Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bohol For Free


One day, I received a phone call from my aunt who was abroad. She was asking me to score cheap tour packages in Bohol and Cebu for me, my mom and her of course. It will be her treat for my mom. The kid in me shouted, "Can we just go to some other place? Not Bohol because I was just there a year ago!". But then again, who am I to diss the plan which will be "sponsored" by my aunt making it my first-ever sponsored post in a not-so-celebrity-type of way? I rest my case.

tita Eden, Agnes, Jesson (all first-timers)
I arranged for everything on the trip without them even bothering me on the plans I'm cooking up for them. They didn't have a clue. It was easy - I didn't change anything from the itinerary last year except for that we will be flying in Tagbilaran and out of Cebu which will definitely save us time and effort.

All plans for the 3D/2N Bohol-Cebu trip were set for the three of us but a week before it, my best cousin came home from Canada and decided to join us. I scored him a ticket and we were so glad that we all have the same flights. So there were four of us on that trip; me, Agnes (I call her Agnes when referring to her to some friends but she knows that :), tita Eden and Jesson. With two balikbayans around how can anything go wrong eh?

Our guide will be Kuya Tatsky again, I was so excited when I learned that he will (again) be our guide for that day. Am I just really lucky that I got him to guide us twice. Well just a little background, he has almost 10 cars/vans and a couple of motorbikes with drivers and still he choose to drive/guide most of the time. The countryside tour was 2,000 pesos for a car. You can opt for a van if you are traveling with more than 4 persons. His wife also arranged our Panglao resort accommodation with no reservation fee or whatsoever.

Here's Kuya Tatsky's contact numbers; 
GLOBE:09157945556 
SMART:091274727377 
SUN:09223671051 

We arrived at the Tagbilaran Airport at around 9 a.m. We were greeted by Kuya Tatsky and good thing he remembered me. I just told him that I was the public school teacher from last year. He then told me to act as my family's guide, I refused the offer and told him that he could do it better.

******

First stop was the Blood compact site/monument (different from the actual site). We did the standard photo ops with some trivia games with kuya Tatsky. He asked us to determine the personalities on the monument with regard to how they looked. It was quite confusing but it did make us think.

ze group... tsss...akala ko long gown competition pupuntahan ko..

******

Next stop was the Baclayon church and the guessing game started again. Kuya Tatsky asked my family about the "image" which was somewhat projected on the church's wall, of course I knew the answer. They were all dumb-founded. I knew right away that they won't even get close on guessing but I didn't give them clues. And then Kuya said that it's Padre Pio. And they were still clueless. And then I told kuya Tatsky that we are not Roman Catholics. And I laughed which made them laugh too. They would never ever would have guessed it - ever!

still smiling after the "guessing game"
there was a special burial mass so we didn't get to enter the church

******

Next was the most awaited Loboc buffet cruise. This was the part where my mom got excited because she heard so much about the cruise from her friends. We chose the Riverwatch Floating Resto and paid 300 pesos each plus a fee of 100 pesos each - like a terminal fee. And because it was a Saturday, the restaurant was full and luckily we were assigned to the corner side of the boat which gave us a better view of the river.

I was craving for the barbecue  I had last year when we did the River Cruise. And it had the same taste and feeling just like last year. There were other stuff in the buffet but the barbecue (I think) is a staple. Again, I didn't get to enjoy the view because of over-eating-borderline-gluttony. It was still a good experience after all. Next time I will try the Loboc Night Cruise.

Jade green waters - it turns dark brown during wet season
had 4 trips on the buffet
one of the cultural shows - the kids were really good
uhmm... Agnes? wacky daw di ba?

******

Next was the Chocolate Hills. It was a long drive from Loboc so we all got a chance to take a nap during the trip. Early flight + sumptuous buffet lunch = you-know-what. We arrived there and paid a 50-peso entrance fee each. It was way different from my Chocolate Hills experience last year.

It was a nice sunny day and there was a new addition to the viewing deck - the stairs leading up to the deck was now covered. Nice eh? And more tourists were around making it too crowded. Add the tourists who were trying to have the "broom photo" on the deck. It was funny and irritating at the same time. Imagine the people wanting to get into the deck and tourists were trying for the nth time on that shot. But nonetheless, ze family enjoyed the view of the famous hills in the country.

now covered - goodbye sunburn
I dunno if they got it right - for the nth time
ano 'yung sunblock?

