BOHOLiday 2016 (Day 1) – Countryside Tour

The much awaited BOHOLiday finally arrived! (sorry for the late post)

TeamGonzaga is set off to the most anticipated 3 days and 2 nights fun-filled summer adventure.

Immediately after our hearty breakfast at the Mandarin Plaza, we head out to Cebu Port.  It was a quick 20-minute ride from Cebu City to the port. We arrived at exactly 6:30 AM and checked in.   The booking personnel at OceanJet informed us that we can still be accommodated on their 7:00 AM trip so we grabbed our bags and jumped in. Our booking is 8:00 AM but we were happy to leave Cebu an hour earlier 🙂

OceanJet Ferry
OceanJet Ferry

Rate

It was a 2-hour ferry ride from Cebu to Tagbilaran Port. OceanJet is an air-conditioned ferry with movie on board. They’re playing Maleficent during our trip but the kids prefer the view of the sea rather than the movie 🙂

Bohol is an awesome destination. A total package really! They don’t only boast-off their white sand beaches but the breath-taking sceneries, fun-filled attractions and the overflowing kindness and sincerity of the Boholanos sums up the ideal family vacation one could ever wish for.

Our friend, Andre arranged the transportation and guide for our half day countryside tour. Sgt. Elias welcomed us and drove us around the famous spots in Bohol aboard a brand new outback brown Isuzu muX! Thanks again Andre for your generosity 🙂

Travelers in Bohol can choose from private to public transportation depending on your budget and preference.  There are vans for hire in the port area complete with itinerary and tour guides for as low as P2,500 depending on the no. of person who wish to avail the package.  There are also public transport available like buses, jeepneys (habal-habal) or tricycles.  Haggle your way out for the best deals, like I always say, it is better to plan ahead, book your trip online with complete itineraries so you won’t waste any precious time because Bohol really has a lot of things in store for you.

transpo

First stop of our countryside tour is the historical Blood Compact Site Monument.  This is where the first treaty of friendship between the Filipinos and the Spaniards took place.  Blood compact or Sandugo was performed by Datu Sikatuna (Chief of Bohol) and the famous Spaniard explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.

There’s really nothing much to do here except for picture-taking however, the background view of the monument is spectacular, you can see the wide-stretched white sand beaches of Panglao.  Also, that strange feeling knowing that you are standing in the exact place where Philippine history was born centuries ago, is simply remarkable.  This tour will only take about 10 minutes.

Blood Compact Site
Blood Compact Site

Next, we passed by the Bilar man-made forest, a favorite stop for those who are exploring the countryside.  It is a 2 km stretch of man-made mahogany forest, part of the reforestation project launched in December 1953 to restore trees lost from the widespread kaingin happened long time ago.

Bilar man-made forest
Bilar man-made forest

The mahogany trees stretched up to the sky giving the coolness of shade during the hottest times of the summer season. Patches of light peering through its thick green canopies are just awesome. You can’t help but admire the forest and the thousand hands who planted it. Tourists can’t help but stop and take photos/ selfies with the rising trees as background.

Off to our next destination, the place where we are all excited to visit, the iconic Chocolate Hills.  Undoubtedly,  it remained the main tourist attraction in Bohol.

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Chocolate Hills!

We were greeted by the long staircase leading up to the viewing deck.  The original deck where one can have a picture taken doing a jump-shot-with-a-broomstick was destroyed during the October 2013 earthquake. But what the heck! We went there to see the hills not to do some jump shots. It is approximately 214 steps to the top.  After that strenuous climb under the scorching heat, we’ve reached the top and voila! Hundreds of hills who looked like giant Hershey’s kisses welcomed us and man, the view was worth that arduous climb.  There were some hills that were also destroyed by the quake, some have long been eroded but still, the view is picturesque! And that moment when you see your children in complete awe of the view is priceless!  That alone is worth the trip (not to mention the long climb).

I still can’t believe that I am here face to face with Chocolate Hills. I have long since admired the magnificence of this famous iconic landmark. Being here witnessing the lovely view is really such a memorable experience.  Ok time to move on…

Before heading to lunch, we passed by the Tarsier Conservation Area in Loboc.  The kids were thrilled to see the cute tarsiers in real life.

Tarsier conservation area Entrance Fee P60 Kids 10 years below are free
Tarsier conservation area Entrance Fee P60 Kids 10 years below are free

Tarsiers are one of the world’s smallest primates. Seeing those huge, immovable and imploring eyes in broad daylight, I begun to realize that Tarsiers are supposedly nocturnal animals, how come they are all wide awake as tourists continue to take pictures of them (including me) as if trained to smile in the camera.  The area is not that big, we saw about 4 to 5 tarsiers. You cannot touch them but you can get close enough to take pictures and if you’re lucky, they will look and smile at the camera. Like this li’l dude 🙂

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This is where we bought our Tarsier souvenirs.

It’s already 11:30 AM and we are famished! Loboc River Cruise is the perfect place to dine.  You have to make reservations early because the line queue is really long.  We waited for an hour until our number was called and we were led to the floating restaurant.  There are quite a number of local foods to choose from.  It was an ‘ok’ set to fill the angry belly.

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While eating aboard the floating restaurant, we passed by the ruins of Loboc Church.

Loboc Church Ruins
Loboc Church Ruins

After our nature’s way lunch cruise, we’ve decided to go to Bellevue and prep up for our scheduled family outdoor photoshoot.  On our way to the hotel, we passed by the famous Baclayon Church.  We didn’t pass the chance to take a quick tour at one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.

Baclayon Church
Baclayon Church

The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon is considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It has become a parish during the 1700s during the Spanish era and considered as one of Philippines’ national treasures.  The church was heavily damaged during the 2013 earthquake and rehabilitation efforts are underway.  Beside the church is an old convent turned museum.  There’s a minimal entrance fee for maintenance.    The museum houses century-old relics, religious statues and artifacts way back 16th century.  Picture-taking is prohibited inside the museum.

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So there you go…This sums up our Bohol country side tour…We now head on to The Bellevue Resort to take a quick rest and prep up for the photo shoot.

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