Bohol Vacation 2008

Visiting Baclayon Church

Be sure you’ve read my previous Bohol posts before continuing with this one πŸ™‚ Read Parts one, two, and three.


From the Loboc River Cruise, there was only stop left for us in the tour – the oldest church in the island and the second oldest in the country: Baclayon Church.

I didn’t get a very good picture of the church because it started to drizzle when we got there. But the Church faces the sea and the view from the museum’s windows were so picturesque. The breeze was refreshing too. I understand that the Parish school is right beside the church. It must be difficult to concentrate on school work when you’ve got such a lovely view just outside. πŸ™‚

For lack of a beautiful picture by yours truly, I turned to my trusty search engine and found these lovely photos:

Don’t you just love those colors? Here’s another photo, too bad the uploaded photo is quite small.Β 

It would have been nice to explore the interior of the Church, but they had a seminar ongoing at the time, so we didn’t get to walk around that much. I remember having gone there the first time I was in town in 1999 or 2000. But I didn’t get any photos. Old Catholic churches are interesting even just for all the history you can find in its furnishings. The fact that it was already raining outside, and the sun was hiding, added to my frustration at only having my camera phone for pictures.Β 

They have a museum here that charges a 20 peso entrance fee. I could have skipped that, but Alfred was interested so we walked up. There’s a souvenir shop in the vicinity too.Β 

The Jesuit-built church at Baclayon is also known as the Church ofΒ Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. You can read about it here.

By the time we were ready to go out, the rain was pouring. They weren’t allowing vehicles to enter the parking area so our car was outside by the road. Like a boy scout, an umbrella’d Janny came to us toting two additional umbrellas – one for each of us.

The next time I visit Baclayon, I hope there’ll be more sun and we better be equipped with a better camera too. I am sure there was much to see inside the Church itself.Β 

On the way back to the city, we had one more stop – a souvenir shop that allegedly gave discounts. It was a bit more pricey and even with the discounts, you’re better off buying elsewhere. We did buy some of their bead bracelets and necklaces. Those were reasonably priced and they had some good designs too.

This concludes our countryside tour of Bohol. Next post will finally be on our Panglao Island experience – the beach! πŸ™‚

Loboc River Cruise

Be sure to read parts one and two of our Bohol vacation before proceeding to read this postΒ  πŸ˜‰


Seventh Stop: The Loboc River Cruise

I have been on this cruise twice before but there were some new things on this visit.

1 – The Tourism Complex is new and was constructed, if I remember hearing from Janny correctly, two years ago. The rafts dock on the opposite side of the river and it looks better now too. There are also souvenir shops in the complex, and a children’s center. I didn’t get to see what was in the children’s center/hall though.

2 – We noticed flood lights and lampposts lining the length of the river. Those were definitely not there four years ago. Apparently, there are cruises at night too. Next time I’d love to check that out. It must be beautiful.

3 – There are at least two rafts along the river where locals sing and dance for tourists. They don’t ask for a fee but they do welcome donations. There are a lot of women there, ranging from highschool girls to mothers and even gradmothers. There are some men too. One of the rafts I think showcase the women playing banduria. Those seem to be fundraising projects by their barangays (local government unit).

The river cruise and all-you-can-eat lunch costs 300 pesos per person. I particularly liked the steamed fish that they served. A musician goes on board too, his repertoire includes folk songs, oldies and pop. Towards the end of the cruise, on the way back, a hat would be passed around for the singer.

The water, the color of chocolate during our visit, is normally of a lovely blue green color. It rained hard the night before and it stirred the mud at the bottom of the river, turning it to this color. It was still lovely nonetheless.

The wind blew ever so lightly that day and it was soothing, and calming too.

The photo above is a view of the Loboc Church, the second oldest in the island, from across the dock. The photo next to it is of the same church. Notice the bridge this time? This unfinished bridge has been a fixture in Loboc for some time already. It was a government project foolishly executed because the bridge was constructed where it would hit the church itself. The people refused to have this part of the church taken down to make way for this bridge. It is said that it was constructed as a ruse to have the front of the church excavated to look for the hidden treasure said to be there.

Today there is a much smaller bridge a few meters away that serves the purpose that this big one was supposedly intended for.

