The island of Bohol here on the Loboc river cruise
Bohol the tenth biggest island of the Philippines (out of ± 7107) is situated just south of Cebu city has a wide array of possible attractions. The thing I loved about it is that you can start (and end) your days laid back on a fabulous white sand beach enjoying a Piña Colada while feeling you’ve actually done some mileage and accomplished something during the daytime. There is a lot exploring to do on the ever changing scenery of this captivating island.
We had an early start and departed from the Cebu city harbor at 6:00 AM with the fast ferry that reached the town of Tagbilaran in Bohol in just around 2 hours. This is by far for the price the best solution if you don’t want to lose half a day or more just reaching your destination. The small island of Panglao where all the best beach resorts are is just a 20-30 minute ride from Tagbilaran. Now to get there the easiest way is to hire a car (you will be submerged with offers as soon as you walk off the pier) that will get you there for 200-300 pesos. It’s also a good idea to bargain for a driver for the day from the harbor since the prices will be cheaper than if you hire one via the hotel resorts of Panglao by 30-50%. Don’t be in a hurry the prices will go down from the initial 1500 to 700-800 in no time…
Now since a picture is worth a thousand words lets have a look at the Bohol portion of the trip shall we?
One of many Super Cat ferries at the Cebu harbor
Approaching the Bay of Tagbilaran
Inside Tagbilaran city (not my picture but I really loved the colorful tricycles featured in it)
Scenery of the island of Bohol
Driving in direction of Panglao island where we will be staying
8:30 AM finally arrived at the Lost Horizon resort
Now facing the other side..Not all that bad is it?
Catching a glimpse of one side of Alona beach
Ok, after a little walk around the beach time for breakfast then back on the road we go
First stop: The Loboc river floating restaurant cruise
A really great experience for 250 pesos per person you get the all-you-can eat buffet with a small band playing on board while the boat slowly passes by the dense vegetation and mountains surrounding the river. You should also be charmed by the small pittoresque nipa (palm tree) huts here and there along the way and especially the local kids swinging from the palm trees and diving into the water a mere few meters away from the boat. Just before the U-turn at the end of the river you’ll get a live performance of a mix of adults playing the yukalaylee and kids singing among other songs the “welcome, to my native land” with a slight touch of Cebuano accent.
A view of the buffet and the band in the back getting ready to play some music
Van-Van pouring herself some soup
View of the boat from my seat
Hey it seems I am in good company! Feels good to be out of Cebu city at last during Vanessa’s day off work
And two more it seems there are quite a few of these running around
Bathers on the way… Notice the contrast in colors of the river
I would guess this is due to the rainy season & its rainfalls that bring mud into the water
Local kids going for a dive from the palm trees as the rain starts to fall. The good thing with tropical weather is this never really last long. By the time we get on the way back it will be all but a distant memory…
Going a bit more upstream
Here we stop for a halt to hear some locals playing music
And back we go
Now the next stop one of the countries most popular destinations : The Chocolate Hills
These quite unique 1260 or so 40 meters high hills are believed to have been formed by Limestone & coral deposit that were sculpted by thousands of years of erosion. They actually are pretty green at this time of year and not chocolate as their named would make you believe. This only occurs during the end of the dry season when the vegetation on the hills is roasted brown.
The local inhabitants version of the origins of these hills is a bit more romantic since the legend goes that they were calcified tears of a Giant who was heartbroken by the death his Mortal lover. Here are more pictures of the Chocolate Hills in from all sides taken from on top of the view point:
Me at the hanging bridge over the Sipatan river (with as I noticed later by zooming in two Filipinos nicely posing in the back)
The Tarsier: Often referred as the worlds smallest monkeys at around 10 cm tall they are in fact more closely related to lemurs with their weird looking over sized eyes
Here is a cute little tarsier couple
Me with two of my new gremlin looking friends
The two of them alone
Each one of these little tarsier creatures eye is in fact bigger than its brain
Not too lively during the day as they are active at night only
Blood compact site depicting the scene where Spaniard Colon Legazpi & tribal chief Sikatuna officially ceased hostilities with the symbolic gesture of making ‘one blood’ by mixing both their bloods with wine and drinking to their new peace agreement.
Here is a list of my recommendations for hotels in Manila, Philippines