Category Archives: Philippines 菲律宾

The Idyllic Getaway – Bohol and the Panglao Island

Finally I get to set foot on the the land of thousand island (is about 7000 over island), the Philippines.  With so many islands to choose from, we finally decided on Bohol.  Bohol is the tenth largest island of the Philippines, and lies in the middle of the Visayas. Bohol is surrounded by other islands on all sides, and is thus suppose to be shielded from the typhoons that often occur in the region, as well as from the heaviest rains.

Many people at Pier 1

The day when we arrive in Cebu, we took a cab from the airport to Pier 1 to buy ferry tickets to Bohol.  It will be 2 hours via fast ferry from Cebu to Tagbilaran City, a town in Bohol. Decided to stay on a beach resort at Panglao island instead of the town, thus after arrival at Tagbilaran, we will need to get a cab to the resort which is about 45 mins.

When we arrived at Pier 1, we saw a long long queue. There’s also notices that said due to Sendong typhoon, there will be no ferry to Tagbilaran. After checking out, an ang mo uncle also in the queue told us that during the last 2 days, all ferries were stopped due to typhoon along the Mindanao, and today (the day we arrive) was the 1st day they open up thus so many people here to re-schedule their ferry timing that was affected the past 2 days.

Pier 1

Well… after a gruelling 1 hour 20 mins later with tummy symphony, we finally bought our tickets. There’s only business class tickets left which cost us double the price of an economy class.. arrgh.. Well, after comparing the small squeezy economy class seats during our return trip, I am actually quite glad that we had the business class seats for our trip to Bohol, after a tiring early morning flight and a long wait for tickets, we actually had a very well rested ferry journey.

Big and comfortable business class seats
Beautiful sunset upon arrival at Tagbilaran

The Attractions
When in Bohol, for people like us who do not have much time to spare, recommend to take a tour that will take you to the following major attractions in Bohol – Chocolate Hill, the Butterflies Conservation Centre, the Tarsier Sanctuary, Loboc Rivier cruise with buffet lunch, Man-made Forest, Hanging Bridge,  Baclayon Church and the Blood Compact site. What we did was to hire a driver which cost us about 2000 peso for a car for 1 day, decide on which attraction to go and then pay the respective entrance fee.  It’s cheaper this way than joining a tour available with travel agency or hotels.

Chocolate Hill
The Chocolate Hills are probably Bohol’s most famous tourist attraction. They look like giant mole hills and there’s possibly no less than 1268 hills all uniform in shape and mostly between 30 and 50 meters high. They are covered with grass, which, at the end of the dry season, turns chocolate brown, thus the name. As we went during the end of the wet season, thus they are very nourishing green.
Entrance fee: 50 peso
 

The “grassy” giant mole hill @ Chocolate Hill
Jumping high at Chocolate Hill.. Hoo hoo!!
Yeah!!
Should be called “Green Tea Hill” during wet season.. haha 

Butterflies Conservation Centre
We got this very humorous guide who brought us thru’ the interesting facts of a butterfly, different species of them.
Entrance fee: 30 peso

Beautiful butterfly posing for a portrait

Tarsier Sanctuary

Here, tarsiers are observed, protected and are freely living on its natural habitat. In the sanctuary there’s trails and pathways (with a tour guide) and we can observe the tarsiers in its natural habitat. We are suppose to talk softly, no flash photography and not to touch them. Tarsiers are shy nocturnal creatures, so I guess the best time to see them will be during the night.  When we were there in the day, they are either sleeping or hiding away from us… Haiz.

Entrance fee: 50 peso. 

Yawwnnn…. Zzzzz…. A sleeping Tarsier

Loboc River

It’s lunch time and we are being brought to this place where you will purchase ticket to a Loboc River lunch cruise. The Lunch buffet was nothing fantastic, thou the singing entertainment on the cruise was great.  The Filipinos are really great singers!  Their voice are so heavenly.  While you are having your lunch, the boat will start cruising down the river and bring you to the Loboc Children Choir and they will do a sing/dance segment for you. 
Cruise fee: 100 peso
Buffet lunch fee: 300 peso
The river cruise with lunch buffet on-board the cruise
The Loboc river
@ Man-made forest
Man-made forest
Hmm… actually nothing special… just a canopy of trees that line on both side of the road….


















Baclayon Church 
The large bell on top was obtained in 1835
Said to be the oldest church in Bohol. There’s suppose to be a museum in the church that we should visit, but we did not as we were being drawn to the church main hall as there’s a traditional catholic wedding in progress!
A traditional Catholic Wedding

Blood Compact site

This monument is included in most tours, and offers a nice view over the Bohol sea, with Panglao island to the right.

We did not visit the hanging bridge as it was raining quite heavily in the late morning.
Beautiful rainbow after an afternoon shower
Our island beach resort was at Alona Beach, Lost Horizon Resort.  We got the standard room which was quite basic. Made me remember our stay at Gili Air in Lombok, because the tap water taste salty and when we boil it, we saw salt residue at the bottom of the kettle. Ok, better to just buy bottles of mineral water.
Alona Beach

Activities to enjoy in the Panglao island are scuba diving and dolphins watching. Due to our short stay on the island, we just spent the morning sunbathing on the smooth white sandy beach and swimming in the clear blue sea.

Sunset
Just sunbathing

Nice blue sea
Shops along Alona beach

In the afternoon we went for a massage.  There’s not much spa/massage place in Panglao. Instead, there’s masseurs offering massage & even manicure/pedicure service at the beach… heard is about 300 peso?  We did not try that.. no privacy.. and how to do mani/pedi on a sandy beach?

We found this place (sorry.. I forgot the name) it’s along the road towards the entrance of Alona beach somewhere near L’elephant Bleu Cottages. It was opened by a Japanese couple. Although not exactly cheap but the massage was good and all details attended to. One of the best massage I had esp in overseas. At the end of the session, dessert and tea was served as well.

Ho ho ho… it’s Christmas!!

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