Bohol? Bohol is actually not just about the Chocolate Hills and the endangered Tarsier.
Panglao Island is a part of Bohol which is small enough for you to be able to go to amazing places in just 2-3 days.
Public transportation at Panglao is actually not that easy however "habal-habal" or motorcycle rides are being offered by the locals and you can also rent a motorcycle for 500 pesos a day if you have your driver's license with you. There are also some van rentals that are being offered by some travel agencies with or without a driver, I'm just not sure about the prices but I am sure that it is worth it and hassle-free.
We stayed at Bohol for 3 days and 2 nights (January 16-18, 2017). So we took the ferry boat, "Oceanjet" to get to Bohol from Cebu because we took the Manila-Mactan flight instead of Manila-Tagbilaran. We got our plane ticket from the promo of Cebu Pacific last August 2016 which only cost us 2,000 pesos of round-trip air fare each. The ticket of the ferry boat is actually 800 pesos per way however we got a promo of "LibreBalik" so we got our round-trip tickets for only 800 pesos.
Day 1: January 16, 2017
Our flight was at 4:15 a. m of January 16, it's actually 5:15 a. m but we got a notice from CebuPacific that our flight was advanced. We arrived at Mactan International Airport before 6 a. m because the travel time is around 1 hour and 40 minutes. It was quite a scary flight because the weather at Visayas area is not well caused by the low pressure area which is affecting the area and there are also thunderstorms and lightning that made our flight thrilling.
When we arrived at Cebu, we ate at Jollibee located at Mactan International Airport because that's the first fast food that we saw at the Airport. It was raining really reaaaaally hard when we were about to get out of the Airport. The rain even caused flood around the airport. Then we went to Pier 1 via GrabCar and Uber because they only have small cars which could only accommodate 4 persons per car but we are 5 so we opted to get 2 cars. The rain was really intense and there are some portions of Cebu that got flooded and as far as I remembered, the classes even got suspended. The Uber fare from Airport to Pier 1 costed us 400 pesos but we have the promo code of "HeyCebu" that we saw at the Airport and it is 200 pesos off so we only paid 200 pesos, I don't know until when that promo code is valid but give it a try to save a penny for some "pasalubongs" or souvenirs.
After like 1 hour from the airport, we arrived at Pier 1 to catch the ferry boat of Oceanjet bound to Bohol. Again, we got the round-trip tickets for 800 pesos per person, we availed the promo of "LibreBalik" so we only paid for 1 ticket because the other ticket is free, or complementary.
Our schedule for the ferry boat was actually at 9:30 a. m but we are lucky enough to board with the earlier trip of 8:30 a. m because we arrived at the pier earlier than expected. The sailing time is around 2 hours so we arrived at Bohol before 10:30 a.m. We were picked up from the Tagbilaran Port by the driver of the accommodation that we are going to stay in.
We got to our accommodation, "Natura Vista" at Dauis, Bohol at 11 a.m. The place is really nice and cozy because of its countryside theme. It costs us for only 3,618 per person. It is for the whole stay of 3 days and 2 nights with tours of Exotic Island, Bohol Country Side Tour and Dolphin Watching and Island Hopping.
Natura Vista gave us complementary drinks and snacks (Peanut Kisses) when we arrived and while they are setting-up the room, they asked us to stay at their receiving area. The place was really nice however it's kinda far from the city and attractions but there was a beach near Natura Vista (I forgot what beach it is) which is only 3-5 minute walk. It is nice however there are soooo many leaves scattered along the shore. I don't know if it is really like that or it is just because of the heavy rains. You can swim at the beach if you don't mind the messy looking shore.
As shown on the photo above, Natura Vista actually have a Jacuzzi pool however it was not functional during our stay. There are also 2 hammocks provided for each room which are placed at the balcony or outside the room. Each room also has its own dining area beneath the room because most of the rooms are on the second level. There's also a veeeery cute and friendly cat that asks for some food every time we are eating and if we don't give her food, she'll keep on 'meowing' so we are giving her some foods because we can't resist her persuasion and cuteness (maybe that explains why she's soooo fluffy).
