1,260 hills of Bohol
My happiness for the arrival of summer this year was intensified by the fact that I will be graduating in the same month. Finally out of school….forever (unless I decide to go to law school). To celebrate this, I decided to go to Bohol, one of the places I wanted to see and experience. I booked a three-day trip to Bohol; one day for the tour and two for bumming around at the hotel and at the beach…simultaneously.
I left Manila on a Sunday at 8AM and reached Tagbilaran Airport by Cebu Pacific airlines at 9AM. Upon landing at the Tagbilaran airport at 9AM, we found out that the car that was supposed to pick us up and take us to the resort wasn’t booked successfully (as in somebody forgot to do it). There were passive-aggressive comments coming from our side and we finally agreed to rent a car at the airport to be paid by the resort as a compromise.
All was forgiven; we arrived at the resort and booked a car to take us on a 4-hour tour of Bohol as this is what I intend to accomplish on my first day in Bohol. The driver was friendly and he also acted as our tour guide. He was telling us the background histories of the places we pass.
He took us to see the tarsiers at the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary. After paying the P50 entrance fee and trying Chichaworm (edible worms), there was a short orientation of what not to do around the tarsiers. Basically, they asked us to be quiet as the tarsiers were resting and to turn the flashes of the visitors’ cameras off. It was my first time to see a tarsier and I have to admit, they’re a bit terrifying. They’re the size of my fist with eyes bugging out. I was only able to see 5 of them. After completing a round of the place, bought some souvenirs sold inside and outside of the Sanctuary.
The Butterflies Conservation Center is located in Bilar. The entrance fee, if I remember correctly, is P20. Upon entering, you’ll get a certain…organic vibe. It is 20 minutes of butterfly-viewing and picture-taking. They showed us butterflies who are half-boy and half-girl. Yes, I found it amusing. This is also where I bought the best cheese ice cream yet which also costs P20.
Butterfly Garden. What I’m holding is a “lazy” butterfly
Still the “lazy” butterfly
The best cheese ice cream sold at the butterfly garden!
We passed by the man-made forest (which I found amazing) in Bilar. It is filled with mahogany trees stretching to two kilometers but there’s only a certain spot where cars can stop to take pictures because some spots aren’t exactly safe. There are a lot of tourists when we got there so we had a hard time taking a good picture but with a little patience, we were able to leave the site with a decent photo.
Of course, our Bohol trip wouldn’t be complete without visitng the chocolate hills! I was surprised to find out that it was free! After getting off the car, we were faced with a 214-step stairs going to the viewing spot. I immediately decided to get back to the car and get some water. This is where I felt the last 9 months when I have been doing my thesis and nothing else. I was soaking in sweat and out of breath! But when I reached the top, well, it’s cliche but I’ll say it’s worth it. Imagine 1,260 hills in 360° view.
214 steps to the viewing dock of the Chocolate Hills
We also passed a hanging bridge. The entrance fee for this one costs P20. It is a short and thrilling experience because unlike other hanging bridges, this one is made by just patches of woods. Let’s just say I never took my eyes off my feet during the whole cross.
We finally realized we’re hungry (it is almost 2PM). We headed to Loboc Riverwatch Floating Resto. It costs more or less 400 per head. The food was okay, nothing to look forward to. What you really are paying for is the experience. Lunch is served in a buffet while taking a cruise at the Loay River. Beers are served and a band is playing. We passed houses and children hanging by the rope and jumping into the river. The foreigners on the boat were obviously amused as they kept clapping and taking pictures. At one point, the boat stopped at a station (which was also a boat), we crossed to see children dressed in sayas and boys in barongs. They were playing ukelele and folk-dancing. After the performance, we got into our boat again and headed back.
Our last stop was the Baclayon Church, which, at the time we visited, was still under construction. It was wrecked during the 2013 earthquake at magnitude 7. Despite this, they still allow tourist to see the inside of the church and the museum above it for only P20. After the quick tour of the museum, I decided to go to the church where I lit candles for my prayers. Even in ruins, or maybe even because of it, it is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen.
Baclayon Church is under renovation after being destroyed by an earthquake
Tickets are purchased to enter the museum by the Baclayon Church
I am glad to have experienced Bohol with my family. Mostly because the expenses are not suited for barkada trips where you want to spend the least. The most consuming expense is the transportation; the tour is scattered among different cities so you would really have to rent a car or a motorcycle. The hotel is not so much of a pocket-burden because you can always find a cheap place to stay in. I hope the read encouraged you to experience Bohol!
- Car rental P 1,800
- Tarsier-viewing P 50
- Butterfly Garden P 20
- Baclayon Church P 20
- Hanging Bridge P 20
- Loboc River Buffet P 480
- TOTAL P2,390