There’s a museum in the church but we didn’t visit anymore. We did go inside the church to pray a bit though. Since this is the hometown of the famed Loboc Children’s Choir, I wanted to check if I could get their CD here, but I didn’t get to do that. The Choir performed for us during the conference we had in Tagbilaran four years ago. They were very good.

Here are other shots of the cruise:

The last two photos were of the rafts I mentioned earlier. There’s two of them but we only stopped for this one. There was a boy from our cruise who went down and happily danced with the performers. My camera phone wasn’t powerful enough to capture his happy dance though. Here’s another boy who was generous with his donation, he actually came back to give more:

Oops, I am going to be late for work. Sorry to cut this short. I hope you enjoyed the cruise with us!

Countryside Tour of Bohol

Bohol is an island province in the Visayas; it is the tenth largest island in the country. There’s a map here to give you an idea of where in the Philippines Bohol is situated.

This is my third time in Bohol, the last visit being four years ago. Yes I’ve seen the sites before, but it doesn’t cease to amaze me. The last trip out of Bohol was a bitter one, I received news of my grandmother’s passing while waiting for our delayed flight home. Sad though that time was, it is not difficult to disassociate that memory from the rest of the island. This trip is also made special by the company I have.

Prior to coming here, I had already looked for arrangements for the tour. I knew we couldn’t just take public transportation and give it a go on our own. No, no, no. Dao Diamond was willing to arrange the tour for us for PhP3,000.00 on their lovely red van. My friend Joy was able to give me the name of the driver/tour guide that took them around the last time she was there with family.

I contacted Janny and I was thrilled that he gave me a price that’s lower than what Dao had quoted. Still, I didn’t confirm because it was still about two weeks away when I first got in touch with him. Nearer to the tour date though, he contacted me again to confirm and even said that I can ask for a discount. What a great guy, he did give us a big discount!

I totally recommend him, he was not on our faces during the tour, he would actually let you just do your own thing and let you take your time. He’s a bit on the shy side though but he will answer any questions you may have. We managed to snap a photo of him before he took us to the airport (with sidetrips, of course).

Driver/Tour guide: Janny Joy Betarmos 09216328668

Driver/Tour guide: Janny Joy Betarmos 09216328668

First stop: the Blood Compact park. The sculpture is by National Artist, and proud Boholanon, Napoleon Abueva – Daddy Abueva to us. Haha. No, we are not related to him but my former boss, Ate Amihan, is his daughter and we’ve had dinner many times in their Quezon City home. Oh, we’ve always enjoyed those haven’t we? Joy and I have taken to calling him and his wife, Daddy and Mommy Abueva (although we call them Sir and Ma’am when we’re in their actual presence, to show respect).

But I digress. The Blood Compact monument is situated in a very picturesque spot. You have an unobstructed view of the sea and that side of the Bohol Island. It’s a breathtaking first stop.

They don’t collect any fees on this monument.

Second stop: Meet the Tarsiers! In my previous visits, I got to see the Tarsiers along Loboc River. With the new tourist complex they have in Loboc, the shops in the former docking area for the balsa no longer house the Tarsiers.

This time around, we stopped right by the highway, to a small shack. Inside were eleven Tarsiers, with the youngest being just eight months. There is no entrance fee, but they do have donation boxes – for Tarsier feeding. There are also a few stalls selling souvenir items (Tarsier bags, purses, key chains, magnets, etc).

You are reminded not to use flash when you take pictures of the little primates, they could go blind if you do. They have big eyes, but very small pupils. They are nocturnal so they don’t move much during the day.

Tourists are not allowed to touch the little creatures and I don’t see any reason really to do so. But we were there early and no one else was around so the young man caring for the Tarsiers offered to put one of his babies on our hands/shoulders. I wasn’t brave enough though so I was content to see how happy Alfred was to experience that. Hehe. Oh and the boy also let us feed one of the tarsiers!


Third stop: Chocolate Hills, Carmen peak. There are two peaks that tourists can visit: Carmen and Sagbayan Peak. The latter is in another part of the island so we didn’t go there. That was the peak we visited four years ago though. Carmen Peak is still what I’d prefer of the two.

As soon as we arrived at the development, we realized that we were both stupid – we hadn’t recharged the camera batteries! So we settled on using my camera phone for the rest of the tour and we had to pay top buck for four photos at this majestic spot. We weren’t going to let the camera incident ruin the trip though, and we still have photos to show for it, the beauty and fun of the experience isn’t just stuck in our memories. Hah!