 ******

Next was the Simply Butterflies Conservation Center. Again, I know what to expect here but having a different guide - it made this second visit more memorable. We paid 40 pesos each for the entrance fee and we also tried their yummy ice cream before we started the tour. I also asked the receptionist if I could charge my camera batteries and she allowed me to do so.

We were assigned to the guide named alias "Piolo". He is a natural comedian. He need not exert any effort 'coz he made us laugh with every punchline he delivers. I cannot explain further. You should ask for him on your visit to the center.

Agnes' hands are the softest
chu-mo-chor-va
ang wagas na jump shot with some kind of a wings

******

So right after that, we went to the Man-made forest in the towns of Loboc and Bilar. Lined up there are the Mahogany trees planted almost 50 years ago and the whole stretch provides a good shade.The giant worm/slug-like creature  from last year were still there and this time I got a chance of holding it making me shriek in the weirdest and most not-so-glamorous way.

and so we meet again...
F-U-N
******

Next was the famous Tarsier. It had some major changes compared from my trip last year. Before, their "sanctuary" was alongside the main highway but with indoor plants and shrubs a poor imitation of their natural habitat. On their new site, they tried to make the sanctuary in a way that it would be as close as possible to the Tarsier's natural habitat.

These changes came with a price. A hefty of it compared to free entrance last year. For 50 pesos each, you could explore the site and follow the marked guides. The tarsiers have guards/guides because some tourists would shake the trees and shrubs just to wake them up. If I saw that, I would shout at them, "They are NOC-TUR-NAL".  

nume-nature ang tema
salamat sa lente
you look so tired and bothered

******

I tried to skip the Hanging Bridge part but Jesson still insisted so we pushed through with the bridge. We paid 15 pesos for the entrance fee and we really had fun crossing the bridge. Oldies didn't even bother to take a peek.

my best cousin of all-time
we don't look like late 20s right? or is it the attitude?
******

Next was Prony - the biggest python in captivity in the Philippines. We paid 10 pesos for the entrance fee. I felt sad upon entering the house/yard of the owner. The people who were flocking Prony before were all gone. Even the souvenir shops and stores. There was also a signage on the road which announces its closure due to tax issues but the owner and the caretakers will tell you a different story about some political issues with the local officials.

The site was empty. Even Marimar's enthusiasm is somewhat affected by the closure. Kuya Tatsky is a very good friend of the owner so he still brings his guests there. Marimar did her famous "animal show" and we all got her in a private show with only us who were cheering. Just funny in a sad way. The news is that they are preparing to transfer in a different town where they won't have to argue more with the local officials.

the original
no flying lemurs left
oh hi there!
never afraid :)
Marimar in her "animal show"
******

We skipped the Hinagdanan cave because I knew that the "oldies" would have a difficult time inside it. So we went to the Bohol Bee Farm after the going to the "actual" blood compact site. This was my favorite part because of their malunggay and ginger ice cream. I dreamt about having it again and this time I'll make sure that I will try every flavor they have - free taste galore! I got excited when we went inside the store and insisted on the family tasting everything. And just because my mom is with me, I got to shop whatever I wanted inside the store! Yihee. Like a kid in a candy store.

my older version of a candy store
next time I would stay here for a night
sunset while on the road

******

So right after our Bohol countryside tour, we went to Dumaluan Beach Resort 2 
(check rates) on Panglao island. Again, there are no sunsets on the Dumaluan beach side.

Dumaluan 2 is more expensive but exclusive than Dumaluan 1 (which is open for day trippers for a price) but it's just a stone throw's away from each other. It also shares the same shoreline as Bohol Beach Club. I reserved (thru at Kathy - wife of kuya Tatsky) a Family Room for 4,500 pesos (this is a "sponsored" trip remember?) - inclusive with buffet breakfast and free use of their swimming pool. 

