Monkey Hill, revisited… and a funny story about looking for bats and flying foxes and not going fishing.

A while back, I wrote about the fascinating area known as “Monkey Hill” in Hong Kong. It’s been interesting to note that some people I’ve met from Hong Kong have not been aware of this area.


I made a photo book of our trip there. You can find it here.

For those who appreciate my work and wanted to own a copy of the book for themselves, I would throw in a nice little bonus. If you purchase the book and e-mail me a photo of you holding the book (that I can post here 🙂 ), I will license up to 3 photos for you to use on your website and will send you large sized copies of the pictures in jpg format.

In October, I took a trip (maybe my last for a long time) to the Philippines. I ended up in Subic Bay, where my intention was to go fishing (I should have done more homework, I guess) and also go to the Bat Forest…  an area where one could view bats and/or flying foxes with wingspans of up to six feet wide. There wasn’t a lot written about it, but enough to make it seem like something different to do. I got there, and figured I’d go to a local travel agency to purchase a package… what I figured would be a half day thing.. There was a travel agency at the end of the street where my hotel was located, so I walked over to it and spoke to the lone travel agent working there.

This is, essentially, our conversation:

  • Me: Good morning!
  • Agent: Good morning, sir… (think in the pleasant melodic tone that you hear so often in the Philippines)
  • Me: I’d like to book a tour, maybe two. I’m interesting in seeing the Bats…
  • Agent: I’m sorry sir, there is not really much to see.
  • Me: I’d like to go see them, how is it there?
  • Agent: There aren’t any bats anymore. I think you will be disappointed.
  • Me: Really no bats?
  • Agent: No sir, not really.
  • Me: Ah, ok… I’d also like to book a fishing trip. What kind of fishing trips are available?
  • Agent: I’m sorry, sir, we have no fishing available.
  • Me: Then are there fishing boats in the area I could book directly?
  • Agent: I don’t think so, sir, I’m sorry…
  • Me: Oh, ok… hmmm.. what kind of tours do you offer, then? What’s interesting here?
  • Agent: I’m sorry sir, there’s really nothing here…. you can go to the beach?
  • Me: ah……

So… that was a bit strange. I’m not sure if she was on the level, or just saying that they didn’t sell anything? I wonder what their  agency did? Perhaps only book flights for locals to places elsewhere? Quite a puzzle. If I had booked more time, I would  have perhaps wandered more. As it was I found that getting around was just a bit less than convenient. Taxis seemed a bit on the expensive side, the distance to downtown, and the mall was a bit far, and the combination of the two ate up a good portion of the two days I was there. I did take the jeepneys, which are the preferred transport there, even using it to lug me & my luggage to the Victory Liner for a bus trip to Manila (a mini-adventure in itself)… Still, it was relaxing on the whole and a pleasant low key break before heading to busy Manila.