The best trip we had for the first half of 2013 (and probably the best one we ever had since Mike and I got together four years ago ) was our three-day Bohol trip. The people were nice and while the air was ripe with the unmistakable scent of a province, it was surprisingly the most pleasant I've experienced. Of course, the trip was made more special by the fact that it was our first local trip by plane. Mike was like a child on his first plane ride: nervous, almost frightened. But he got over his fear on our trip back home.
Upon arriving at the airport, we were greeted by a group of people carrying signs bearing names, hotels, tours and activities visitors can get to enjoy while on the island. We were informed before leaving Manila that a van will pick us up to bring us to Darunday Manor.
Very nice place Darunday is. Comfortable beds, cozy rooms, free wi-fi, ethnic handiwork, hot and cold showers. What really pleased me was the friendly staff of the hotel. Even though we conversed with them in Filipino, they responded to us in English. It's one of the good places to stay on the island for budget travelers.
On our first and second day, we went to the Bohol Cultural Center in Tagbilaran for a cultural event where, aside from various performances and workshops, we were treated to various handicrafts and delicacies made in Bohol and its neighboring islands. It was a treat to the senses!
By the end of the first day, Mike and his boss went to have dinner by the river and watch the fireflies. Unfortunately, I had to stay at the hotel the entire night to finish some tasks for my other job. Though Mike took photos of the fireflies, they weren't enough to quench my desire to see them.
Before the second day ended, Mike, his boss and myself went to see the second oldest church in Bohol--Loboc Church. We took a tricycle to Island City Mall in Dao and took a jeep to Loboc. The old part of the church was converted into a museum while masses were held at the back. (See photos below)
We finished our little tour of the church a little before 4 in the afternoon and we wanted to see more of Bohol. We wanted to visit tarsiers. Unfortunately, we didn't hire a van or car and the buses that pass by the Tarsier Sanctuary were always full, and the only way to get there was by motorcycle. Two friends with motorcycles offered to bring us to the Sanctuary and back for a small fee. The thought of riding on the back of a motorcycle along the countryside without protection was frightening. And we also didn't know these men; they might have taken us somewhere we didn't want. But we really had to see the tarsiers so we finally and nervously accepted their offer. (I honestly thought of ways to defend myself and Mike should something bad happens) We were wrong to worry too much.
The trip along Bohol's countryside on a motorbike was an adventure. It was almost liberating, really, as you ride past nipa huts, farms and hills, without the police stopping us for not wearing helmets. It was fun! The trip back from the Sanctuary was great as well. When we returned to Loboc, I wished they would take us back all the way to Tagbilaran, but that would've cost us more. The tarsiers, by the way, were adorable. Made me want to joke out loud if they never get tired of drinking coffee. (They're also known for their wide eyes if you haven't seen one)
I guess any trip to Bohol would never be complete without seeing the Chocolate Hills. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit--we had to go back for a dinner with the event organizers. (Mike and I decided not to go to that dinner eventually)
On our final morning in Bohol, while we were packing our bags, Mike and I promised to go back and see those that we weren't able to see, the places we weren't able to visit, the food we weren't able to taste. We wished we had more time. So we promised we'll come back and see more of this beautiful island. It's a waste, a travesty even, not to experience everything that the wonderful island of Bohol can offer.
Can't put all the photos. They're too many for one blog post.