At 1 p.m we started our Exotic Island tour.
We first went to Hinagdanan Cave which reminded me of Puerto Princesa's Underground River. The entrance fee is 50 pesos and the guides are so friendly and entertaining. Our guide is George and before the tour begins he asked us what language we prefer if it is Tagalog, Bisaya, or English. We chose the Tagalog because we're from Manila. He told us that the Cave is actually discovered last 2010 by the land owner who found a small hole at the ground so he threw a rock to find out how shallow the hole is so he found out that it is shallow and it has a water on it so he made big holes until the cave became a tourist spot. I believe that swimming on that underground lake is fun and I badly want to give it a try however my companions do not want to. The water is around 7-10 feet according to our guide. Our guide is also a very great photographer who knows the tricks of our phone's camera. He even asked us to do some kind of pose where he could apply the trick. The Hinagdanan Cave is surrounded by Stalactites and Stalagmites which may be centuries old. It is very easy to go in the cave because there are stairs and railings however, the stairs are kinda slippery to you have to take caution. The cave has its natural light which passes through the numerous holes at the roof of the cave.
After Hinagdanan Cave our driver drove us to Alona Beach for some picture taking. The beach is sooooo inviting and I wanted to swim but again, my companions do not want to. Sooo, OK. Fine. There's still a chance tomorrow. The beach is nice however there are some rocks along the shore so it would hurt my feet to walk barefoot but luckily I am wearing flip-flops. There are also a lot of seaweeds along the shore. The seaside of Alona Beach is like Boracay's because it has plenty of bars and restaurants in it. Also, most of the tourists there are foreigners there are some Westerns and a loooot of Korean people. I even saw a Korean Actor from Weightlifting Fairy, Captain Woon Gi but I thought it's just someone who looks like him and it's too late to realize that it's really him so I didn't have the chance to have a picture with him. There are lots of bars and restaurants along the shore of Alona Beach and it is a very great place to have bar hopping or "walwal with the barkada". There are also a lot of travel and tours that are being offered by the locals like scuba diving, island hopping, and Dolphin Watching but I didn't had the chance to ask how much it costs because we already have our package tour arranged by Natura Vista. e cave.
After Alona Beach we went to Nova Shell Museum which is of course, full of shells. The entrance fee is 50 pesos. I actually regret going inside the museum and spending my 50 pesos there because I don't find it interesting or exciting. I find it boring like, shells? Hello? So what? It's like I can also see those shells along the beach and there's nothing special in it. I actually do not recommend that museum but if you find shells interesting and exciting, go enter that museum. They have a souvenir shop where they sell accessories and of course souvenirs they also sell legit fresh water pearls which costs thousands. But there are also a rosary bracelet made out of fresh water pearl for only 350 php.
All of us are actually dismayed so we didn't stayed longer at the museum and we went to Bohol Bee Farm. At Bohol Bee Farm, there's an entrance fee of 30 pesos. Bohol Bee Farm is known for their delicious ice cream and their specialty of Malunggay Ice Cream. The ice cream costs 60 pesos for 1 scoop, and 120 pesos for 2 scoops. The cone is made out of cassava. I got The Peanut Kisses flavor and the Dragon Fruit it is reaaaally delicious and I believe some of those flavors could only be found at Bohol Bee Farm. Bohol Bee Farm also offers a place to stay in and a very cozy restaurant which offers only organic foods. The breakfast is around 200-260 pesos with coffee or iced tea. I got the Waffle something. It comes up with ham, omelet, and of course, waffle. The waffle is color green and I'm not sure why or what kind of waffle it is (maybe Malunggay, maybe pandan), but it just taste like an ordinary delicious waffle. We had picture taking after eating near the sea. It's a nice photoshoot place tho.
