I mentioned it somewhere that we’d gone to Bohol just before summer ended (here in PH). It was my first travel for this year and we booked it three months ahead so I anticipated it a lot. And even though there were few unfortunate events, I didn’t regret it even for a bit. It was a yolo-venture after all.
There weren’t any direct flights from Davao to Bohol yet so we initially landed at Cebu. We had to spend the night at Pacific Pensionne (booking/reservation is highly advised) and as soon as the sun rose, we set off to Bohol via Weesam Express . You may book the ferry tickets online or if you’re lucky and there aren’t that many passengers of the same trip and carrier as you and your squad, you may just buy them on the spot.
Being it the first time for most of us, we needed a guide. And by thorough stalking, I mean researching, we found this car rental ahjussi who was very accommodating and helpful to us. Having a driver slash tour-guide and a car for the price of P2,500 only for the whole day was more than practical and convenient. We didn’t have to argue where to go first or what to do next. He led our countryside tour finely and promptly. (You can reach him through this mobile number – 09267103220/Subject to change without prior notice)
And so the fifteen-stop Bohol escapade began!
DAY ONE – COUNTRYSIDE TOUR
1. Blood Compact Shrine
The legendary blood compact or Sandugo is considered as the first treaty of friendship between the Spaniards and the Filipino, which was performed of course in none other than Bohol on March 16, 1565. Pretty historic, ain’t it? We planned to imitate their poses but gave up in the end – the shrine was flooded with tourists and it was kind of awkward for the reenactment. Although I myself was dying to do it. Melts.
2. Baclayon Church and Museum (P50 Entrance Fee)
It has always been one of the most visited spots in the province, even after sustaining major damage from an earthquake three years ago, especially for Catholic devotees. The church is currently under re-construction so we didn’t get a picture of the whole structure. We only got one with the (if I’m not mistaken) the retablo mayor or the central altar. Per history, The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary Parish Church, commonly known as Baclayon Church, is the oldest Christian settlement in Bohol. It was even declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines and a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. (Source Link) Just be advised that you need to strictly follow their policies like the No Taking Of Pictures Inside or you’ll know that the someone’s more clever than you if they catch you and tell you to delete the photos (you’ve taken) from your Gallery, and no escaping for your Backup Photos either.
Just so we’re clear. You can take pictures inside the church, but not inside the museum.
3. Loboc River (P500 buffet lunch)
River cruising while eating your lunch is nothing but romantic, except it’s broad daylight and you’re not alone with your date. Yep. But the background music, mouth-watering dishes plus the lively rapport from every side of the raft or the gakit will surely make you grin while munching your meal to bits, unless you don’t feel too good floating and moving above the placid Loboc river. The singers aboard will sing you hymns of Boholano, Cebuano, Tagalog and even of English origin and will even let you dance with them few ballroom stance as they play the beat for you! And by the riverside awaits another raft loading performers of varying ages – the women will play the ukelele while the kids do the groove. Apparently, the song and dance number will be so inviting that you won’t be able to stop yourself from joining them.
4. Loboc Eco Adventure Park
My squad would never get enough of the yolo-ventures. The two-way zipline (P350), though only slightly challenging compared to the ziplines we had done before, was never missed by my friends’ hawk eyes. I only wanted to do the cable-car ride, but as usual, even I couldn’t get away from their convincing remarks. Since the cable cars were less thrilling than the zipline, of course you’d know which we picked. But I guess the view was stunning either way!
Forth you can go with a partner, but on your way back you have to do it alone.
5. Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary, Corella (P60 Entrance Fee)
So I was calculating as to how long we could hold our unusual silence. As expected, we couldn’t. There were lots of bloopers while exploring the Tarsiers‘ silent sanctuary (like stumbling over a stone, hitting your head with a twig because you’re walking backwards and couldn’t see what’s supposedly ahead or snapping photos of a wrong Tarsier, not a Tarsier but a bunch of dried leaves and twigs). Although things happened that way, I had fun giggling over the tiny primates while they glared at me with those big brown eyes. You shouldn’t miss the fun of getting glared at by creatures smaller than you! But it’s actually sad to think that they were supposed to be sleeping at daytime but they to had to be awake because they’ve got visitors to stare at all day.
And they’re totally not cute when startled. I warn you.
