Bohol is a popular tourist destination known for its natural and man-made attractions. Being the home of Chocolate Hills and the world’s second-most smallest primate, it definitely is one of the most visited provinces in the country.
Bohol was not actually included in the original itinerary. Our first draft of itinerary was a solid Cebu tour–Moalboal’s sardine run and all. We decided to include Bohol after we have found out that we can actually pull of a day tour. We thought, “Nandoon na rin naman. And it only takes a 2-hour ferry ride to get to the other island. Why not go, di ba? Sayang naman ang punta.” So, after discussing the adjustment in the expenses and after everyone has agreed, we were all set to visit Bohol on the first day of our four-day trip. We did the country-side tour of Bohol in just one day and exhausted as we all are, we did not regret our kinda spontaneous decision to go. Personally, I would have wanted to explore the other side of Bohol (specifically Panglao Island) and go see the white sand beaches of Moalboal. But I figured I can always go back someday and visit the beaches that we skipped. Moalboal, Bantayan Island, and Panglao Island, wait for moi.
The first day of our trip began with a series of unfortunate events. Our schedule for the ferry trip was 6:00 AM and we were running late that morning. We were supposed to be at the ferry terminal 30 minutes before the trip and we arrived at exactly 6:00 AM, only to find out that the 6:00 AM trip was cancelled and we had to buy another set of tickets for the 7:00 AM trip. Turns out, the ship that was supposed to bring us to Bohol broke down and had to go under maintenance. The problem was, our tour guide for the Bohol day trip was supposed to meet us at 8:00 AM. We were set to begin the tour at exactly 8:00 AM in order to finish just in time for our trip back to Cebu which was scheduled at 5:00 PM. We kinda freaked out at first, but we had no other choice but to accept the circumstances.
After a very bumpy two-hour ride to Bohol, we met with our guide (who, by the way, was not the one we originally booked–long story short, the tour guide we contacted months prior to the trip forgot about our booking that day and gave us to another travel agency), he explained that we had to hurry and skip minor parts of the tour (e.g. Blood Compact Shrine) so we can maximize the day trip. And so, off we flew (our guide was driving way too fast) to our first destination.
I’m not absolutely sure, but I guess it took us less than 15 minutes to get to Baclayon Church. Our guide suggested that we only spend 10 minutes roaming around the museum so we can stick to the scheduled itinerary. We took a few photos and by the time we were back in the van, we realized how famished we all were. However, our guide insisted that we carry on with the tour and just try to endure our hunger until Lunch.
(And btw, I just remembered. As if we did not encounter enough setbacks that morning, we also had to make arrangements with the budget since one of our friends wasn’t able to make it. But anyway, I do not want to dwell so much on the mishaps. Imma continue.)
We dropped by the Python and Wildlife Sanctuary but I wasn’t that paying attention because: 1.) I was super hungry; 2.) I am not a huge fan of zoos; and 3.) I DON’T LIKE REPTILES. Anyway, after that, we drove to Loboc River where we would have our lunch BUFFET (emphasis on the buffet) on a floating restaurant.
Now, this is the part of the trip when our moods started to enlighten, our faces started to brighten up, and our spirits started to be uplifted. Not only were we full by the end of the boat ride, we were also entertained big time. It was the first time that day that I felt relaxed and I was reminded that I am on a vacation. I was sitting and eating with my friends, sharing conversations over food while the locals serenade us. Not to mention we were floating across the beautiful waters of Loboc River.
The ride had a stopover where we were welcomed by a group of lovely and talented women singing, playing the ukelele, and dancing traditional folk dances.
After having lunch, we resumed our tour and headed to the next stop on our itinerary.
Bilar Man-made Forest
Now, this is a favorite stop for tourists going who are driving around Bohol. It is a two-kilometer stretch of tall trees. I was so fascinated by the place knowing that this was produced out of man labor.
To be honest, I was looking forward to seeing tarsiers for the first time. I have been reading about them since I was in first grade. However, seeing the current status of these animals are disappointing. The place was underwhelming–and do not get me wrong, it has nothing to do with the tarsiers, the few ones that I saw actually left me in awe–but thinking how many hundreds of them used to occupy this sanctuary and how most of them suffered due to the abusive behavior of tourists, I cannot help but feel sad and angry. I don’t get why human beings had to be so destructive when they can simply appreciate, nurture, and protect the beauty the Earth. Anyway, I hope they rehabilitate the area and preserve the lives of the remaining species. They deserve to rest and be protected. I was grateful to have seen at least a few in my lifetime.
I can’t say that I have been inclined to travel and tourism since I was a child, but I was always fascinated by the photos in my elementary textbooks (especially that of Sibika) featuring the wonders of the Philippines. Mayon Volcano, Hundred Islands, Chocolate Hills–these are places that I just used to see in my textbooks when I was in grade school. Growing up, I did not expect that I will develop a fondness for travel. And being there–seeing it in person–was extraordinary, almost unbelievable.
I dreamt of visiting these places as a kid, I thought it was possible to be there, but I did not expect it to be this soon. I am so thankful to be privileged enough to afford a plane fare (seat-sale haha!!!) and visit these wonderful places. Now, I do not claim to have traveled far and wide. As a matter of fact, I was only able to explore 1/3 of Luzon (those that can only be reached by land travel) during the past two years, but I am proud to say that I have learned a lot when it comes to valuing wonders. If only I could do more, I would do anything I can to help preserve these natural attractions.
Here are some of our photos:
So much love for these people!!! <3
We also dropped by the popular hanging bridge before our guide drove us to the terminal.
We were all exhausted by the end of the day. We slept through the 2-hour ferry ride back to Cebu. Upon arriving at our Airbnb, we cleaned up, ate dinner, and shared a few stories over beer before finally dozing off. I wished we could stay that way for a while–together, on a vacation, away from everything else that frightens or worries us.