Saturday, January 23, 2016

BACKPACK SQUAD: WITH KIDS IN TOW.... TO BOHOL WE GO!



(throwback Bohol Adventure 2010)

DAY 1
It was their first airplane ride.  So we are excited to see the reactions on their faces when our plane finally took off for Bohol.  It is just a one hour, 15 minutes flight from Manila.  And being the DIY travel enthusiast, I was just lucky to secure this Philippine Airlines flight to Tagbilaran, Bohol for P5186.00 for four people, or merely P1296.50 per person. We arrived at Bohol at exactly 8:15am, and we were met at the airport by the tour guide of Bagobo Beach Resort, the resort where we will be spending our 4days-3nights in Bohol. Taking on an early flight to Bohol, at 7am, has its advantages.  You can start the city exploration before most of the tourists arrive and finish early, at around 2pm.  Here is the detailed itinerary of Bohol’s City tour:





BLOOD COMPACT SITE


The Sandugo or Blood Compact Shrine monument found in Bo-ol district of Tagbilaran City is a landmark site of the first international treaty of friendship between Spaniards and Filipinos.  You can marvel at the magnificent view of the Bohol Sea behind it. 


BACLAYON CHURCH
Considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines and was built using coral stones and egg white!



HANGING BRIDGE


The Bamboo hanging bridge crossing the Sipatan river is a fun-knee-shaking- nerve-wrecking tourist attraction, specially if you have fear of heights just like me!




CHOCOLATE HILLS


No visit of Bohol will ever be complete without visiting this natural wonder.  Chocolate hills has more than a thousand cone shaped hills which turn green during rainy season and brown during summer.  Just be ready to climb 214 steps to reach the view deck to get a good glimpse of this natural wonder.
MAN MADE FOREST AND BUTTERFLY SANCTUARY
Before reaching the Butterfly Sanctuary in Bilar, you will pass by the first and only Man-made forest in the Philippines, composed mainly of Mahogany trees.  The butterfly Sanctuary is owned by the Simply Butterflies Conservation Center. Be amazed with more than a hundred species of of butterflies in the garden.

LOBOC RIVER CRUISE
Your Bohol trip will be extra pleasant if you sign up for the Loboc River cruise.  Why?  You get to explore the picturesque river, and get a delicious buffet lunch for only P400.  Along the river cruise, the native Boholanos will serenade you with songs.  And you will be surprised to get a glimpse of Busay Falls – a small waterfall at the end of the route.

LOBOC CHURCH AND MUSEUM
The second oldest church in Bohol.  Don’t forget to visit the museum on the 3rdfloor which houses a few old statues of saints and some antique religious artifacts. The old “manong” who is the caretaker of the museum allowed us to explore the museum for free.


TARSIER

Another must-see in Bohol – one of the smallest known primates – the cute Tarsier of Bohol.  A bit of a trivia: the tarsier can rotate its head up to 180 degrees.  Isn’t it amazing? All of these sites and attractions were part of the city/day tour.  It took us 6 hours to complete this tour.




DAY 2
The next day, we woke up early for some Dolphin watching in Pamilacan.  You need to be an early bird to appreciate this tour.   We woke up around 4:30am, and off to the sea we go at around 5:30am.  We had a nice time following the dolphins as they swam around our boat.
Then we visited a deserted sandbar.  (there’s a certified photobomber in 2010 hahaha!)






We spent the rest of the day swimming in Panglao beach in front of our resort.


LITTLE ADVENTURE:  When you are just lounging around the beach of Panglao, why not have a taste of the Filipino mudslide – KINUTIL – which is a mixture of condensed milk, chocolate, egg yolk and tuba  (coconut wine). TOURIST TIP:  They don’t make this drink on a daily basis in Panglao, so don’t be shy and ask your friendly boatman for some kinutil expert to make it for you.





DAY 3



On our third day, we went for a snorkeling adventure in Balicasag.  After riding a motorized boat, you need to transfer to a smaller boat to get to the marine sanctuary.  Life vests were provided, but if you’re like my husband and kids who were confident in their swimming skills, you don’t really need one.   You also need to pay the tour guide P150 and an environmental fee of P50.  The tour guide can also double up as your underwater cameraman.  And I tell you – the marine life in Balicasag were super friendly.  Big and small fishes, no hostility towards tourists swimming along with them.
DAY 4
The fourth day became a work day.  I did a short immersion trip to visit a PBB wannabe. Visited her home in Tagbilaran City, and a rest house by the beach owned by a family friend. Of course, I still have the entire gang with me. We managed to squeeze in a quick visit to Hinagdanan Cave.

DAY 5
On our last day, we passed by Bohol Bee Farm for a healthy-organic lunch.  Located in Dauis. For a 4day-3night adventure, we spent P3522.50 per person  (Loboc River Cruise Buffet, Bohol Bee Farm lunch, lunch and dinner were not included).  




Not bad for 4-day adventure with kids in tow.  Even if our digital camera conked out on us in the middle of our first day of adventure…. it was still a memorable trip  :)

UPDATE:  (as of december 2015)
Last October 15, 2013, I was deeply saddened upon hearing that a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Bohol.  It damaged some of the old churches in the city.  I am still in contact and good friends with the owner of Bohol Bagobo Beach Resort, and she sent me pictures of the ongoing rehabilitation of Loboc and Baclayon Churches.  If you want worry-free Bohol vacay send them a message at Facebook --- Bagobobeach Panglao Bohol.