Dumaluan 2
the pool
ref, TV, veranda, hot and cold shower
Agnes and tita Edan shared the leftmost bed
******

Waking up in Panglao on a sunny day was really nice. I woke them up for us to have a peaceful and quality time on the buffet breakfast. There were hams, eggs, veggies, ground meat viand, rice, bread, jams and fruits. Drinks were coffee and orange juice. Tita Eden asked for a tea and they gave her one. They also served some fruits in season. It was not the best buffet breakfast ever but having it with my family and overlooking the beach made it more special.

we meet again huh?
happy ang kids dito for sure
soo clear
pwedeng magtakbuhan hanggang umabot sa puntong pagod ka na pero mababaw pa rin
******

After we checked out from the resort we headed to the port area to catch the 10 a.m. Supercat ride to Cebu. We asked Kuya Tatsky for a car rental to the port. He sent one of his drivers Rikrik and we paid 500 pesos for the ride. Upon reaching the port, we paid almost 400+ pesos each for the Supercat ride and another 11.25 pesos for the terminal fee. We hopped in the ferry at 10 a.m. and started our supposedly 1 hour journey to Cebu.

Here's what happened. We departed on-time and after an hour it seemed like we were not getting any near the Cebu port. And then someone announced that there were some technical problems and we need not worry about it. And the estimated time for us to reach Cebu will be at 3 p.m. We were like, "Oh c'mon!". Heavy sighing went around but nobody got hysterical. It will take us 4 hours to reach Cebu - 4 H-O-U-R-S! We should've reached Malaysia with that amount of time.

So everyone went into their own business afterwards - read books, watched 2 full movies and others slept. The ride was smooth and in all fairness to them, they provided a complimentary soda, crackers and nuts. If that was a rice meal, everyone will rejoice. It was an isolated case and they handled it very well. I wouldn't trade the comfort of Supercat to my  Oceanjet ferry non-aircon ride last year. But everyone's safe - that is the most important thing.

the 4-hour ride to Cebu
'pag rice meal to mas ayos!
Check Panglao Island, Bohol accommodations here




22 comments:

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    ReplyDelete
  2. mas malakas loob ko hawakan si prony kesa kay marimar..hehehe kay kuya tatsky di kami last year :) ang sarap pag free ang travel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi abeng! siya din nag drive? sarap talaga pag libre! woot!

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  3. bilib naman ako dyan sa kuya tatsky, andaming numbers, saan ka pa?!
    sana makahanap kami ng panahon, budget at pagkakataon makapunta sa bohol at subukan din naming kontakin yang si kuta tatsky. unlimited e!

    i like everything in this post (particularly the hanging bridge shots), except the kodakan with sawa.
    spell phobia.

    masaya ang buhay kung libre ang lahat o di kaya mura ang happiness!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. go bohol doc! matutuwa si gab for sure... haha... isa lang naman kinakatakutan ko eh - ang nanay ko.. hihi

      lalo na kung free hongkong disneyland trip di ba doc? yun ang H-A-P-P-I-N-E-S-S talaga!

      Delete
  4. You sold me Bohol. Maka punta nga dyan pag-uwi naman ni Commander-in-Chief (aka my wife).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you should really go bertN! happy sa bohol! :)

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  5. WHOOO!!! Carla,

    nkita to Sophia, love nia ang tarsier at ang chocolate hills...c dada ang beach!!!

    Ang ganda ng mga shots m gurl!!

    dalhin mnkmi sa bohol.. oh my!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dapat kasi nakabook ka na eh... tagal kasi mag decide yan tuloy... hihi

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  6. How I wish I can visit bohol again.. its definitely the place where i wanted to spend the rest of my life. the peace and serenity is a plus! <3 lovely photos dearie!~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks shugah!

      indeed, a very nice place to retire in the Philippines...

      Delete
  7. Sometimes reading Bohol from the point of view of other travelers gives you a new set of eyes and realize how magnificent Bohol is. Thanks for this. Lovely photos.

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    Replies
    1. hi earl! they are all bohol first-timers so it's fun to show them around. one of my favorite places!

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  8. why yung travel back to cebu is 4hours? nabasa ko sa net is 2hours travel from cebu to bohol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. there was an engine problem jerome. naka 2 movie nga kami. buti comfy ang ride. haha

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    2. maam bkit hindi ka gumagamit ng Prime lens? how much yung buy mo sa lens mo?

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    3. walang budget jerome. gift lang yung lente na gamit ko. pero kahit yung kitlens pwede na sakin. hehe

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    4. maam tignan mo yung picture sa baclayon church si father pio naka smile sa picture. :D

      Delete