Archive for January, 2012

Bohol: A 3D2N Adventure!

Welcome to Bohol!

Whenever friends would ask me where in the Philippines they should go if they don’t have the time, I’d often say, visit Bohol! Why? That’s because this lovely island is sort of like a sampler of what can be had all over the country! Delicious foods, rich history, endemic animals, scenic sights, eco adventures, beautiful beaches and an amazing  marine life just to name some!

Located in the Central Visayas region, Bohol has two main islands namely Bohol and Panglao. Bohol island, the tenth largest island in the country is famous for its limestone formations more popularly known as the Chocolate Hills. While Panglao is where you have to head to if you want to beach bum or dive.

The first time I was there was when I went on a trip with a German friend I met in Singapore. From Manila, we flew for an hour to Cebu then took a 2hour fast craft from there. Buying tickets for the fast craft ahead of time would really save you money. Say if you buy it on the day itself, you’ll have to pay for the full amount but if you’ll purchase one (online), you would pay only half of it! Alternatively, just book a flight directly to Bohol’s Tagbilaran airport. ;)

To maximize your 3 days there (although you can definitely stay there for an extended period of time), I’d suggest you have an agenda for each day. Something like:

Day1: EAT Danao

Day2: Bohol countryside tour

Day3: Panglao sea tour

Or just remove one from the list so as not to tire yourself out too much. We only did the countryside as well as the sea tour. I have to go back to experience Danao! ;)

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN BOHOL + COUNTRYSIDE TOUR

I’d booked with Bohol Bee Farm because I’ve heard wonderful feedback from friends about the foods they have there. And since I sometimes travel for a locale’s food, it was a no brainer for me. Once we’re at Tagbilaran’s port, there was a guy outside waiting for us. This is a free service that they have for their guests. It was just us and another pair of visitors. It was only a few minutes away but the Farm is out-of-the-way from the main road. The road leading up to it was kinda bumpy and wasn’t paved. While I was checking us in, they told us that since they have vacant rooms, they’ll upgrade us to one of their ocean view rooms, free of charge! Sweet!

BBF's lounge area

I’m not so sure if BBF would appeal to everyone though since it’s quiet there. I love that everything there was very native and they try to be as fresh as possible. Their lounge area (sunbathing platform as they call it), is a nice place to chill in. And not to forget, a perfect spot for taking pictures. To get there though, you’ll have to walk down the stairway they made on the side of a cliff. They don’t have a beachfront (coz it’s on a cliff) but during low tide, you can wade through their waters if you want.

Not normally part of any itinerary, my friend and I wanted to check out Mag-Aso Falls because it was just so beautiful in pictures! We weren’t disappointed, it really is beautiful and more so! My companion was crazy enough to actually trek to the top of the falls so I can take his picture while he jumps. BUT since I wasn’t able to get a decent shot, he did it 4 more times! He didn’t really needed any prompting as he was just so excited to do it. hehe

Happy to be in the water! ;)

Next stop is the Baclayon Church. Then it’s a buffet lunch in Loboc while on a river cruise. On our way to see the Chocolate Hills in Carmen, we stopped by a roadside to see how small the world’s smallest primate, tarsier,  really is! While I loved how green it was at the man-made forest of Pilar! THe Chocolate Hills didn’t look like chocolates coz they were covered in grass hehe We went to a butterfly garden afterwards. That was the best butterfly garden I’ve been to in the country since the very well-informed guides told it in such a way that you’re laughing while learning at the same time. I bought some souvenirs near the hanging bridge. We also went inside Hinagdanan Cave despite the fact that it’s supposed to be closed. The guides still let us in. Oh, and they’re amazing with all types of cameras! They know how to set it to actually get some good shots in the dark! ;) I can very well say that I learned useful infos from them. hehe Cheap souvenirs can be bought when you stop by Prony the Python’s. He is said to be the biggest in captivity but I couldn’t vouch for this coz he was coiled unto himself when we saw him.  :)

Loboc's river cruise

At Baclayon Church with the image of Padre Pio

Spot the tarsier ;)

Man-made forest

The famed Chocolate Hills!

Walking along the hanging bridge after buying souvenirs :D

It was already dark when Kuya Tatsky dropped us off in Panglao Island’s Paragayo Resort. It’s in Alona Beach. We stayed there coz there were more options for us with regards to where to stay and eat at (and it’s cheaper here too). The other beach is Dumaluan. On a different trip, I stayed here with my family. The beach here, Dumaluan, is really nice. They have a wide beach front and thw sands are powdery fine here as well! The only drawback is that there were fewer choices to eat and it’s more expensive (Eskaya, Bohol Beach Club, Amarela, Dumaluan Beach Resort to name a few). On the plus side though, it’s a more relaxed  and chill out place. :)