6. Butterfly Sanctuary, Bilar (P30 Entrance Fee)
Though not new to me anymore, I was still amused when the butterflies gathered as if talking behind our backs, plotting something to eliminate us. Unfortunately, our species have already claimed victory over them. Some are caged in glasses even after death. *sobs* We call it preserving the dead. *sobs again*
7. Loboc-Bilar Man-made Forest
Tall. Dark. Green. And splendid. Mahogany trees stretching in a beautiful array in the borders of Loboc and Bilar towns is a must-see scenery when you go to Bohol. You must never miss standing under the giant trunks that almost look like knights standing erect and protecting their queen. You can see the good old trunks stretching from the ground forming an elegantly green canopy above – which make them stand out among the passersby. The forest plays host to many visitors, locals and foreigners alike who take time to view it from the road and take pictures – which I think are requisites!
8. Bohol Python and Wildlife Sanctuary
If I am to choose between a python and a monitor lizard, I would of course choose my own life. Yes. I’d rather stay away from reptiles dead or alive. Though caged, I never once felt at ease when I got there. Creeps! I fear that the most. But then of course, I was only exaggerating. I could take a picture with the country’s biggest python in captivity that died almost three years ago, Prony. If you’re up for creeps and creeps and more creeps, the Python and Wildlife Sanctuary is just the perfect place for you.
9. Chocolate Hills (P50 Entrance Fee)
Forget all the others but not these brown hills! This will be one of your strongest proofs to show your Mom that you really went to Bohol and did not party somewhere in the neighboring city. It was quite the hike, obviously. It’d take you 200 steps to get up there! But overlooking the luscious chocolate heights can be as relaxing as staring at the sea. Except, that it is now so crowded due to its popularity even among the locals who visit the attraction almost everyday. And I bet it’d be more jam-packed on weekends. The hills are believed to go green on a rainy day and turn back to brown when the sun is up. But I have yet to witness that. Maybe next time if I could stay a little longer.
10. Tigbao Hanging Bridge (P20 Entrance Fee)
You can cross just any hanging bridges near your place, I know. But you don’t dare miss this one bridge in Bohol that’s been tagged by CNN as one of the ‘thirteen most spectacular bridges’. For thrill-seekers like me, I mean us, we didn’t let this opportunity slide. The bridge is suspended about 82 feet over the Loboc River and was built to facilitate travel between two barangays. In both ends of these bridges are stores of different souvenirs. To be honest I was never fond of hanging bridges. But since I was there, I needed to at least try. And as I had expected, my friends were dying to shake the suspended railways causing me to scream at them to stop while steadying myself, watching them have fun. Sigh. And it made me look like an even bigger scaredy-cat knowing after the trip that the bridges were “actually made of metal, but a bamboo top layer was added to give it an authentic–or, depending on your perspective, scary–look,” according to a CNN article written by Tamara Hinson. Thanks bud!
We couldn’t get everything done in one day. So we had to say goodbye to our ever patient tour guide slash driver. We ended our rent-a-car contract with him since the activities on the following day were beach-based. So we technically didn’t need a terrestrial vehicle, right? We rested at Citadel Alona Inn in Panglao. And then resumed the Bohol adventure right before sunrise!
DAY TWO – ISLAND TOUR
11. Dolphin Watching
We chartered a boat for P1,500 for the whole duration of our beach spree! As luck would have it, we again met another two accommodating and patient tour-guides. I guess Boholano’s are just like that, eh? Anyways, we actually couldn’t settle for one spot for the dolphin watching. Those cuties weren’t that friendly so we had to chase them around. But even from afar, if you see them jumping in mid-air as if catching something, you’d be delighted already! But delighted as we were, we couldn’t get a decent photo of them dolphins. Because these creatures were hyped as we were! Instead, we took pictures of ourselves. XD
12. Balicasag Island and Turtle and Fish Sanctuary (Snorkeling and Fish Feeding)
We’re only a few feet away from the shore, but we could already see a turtle’s head peeking at every boat that had parked in the sanctuary. But what’s amusing was after we caught them taking a peek, they would immediately escape from our camera and eye lenses – animal instinct of course. Since we weren’t allowed to chase after them, we instead drew schools of fish by scattering biscuit crumbs. I guess the law of attraction is strongly observed between these species and the crumbs. They would gather without second thought (or do they even have second thoughts?) around the crumb-scattering human. They’re so gullible! And cute. But they’re not free for viewing and gathering. The dolphin watching and the Balicasag Island and Turtle and Fish Sanctuary cost P650 each participant.
