe) and was still getting a signal, though I did not test it.

About 1.5 hours into the trip the engine stopped.
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Old 11-03-2014, 19:50   #4
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Re: Travelling from Bohol to Siquijor by banca.

No worries, was the response from the crew. Out of fuel (not surprising with the tank on the engine only holding a few litres) so a quick refuel was in order.

Thankfully no one was smoking.

The engine started first pull and with a following breeze, calmer sea and maybe a little positive current we were showing up to 9.2 knots on the GPS.

Bohol had faded into the haze, but Siquijor was now clearly in sight.

We were now headed for just inside the north west corner of Siquijor and the fringing reef came into view (it was low tide). A quick consultation and a landing spot was selected, the bowman gave a few shoves with his pole then hopped off and place the rusty fisherman type rebar anchor on the bottom in front of the boat.

We had arrived. It was 8:25am and we had traveled about 18nm.
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Old 11-03-2014, 20:07   #5
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Re: Travelling from Bohol to Siquijor by banca.

Our bags were carried to the shore and place up on the beach and a curious local was quizzed about where we were.

"Cliff Side Resort" was the answer. There was no cell signal but there was a road that lead up to the main highway.

I was in favour of a little R & R but was outvoted. Our bags were picked up and we spent the next 10 minutes walking uphill to the main road that ran round the island.

A curious multicab stopped, our bags were loaded, the curious local got P40 for his help and I paid the agreed P4500 for the trip plus a P500 tip. Our crew vanished back to their boat.

A 20 min ride followed and we arrived at our resort at 9:30am.
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