Another beauty of Mother Earth has been showcased in the province of Bohol. The island is blessed with natural beauty; from the chocolate hills and lush green forests to the crystal clear river and white powdery shores of Panglao Island. Let’s not forget that it is also the home of the world’s smallest primate, the tarsier. It does not only boast its natural beauty, but also its historical value. Bohol houses century-old churches, ancestral homes, etc. The first blood compact between a Filipino and a foreigner took place in Bohol too. If you will recall from our history class, Rajah Sikatuna made a blood compact with Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the first Spanish governor-general of the Philippines to symbolize their alliance.
Bohol in a glimpse of 2 days and 1 night. (11.26.16-11.27.16)
Bohol is an island located in Central Visayas. Should you wish to visit this beautiful paradise, you may have Manila or Cebu as your entry point. Bohol is 2 hours away from Cebu City via fast craft and an hour away from Manila via domestic flight to Tagbilaran. Scheduled trips are available daily from Manila and Cebu. Be sure to book in advance your ticket because most of the time the trips are full. From Cebu City’s pier 2, we took a 2 hour ride via Oceanjet fast craft. We availed the earliest at 6:00am and costs 920PHP roundtrip economy per person. Add 25PHP terminal fee per person. We reached Tagbilaran at 8:00am, and we were picked-up by our tour guide.
11.26.16 Countryside Tour
Our tour began after our driver, Lito, picked us up from the port. I have availed a Countryside Tour from Incredible Bohol by Sir Tatsky Cubero because, first, I don’t want the hassle of commuting. We will be visiting different sites, and if we choose the road less traveled, we have to take different rides too. Second, I am not familiar with the schedule of public transpo, and if we ended our tour at night, rides may not be available too. I highly recommend Sir Tatsky if you wish to get a tour. The tour includes pick-up from port, countryside tour (except entrance fee for each), and drop off at resort in Panglao for only Php 2100. I think the rate is good for 4 persons already since you really pay the car rental and service.
- Blood Compact Site
Again, if you listen to your history teacher you will know that the blood compact between Rajah Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi took place in Bohol. In honor of that event, a monument has been created by a fellow Boholano, and can be visited for free.
Entrance Fee: Free
- Baclayon Church
This is one of Bohol’s century-old church. It was badly devastated when an earthquake hit the province in 2013. Right now, it’s under construction. A museum is open for tour at the side of the church for a minimal fee.
Entrance Fee: Free
- Butterfly Haven
It’s just a bonsai garden filled with butterflies. A souvenir shop is also conveniently located there.
Entrance Fee: 45PHP per person
- Loboc River Cruise and Floating Restaurant
A view of lush green forests and crystal clear water while you’re on board and eating your Filipino lunch buffet. To make it more lovely, some good old songs are played by a live band. The trip lasts for about an hour. Our guide told us that we should have the river cruise first to avoid waiting for so long and it will consume so much time for our trip.
Entrance Fee: 450PHP per person
- Chocolate Hills
This is the most famous landmark of Bohol. It takes about some 200 steps to reach the viewing deck, and you get a spectacular 360 degree view. It’s worth all the steps because the view is breathtaking. I’m not so sure how many hills are really in there, but it’s quite plenty.
Entrance Fee: 50PHP per person
- Tarsier Conservation Center
Yes, they are out in the forest in this protected conservation center. When we visited, most of them are asleep, and you just see their back. They are so tiny, that the center’s staff has to point where the tarsier is exactly at. A friendly reminder to our fellow guests, please turn off the flash of your cameras for this may stress the tarsier and please do not touch them. Tarsiers can be suicidal if they are stressed out.
Entrance Fee: 60PHP per person
- Bamboo Hanging Bridge
It’s the oldest of its kind in the province. A twin bamboo hanging bridge to cross the river. After crossing the bridge, you may opt to buy souvenirs and refreshments. In order to go back, you have to take another bamboo bridge.
Entrance Fee: 20PHP per person
- Man-made Mahogany Forest
According to our guide, back in the Marcos era, students from public schools were required to plant trees. The mahogany forest along the highway was the result of this tree planting project. It’s more than a kilometer stretch of mahogany trees making the surrounding beautiful.
Entrance Fee: Free
There is a famous house in Bohol that was patterned from a ship and it instantly became a landmark. It is said to be owned by a sailor. Tours stop by the house for photo op.
Entrance Fee: Free
- Hinagdanan Cave
After our tour in Tagbilaran, we moved to Panglao Island, and visited the Hinagdanan Cave. In the center of it is a mini lake, which is about 10 feet deep or more with fishes in it.
Entrance Fee: 115PHP for 2 pax including parking fee
- Bohol Bee Farm
Aside from offering organic choices, Bohol Bee Farm is a resort as well. However, it is not located along the shores of Alona. You get to tour around the farm, and see how they process their products. We bought home the pesto spread, which I really give a thumbs up. Don’t forget to try their organic ice cream. It’s so good and it comes in different flavors.
Entrance Fee: 30PHP per person
Now our tour has ended, and we were dropped off at our hotel, Scent of Green Papaya Resort, near the Alona beach side. Our hotel is not in the beach front, but they have tricycle rides that can drop and pick you up from the shore and it’s free. I have availed a room for 1 night good for 2 persons and it exceeded my expectations. Our room is so big for us with a good view of the pool plus free breakfast and a strong wifi connection. I have booked our hotel through Booking.com and just pay the remaining balance upon arrival.
After we have left our things at the resort, we strolled along the shores of Alona and looked for a place to eat dinner. We found a Thai restaurant named Isis. Food was great, although I am not a fan of spicy food. Budget-wise, decent enough for a sumptuous meal of two. Of course we cannot skip dessert- it’s a must every after meal. There was a stall of Bohol Bee Farm’s ice cream. We got to taste the rare finds like malunggay, guyabano, etc.
11.27.16 Alona Beach
When the sun is finally out, we had our breakfast by the terrace before we jumped into the pool then head to the beach. It was a good day to get a tan. In fact, I think I was extra tanned that day. We were asked if we would like to avail the island hopping and snorkeling package. I declined bec. most of the online articles I’ve read stated that it was a tourist trap and second, i’m not into snorkeling.
We spent midday in Panglao beach. We were enjoying the sun and the waters, and ignored getting dark. There were many foreigners around, and soaking themselves in the sun to get the perfect tan as well. It was a little bit past lunch when we left the beach and returned to our hotel and prepare to leave.
When we were all set to leave, we hired the resort’s transfer service going to the port, and cost us Php 600. It wasn’t bad at all because some could even be pricier.
For itinerary, directions, food places and budget, feel free to click the Itinerary-_Bohol_2016 link.
Bohol is indeed a beautiful place, and I’m planning to come back after a few years.