Lo and Bohol!
Trip Start Jan 31, 2006
3Trip End Feb 03, 2008
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Excitement rose as we were headed for Bohol. A lot of people raved about the place and I couldn't wait to see what the fuss was all about. Beforehand, I booked a 2N/3D stay at the Alona KEW Resort in Alona Beach, Panglao Island and getting to Bohol, I used up my expiring miles with Philippine Airlines (www.philippineairlines.com) wherein I ended up just paying for taxes (more or less P3,000 roundtrip, not bad).
First stop was the Baclayon Church (Nuestra Senora de la Imaculada Concepcion) - known as the second oldest church built in the Philippines after San Agustin in Intramuros. Baclayon prides itself for its coral stones and eggwhite for its foundation and walls, as used during those days. The structure looked sturdy, considering its age as it is the oldest church ever erected outside Manila by Jesuits. Today, a museum and a school are attached to the church.
The Blood Compact Shrine. A marker, an exhibition of how the artist pictured the Blood Compact happened between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (Spanish explorer) and Datu Sikatuna. The location of this shrine has a really good view of the sea. Calm and blue. Only to find out that the real Blood Compact transpired aboard a ship docked nearby. Not on land. Hahaha! It still symbolized the agreement between the Philippines and Spain. A treaty on friendship.
After takings pictures with the tarsiers, we waited to board those noisy rafts along the banks of Loboc River. Floating restaurants as they call them, provided a lunch buffet for us and other tourists (mostly Koreans) with a spread of grilled seafood and fish. While loud music was playing. Then the raft started to glide its winding way downstream.
A man with strong teeth welcomed us in the hanging bridge and souvenir center along the stretch of Loboc River.
The famous Chocolate Hills was the next destination. We were enlightened by Gary when he said that the hills are proof that eons ago the Philippine Archipelago was really submerged. A strong quake shaped the islands and islets into their present formation today. Gary said that the whole island of Bohol was known to be underwater. In fact, the composition of the Chocolate Hills is of corals and not dirt. He said that at a certain era (precolonial, I suppose), the island of Bohol did not even exist.
Alona Beach, Panglao Island
Finally the beach. Ooh white sand and crystal blue water.
Lined with restos, bars and resorts, Alona Beach is a fun place. Nightlife and good food. Each evening the bars & restos set up their alfresco dining on the sand so guests can relax and unwind near the water. Every kind of indigenous fish and sea food are served grilled. During daytime, various tours are offered to visitors of the island. An early boatride to Pamilacan Island, for some whale and dolphin watching or a visit to Balicasag Island, a marine sanctuary and one of the top dive spots in the Philippines. We opted for the snorkeling in Balicasag Island.
A truly enchanting island. shallow corals near the island and a sudden drop in depth. You can practically scale the wall of the island. As the sunlight hits it, the undersea wall sparkles like bright multi-colored gems. Nothing like it at all. Then you begin to notice that the water is a bit cold and it gets pretty dark where you don't see the seabed anymore. That's when you think of the abyss. What's more in store down there or will you encounter what the locals talk about as the giant. We were told of the a gigantic creature living within the vicinity of Balicasag as its guardian. We were even warned not to laugh about it because the locals said they have records to prove this creature exists. Whatever this mystical creature is, I hope it does a good job preserving the island and the reef.
Where I stayed