Random trivia: Balicasag Island is where the movie Muro Ami was filmed. And the lead actor, Cesar Montano, is originally from Bohol. So random. Yep.
13. Virgin Island
Virgin Island is one of the many Islands in the Philippines that sinks when it’s high tide and only palm trees (or whatever tall vegetations grow in the island) are visible. As the name suggests, nobody gets to live or visit here. However since it’s becoming more and more known to outsiders each day, it’s now one of the many tourist attractions in Bohol hence the big crowd. Presently, you can see stalls that’d offer you sea cucumber, abalone and even sea urchins. They’d cook or season them for you to eat right there! I was never a fan of exotic seafoods, but the vendor had strongly convinced me that I nibbled with great enthusiasm the squid-tasting abalone. I wasn’t ready for the sea cucumber and sea urchin yet. One sea creature was enough. Also, they have banana cues hot from the deep fry and buko juice.
Because the tide was quite high when we got there, we couldn’t witness the supposedly gorgeous long stretch of the 1-hectare white sand of the island.
And that ends our Island Tour. But wait, there’s two more!
Before we proceeded to our next stop, we rented scooters to get us there – uh-huh, in the name of love and adventure!
You can find many stores there that do scooter-rentals. First things first. To get the scooters, you need a driver’s license and a valid ID. The owners or tenants would ask for them for security purposes, in case you make a run with their for-rent two wheels. Most of the stores would offer you P500-P600/24 hours for one scooter. But since we only needed it for half a day, or 5 hours to be exact, we had to find a store that would let us rent one at a lower price. We needed to find one. We had to. Because aside from the fact that we didn’t want to spend that much for a short period of time, none of us also had his/her driver’s license. Aniyo. We didn’t forget them, we just didn’t have one to begin with. And as favor would have it, there were these generous Boholano’s (again) who saw and witnessed our struggle and offered us their bikes for P300/each for the number of hours that we needed. Plus, they excused us for not having our drivers’ licences! But at least we had our valid IDs. Wuehehe. We do know how to drive buddy, we’re just too lazy to get them licences. So please, don’t give us that look.
Way to go!
14.Alexis Cliff Dive Resort
Again, my mates would never get enough of life’s adventures. Throw them lemons, and they’d give you a cliff jump. I would have also jumped at Alexis Cliff but I wasn’t feeling so well at that time due to my tonsillitis so I gave up my chance.
And FYI. It took us so long before we found this cliff! Who would have known that strolling Bohol without a tour guide would be that hard? But man! You couldn’t even buy the fun that we had while constantly losing our way, driving each of our scooters. That was both exhilarating and memorable. It was my first time to actually drive along highways and for the record, my longest drive alone. I was never allowed to go out our little barangay whenever I was the one on the wheels. So you could imagine the bragging rights I had earned through the trip!
15. Hinagdanan Cave
And lastly, this cave that’s amazing enough to contain both fresh and salt water under – the Hinagdanan Cave! We missed our chance to bathe on the icy underground water since we arrived there 30 minutes after swimming time was over. We even begged the tenants if we could, even for 10 minutes only. Because it might be dark inside, but the water was just so inviting. However they were strict with their rules, which we understood, so we didn’t win the battle. If you want to go there and have a swim, be there before 4pm!
That ends our 15-stop Bohol itinerary, people! But I won’t tell you that on our way back to Citadel Alona Inn from Hinagdanan Cave, two of my mates actually had an accident with their scooter. Sigh. Because one of them was practicing and getting the feels of the bike for the (I would like to emphasize this part) FIRST TIME at 80 kph. She beat us all! I was only at 30 kph when I had my first ride back at home rehearsing. Fortunately they were able to get home in one piece, only they needed to pay P10,000 for damaging the scooter!
But then again, it was all worth it. Good thing we didn’t miss these stops. And I bet you wouldn’t want to as well. What’s your favorite stop by the way? I’d be glad to hear about your choice!
Thanks team for the photos!
“To God be All the Glory, Honor and Praise!”