During our Day 1, we are not able to go to every place listed on our itinerary due to lack of time but we are able to add it on our Day 2. Our Dauis Church and Miracle Well was moved to Day 2 because it's just along the way. Unfortunately, we are not able to go to Panglao Church and Watch Tower because it's kinda far and it would consume a lot of time if we are going to move it to our Day 2.
We planned to have dinner at Alona Beach however there are conflicts with our driver's schedule so we decided to have dinner at Natura Vista. They always serve their dishes with red rice so if you don't like red rice, you bring your own white rice because there's no white rice offered anywhere in Bohol lol. But don't worry because the red rice just tastes like the white rice. Natura Vista offers organic Filipino dishes like adobo, sotanghon, etc. They also jave a unique dish, Mango Chicken. It's a chicken that is soaked on a Mango juice, it also comes with Mango slices. It tastes good but I just can't handle to put Mango juice on my rice and make it as a dish. It's just that... No. No way.
Day 2: January 17
Our breakfast are served at 7:00 a. m by Natura Vista; they offer the usual Filipino breakfast foods like hotdog, luncheon meat, corned beef, longganisa that comes with an egg and coffee or hot chocolate.
At 8:00 a. m we started to have the Bohol Countryside and Heritage Tour.
We first went to the Man-Made Forest. It is so amazing and a good place to have photos but you have to take caution of the vehicles passing by. Then next we proceed to the Chocolate Hills viewing deck with an entrance fee of 50 pesos per person.
I was soooo mesmerized when I first saw the Chocolate Hills because I can only see it at the back of the 200 peso bill before but now it's right in front of me. It is so refreshing and it's so nice to the feeling to see the Chocolate Hills even though the weather is kinda gloomy. It's also cold on the view deck it's like the cold of Baguio.You can even see the fog on the photo. After the picture taking and viewing of the Chocolate Hills, we are about to try the ATV within the area of the Chocolate Hills but there are a lot of tourists and there's a long queue for the ATV ride and we only have a limited time because we still have a lot of other places to go to so we decided to not take the ATV ride anymore.
After the Chocolate Hills, the proceeded to the Tarsier Sanctuary with an entrance fee of 60 pesos. Okay, so to be honest, I have this mentality before that tarsiers could only be seen at the Chocolate Hills. But hey. I was so, sooooo wrong. Tarsiers are not on the Chocolate Hills. The Tarsiers and the Chocolate Hills are located on two separate places. It is amazing to see the veryyyy tiny animals with huge eyes. They are really reaaaaally very cute, tiny and adorable. I really love animals and when I saw the Tarsiers, I really wanted to take them home with me haha. I just can't resist their cuteness. But it's really sad to know the fact that the tarsiers are endangered animals and they could possibly be totally gone in the next few years, but hopefully not.
The Butterfly Garden with 40 pesos entrance fee and the Sipatan Hanging Bridge with 20 pesos entrance fee is originally included in our package tour but we refused go there because it's boring and a waste of money and time according to my sister who already went there last 2014.
We are on our way to the Loboc River to have lunch which costs 450 pesos for the buffet but unfortunately, all the lunch and dinner at Loboc River are cancelled due to the strong current of the river because of the heavy rains.
We proceed to CHAP (Chocolate Hills Adventure Park) which is actually not included on our itinerary. We went there hoping to have an ATV ride but unfortunately again, the guides for ATV are absent because it's actually Fiesta on their town. So we just had the "The Rush", a bike zip-line which is really scary, thrilling, adventuring, and fun. It was so high and you have to pedal in order to move. We are warned that it would be very windy and cold up there due to the bad weather but we still gave it a shot.
My parents ate first at CHAP's buffet, which only costs 350 pesos. They ate at the buffet during our activity and when we're about to eat, the foods are almost gone and the staff won't refill because of their cut-off time and they cannot handle the volume of customers.