*An option for day 1 is to have your tour guide pick you up from the airport then head straight to the countryside tour. Instead of staying at Bohol Bee Farm, it’s actually included in the daytour itself. Would save more money but it could be tiring. ;)

DAY 2: SEA TOUR

We woke up early so that we could be at sea by 7am. I was sooo excited to see the dolphins! The boat was arranged by Kuya Tatsky as well. There were only 2 of us in the boat aside from our guides. After several minutes, we were out in the open. We saw other bancas (boat) making their way there as well for the same reason. It was so thrilling when I saw a dolphin making a flip and diving right back into the water. There was a whole pod of them! They were fast! It was amazing! I didn’t want to ruin the experience by taking a video so I only took  a few shots and just enjoyed the moment. After a while though, we told the boatman that we had enough and would rather leave. We realized that every other bancas were chasing the pod. I, well… we, didn’t enjoy that cat and mouse game (or so it seemed to us) so we opted to leave. We saw them which was good enough for us. :D

Dolphins!!! :D

Next stop, Balicasag Island for some snorkeling fun! It’s a small island in the middle of a marine sanctuary. I don’t think I’m a good swimmer. I can swim, yes. But if I get scared, I can’t. Totally sucks. Anyways, I told my friend this and was expecting him to not leave me on my own as I’ll go snorkelling by the deep (there was a drop there) without any lifevest on. I was totally enjoying myself and I knew I was swimming away from our boat but I didn’t realize I was completely on my own. When I did, I started to panic (my heart started beating faster)! I tried to keep calm. It’s a great thing our guide was keeping close watch on me and the boat was beside me instantly when I called out to him. I got back ito the boat safely but I was dizzy coz of the panic attack! lol We didn’t bring any lunch  so we had some foods cooked for us there. Yum! I had to wait for a while before I could enjoy it though as my world wasn’t stable yet. hehe Next stop was Virgin Island. To my disappointment. it was high tide so you can’t really see it. Not good for pics! ;) We still enjoyed it there though but the water was up to our knees already.

Chilling by Balicasag Island

DAY 3: CHILL TIME

We had no other agenda here because we have an early flight back home. So we spent the day enjoying the beautiful beach of Bohol. :)

Totally clueless as to how these sand formations came about! haha

Waking up early to enjoy the beach :)

Still sleepy hehe

I had a wonderful time when I went there the first time that I came back with my family the second time around :D

*pics used were from both trips

*more details coming up! ;)

This is my entry for Pinoy Travel Blogger’s blog carnival for the month of January 2012 hosted by Eileen of Possibly Pinay with the theme “The 3Days/2Nights Challenge.”

Best of Travel 2011: My Fave Travel Moments

2011 was probably the year that I was most often on the road. On my own, with family or friends enjoying a relaxed trip or exploring new destinations in as well as out of the country! So even if I have never done a travel recap nor a year ender post, here’s one now before I embark on different journeys and adventures for the year 2012! Thanks Mica! Here’s my response to your tag for me about the Best of Travel 2011 survey. :)

BEST DOMESTIC TRAVEL DESTINATION

Enjoying another sunny day! :D

Aside from the expected Boracay, I would have to say that Bohol tops my list for this year. It just has everything! From the countryside to the sea and not to mention that they have eco-adventures and delicious foods too. We went there for my mom’s birthday and she truly enjoyed it and that’s enough to make me happy as well. ;)

My bro and mom by the Chocolate Hills :)

BEST INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL DESTINATION

Bangkok. I had a wonderful time there coz of all the people I met (our hosts + other travelers)! Though I wasn’t really able to shop nor were we able to explore famous beach islands such as Ko Phi Phi and Krabi, it was enough to warrant another visit in the future. It also doesn’t hurt that it connects you to mainland Asia, making a trip to Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and the likes a must! Daily foot massage and Thai foods totally made our days there! :D

Bangkok buddies!

BEST TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

Traveling with my cousin in Bangkok and El Nido was the best travel experience I could choose amongst all the other great ones I’ve had!

With my cousin aka travel buddy. Thanks Nick for this shot!

Because sometimes, it’s truly the people who you travel with or meet on your journeys that can make or break a trip. When we were Bangkok, we were hosted by two amazing Filipino guys that I met through Couchsurfing. They, along with the other travelers we met there, truly made it a trip to remember for me! Well, it didn’t hurt that we were in Bangkok eating delicious (and spicy) foods, exploring (beautiful) temples and even riding elephants. ;)

I would have to add one more here.

Bucas Grande's non sting jellies! :D

Swimming with thousands of stingless jellyfish was just wayyyyy awesome! I swam with whalesharks in 2009 and it was pure adrenaline rush. The jellies on the other hand was as exhilirating but on a chill mode. What amazes me as well is the fact that amongst my (tons) of travel buddies, there was only one guy who had been there before me and to think that they’ve traveled all over! It felt like we were exploring uncharted territories coz of that. hehe I was apprehensive to get into the water since I don’t want to get stung so our guide just scooped one out of the lagoon and we all tentatively touched it. Not entirely convinced, I still went into the water. When I was in there, I was trying not to get in contact with them which was just IMPOSSIBLE! They’d bump into you. They felt like a little more solid form of gelatins. hehe And did I say that viewing them underwater is just amazing?! Wow!

