Bohol is a paradise Island in Visayas Region, a Philippine destination famous for Chocolate Hills, Tarsiers, pristine beaches and more.
When Cebu Pacific published a seat sale to Tagbilaran in 2006, it was a chance we don’t want to missed. I scoured the net to research for places to see beyond the rustic charm of Bohol and came up with our customized itinerary.
24-Aug Arrival to Tagbilaran
0430 Domestic Airport. Check In.
0620 ETD Mla to Tagbilaran | Terminal Fee: 200
0740 ETA Tagbilaran
0800 Tagbilaran Adventure
*** hire car/multicab for the tagbilaran trip
*** Explore Sandugo/Blood Compact, Baclayon Church, Largest snake in captivity
*** Chocolate Hills, Man-made forest
*** Lunch at Loboc River Cruise, Hanging Bridge
*** Dauis Church, Hinagdanan Cave
1700 Check in at Bohol Diver Resort
*** Arrange for Whale & Dolphin Watching/Island hopping for next day
25-Aug Whale Watching/Island Hopping/Snorkeling
0500 Balicasag/Pamilacan Island / Puntod Island
26-Aug Hotel Check out
0600 Swimming in Alona Beach
1100 Check-out from hotel
*** Hire tricycle to Tagbilaran
*** Drop by Bohol Bee Farm
1200 Check-in Tagbilaran
1400 Wander around Tagbilaran and Pasalubong Shopping
27-Aug Fly back to Manila
0600 ETD Tagbilaran to Manila
0810 ETA Manila
Day 1 – Welcome to Tagbilaran City
Our first flight with Cebu Pacific turned out fun and on time. We were served with light snacks and were entertained with games. We arrived in Bohol at half past 6 in a sunny morning. Just outside Tagbilaran Airport were a line up of private and public transport offering a ride to the city.
We canvassed among the vehicle owners about their packages for city tour. We have a long list of places to see the whole day before settling in at Panglao beach at noon. They were friendly and earnest in entertaining our queries. We came in agreement with Mang Allan and we have the whole multicab all by ourselves. A private cab is almost of the same rate but we find it more exciting to tour the countryside with the little red shuttle.
Our first stop was Sandugo (Blood Compact) Shrine, a monument built to commemorate the first treaty made by Spanish explorer, Miguel Lopez De Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna to seal their friendship through tribal tradition.
We didn’t stay long, and headed forward to Baclayon Church, one of the oldest church in the Philippines. Next to it is a small museum which houses old artifacts and religious collections.
Just a few minutes away, between rough road and off to the woods, we were welcomed with the biggest surprise of the day, Bohol’s largest snake in captivity at a mini-zoo in Alburquerque. The living python, Prony, weighs 300 kg and measures 23 feet. We were too late to witness its feeding time, where I heard a piglet was served lunch a la carte.
We don’t want to meddle with Prony’s siesta though, so we just visited it’s friends, owls, eagles and more. The animal sanctuary houses other rescued and rehabilitated animals and different bird species.
Our hot day was just beginning, so we took off to see the hanging bridge and the famous tarsier. On the way, we reserved our lunch at Loboc River Cruise. We also made a stop at a small store where the owner showed us his captive endangered tarsiers. This smallest primate is endemic to the Philippines. In there, we were able to get up close and really close to these species. I know these tiny friends being nocturnal bordering to suicidal are really sensitive to camera flashes and human interaction. So when the owner put it on our shoulders for photo ops, we felt guilty.
Not far behind, we get to cross a hanging bridge made of woven bamboos, we didn’t get to the other side though, just halfway to indulge in the scenic view of loboc river.
We get on board the shuttle again and continued our journey to a long and winding road. We passed through the beautiful Loboc – Bilar man-made forest. It’s a 2 km. stretch of asphalt road set in between towering mahogany trees. The temperature suddenly drops inside this rain forest.
Over the hilly town of Carmen in Bgy. Buenos Aires is where we found one of world’s famous tourist attraction and truly nature’s wonder, Chocolate Hills of Bohol. Named as such, because the 1,776 rolling hills covered with green grass turn brown during summer.
The view deck can be reached by foot through the long stairs up. The Chocolate Hills complex provide a panoramic view of 50 square km. expanse of the breathtaking chocolate kisses, errr… hills. There’s one for every sweet tooth.
With the temperature rising and a stomach screaming out for food, we didn’t stay long at the view deck. We’re back on the road to indulge in an authentic buffet lunch feast.
We were just in time for the next floating restaurant to go on cruise. Later on, we were busy clamoring for buffet with other tourists on board. For P 250 per person, we get to enjoy fresh coconut juice, grilled sea foods, fried chicken and more. Nothing fancy though, but cruising on the still waters of Loboc river, satisfy one’s craving. Live music performance by native boholanos. Some added attractions are playing kids, swinging from tree branches, jumping and swimming through the sides of the restaurant’s raft.
Nearing the cruise end were a display of Busay’s cascading waterfalls. Some tourists can’t help but plunged into the deep green waters.
Going back on land, we marvel with the caged tarsiers for a moment before hitting the road again. We passed through a century-old balete tree, which at night, will probably give a creepy feel to any passer-by.
Nearby we saw a blood compact monument. This is where the actual Sandugo was performed between Legazpi & Sikatuna.
Further ahead, we crossed the long floating bridge that connects Bohol to Panglao Island. The bridge look as if it spreads out into the deep blue sea and unto some secret hideaway.
We dropped by Dauis Church and admire its Spanish architecture. The intricate painting on the ceiling is just one of the amazing features of this old church. The other one is the miraculous well at the foot of the altar which is said to possess healing power. We noticed a short line of people waiting for their turn to hold at least a bottle of water from the mysterious well.We offered a short prayer of thanks before leaving the place.
The shortest and easiest spelunking I’ve the chance to explore was at Hinagdanan Cave. A convenient stair was built going down the karst cave that lead to a mystical lagoon. Various formation of stalactites and stalagmites glisten to a glaring sunlight from the cave’s opening. Some dare to dip into the cold waters.
Our next stop was the octagonal structure, Panglao Watch Tower, one of the tallest of its kind in the country. The ground was transformed into a small park where the dilapidated tower embraces an ocean view. Our driver was supposed to arranged for us a boat for the next day but we weren’t decided yet, so we only took the boatman’s number.
Prior to leaving Manila, we have arranged our accommodation at Bohol Diver’s Resort. Our superior room was splendid with a beach front view. We were trapped for awhile when heavy rain started falling.
Just in time for sunset, we stroll along Alona Beach. some boatmen bid us their rate on whale watching / dolphin watching and island hopping for the next day. We decided for the best deal of course.
To summarize, we were both captivated with Bohol’s charm and an excellent display of visual thrills. It’s something we Filipinos can truly be proud of. The warmth of boholanos let us feel at home. Nice tropical weather plays perfectly for the beach lovers.
Follow me at our 2nd day adventure in Bohol: Dolphin Watching and Balicasag Island Tour!