Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bohol Getaway Part III: Bohol Countryside Tour

Posted by Alei at 8/30/2012 0 comments
The island hopping and snorkeling was a compressed tour as we have to be back at our hotel by 10 for the countryside tour. We left be 11 am and arrived at Loboc just in time for our lunch. Loboc is famous for its Loboc River Floating Restaurant.

Our next stop was at the Tarsier Conservatory. We trekked along forest and see tarsiers up on the trees. They seem to be sleeping. Tarsiers are nocturnal animals, dormant by day.  They are said to be the smallest primate. It it were not because of the red markers, we would not be notified that a tarsier silently clings to a particular tree.

After resting at the end of the trek, we continued our tour to Chocolate Hills. It was one thing I was looking forward to see. The biggest hill has been made as the viewing deck for the famous hills. Its both exciting and exhilarating on our way up. 

The view is spectacular. It shows how gifted our country is with wonders of nature. 

The hills come in different sizes and shapes. Some are pointed, are round, while others are green or brown. On the way, we even saw hills planted with coconut trees. We thought they belong to the same group but they don't because they are owned privately not for tourism, instead, for agriculture.

On our way, we passed through the Shiphaus. It was a house inspired by a ship as it was owned by a ship captain. Originally, it was supposed to be the residence of their family. But then, their home was flocked by tourists and from then on, he decided to have it converted into a tourist spot.

It has a deck and a fountain that gives accent to the place.

From Carmen, we passed along Loboc-Bilar's 2 kilometer stretch of man made forest. It is densely planted with mahogany trees. Our tourist driver even recalls that when he was still in school, their teachers used to have tree planting as their project and this was the fruit of their effort.

The sun seldom sees the mountain area due to the thick canopy. 

The Butterfly Sanctuary was our next destination. It was interesting to know how moths differed from butterflies.

The "bulo" precaution among butterflies my parents told me when I was a child was wrong and has no scientific explanation according to our tour guide.

Our next stop was the Exotic Zoo where we had a picture taken with a python. Sounds scary and crazy. But , the python was tame. According to our tour guide, he consumes two live chickens a day.  

Oh well, I look pretty scared in here. The python is slowly moving during the shot.

To finally conclude the day, we went to visit the Baclayon Church. 

It is known to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. The facade of the church itself testifies its long existence. The original architecture has not been altered, only restored to preserve the historical landmark. 

This said to be Father Pio's image on the wall caused by a miracle.

Another one was this, said to be Mama Mary holding Jesus Christ as a baby.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bohol Getaway Part II: Balicasag and Virgin Island Hoppind

Posted by Alei at 8/28/2012 0 comments
We woke up early at 4 am to gear up. We were told to be ready to be fetched by 5:30 am for the dolphin watching. Instead of a van taking us for the boat ride, 3 motorcycles surprised us. They call it locally as habal-habal. The ride to the beach was short but the fear of falling down the bumpy road made the trip long although it was not my first time to ride a motorcycle.

 The sun is brightly shining already around 6 am. It was low tide in the morning that we need to walk some meters to reach the boat.

The boat ride going to our destination is long and wavy. I admire our boat driver as he navigates us through without the use of high tech tools for directions.

 We stopped somewhere near an island. Boats of the same size as ours lingered at the nearby area. The place was supposed to be where dolphins would show up.

Our boatman explained that since the waves are big, it was unlikely that dolphins would come out. We waited for 10 minutes. Not a single dolphin came so we decided to continue our trip to Balicasag Island.

The sand is cream, shimmering because of the sun’s rays. The water is clear and inviting but not that good for swimming. The sloping is high and the water level is waist deep already some steps from the shore.

 Our tourist guide introduced us to another local for the snorkeling activity. We rode another boat, a rowboat that would take us to where the coral bed and fishes are. We left our things at the bigger boat, brought only our camera and biscuits to feed the fishes. Once geared with lifevest, we went to the sanctuary.