Next, we went to Baclayon Church but it was under renovation because of the earthquake last 2013. It's a very old Church from 1596. They also have a museum that is functional but we didn't went inside because we are not interested and 50 pesos entrance fee is too much for a Church museum. We just prayed outside the Baclayon Church it was really sad when I noticed that the image of Padre Pio that mysteriously appeared on the wall of the Church was removed.
After Baclayon Church, we went to the Python Sanctuary that's like a mini zoo with 45 pesos entrance fee. It is where the largest captive snake resides when it was still alive. Prony, the huge snake is a 17 year old reticulated Python. Prony weighed about 280 kilograms and measured 23 feet. The center of her body was measured at 34 inches. Prony died of an unknown cause but her owner believes that Prony sacrificed herself because her owner have a stage 3 cancer and when she died, her owner became cancer free. Prony's remains are displayed on the sanctuary. There are also a lot of other snakes at the mini zoo like monkeys, birds, and other snakes. There's also a Prony 2 which could replace Prony as the largest captivated snake. However, I noticed that the animals are not given a good care because of their enclosures, and cages which are too small for them. Also, the monkeys do not have a food or even a water inside their cages.
Next we went to the Blood Compact Shrine, and bruh. We saw nothing but something that's like a wishing well and the small monument. Take note that you can't go near the blood compact's location. You can just look at it.
There are also some souvenir shops near the Blood Compact Shrine and I am able to bought pasalubongs. The peanut kisses, delicacy of Bohol only costs 170 pesos for 16 packs. It actually have the same price compared to Manila. But our guide said that the good's prices at the shops near the blood compact shrine are the cheapest.
Before we head back to Natura Vista, we first went to Dauis Church which is also under renovation because of the earthquake. It is also amazing because there's a miraculous water well beneath the altar which produces natural fresh water which most believes is miraculous.
For me, Day 2 is actually boring except the Chocolate Hills part because day 2 is very plain and unexciting however it is a great experience to pray and have a wish on every historical Church that we have visited.
Day 3: January 18
Day 3 is our last day. Our tour for this day is actually Dolphin Watching and Island Hopping. Sounds great and exciting right? The trip is just actually from 6 a. m until 12 noon only because we only have 3 itinerary for our tour which are; Dolphin Watching, Balicasag Island (For snorkeling and Swimming), and Virgin Island. And we are going to catch the ferry bound to Cebu at 3 p.m.
We went to Alona Beach because it is where we will ride a boat and start our trip.
We we're all set and excited however, when we are about to get off our van, someone called Kuya Arnold, our driver and told him that Island Hopping and Dolphin Watching are canceled due to heavy rains and huge waves.
It's so. Great. Right????
So instead of going back to Natura Vista, we decided to ask our driver to just drop us off at Alona beach because we are almost there already.
We spent our time swimming at the beautiful beach even though it's freezing cold. We also ate breakfast at Bohol Bee Farm because they have a restaurant branch along the seaside of Alona Beach.
As I had observed there are more foreigners at Bohol compared to Filipino tourists. Most of the foreigners are Asians such as Koreans and Chinese and Europeans and there are only few Americans. It's literally just us who are Filipino tourists at Alona Beach maybe because January is not peak season for us Filipinos but for Foreigners, January is a great time for a tropical country such as Philippines because it's too cold to stay at their country.
At 12 noon, we went back to Natura Vista to prepare for our trip to Cebu. It is so sad that our Island hopping and Dolphin Watching got canceled and we had a refund from Natura Vista. I am sure that someday I would get back at Bohol to fulfill my Island Hopping tour and Dolphin Watching because I am sure that those tours are really worth it and it is actually on my bucket list.
Natura Vista's accommodation and tours are definitely recommendable because they are so hospitable and friendly to their guest. They treated us like a family and I would definitely stay again at Natura Vista if ever I would travel to Bohol again some other time. They even gave us a souvenir before we left as their appreciation.
At 1 p.m, we arrived at the port and at 3 p.m, we left the port and traveled all the way to Cebu for our Cebu trip.
Bohol? Bohol is actually not just about the Chocolate Hills and the endangered Tarsier.