Finally I was able to visit my Father’s home town again, We grew up in Manila and last time we went there was when I was 6 or 7 years old, It was a short but fun visit .
Here are some of the places I’ve visited:
Loboc, Bohol-Loboc River Cruise
The cruise is about one hour long, the lunch is buffet style. At the start of the cruise, guests are invited to start eating lunch so once the cruise starts you can enjoy the view of lush green trees, greenish and calm water while listening to music – entertainment is provided on board. The singer will sing throughout the cruise, will sing from oldies to Frozen’s “Let it go”. I can’t say I didn’t like the songs she was singing maybe I was expecting a different kind of entertainment something like this. The Buffet food is nice, although don’t expect many choices to choose from (if you are used in eating at Buffet lunches in the city) . It will stop for awhile and you can watch the children’s performance – Some were singing and playing the ukulele and others were dancing the Tinikling. You can take pictures with them or join them in their dancing.Definitely we enjoyed our lunch here ’cause of the experience.
Tip: Get the table along the sidelines to get a better view of the river and the surroundings.
Entrance Fee: Total of PHP 450 (Php 350 – River Cruise and Lunch + Php 100 – Maintenance, Safety and Security Charges)
How to get there: by Van ( you can rent a van to take you there or go on a day Tour around ), by Jeepney , By Bus, By Taxi (costlier) or by Tricycle
Unfortunately , most of the old churches (built about during 1600’s) were destroyed by last year’s earthquake, Loboc Church was one of them.I just wish I could have seen these churches in their grandeur.
After the earthquake
Before the earthquake
(The before the earthquake picture is not mine though)
The Chocolate Hills – Carmen, Bohol
The Chocolate Hils is one of the famous must see in Bohol, The earthquake has destroyed the original viewing deck but still you can go and take pictures as they are rehabilitating the place. As it was raining when we were on our way there, luckily the rain had stop and we were able to go to the viewing deck. Some of the hills are now green in color as summer is almost at the end, rainy days has already started. But during summer or dry season the grass covering them will dry up and will turn to chocolate brown that’s why it was called Chocolate Hills,
There are four legends (alamat) surrounding the formation of the hills:
1) The first tells the story of two feuding giants who hurled rocks, boulders, and sand at each other. The fighting lasted for days, and exhausted the two giants. In their exhaustion, they forgot about their feud and became friends, but when they left they forgot to clean up the mess they had made during their battle, hence the Chocolate Hills.
2) A more romantic legend tells of a giant named Arogo who was extremely powerful and youthful. Arogo fell in love with Aloya, who was a simple mortal. Aloya’s death caused Arogo much pain and misery, and in his sorrow he could not stop crying. When his tears dried, the Chocolate Hills were formed
3) The third legend tells of a town being plagued by a giant carabao, who ate all of their crops. Finally having had enough, the townsfolk took all of their spoiled food and placed it in such a way that the carabao would not miss it. Sure enough, the carabao ate it, but his stomach couldn’t handle the spoiled food, so he defecated, leaving behind him a mound of feces, until he had emptied his stomach of the food. The feces then dried, forming the Chocolate Hills.
4) The last legend is about a gluttonous giant named Miguel that eats everything in his path. One day he came to a plain. He saw a beautiful young woman named Adrianna. To win her affection, he needed to lose weight. So he excreted everything he ate. In the end, his fecal matter covered the land and he won Adrianna’s affection.
Among the four my favorite is about the feuding giants, why? ’cause legend number 3 and 4 is about CRAP – literally about Crap ewww hahaha. I can’t imagine myself admiring the beauty of these gigantic crap, So I like the feuding Giants story instead hahaha.
Entrance Fee : PHP 50
How to get there : By Van ( you can rent a van to take you there or go on a day Tour), By Bus – from Tagbilaran City Bus Terminal to Carmen.
Too bad when we went to the Tarsier conservatory they have already closed up ’cause we are able to go there a bit late already.
The Beach And Islands
I love going to the beach , Yeah yeah I’m not a good swimmer! But what life vests are for eh? .We stayed at Alona Beach, Panglao Island. , After nights of looking of accommodations and reading the reviews of dozens of hotel’s Inns and B&B’s my sister and I decided to rent two rooms at the Alona Vida Beach Resort . We got 2 Deluxe rooms (1 for our parents and 1 for us) and Yey! we were given what we requested -the New Deluxe Rooms in the new wing. These rooms are newly built and quite not in the beachfront location ( ’cause we read at the review that night might tend to get noisy because of the bars and restaurants along the beach). We are quite satisfied with our rooms. Aside from it’s beachfront location their check in and check out is easyThey will help you carry your luggages. Complimentary drink upon arrival,staff are friendly, Free Wifi, Safety Deposit Box and they have their own swimming pool too.