Along the way, we enjoyed the view of the clear ocean. We have seen several starfishes until we reached our destination. We dropped some biscuits were amazed on the volume of the fishes swam beside our boat. Snorkeling gears are for rent. We rented snorkeling mask and shoes since the corals might hurt our feet. Protective camera cases are also available for rent at PHP 300, pricey. Good thing I have my waterproof pouch with me. TIP: DO NOT FORGET TO BRING UNDERWATER CAMERA CASES AND BISCUITS.

 As I jump onto the water and tried snorkeling the first time, water came seeping through my mask. I swam back to the boat with panic. It was not easy at first getting used to breathing through the mouth. When I got the hang of it, I enjoyed feeding and watching the fishes. The view underwater is breathtaking.

I even got a handful of biscuits in the water. A lot fishes swam near my hand and ate up the food. When I momentarily move my fingers, they would shy away a bit but return to eating.

Life under the sea is truly dynamic and beautiful. The feeling is incomparable.

 We do not know how long we snorkeled. But it is one thing I would look forward to do again. We headed back to the shore to rest a bit. Once settled, we proceeded to the bigger boat for the next island, Virgin Island.We were hindered by some parts of the ocean that is too shallow for the boat. The boatman and his companion needed to manually navigate the boat using a long bamboo post.

The view is awesome. The sand is cold. Vendors sell fresh buco juice from the island, cooked sea urchins and even banana cue.

This was my favorite part of the Bohol Tour. Unfortunately, we still needed to catch up for the countryside tour. We weren't able to most part of the island. Maybe next time, we'll spend ample time island hoppind and snorkeling.

Now I have proved, there is more to Bohol than the Tarsiers and Chocolate Hills. I can wait to get back and step my foot on the sands and shores of the islands.

Bohol Getaway Part I: Panglao/ Dauis Tour

Posted by Alei at 8/28/2012 0 comments
Our Bohol tour has been much awaited. I, my bf and his officemates bought our tickets October last year. I got mine for only PHP 774.00. What a bargain! Air Philippines had a seat sale by then.

Our first flight together, via Philippine Airlines.

 We left Manila around 9:30 and arrived at Tagbilaran Airport 10 minutes past 10:30. It was a short trip, I was not able to take a nap. While waiting for the arrival of our group, we went to Island City Mall at Tagbilaran. It was one of two malls in the island. We even got to watch a movie. Surprisingly, a deluxe movie ticket cost only PHP 80.00 and PHP 100.00 for the premiere compared to ticket prices in Manila which were twice the amount. 

When our group mates arrived, we started our tour visiting Dauis Church. 

Then we headed to the house of Bayoyoy, the dwarfman. He is said to be 64 years old. He seems weak and needs special treatment. He is one of the six children born and diagnosed with dwarfism. His other five siblings died already. He was featured in some local tv shows. 

 Our next stop was Hinagdanan Cave. It is an underground cave located 2 kilometers from the town proper of Dauis. Cemented ladder was made to lead the entrance of the cave. Inside the cave, there is also a lagoon. The water is clear and deep. I was not able to take a good picture of the cave due to the limited lighting.

It was around 5 pm when we reached Panglao Shell Museum or the Nova Shell Museum. They have shells from found locally in the waters around Panglao and Bohol. It is a private museum which only started as a hobby of Mr. Quirino Hora. With the hundreds of shells on display, we were amazed by the diversity of sizes, shapes, colors and the story behind every shell. There was even a particular shell so small that you
need to use a magnifying glass to admire it.

 Aside from the museum, they also have a store selling products made of shells. Their products range from paper weights, accessories and wind chimes.

Right after the tour, we went to our hotel to check in. We stayed at Cherrys Home. It is roughly a 5 minute walk to Alona Beach and accessible to restaurants.


This is so me Copyright 2010Think Pink Credits to Gisele Jaquenod Modified by Alei