Just a two hours plane ride from Manila or an even quicker ferry ride from its more famous neighbor Cebu, Bohol offers a different set of adventure. The island is famous for its Chocolate Hills or photos of the wide-eyed tiny tarsiers. Not only that, but Bohol also have a set of white beaches and man-made forests that they can boast about.
My family and I have been talking about visiting Bohol for more than a decade – even before we first set foot in Singapore last 2007.
Of course, on the day of our trip itself, there was a storm… near Bohol. My aunt and uncle were stuck in Cebu for a few hours as ferries weren’t allowed to cross, and my extended family and I were in NAIA, doing the sun dance and waiting to board the plane. Yes, we did the sun dance while walking towards our gate. No regrets since it wasn’t raining when we touch down at Tagbilaran Airport.
We arrived at Tagbilaran Airport and was all smiles when it was sunny outside. We met with the driver our aunt arranged for us and he has this ‘Vergara’ written on a bond paper. It was the second time I have a driver waiting up when I arrive in the airport and I want to take a picture, but mom approached him first and he left to get the van before I even get close enough. Lol, mom.
Our supposed itinerary for the first day is to swim and do some snorkeling at Panglao along with some island hopping. Unfortunately, this was a bust since alleged Abu Sayyaf movements were seen in Bohol just a few days before and resorts will not be liable if we ever push through with it, and we don’t want to risk it anyway. It’s like everything that can be bad happened on this trip. 🙁
We decided to go to the next item on our itinerary: Hinagdanan Cave. This is the first time most of us have been to a cave. We had to wait a few minutes since a group of people are already inside and only limited number of people can be there at the same time.
There was a body of water inside (River? Lake? What is that called?) and I so wanted to take a dip. The water was cold and it looks a bit daunting since I’m not sure how deep it was, but I was tempted to try. Sadly, not one of us were dressed for it so we watched a young family swim instead. Sorry for the blurry piczzz.
We also dropped by quickly in a Shell museum. It was underwhelming, but if you’re into shells, they have lots of it. It was cool to listen to the “ocean sound” you can hear from the shell, but I wouldn’t recommend going here.
Since we have nowhere else to be, we decided to go to Panglao beach but all of the resorts where either full or not really good. We decided to check-in at our guesthouse instead. We checked in then went on to visit the nearby beach until sunset. It wasn’t the prettiest as it was just a public beach with few people swimming in it, but it’s still a beach.
Day 2 at Bohol was the busiest. It was the day that we have a full day tour of the major tourist attractions at the island.
Our first stop was at Sandugo or Blood Compact where the first treaty of friendship between the Spaniards and Filipinos were forged back in 1565. I’m not really good on our history that goes way back like that, but you can read about it this Wikipedia article which I hope is reliable. Ish.
We made our way to Loboc River next. It was basically about an hour ride on the river with included lunch buffet. They’re singers aboard and they made a stop where we can watch some kids dance Tinikling. My brother even joined in with them. It was raining hard half of the ride over, so taking photos was a bit hard. I think it would be a better ride if the sun was up and the water wasn’t looking so muddy.
Our next stop is the man-made forest which is one of my favorite places from Bohol. There were hundreds of trees. The fact that this forest was man-made made it 100% better. Taking photos is a risk though, as I want to be in the middle of the road and have to run when cars started driving by. Lol. Thankfully, the rain stopped during this time!
Next on the list is the famous Chocolate Hills. I wasn’t informed of the long stairs up it though! Was huffing and puffing when we reached the top. I was glad that it wasn’t raining anymore and the afternoon heat wasn’t that intense. We spent an hour or two just enjoying the cold breeze and taking a lot, a lot, a lot of photos.
Above are my brother and my uncle making fun of me for doing the #FollowMe poses. Lol.
Our last stop for the day is the visit the tiny, little tarsiers. The place closes by 5PM so we were glad we made the cut! I wasn’t expecting them to be so small. I think my fist is even bigger than they are!
It’s important to be quiet and respectful to the animals when visiting. According to our tour guide, the tarsiers stresses easily. You’re not allowed to use a monopod stick to take closer photos. Just zoom in! Please follow the rules. We saw some tourists doing it twice even after being told off by the staff. Smh.
^Here are the life-sized tarsiers! HAHAHA.
Our last day was really chill. There was nothing on the itinerary even if we’ll be staying for half a day. The travel planner in me is cringing, but it’s fine. Most of the boys got up early in the morning to go back in the beach to swim. I stayed behind and slept in. I treated the last day as a staycation.
The boys and girls who went out to swim returned before lunch time. We all packed up to leave and have a lunch at the nearby carinderia before being picked up by the van that’ll drive us to the airport.
On the drive back, I realized that I am not fit to live in the province. I like the noise in the city – even the annoyingly loud motorists. I like being able to reach a mall in fifteen minutes or seeing a fast food joint everywhere. I like seeing bustling lights even if it’s past 9PM.
At the same time, I also realized that I love visiting provinces every now and then. I didn’t have one growing up. I’ve always been a city girl, but the escape is needed. I like walking around by the streets and not worry about getting hit by hurrying drivers. I like the greens so much. I love the beaches.
I liked Bohol. I didn’t get to see even half of its beauty but I’ll fix that if I ever come back.
I would do a complete travel guide for this, but I wasn’t the one in charge of the itinerary. I can say that you can definitely do Bohol around 2.5-3.5K excluding the roundtrip plane tickets. Entrance to most places is only PHP50/USD1. Our van rent for the daytrip PHP4500/USD90 good for 14 persons so only PHP321/USD6.42 each. The Loboc river cruise with buffet lunch is the most expensive with PHP450/USD9. You can rent a four person room per night costing PHP175/USD3.50 each person. Food can be around PHP100/USD2. It’s not an expensive trip. 🙂