I think the best time to swim is early morning , we have noticed that around 4-5 Pm the shore tends to have many sea weeds – low tide. If you swim in the morning aside from the clear blue water you could even see fishes swimming as well. Along the beach is number of restaurants and bars .At night the beach is so busy, the bars provide their own entertainment , there were even fire dance show. When we ate our lunch in one of the restaurant along the beach (I forgot the name of the place ) costs us 2k PHP plus and we even ordered their budget meal . So more or less each meal will be about 500 PHP each person (estimated based on the prices of the other restaurants we saw along the beach). If you are looking for a cheaper meal, you just have to walk outside the alona beach and there are numerous eating places to choose from. We ate our dinner outside of alona beach and voila we only pay about 1k PHP in total bill 🙂 Outside Alona beach, if you walk along the way you will see they have small grocery store (in which you could buy water and other supplies at cheaper price), laundry service, souvenir shops, BPI bank atm.
For those divers out there, there are numbers of Diving tours to choose from. Before coming here you can check out the reviews in the internet or You can just walk along the beach and inquire. When we book for our island hopping tour to Virgin Island and Balicasag Island, We just walk along the beach and inquire of the rates and found out that it varies , not standard fixed price (unlike in El Nido- all the places offer the same rates), Considering the rates and reviews we’ve read, we decided to take the tour with Sea Explorers. They provide Diving and Island tour services. The attendant was friendly. So we set out our island hopping the following day at 8 am. Live vests were provided and was advise to wear before sailing and the boat we used is in good condition.
Virgin Island is an oasis Around 20-30 minutes from Alona Beach. During low tide the beautiful white sand bar is exposed. It is about one hectare long. During high tide it is submerged in the water. Best time to go there is during the low tide ( we were there before 9am) the boatman, but during low tide if the water become too shallow some motorized boats can’t dock in the island because of the sea plants , it will get stuck in the propeller and may cause motor malfunction. We only stayed for about 30 mins. As the guide said it will be very difficult for the boat to get out if we leave later. The weather was good , all you can see is vast blue sky and the pristine blue green water. Surrounded by what it seems the endless blue sea. The water was so clear you could even see marine life like starfish near the shore. I got mixed feelings when I saw the Coconut/banana cue vendor, one part of me said” Wow only in the Philippines “- someone selling coconuts in the middle of nowhere,and another part felt it spoiled the serenity of the place. There were also people selling sea urchins and pearls, but I couldn’t blame these vendors as they want to make a decent living. But still, I would definitely love to go back here.
Upon reaching Balicasag island about 10 am, we rented two small boats for us to able to go to the snorkeling site. The boats are small and not sure if we paid higher than the rest as it seems that these are the fisherman’s extra livelihood. The size of the boat is quite small and can fit only about 5 pax including the boatman, not motorized but they will paddle to go to the site. Upon reaching there it was quite crowded and numerous boats and people are there. But still you will be able to enjoy the experience like my brother and sister did hahaha. The challenge for me is how to get back on the boat – from the sea to the boat, no floors to support you , only you the sea and Manong Bangkero’s thigh, how did I get back on the small boat basically i stepped on his thigh for support and push my butt back with all my might and viola ! hahaha .It was quite different from my Honda Bay Palawan experience, It felt that they need to develop the same system on how people can enjoy the snorkeling and not be crowded and shoo away the fishes 🙂 . You could either bring your own food for lunch or you can buy from there . We did both. We brought our own lunch and buy grilled Talakitok, it was about 1 kg plus, we paid PHP 750 including the fish and the cooking. It was so fresh and tasty, I haven’t eaten a fish that taste so fresh as this for quite sometime.
No soft sand, only rough coral to walk on… So don’t forget your slippers..or else ouch ouch ouch!!!
But the pristine water made up for it…
How to get there : Rent a boat for Island hoping tour from Alona Beach
Fee : Island Hopping Tour – $550 each ( individual about 1300 since we travel in a group of 7 pax we pay 550 each)
Virgin Island – No entrance Fee (inclusive of the tour)
Balicasag Island – No entrance Fee ( Inclusive of the tour) but if you want to go to the snorkeling site boat rental – Php 150 + Php 50 environmental fee for each pax (total 200), if you don’t have your snorkeling equipment and shoes you can rent it there for Php 100.
Tip : before booking your island hopping you can check several shops that offer island hoping tour to get the best deal, read reviews if you are in doubt .
Definitely Bohol is one of the must see places in the Philippines. Hopefully I can go there again and explore the island more!
Balik Balik Ta sa Bohol!
Bohol – is a first income class island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas region, consisting of the island itself and 75 minor surrounding islands.Its capital is Tagbilaran City. With a land area of 4,117.26 square kilometres (1,589.68 sq mi) and a coastline 261 kilometres (162 mi) long, Bohol is the tenth largest island of the Philippines. To the west of Bohol is Cebu, to the northeast is the island of Leyte and to the south, across the Bohol Sea is Mindanao.The province is a popular tourist destination with its beaches and resorts.The Chocolate Hills, numerous mounds of limestoneformations, is the most popular attraction. The formations can be seen by land (climbing the highest point) or by air via ultralight airplane tours. Panglao Island, located just southwest of Tagbilaran City, is famous for its diving locations and routinely listed as one of the top ten diving locations in the world. Numerous tourist resorts dot the southern beaches and cater to divers from around the world. The Philippine Tarsier, the second-smallest primate in the world, is indigenous to the island. [source-wikipedia]