Welcome to another featured post from the DLinkers and Unlideals teams!
Previously, we took you on a tour of the beautiful sandbar island in Concepcion. Now, let us go on a journey through the majestic hills of Bohol to the hectic streets of Cebu.
Bohol is situated in the Central Visayas and is the 10th largest island in the Philippines. Access this island includes travel through air and by sea. In our case, after landing in Cebu, we were immediately taken to the port to make it in time for our Ferry Boat. Crossing from Cebu City to Tagbilaran took approximately two hours.
*DLinkers Team Tip: If time permits, and if your itineraries aren’t super packed, opt to eat at their local restaurants rather than the usual fast-food chains that can also be found in your hometown. It’s not every day you get to visit someplace new. Treat your taste buds and give your tummies something to look forward to, too.
En route to the Chocolate Hills, our first stop was the man‐made forest in the Loboc‐Bilar boundary, which stretched for almost two kilometers.
All of us couldn’t help but imagine we were part of a scene from the Twilight movie.
There were no assigned parking spaces, so we pulled up where the road curved, jumped out our vans and began the first round of (the many more to come) photo shoots. No designated spots for picture taking were provided, so tourists can either pose alongside the road – or if you’re daring enough – in the middle of the road. Don’t get too cozy though, since every other minute, vehicles zoom by, acting like they came out of a Fast and Furious scene!
Then, the DLinkers and Unlideals teams made their way to the attraction Bohol was best known for: the Chocolate Hills.
Legend (and grandparents) always explain that once a upon a time, these hills were formed because two giants had a fight. The dirt and rocks they threw at each other are what we now consider as the hills.
Although as we looked at them from the view deck, we referred to them as the “matcha” hills since they were mostly covered in green. There’s no chance of them turning back into brown until the summer months.
After taking in the scenic views of the countryside, it was time to take a visit to the little critters of Bohol.
Five minutes away from the Bilar man-made forest was the Butterfly Garden. This center is home to hundreds of beautiful butterflies. An entrance fee of 50 pesos is inclusive of a contribution to the development of the butterfly species and a tour guide.
It was fifty pesos well spent for a detailed and hilarious butterfly experience (thanks to our humorous tour guide and his jokes). With good angles and perfect timing, everyone can be a butterfly, too.
On the way out, make sure to try one of their natural fruit ice creams. There’s an array of local fruit-flavored ones to choose from. It’s the perfect snack in between tourist spots.
Our next stop before lunch was the Tarsier Sanctuary. Recognized as one of the smallest primates in the world, it really lived up to their reputation since they were so difficult to spot in between trees.
Did you know that tarsiers were nocturnal? Or that during captivity, they were prone to committing suicide due to trauma?
The DLinkers and Unlideals teams made sure to tone the energy down a bit. Keep in mind that even though they are allowed to be photographed, tarsiers are sensitive to light so refrain from using the flash. If you’re using a selfie-stick, make sure not to extend them too far out either.
Lunch was spent floating along the Loboc River. For about 450 pesos, the DLinkers and Unlideals teams got time to wind down and enjoy a one hour eat-all-you- can experience on the river cruise on. Traditional Filipino food was served while we were serenaded with classic local songs.
We made sure to digest our food properly to prepare ourselves to visit the largest and longest python in captivity: Prony. Unfortunately, Prony passed away, but was still preserved and exhibited in her den. Instead, we met, took photos with and caressed its predecessor, Prony II.
After mustering up the courage to step in the cage, our cases of Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) were finally slightly alleviated. They had smaller, more timid snakes too. Tourists brave enough to definitely deserve a tap on the back for this feat.
On the way back to our resort, our final stops for the day were the Baclayon Church Ruins and the Blood Compact Shrine.
During our visit, the oldest coral stone church in the region and the oldest in Asia, Baclayon church was still under restoration due to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit last October 2013. A museum beside the church housed artifacts centuries old that were open to tourists.
For those with a good eye and believe in miracles, the image of Mary and Child that was said to gradually form, can be seen just above one of the museum’s exterior doors.
The Blood Compact Shrine is a monument erected inhonor of the treaty between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna. It definitely felt like we took a trip back in time.
*DLinkers Team Tip: Don’t forget to stop by the souvenir stores beside the Blood Compact Shrine. Compared to the official souvenir shops at our earlier stops, prices were slashed by almost half. Go crazy over peanut kisses, key chains and memento shirts for your pasalubong.
There was definitely no reason to complain about the 5am wake up time – it was worth it.
On the second day of adventure, DLinkers and Unlideals teams were able to watch the sunrise and got to enjoy an almost empty beach shore as we waited for our island-hopping boat.
It was one of the more peaceful and calming parts of our trip as we sailed for about an hour or so to the area where the dolphins dwelled. The dolphins were probably on a vacation since we barely got a glimpse of them.
Similar to the Sandbar that we visited during the summer, Virgin Island gave us the most beautiful and natural Instagram-worthy backdrops: sand and sky. It looked like we were walking on water!
At Balicasag Island, we didn’t have to worry about our snorkeling gear since it was provided by our guide. Only a few of us were fearless enough to go into deep waters.
Bohol alone was a trip full of sand, sea and history. Anything that includes the beach is bound to be relaxing. As one of the least hyped beaches in the country, island hopping is a must, so make sure to include it in your itineraries if you plan on visiting this area of Central Visayas.
Our group was so lucky to be able to squeeze in so much of this captivating island in just two days. This is only the first half of the DLinkers and Unlideals teams Bohol escapade.
Stay tuned for the continuation of our adventures at Cebu!
*Special thanks to our guides, Kuya Romel and Kuya Edwin. Dlinkers and Unlideals teams would also like to extend our thanks to Alonaland Resort for accommodations.