Don’t ask me how many steps those were, I didn’t count. There’s a memorial/peace bell at the top that you’re supposed to ring when you’re there, Alfred, in his excitement, didn’t even see it!

Here’s a tip, aside from making sure your camera is fully charged, or that you have a backup camera in hand, it is wise to bring a USB drive too. There are photographers on the peak that take your photos and print them out for a fee (highway robbery, haha) but they won’t mind saving the other shots you didn’t pick on your USB drive. I’m sure that if you ask nicely, they’d take more photos for you on their lovely DSLRs or even your own point and shoot.

Sorry these pics don’t particularly look awesome, I just took a picture of the prints.

Fourth stop: Butterfly Conservation – Hmm, I forgot the name of the place, Simply Butterflies was it?

For an entrance fee of 20 pesos, there’s a guide that will go around the garden with you, and tell you all about the butterflies, moths and other small creatures that can be found there. He even showed us the garlic plant, which really smells like garlic. It apparently has a lovely purple flower but they weren’t in bloom at the time. I took a number of pictures there but I’ll post those some other time πŸ™‚

Fifth Stop: Bilar Man-Made Forest – According to Janny, the Mahogany trees lining this highway were planted decades ago at the same time that the road was constructed. The idea was to prevent landslides. Weren’t they wise? They should have thought of planting trees in every highway they build across the country!

Sixth Stop: Hanging Bridge – Okay, there is nothing very special to this bridge, as far as I’m concerned. This is a bridge that residents use everyday but it crosses the picturesque river. It’s made of different materials including suspension wire and bamboo. We chickened out of crossing it all the way though. We hadn’t thought it was worth is if we were only to see shops on the other side, and then have to endure the walk back. Haha!

The river isn’t normally of this color, it is usually green but it had rained very hard the night before and that kinda ruined everything. Not! Though this isn’t in Loboc town anymore , this river apparently joins the Loboc River.

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My Internet connection goes all loopy every Saturday at noon – without fail (damn you PLDT DSL !) and that is what’s happening now. I’ll publish this post until this stop and continue on with the rest next time. Hang tight, the best stop of the tour has yet to be shown πŸ™‚

Bohol Vacation 2008

I am back home but need time to get re-acquainted with my own bed and everything else. Here’s a very delayed Post number One for our Bohol Getaway (written in bursts throughout the trip and last updated on Tuesday morning!)…

Yebah Yebah Panglao Island! Insert fits of laughter here. πŸ™‚

I have been meaning to blog since a few hours of touchdown in lovely Bohol, but vacationing got in the way. I am still determined to post though, otherwise I’d forget the things I wanted to say, or I’ll be forced to condense everything in one long boring post.

It’s Day 3 and we’re already checked in to a De Luxe room at Dumaluan Beach Resort. It’s nothing fancy really, but it is next door to the more popular Bohol Beach Club. It’s in a price range that we’re willing to spend for. The guests before us just checked out though so they’re still cleaning out our bathroom. We were surprised that, even during non-peak season, and on a weekday, the resort has a lot of guests. We’re out here looking out at the beach, having a beer and hoping that Internet access will be restored sometime soon. As in real soon. πŸ™‚

It’s not a very sunny day, but we’re hoping for at least weather like yesterday’s. You can hear the surf crashing on the shore but there’s no one swimming in the beach right in front of Dumaluan. In an hour or two, or maybe in the afternoon, we’ll take a dip and brave the waves ourselves. They have a lovely pool here too, always a plus in my book.

We haven’t taken any pictures of our new room, nor of the beach, we haven’t warmed up I guess. We plan on taking a walk up and down the beach first, and then start snapping away then.

Here’s the first installment of the story of our Bohol Vacay 2008…

Sunday, September 7

We’ve been shacked up in a place with Wi-Fi Internet access but we didn’t take advantage of it, like we thought we would. Maybe it’s the fact that access is limited to the lobby area of the B&B, or that we’ve been sleeping as soon as the sun sets. Nevertheless, I didn’t shake and shiver from being away from the Internet for an extended period. Haha.

Even on the first day we were here, Sunday, and all we’ve really seen was the airport, our hotel room, and Island City Mall, I felt like we already had a lot of fun.

We’re like that you see, Alfred and I, we can find fun in most things. πŸ™‚

Be sure to read more after the jump!


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