I just got a Golden Ticket from Willy Wonka to see the wonderful places around his chocolate factory. Just kidding! There’s no Wonka chocolate bars in this area.
Where am I? I’m in Bohol for the whole month of November. Awesome! So, the wheels in my mind are turning: What to do in my free time? Where to go on weekends? Well, we always try to get away from the metro every holiday or when there is a declaration of a long weekend. And so, for my first week in Bohol, this is what happened:
Where to go?
Just around 15 minutes away from the city proper of Tagbilaran City and beside the Ocean Suites, you will find one historical area and is also a tourist spot of Bohol. The Sandugo or Blood Compact was done here in Bohol. The Sandugo event which was done by the Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and the chieftain of Bohol, Datu Sikatuna in 1965 to seal their friendship is a part of the native tradition. No entrance fee in this area.
Bohol Habitat Conservation Center
I remember reading something about this conservation center in Tripadvisor. They said they paid Php. 40.00 and this includes the guide. But when I came here last week, I paid the same amount but they didn’t assign any guide for me. Bummer! Anyway, what a beautiful garden. Although, I can’t really see that this is really a conservation area. It’s almost the same as most of the butterfly gardens that I have visited in the past. No butterflies. I just managed to spot two butterflies which were wandering around the garden. The pupae and the cocoons are dead. So after 5 minutes, I took the exit path and said goodbye to my Php. 40.00. In my humble opinion, visiting the Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary and Art Gallery Museum in Cebu (which has an entrance fee of Php. 100.00) is more worth it. If you love butterflies and art, I recommend that you visit the Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary in Cebu.
Loboc Floating Restaurant
So, my companion told me that I got here a little bit too late. The Floating Restaurant is only open until 2:00 P.M.. The entrance fee or the rate per person is around Php. 400.00+, depending on what type of boat you get on or if it is a private tour or a joined group. Anyway, I’ll be writing a separate article about this one. Maybe next week.
Bamboo Hanging Bridge
Entrance Fee, Php. 20.00. What’s special about this one? Two bridges and both of them hanging and made from bamboo. Both bridges cross the Loboc River. Selfie? Definitely, especially if you want to have a memorable selfie on a Bamboo Hanging Bridge with the beautiful Loboc River surrounding you. Is that it? No, because on the other side of the river, you will find their so-called “Buko King”. The Buko King is a person who tries to open a Buko/coconut using his bare teeth and you need to pay Php. 50.00 to see him do it.
Any comment from his Dentist? XD
Man Made Forest
Next is the Two-Kilometer Man Made Forest of Mahogany Trees. All I can say is, what if this is EDSA? With these trees along EDSA, the commute would be nicer even if there is heavy traffic.
Along the way to the Chocolate Hills, you will pass one of the historical or oldest church which is still being renovated after having been destroyed in the earthquake which happened last 2013. It is somewhat like trying to piece through a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. They want to keep or to retain most of the original stones or materials.
And the oldest of these churches is the Baclayon Church. The entrance fee in the Baclayon Church Museum is Php. 50.00 but picture taking inside the Museum is not allowed. Inside, you can find some old, way too old objects used by the friars. It’s worth taking your time to see, read and experience the history.
Tarsier Conservation Area
Mawmag in Cebuano/Visayas and Mamag in Tagalog or much more commonly known as the Tarsier. You can visit this little cute primate when you go Tarsier Watching in the Conservation Area in the upper town of Loboc. You just need to pay at least Php. 60.00 for the ticket which is also is a Post Card, which you can consider your souvenir. A few years back, they let tourists touch the Tarsiers and take photos. You can’t do that anymore as the Tarsier is now a protected specie. It’s for their protection. If you want to take some photos, please turn off your flash and do some zooming. And, I hope that your mobile device is able to take perfectly sharp pictures.
And lastly, the Chocolate Hills, which I have captioned in my Instagram post that I only see pictures of these hills in my high school textbook or in postcards or in commercials/advertisements. Now,
It is at least 1 1/2 hours from Tagbilaran City to the Chocolate Hills. Entrance Fee – Php. 50.00. This is a small price to pay to be able to get to the view deck where you can take 360-degree landscape shots. And one thing you should consider is to be there on weekdays instead of on Weekends. Why? If you’re gonna visit the hills on weekend, make sure that you’re an early bird or else you’re going to play Paper Dance above the viewdeck. Why? Too many tourists, which is good for the economy but if you don’t want to have photobombers in your viewfinder, better get there before the tourists come. The viewdeck is about the same size as that of the peak of Mt. Batulao.
Like I said, there were too many tourists in this area — locals and foreigners. They are not backpackers. The tourists usually come in groups. Buspackers, not backpackers. Buspackers! Where did I come up with that term? Most of the tourists are from our fellow Asian neighbors, like the Koreans and Chinese, and usually come in a group of at least a minimum of 3 buses. Better be early or let them pass first, if you want to have a better view of the hills.
How to get there?
How did I get around these tourists spots? Well, one thing I’ve noticed is that when you get to Bohol, there’s a lot of tour packages being offered. Just google it if you’re planning to do a DIY trip. But I did not. Why? The waiting time for the rides is way too long. The buses need to be full and if you’re going to drop by the Man Made forest, good luck on the waiting time for the next bus. So, if you’re in a group, better rent a car/van for Php. 3,500.00. This is good for 18 persons and the van includes a tour guide. If you’re a solo backpacker and don’t want to rent a car or drive and get lost, what I did was I just hired a habal-habal ride and paid PhP 1,000 Php for a day tour.
That’s all for now. Wait for my next article. See you in Panglao Island.