A Tour of Bohol
Trip Start May 31, 2009
16Trip End May 25, 2009
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Where I stayed
May 8 was a beautiful day. We got up, and since our cabin was just feet from the beach, we walked out to the beach front restaurant and had a nice breakfast, sitting right by the beach.
Then collecting cameras and stuff I headed up the hill to the lobby to meet our guide for the day, RJ Intano. He was no where to be seen, so I texted him that I was there, and he texted back that he was too. I took a seat and after a bit a lady across from me asked if I was Kevin. It was Connie, an associate of RJ, who had also been waiting for me. Connie was to be our guide, while RJ was going to drive.
She told me that her lifes ambition was to see snow and make a snow man. People in the Philippines have no idea what snow is really like. Its just a concept to them.
Once Allan joined us we went outside the gate to meet RJ and head to our first site of the day, the Hinagdanan Cave. The Cave is on Panaglo Island, but opposite the resort, so it seemed to be quite the drive, through dirt roads, showing off the beauty of the Bohol countryside. Allan was taken by how similar it was to Aklan. We arrived at the cave, at the end of a long dirt road, and saw several souvenier stands. We got out of the car and headed towards the sign, to realize the entrance to the cave was simply a hole in the ground.
Under a roofed area, the caves start with a hole with stairs leading into the dark. We headed down the stairs, both steep and narrow, and just for fun, also slippery. We headed down the stairs to the first chamber, a small room with a walkway to a larger room. While dark, the light from the stairway seemed to light this room well
Entering the second room, we found it darker, much warmer and super humid. A huge pool in the centre of the cave is ringed on one side by a walk way. A couple of electric lights illuminate the area. We walked towards the far end of the cave, but part of the walk way was covered with water. To avoid getting wet I tried to walk around the edges, but slipped, with one foot going into a hole next to the wall covered with water, and I fell down to my knee on the other leg. Connie helped me up, by holding the camera that was in one hand, so I could use my arms to lift myself up.
Everything seemed ok, so we proceded, My knee did hurt a bit and the arm that I had jammed against the wall trying to hold myself up ached a bit, but nothing seemed to serious.
The rest of the cave was a huge chamber, with the aforementioned pond in the centre. Aside from the lighting, there are a couple of holes in the ceiling leading to the outdoors. The ceiling is about 30 or 40 feet up. The water in the cave was high at the time of our visit, as it was high tide. At low tide the walkways would have been clear of water.
A couple of bats were flying around, and the cave seemed very natural with both stalactites, and stalagmites.
We headed out of the cave, and saw another tour group, and while waiting to take our pictures at the sign, we also took their pictures. I noted then that my knee was bleeding pretty nicely.
Once back in the car we asked Connie for a tissue and I cleaned up most of the blood. RJ's car is nicely airconditioned, so after the heat and humidity in the cave, it was a nice change.
Our next stop was the monument for the Blood Compact. This is a shrine to the friendship pact between the Philippine people and Spain in the1500's. A site with a beautiful view over the sea, and a cool statue representation of the event. Lots of people getting their photos taken with the statue. Connie got me a bandaid and some Bactine for my Scrape while here.
We then moved on to the Baclayon Church. This is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines and is a beautiful of a Jesuit built church
Back in the car we headed to the next site, and on the way passed another church tower, called to Loboc tower, that was leaning. Connie called this the Bohol Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is quite picturesque.
From there we were off to the middle of Bohol island to see the Chocolate Hills. This is about a 50 km drive, but along the way Connie pointed out some interesting things, like the making of thatched roofs with the Nipa Palm, the making of furniture from old tires, and making machetes.
While on the way to the hills we passed throught the Man Made Forest. This was a beautiful drive, and nice and shaded. On the way up the hill, we passed a procession which we were able to film.
As we approached the Chocolate hills we noticed the hilly terrain, and as we drove the incline to the viewpoint we could see many of the mounds. We pullled into a busy parking lot and got out of the car
After the Hills we drove back down the road, past the Manmade forest once again, and to the Simply Butterfly Butterfly Sanctuary. We were met there by our guide and brought through the Sanctuary. We saw larva, pupil, and catepillars. I even had some catepillars put on me. We then went into the sanctuary and saw many, including having plenty land on us. In this day and age where butterflies are one of the casulties of the bad environment, it is nice to see an area where they are not affected.
There were beautiful gardens with some flowers I had never ever seen. We soon headed back to the car though for the next leg of our trip.
The next stop was the Sipatan Hanging bridge, usually known as the Bohol Hanging Bridge
Next stop was lunch on the Loboc River Lunch Cruise. They have several barges set with tables and a buffet lunch as well as entertainment. Lunch was good, and the view along the river very pleasant. There was a young guy playing guitar and singing, and his voice and song choice was pleasant too. The trip continued up the river to a small set of falls before turning around and heading back. On the way back we connected to another raft that had singers, muscians and dancers. See the video. Quite entertaining.
Our next stop was the Tarsiers. Found at a Tarsier Sanctuary on the banks of the Loboc River, we got to see 4 Tarsiers. These small primates, about the size of my fist, are not allowed to be kept in captivity, and in fact are known to committ suicide when caged
They are the cutest little things, and seemed to tolerate all the human interaction. We have pictures and video here. The sanctuary also had lemurs, and a couple of monkeys, that were pretty cute.
After a stop for some souveneirs, we were taken back to the resort. Great thanks to RJ and Connie who did and extraordinary job and a very fun day. It cost us 2000p for each of us, about $50 each, and this included lunch, admission to all the events, two guides and transportation. Extremely reasonable. Check out RJ's webpage at http://rjtoursbohol.spikeeds.com/iindex.php.
I highly recommend his services.
After a short rest and another walk of the beach, we decided to head to the Bohol Bee Farm for dinner. Alona resort arranged a driver for us for 1000p, he also waited through dinner to drive us home. The Bee Farm resort is a resort, a restaurant, and a bee farm
After some souvenier shopping we headed back to the resort and to bed...off to Cebu in the morning!