I was in Bohol, Philippines, to be a bridesmaid for my friend AA’s destination wedding. The official photos of the event aren’t out yet, so I’ll blog about that later.
Let me get to what I did in the two days after that wedding, though. I booked my own room at one of the hotels in Bohol then I went on a couple of tours with my friends Gelle, Joey, Jaja and Einstein. I had already been to Bohol before, but since it was over a decade ago, I didn’t mind going through some of the same sights.
The first tour we went on was a countryside tour, where we were driven around a van to these sites:
(1) Baclayon Church
We paid 50 pesos to walk into a museum which housed a lot of ancient religious statues, parchment, clothes, etc. We were not allowed to take photographs.
After which, we walked into the Baclayon church, parts of which is in various stages of repair from when it was damaged in the last earthquake.
The Baclayon Church was built in 1727 and is the oldest coral stone church in the region. It is one of the oldest in Asia and foremost among the best-preserved Jesuit-built churches in the Philippines.
(2) Tarsier Sanctuary
Tarsiers are tiny primates who are endangered because they get easily stressed and commit suicide. Therefore they are no longer allowed to be kept elsewhere but in their natural habitat.
They are so tiny and hard to find, thus there are workers whose jobs are to find them each day and lead the visitors to them.
It wasn’t easy to take clear shots of all… 6, I think, tarsiers we saw, but we did get one.
(3) Loboc River Cruise
We paid 450 pesos for a lunch cruise on the Loboc River. We found a lovely spot just in front of the boat so we could feel the refreshing breeze while enjoying our buffet meal.
The last time I was there, it had just rained, so the river waters were brown, but this time around it was a beautiful green.
In the middle of the cruise, we stopped to watch a cultural dance performance by some local kids. You could even join in, but I was too chicken to do so, but Gelle and Jaja did.
(4) Chocolate Hills
The chocolate hills is probably the most famous tourist attraction in Bohol. It has been declared the country’s third National Geological Monument and proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List. They are called that because they turn brown during the dry season, which wasn’t the case when we went.
You have to climb 214 steps to get to the viewing deck and it was kinda exhausting, to be honest.
You don’t actually need to climb up there, to be honest, we found a better spot to take pictures down the road.
(5) Bilar Man-Made Forest
It was a pretty nice, standard forest.
But we loved it when we found a spot where the sunlight filtered through the trees and we could take pictures with great lighting.
(6) Bamboo Hanging Bridge @ Sevilla
Our driver decided to take us to an unplanned stop at a pair of hanging bridges made of bamboo, which is the first of its kind I’ve ever seen. It was pretty scary to cross. 😱
(7) Firefly Watching
Our favourite part of the trip was when we went to watch fireflies. We had to pay extra for the driver to drive us to Abatan River, where we had to pay another fee to get on a boat that drove us to the mangrove forests out into the middle of the river, where we saw fireflies converged around a few select trees teeming with flowers.
It was a magical sight. Unfortunately our cameras were not good enough to capture it. But it was like watching fairies inside little bubbles of light that flickered on and off as they danced and floated around the tree.
The only picture we have is of a single firefly that drifted into our boat.
Not much of a picture, I know.
But just trust me that it’s an experience worth having.
That was the end of our countryside tour, but the next day, we were up early to check out the sea. We were picked up by a guy who led us to a boat which we rode to the Balicasag reef. We were supposed to watch dolphins along the way, but they never showed up. 😕
Oh well, at least I saw them over 10 years ago!
We headed to the Balicasag Reef where some of us went snorkelling.
My first ever snorkelling experience happened in the same area, and I remember how beautiful the reefs were.
It’s still the same.
Our guide was nice enough to pull us along with him to the deep end. We had to hold on to him because we were not very confident with our swimming skills.
After that, we had lunch before getting back on our boat and heading to Isola de Francesco, also known as the virgin island.
After swimming around for a bit, we headed back to our hotel, and that was when I realised that I had a fever. I guess it was from all that heat. So I couldn’t do anymore sightseeing after that, but had to rest up.
I have to admit, at first I wasn’t really excited about going to Bohol because I had already been there before, but it’s the kind of place where there’s so much to see and do that multiple trips back is not a problem. I highly recommend going there if you haven’t been.