My flight to Bohol was scheduled at 6:10am (thank you Ate for driving me to the airport) and I was surprised that it wasn’t delayed (good job, Air Asia). It was exactly 7:30am when the plane landed at Tagbilaran airport. I went out and was picked up by one of Kuya Tatsky’s driver.
I was scheduled to do the Bohol countryside tour on my first day, and I came across Kuya Jesser “Tatsky” Cubero on most blogs about Bohol tours. He offered me car rental for the tour but because I’m traveling solo, I opted to rent a habal habal (motorbike) to cut costs. And because I didn’t know how to drive a habal habal, and I didn’t have a license, he sent me a driver as well – Kuya Eric, who served as my very informative tour guide for the day. A little disclaimer though, if you’re not in for major body aches and sunburn, better rent a car for the tour. When Kuya Eric told me that the travel to Carmen (where the Chocolate Hills view deck is) is about 1 hour and 45 minutes, I started asking what did I get myself into?! Imagine being on a motorbike for that long, and then back, and then some more. I seriously wanted to back out right then. I knew it was going to be a little challenging, but wanting to be as adventurous as I can be, I still went for it. The next thing I knew I was hopping on to Kuya Eric’s motorbike and we were off to Carmen.
Most of the major spots I was to visit were on the way to Carmen, but our first stop was the Man Made Forest, which stretches for about 2 kms between the towns of Loboc and Bilar. I was blown away not just by how awesome it is to eye, but the whole feel of the forest was just too, uhmm, whimsical and borderline eerie. The breeze was so calm and cold and just refreshing.
Next stop was the Bohol Habitat, where the butterfly conservation center is. I was greeted by a guide (who’s name was Ariel, if I remember it right) who toured and educated me about interesting butterfly stuff. The guide was hilarious I laughed almost endlessly with all his jokes and punch lines (I know, it’s a script, but still funny).
And then for the highlight of the day, we headed to Carmen to see the Chocolate Hills. After going about 200 or so stair steps, I reached the view deck. It was awesome up there. The weather was perfect – it was sunny but the breeze was cool. And the view of the famous hills – my goodness it was breath taking! I didn’t imagine it to be that beautiful, and I might be exaggerating but for my own eyes, it was unbelievable. It looks unreal and way more beautiful in person than in photos I used to see in books. I even asked God how the hills came about, but it was Kuya Eric who gave me the answer. Haha. It was a long story though.
After embracing the beauty of the Chocolate Hills, we headed to see the Hanging Bridge in Sevilla. At the end of the bridge, I had some buko juice and crackers for snacks.
It was almost 12nn when we arrived at the Rio Verde Floating Restaurant in Loay. I paid for the buffet lunch and was seated on a long table with a lot of Korean people. And when I say a lot, I mean lots. The lunch was just okay, nothing special with the food, but the Loboc river cruise was something to try. There were stops where people can watch the locals perform, particularly the Ati Tribe dance. It was a sleepy-after-lunch cruise, so it was nice.
It was time to head to Panglao after lunch, but we stopped by some important landmarks along the way, particularly the site and the shrine of the blood compact. It is important to note though that the site where the shrine is, is different from the site where the blood compact actually happened. Kuya Eric refreshed my grade school history which was nice.
I also visited Prony, the largest Philippine python. Sadly, Prony died last year, but her bones are being preserved in the area.
Next stop was the Baclayon Church. Among the famous old churches, this was the only one that is still open for tourists to see (as far as I know). The Loboc Church, for example, was totally wrecked after the earthquake last year. The front part of the Baclayon Church was destroyed as well, but the museum and the insides of the church are still open for the public to visit. There were a lot of other churches, and even houses along the round that were ruined by the earthquake. It was heartbreaking.
It was time to head to Panglao Island. The island is a 20-minute ride away and is connected to the city by a bridge. Before bringing me to the Bohol Bee Farm, Kuya Eric dropped me off to see Bayoyoy in Dauis. Bayoyoy is the oldest living person with dwarfism. He’s 67 years old this year, but his bodily functions are that of an 8-month old baby. According to Kuya Eric, Bayoyoy’s parents were next of kin, and among their 15 children, 6 of them were dwarves, 5 of them already died. Bayoyoy lives with the rest of his sisters.
It was time to see the Bohol Bee Farm. I went into the Buzz Café where the famous Malunggay flavored ice cream is made. I didn’t order it though, haha. I got a foolproof avocado flavored one. I give 5 stars to the ice cream!
Our last stop for the day was the Hinagdanan Cave, which was named so because the made a staircase on the way down to the cave.
And the tour came to an end. It was a long day and Kuya Eric dropped me off at my hotel. My body was aching all over and I was just tired. He even invited me for a videoke session but I had to decline as I was really tired and I just wanted to shower and take a rest. It was around 5:30pm when I checked in at Slim Pension Hotel in Tagbilaran.
I took a good shower, had a short facetime sesh with D, and fell asleep. It was around 8:30pm when I woke up. I went out to look for a place to eat and in a city like Tagbilaran, most establishment are already closed at that time. Guess what I found open? Good ol’ trusty Jollibee which was a block away from my hotel. I bought my food, went back to the hotel to eat, and watched TV for a little. Called D and around midnight, I was off to dreamland once again.
It was indeed a long day.
Here’s Kuya Tatsky’s contact details, by the way:
- DIY Bohol-Cebu Day 2
- DIY Bohol-Cebu Day 3 & 4
- DIY Bohol-Cebu: Where I Stayed
- DIY Bohol-Cebu Expenses