Surigao buddies! ;)

WORST TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

I don’t really have anything to put here because I treat every misfortune as another part of my adventure that makes a trip more exciting. Well, unless maybe it’s really bad. hehe

HK's beautiful skyline in the early morning :)

Hmmm.. though I really like Hong Kong and I’m a budget traveler, skimping on accommodation when you’re with your mom is a totally bad idea! Or, not really thinking about it before hand especially when going to a popular tourist destination as HK.  In my defense though, she kept changing her mind as to whether she will join me and only decided to do so on the day that I was to leave for HK (she was to follow after 3 days and I wasn’t thinking about any bookings coz I almost always couchsurf). I ended up booking for a hostel an hour before my flight and got a confirmation when I was already there. The one I prefered to stay at was fully booked. The hostel room where we stayed at was very small and we were both too disappointed to use the toilet there. It was a good thing we were there literally just to sleep coz we went to Macau early the next morning (where thankfully, you get more than your money’s worth). It’s funny looking back on it but we didn’t find it funny then. hehehe

Nothing to write? Now this part became the longest! -_-

MOST EMBARRASSING TRAVEL MOMENT

Getting ready to try the infamous durian! :D (guys, pahiram ng pic ah)

Not really embarrassing but more of funny. Uhmm.. I often wear beach dresses when I’m on out of town trips because of various reasons (looks nice in pictures and to be always ready for the beach coz it’s normally a bathing suit underneath it and then dress dries easily afterwards). I was in Davao with friends for the Kadayawan festival. It was noon and it was very hot so while waiting for one of our companion (Ed), we went inside the church. One of the old ladies wearing a white clothing with a veil (an active member of the parish?), went up to me and said, “Ineng, di pwede yang suot mo dito!” (Young lady, you’re not wearing appropriate clothing inside the church!) Not wanting any other scolding, I just told her that I had no other clothes left and that I’m sorry. I quickly joined my friends who were seated. Later, I saw her again and had to resist an urge to duck behind my companions! :D

Davao buddies! :) (the dress I was wearing when I got a scolding! hehe)

BEST LOCAL DESTINATION

Photo op!

My dad’s home province is in Bicol. I’m proud to say that we boast of this beautiful place called, Caramoan! My last travel destination in the Philippines for 2011 . A darling destination for several Survivor franchises, the rugged beauty as well as the remoteness of this place captured their attention. Not to mention that it’s very gorgeous! Probably the fact that I’m kinda biased towards places with karsts helped. I felt myself go wow the first time we saw the place (my friends who traveled with me reacted the same way ;))! Not to forget the fact that I really enjoyed the trip there with my workmates who were just a happy bunch!

Caramoan buddies!

BEST TRAVEL DESTINATION

Beautiful El Nido :)

Hands down, Palawan is my favorite island in the Philippines! It just made me a convert. I’m now a beach bum (though I’m no good swimmer too -_-) whereas I’d always prefer a trip to the mountain or cities, now, I find myself going to a beach every other weekend in the Philippines! Long stretch of fine, powdery beaches. Beautiful limestone karsts in the background. Crystal clear waters. Colorful corals. Rich marine life. All to yourself. I have nothing ese to add. ;)

In Limbo

I love to travel! I enjoy writing! I love sharing my experiences with friends in the hope that they’ll get to experience the same things. Hence this travel blog came about.

It was on the last week of September that I was told I’ll be able to work in London, the one place where I really wanted to go, and a week after, I got my visa! Left and right, I was suddenly meeting up with friends for farewell dinners, farewell parties, farewell trips. I had to organize many stuff and attend to some chores that there really was no time to “write.”

It was a cold, gray Wednesday morning that I arrived in London’s Heathrow airport along with 22 other Filipinos. I remember how everyone was just amazed to see our breaths turn foggy! Adjusting, adjusting, adjusting… that was the main agenda. Be it the weather, language, food, and at work, we all had to adjust. But adjust, I did (though it’s always a continuous process)!

And soon, after all the paperworks I need to pass has been over and done with, I’ll be able to do what I’m most passionate about and that’s to travel! Unlike before wherein it was all in Southeast Asia, now, it’s Europe!  So aside from writing posts about my beloved Philippines, I will start writing about Europe (from visa application to planning to the actual trips). Can’t wait!

With the iconic Big Ben and Westminster's House of Parliament! :D

PS: I think I wrote this just to explain as to why my site has been idle for quite a while.. and I wanted to write something! Anything! hehe ;)

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