Bohol is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines. On our first trip to Bohol, I booked a flight via Cebu Pacific from NAIA Terminal 3 to Tagbilaran Airport. The flight is quite short that takes just about 45 minutes.
Upon arrival at the airport, since we were already hungry, we decided to take a tricycle to the nearest mall and had our lunch at Jollibee. We also took the chance to buy some grocerys before heading to Panglao island where we booked our hotel. The tricycle ride from the mall to Panglao takes almost an hour. We stayed in Harmony Hotel, which is about 5 minutes walk to the Alona Beach. The hotel is nice and perfect for couples and families. The rooms are still new and well maintained. There is a pool and big Jacuzzi outside with a bar in the middle where you can order your drinks while dipping in the water.
After settling ourselves at the hotel, we asked one of the staff for someone who can take us around. He called one of their usual tour guide and we have agreed to pay for a thousand pesos for one day tour around the province for the next day.
On our first night, we headed to Alona beach where several restaurants and bars a lines up. We chose to have our dinner in one of the restaurants where a live band was performing acoustic music. It was a good time to relax with good music and the beach on the background.
The next day, we woke up early and excited for our tour. The driver fetched us from our hotel at around 9AM. Our first stop is the blood compact site found along the national road in Brgy Bool Tagbilaran City.This was the place where the Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna had a blood compact to seal their friendship. Along the road, there are several souvenir shops and on the background is a beautiful view of Bohol Sea. After taking some pictures, we moved to our next stop.
The Baclayon Church Is the second oldest stone church in the Philippines. Before we were allowed to go inside the Church, I had to wear sarong because they prohibit wearing short, above the knee dress and skirts, or sleeveless tops. It was understandable because it is a sacred place. I was really awed to see the old relics and glad that they were able to preserve the structure. The ceiling, the floor, the seats, the altar, it was like being transported back in time.
The tarsier sanctuary is where you can have a close encounter with one of the smallest primates in the world. At first glance, I did not notice any tarsiers on site and wondering where they were. But upon closer look at the pants, there were the cute creatures with wide eyes! We were told that we can take pictures with them but we should not use the camera flash or hold them so they don’t get startled.
For lunch, the driver took us to Loboc river where we had buffet that serves a selection of foods and listened to live band while cruising along the river. The cruise also stopped at some stations where locals performed native dance and song numbers. Some tourist even hoped out of the banca and joined in dancing with the locals. This made the experience more fun.
After lunch we continued on our journey. On the way to Chocolate Hills we passed by the “man made forest”. The trees were huge and so as the earthworms! It only proved how rich the ground was. We stopped for a while and took tuns in taking our pictures in the middle of the road.
At last! We arrived at the world famous Chocolate Hills. The road going to the hills was quite steep but good thing the car we rented was still new and the driver was already familiar with the place. Another challenge was climbing the stairs to reach the peak of one of the hills. We had to pause several times and took rest before we reached the top. The view on top was breath-taking, we saw hills everywhere. They said the chocolate hills was formed from coral deposits by rainwater and erosion thousands of years ago. There are 1268 chocolate hills scattered throughout the towns of Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan.
Our last destination was butterfly garden, they breed different kinds of butterflies. Several butterflies were flying around the garden with different colors and sizes. One of our tour guide explained to us about the life cycle of butterflies from eggs until they become adults. Most of the butterflies lives only a few weeks after they laid eggs.
On our last day, we enjoined the clear water and white sand of Alona beach. We even found some starfish and sea urchin on the shore. Overall, it was a tiring yet exciting and fun-filled trip. There were a lot of things to see and go that one day tour is not enough.