Sunday, November 27, 2011

Family trip to Bohol

The whole family is in Bohol right now for a family vacation. It is very seldom that we all get together in one trip since usual that at least one or two would not be available for the trip. This time, at least 5 months in advanced, we made sure that our schedules will align well and booked for this trip. For all 11 of us (10 adults + 1 infant), we did a combination of paid fares with Philippine Airlines (PHP3686 each for adults and PHP919 for infant) and redeemed miles (8,000 miles roundtrip, plus PHP1473 each worth of taxes). We flew from Manila to Tagbilaran airport early this morning.

Ethan at the airport

our plane, ready for boarding

our short flight route

up in the air

We arrived in Tagbilaran Airport minutes past 10AM. There were no jetways in the airport so we had to climb down using movable stairs from the rear door as we were seated near the back part of the plane.

some members of the family deplaning

our plane parked at the tarmac

Our plan was to do some tour around Bohol as soon as we arrive. There was a bit of misunderstanding with the van we previously contacted and our plane was late, so we instead negotiated with another driver/tour operator we found in the airport. The van that fitted all of us costs PHP2500 for the rental, inclusive of gas and driver fee, and it will be the same vehicle to drop us off in our hotel after our tour in Bohol. In my previous trip to Bohol, I also did the same setup with my friends.

As it was nearing lunch, our first stop was in Rio Verde Floating Restaurant, for a lunch and river cruise aboard Rio Verde II along Loay-Loboc River. There was a government fee of PHP50 each per person, separately collected with a government official receipt. For the lunch and river cruise, we paid PHP350 per person for the regular buffet menu.

our table

The food served in the buffet was okay, pork bbq, small crabs, fish, chicken, chopsuey, pancit and the likes. There was also green mango salad, some rice cakes, and fresh fruits. The meal included one round of soft drinks (or water) each. While we were eating, there was a live singing performance to serenade the diners.
 
me and Roshie
 

view of the river while on the cruise

Midway during the cruise, there was a brief stop in an area along the river, supposedly to meet the Ati Tribe. I'm not sure but the whole place looks very staged that I really doubt its authenticity as a tribe. Perhaps it is more of an attraction for the foreign tourists.

baby tribe member!
 
The cruise took around an hour or so before we ended up back near Loay bridge. It was different  fare from the cruise I took a couple of years back that started in Loboc (at that time we took Riverwatch Floating Restaurant), but it is still a nice experience to cruise along the pristine green river away from the crowd as Loboc is a lot more famous to tourist than this place.
 
Our next stop was at the Chocolate Hills, located at the town of Carmen. Arguably, this is the most visited tourist spot in the province and it serves as its icon.The viewing deck is uphill and one has to climb a series of steps (214 if I recall correctly) to have a good vantage point of the said hills. Entrance fee is at PHP50 per person.
 
Julie
 
me, Ethan and Roshie
 
 
me and Ethan
 
 
Ethan with Roshie

Chocolate Hills are actually geological formation of hills spread over an area of 50 square km. During rainy season the hills are covered with green grass and during summer the hills are colored brown.

me

another family picture

Ethan
 
Our next stop was at the Tarsier Sanctuary, located in the town of Corella. Entrance to the place was at PHP50 per person.
 
 
The Philippine Tarsier is one of the smallest among primates, with a height measuring about 85+ mm by average. By the way, visitors are not allowed to be so loud nor touch these creatures as they have a tendency to be suicidal.

baby tarsier?

The eyes of the tarsier are usually large, specially when they are awake. These animals are nocturnal and usually rest or sleep during the day. Today, the number of tarsiers in the Philippines are gradually decreasing that's one the government and some organizations has established sanctuary and protection programs like this one to preserve their numbers and keep them from becoming extinct.

Then we had a brief stop at the hanging bridge located in Sevilla, although some of us just stayed in the van as here is nothing fancy here but just to cross a suspended bridge over Sipatan river made of bamboo. Entrance fee is PHP10 per person. The last time I was here there was only one bridge. Today I crossed one and got back using the other.

Julie and Roshie

We passed through man-made forest in Billar where planted mahogany tries grow in abudance. We didn't bother to stop as no one found the concept that interesting. We had a brief moment instead at Baclayon church to say thanks for the trip before heading to our last stop which is at the blood compact site between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, a Spanish explorer and Rajah Sikatuna, the head of tribe, back in 1565. Blood compact is an ancient ceremony in where men would cut their wrist, extract blood and pour it into a cup then drink as sign of friendship. It is being argued though by historians that this site is a bit off-the-grid from the original site by some meters.

After this, we headed off to Alona Beach in Panglao Island to check-in our hotel and have a good rest for tomorrow's activities as today has been a tiring but packed day for all of us.

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