Dada and I have booked our tickets on the first week of November but it was only a few days before the actual trip did we have a chance to polish up things. We shelled out more or less Php 26,000 — that includes the airfare with other fees; the tour package and hotel; food and drinks; and, souvenirs.
Dada and I met up in the MRT-Ayala Station around 5:30AM then we rode a cab going to NAIA Terminal 3. Our flight is at 8:00AM but Dada wanted to get there earlier so we will have ample time in case there’s a mishap.
Some notable SOPs of the airport include the banning of guns, knives, ball pens, umbrellas, deodorants, perfumes and other flammable or pointed objects. Dada’s deo-spray was confiscated but my deo-spray and perfume avoided detection. It was actually my metallic belt buckle which caused more delay. LoL! They also require everyone to switch off cellular phones and other gadgets while within the aircraft’s proximity.
Our flight was delayed for ten minutes due to the heavy traffic within the runway. Once it was cleared, we braced ourselves as the jetliner accelerated from zero to maybe more than 200 kph! We’re off the ground in less than ten seconds. Σ(ﾟДﾟ)
Boarding the plane became both an exciting and an excruciating experience. We had fun watching and taking photos of peculiar cloud formations but there were times when there was too much air pressure. I thought our ears would bleed and we’ll die before we even land! (x_x)
The plane arrived in the Tagbilaran Airport around 9:15AM. We met Mang Maeng, our first tourist guide. He drove us to Cocogrove Hotel to check-in and leave our luggage. Then we were off to start our tour!
BOHOL TOUR – DAY 1
Blood Compact Shrine. Mang Maeng said that the actual “Sandugo” happened a few feet below this monument. There’s nothing much to do here apart from posing for a few shots and checking out the scenery behind it.
Baclayon Church. This is the oldest church in Bohol and one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Boholanos are very religious and this place is very sacred to them. They prohibit people from entering the church while wearing skimpy clothing. I had to use a “sarong” before I could enter. There’s a decrepit house beside the church which they made into a museum. It stores a lot of artifacts such as clothing, maps, paintings, photographs, sculptures, literary pieces, typewriters, cameras and musical instruments. Outside the church, molds have etched an image of Padre Pio on one of its walls — as believed by the locals. It was very creepy yet awesome!
Philippine Tarsiers. They are the world’s smallest primates, but not the world’s tiniest monkeys. According to the sanctuary folks these animals have a life span of twelve years and the females give birth only once each year (6 months of pregnancy and 6 months of nursing their babies). They are active only at night so they were very still while we were taking photos of them.
Loboc River Cruise. We had a lunch buffet aboard a floating restaurant. After about 15 minutes, the boat started cruising the river while a band was playing and the guests were eating. The food was not that great but it was okay. It was a good thing that Dada and I were on the front row seats so we had a clear view of the wonderful scenery.
Man-made Forest. According to Mang Maeng, the locals planted Mahogany seeds here in hopes of conserving the ecosystem. After forty-five years or so, their efforts finally paid off and this is the result. It’s a very relaxing experience. The trees are uniform in height and width because of their proximity to one another. The ones that have more rooting space grew bigger.
Alburquerque Python. Prony is the largest/longest/heaviest Reticulated Python in captivity. Her scales are soft to touch and she is quiet even though there were a lot of toursists, possibly because of the utmost care she received from the locals. Prony may be “trained” but she’s not “tamed” … I asked the handlers if I could touch her head but they refused, saying that Prony may bite any scented human/object.
Butterfly Sanctuary. This place is just like those found in Manila. Nothing special aside from them providing their own tour guides and trivia about butterflies and moths.
BOHOL TOUR – DAY 2
Dada and I got prepared around 5AM and met up with our second tour guide, Ronnie. By 5:30AM, we’re already in the Alona Beach. We rode a small boat and started our island-hopping adventure. We were hoping to find dolphins while they forage but two hours have passed and there’s not a single dolphin in sight. One of the fishermen said that the dolphins were following a strong current which was too far from where our boat was sailing. Bad weather conditions and lack of schools (of fish) are often the reasons why dolphins won’t go to the surface. The waves were too huge and Dada almost fell from our boat. Thank goodness he was able to cling onto a bamboo support and he only received minor cuts.
We gave up looking for dolphins and told the crew to just proceed to the next island. We then headed to Balicasag. Snorkeling fees in that island are separate from the actual package. We shelled out about Php 1300 for everything — gears, fish food, camera sheath, life guard. I am a good swimmer but battling with the waves became a challenge for me. It was only after a few minutes when I got used to the feeling. My most memorable experience here was the trip to the Drop Off. It was exciting and scary at the same time! I thought I was either gonna be sucked in by the current, be thrown by a huge wave or be eaten by a shark! Dada didn’t have as much fun as I did, though, so we didn’t stay too long.
After about an hour in Balicasag, we boarded the boat again and went to our final destination — the Virgin Island. This long shoal leads to a landform that’s never been inhabited by humans. The shallow waters maybe as far as 10 meters or more before it reaches a drop off point. It’s a good place for relaxation, swimming and picnics but being isolated here for long periods will surely produce paranoia. LoL!
We finished island-hopping around 12NN. Our shirts were almost dry but I still wanted to buy souvenir clothes. I bought a dress and Dada bought a t-shirt.
Since the tour has ended, Dada and I had much free time to roam around on our own. We decided to visit the Island City Mall. It is decent enough and has the basic elements that make up a shopping center. ICM also has many wonderful clothes in the department store but they’re quite expensive so I was only able to buy one pair of shorts (which I’ll be using for our Christmas party). We found four cinemas — each is just about the size of Galleria‘s cinemas. Each movie ticket is three times cheaper than those in SM. It also has some of our favorite food joints such as Jollibee, Greenwich, KFC and Dunkin Donuts. For some odd reason, the service crew here are much more laid back compared to those in Manila and their servings are yummier too. People of different nationalities feel more at home here than we ever did. I guess most of them have retired here.
Our stay in the beautiful islands of Bohol was very brief but every second (and every cent) we’ve spent here have been memorable. ♥