For Pinoy and international wanderers, Bohol should be one of the bullets in their bucket lists. Aside from its world-class beaches and finest shorelines, Bohol is also historically and culturally rich in famous landmarks and must-visit sites for tourists. It is a human heart-shaped island located almost at the center of the country, no wonder it has been coined "The Heart of the Islands"
This post includes my day-long journey around Bohol countryside. For first timers, it is advisable to put your countryside tour on your first day right after you land at Tagbilaran. Most of the tourist spots in Bohol are really distant from each other and land travelling will take almost half of your day. If you prefer to spend the most of your stay at the beach, you better put the countryside tour on your top itinerary because it may cost you some hours travelling from Panglao back to Tagbilaran and vice versa.
What to Expect and What to Prepare:
1. Have your countryside tour on the first day of your stay, especially if you plan to spend the rest of your stay in Panglao or hence it will cost a lot of your time travelling by land.
2. Expect long land travels. Tourist spots are too far away from each other most especially the Chocolate Hills. Have a bottle of water or bring something to munch with you to avoid hassle.
3. Apply sunscreen, wear light clothes and bring umbrella/hat. The weather is extremely hot, but you have to expect a little drizzle sometimes (very tropical). Unless you already want to get a tan before you go beaching at Panglao!
4. Prepare small bills with you. Tourist spots require a small amount of entrance fees for maintenance and wildlife protection (for animals). To avoid hassle of waiting for you to get changed, better pay them in smaller bills. Aside from entrance fees, you might also want to drop additional donations/tips for entertainers you meet along your way, or buy souvenir items from small stores you can bump into.
5. Bring camera! Unless you're not a photo buff unlike yours truly :)
We had an hour delay from the original time of our touchdown to Tagbilaran. Hence, our time was a little bit compressed to visit the all the sites.
Our Bohol Countryside Tour Itinerary (and our time of arrival and entrance fees to each site):
Tagbilaran Touchdown : 10:30
Butterfly Sanctuary : 11:30 ; 20 PHP
Loboc River Cruise : 12:00 ; est. 450 PHP
Sevilla Hanging Bridge : 13:30; 20 PHP
Man-Made Forest : 14:30 ; free
Tarsier : 15:00 ; 60 PHP
Chocolate Hills : 16:30 ; 50 PHP
Bohol Python and Wildlife Park : 17:00 ; 20 PHP
Baclayon Church : 17:30 ; free (25 PHP for the museum)
Alona Beach : 18:00
We booked an airport transfer who picked us up in the airport, but instead of bringing us straight to our hotel, we decided to arrange the countryside tour for 2000.00 (500 for airport transfer, 1500 for tour). But as you approach the exit of the airport, a lot of taxi drivers will welcome you as they offer countryside tour package that are affordable and "haggleable" :)
Our first stop was the Butterfly Sanctuary, where we had a real encounters with butterflies. For 20 PHP, you can have a real time glimpse of the butterfly cycle, the most nostalgic lessons we had back in grade school.
Loboc River Cruise
Since it was almost lunchtime, we headed straight to Loboc River Cruise. It is one of the famous tourist spots in Bohol that should be in every traveller's must-visit list.
Basically, the Loboc River Cruise is the most efficient way to tour the wonderful place. You can eat your buffet lunch/dinner while having the picturesque view of the site, while listening to relaxing live music, while inhaling the fresh air, detoxifying your lungs from the polluted air of the city -- All in an hour of boat ride around Loboc River. They offer services four times a day, the first two batches during lunch and the other two at dinner. It is also best to visit the site at night, as relaxing lights around the river adds up the ambience of romance to the nature. This can be a different way to be romantic especially if you are with your loved ones -- an escape from a traditional restaurant fine dining at the city.
At the middle of your trip, we were serenaded by a group of young locals as a sign of welcoming us to their wonderful paradise. It feels so light and entertaining, especially when two from the kids got into the groove of Tinikling, a traditional Filipino dance.
Click Here for a complete blogpost (prices, boat tickets and more details) and my spicy verdict about Loboc River Cruise.
Talking about a little bit of adventure, our driver brought us to the Hanging Bridge of Sevilla where you have to cross at least 40 meters of hanging bridge made of bamboo. But need not to worry, since it has become a tourist spot, the bridge was improved by strengthening its stability and crossers' safety through the installed steels on handles and sides. But you can still feel the bridge rocking and hear some "cracking" sounds as you make every steps.
While we're on our way to the Tarsier sanctuary, I failed to take a snapshot of the man-made forest because I fell asleep during our trip. Destinations are really far from each other so you better allow a whole day trip for your countryside itinerary and book a driver to tour you around all day long. But this Man-Made Forest is deserving to be seen and captured. It feels like one of the beautiful national forests in the west. Make sure you don't fall asleep or better notify your driver to take you there and take some photos.
Lucky are those who belong to this generation, we have the opportunity to witness the most special creations God has given the world. Although it's too bad for me, I was not allowed to touch the tarsiers anymore unlike before. Since they are critically endangered, we have to preserve the remaining species by making their lives more comfortable.
Tarsiers are small primates found in Southeast Asian regions. It may be commonly coined as smallest monkeys, but scientifically speaking, they belong to a group of primates, not monkeys.
More about my Tarsier encounters and other animals! Click Here
This is probably one of the frontliner spots in Bohol. As the name says, its more than a thousand number of hills turn like a pile of chocolates as grasses tend to dry during summer season. It may be the farthest destination in your itinerary, but never ever leave Bohol without visiting its flagship tourist destination that is known not only the whole country, but worldwide as well!
We also had the chance to see (and touch!) the largest python in captivity, and its name is Prony. Aside from the python, you can also see a vast number of species in the area, such as the money, hornbill, and turkeys.
There are a lot of historical churches that are worth visiting in Bohol, but The Parish of Immaculate Conception, also known as Baclayon Church possesses the historical charm of them all. Being established in 1595 using coral stones and egg whites as cement, it is one of the oldest standing church in the Philippines next to San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila.
|When microphone was not yet invented, priests used this podium with a small canopy on top to amplify their voices so they can be heard by the mass-goers. They usually call it as Pulpito or Pulpit.|
The Miracle Wall
One of the reasons why it also catches attention of tourists is the face that mysteriously appears on one side of the church's exterior walls. They believed it to be the face of Padre Pio de Pietrelcina.
It was almost dinner time when we reached Panglao Island, the home of the best beaches in Bohol. It's Beachin' time!
Click Here for our Panglao Summer Adventure!
The Spicy Mind,