Island Hopping and Dolphin Watching

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Bohol, Dive Spots, Panglao, Tourists Spots
Island Hopping
Island Hopping

Situated at the core of the Visayas region, Bohol is one of the 7,107 islands of the archipelagic country, Philippines. Made up of more than 70 islets aside from its mainland, this province is one of the best spots in the country for an island hopping adventure.

Island hopping adventure in Panglao begins with dolphin watching activity usually starts at 6 am or earlier for the dolphins can only be seen early in the morning. The thing called banca will serve as transportation all throughout the Island Hopping. More or less twenty minutes later after setting off, in your way to Balicasag Island, the dolphins are can be seen anywhere, jumping and diving. Once you are at the right spot, the banca will slow down and you will find yourself surrounded by the group of dolphins jumping up and giving a nice show. They’re even flipping in mid-air while the visitors are tracking their every movement, and which also made them amazed by such creature. The banca will chase after them which is very fun and cool experience. You can enjoy the view until you are satisfied and ready to go to Balicasag Island. While watching the dolphins playing in their natural habitat, they seem like welcoming the visitor and showing-off how beautiful the paradise of Bohol is.

Balicasag Island is one of the famous places worth visiting and the first stop in your island hopping itinerary. It’s a bit far from the island of Panglao and will take almost an hour of boat ride to get there favoring good weather and calm waves. Along the boat ride, the amazing transition of the clear bluish water to green can keep you company together with the cold breeze of the morning and the beauty of how morning fog covers the islands around you. Upon reaching the island’s shore, what welcomes you is the innocence of the island from the stress and crowded atmosphere enveloping the city. Of course, the presence of the fine white sand beaches never fails to captivate tourist, locale or foreign, to take a dip and play in its shallow waters. There are locale restaurants although most tourists bring their own food and snacks since it’s cheaper this way. There are also stalls offering rentals for scuba diving equipment to tourist since one of the islands’ attractions is its healthy and diverse marine life. Snorkelling and scuba diving is a must-do activity in the island. But if you are not into those, you can just laze around the shore or take a walk while exploring around the island that can take you only about 45 minutes.

The next stop after the Balicasag Island escapade is the journey to Isola di Francesco, formerly known as Virgin Island. This island is a private property of Ramon Rodriguez but is open to all tourists, especially Catholic devotees. This islet was developed into a prayer haven for the votaries of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, the patron saint for stress relief and the “January blues”. The islet is accentuated with the ample statue of St. Padre Pio at the entrance and statues of other saints including St. Francis of Assisi, St. Therese, and many more on the pith of the island. It is also embellished with a small chapel dedicated for St. Pio. Apart from the statues of famous saints, one of the highlights of the island is its exquisite sandbar that is visible during low tide. The islet’s breathtaking view is a beauty to behold.
Altogether, it’s a refreshing memory of water adventure that you can add to your memorable moments in your Bohol Summer escapade.

Blood Compact

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Baclayon, Tourists Spots

Bohol is known for having massive tourist attractions. One of these is the well-known, the Blood Compact Site in Bool District, Tagbilaran City, Bohol which stands as a memorial ground to the historic sign of friendship between the Spaniards and the Filipinos.

Hundreds of years ago, Philippines had a memorable historical happenings with the Spaniards. Bohol was where the first international treaty of friendship took place, the “Sanduguan”.

Sandugo or Sanduguan is a Visayan term for one blood or also known as Blood Compact. This was an ancient ritual of the Filipinos to seal a treaty or an agreement. The contracting parties would cut their wrists and pour their blood into a cup filled with liquid, such as wine, and drink the mixture. Spanish Explorer, Captain General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and the chieftain of Bohol, Datu Sikatuna performed the sanduguan on March 16, 1565, to seal their strong bond of friendship as part of the tribal tradition.

Miguel López de Legazpi was sailing from Mexico with five ships and five hundred men, reached the Philippines in 1565. Eventually on their way to Mindanao, they met a bad weather and was forced to dropped anchor at a village southeastern part of Bohol, which is now called Jagna. The native there were unfriendly so he sail to other villages and found Tagbilaran City friendlier. He aproached the local chieftain captain, Datu Sikatuna, with a pleasing manner and became friends. With their strong bond of friendship, they performed the “Sanduguan” creating the first international treaty of friendship between the Filipino and Spaniards.

To commemorate this one of a kind history, the Bohol artist, Napoleon Abueva constructed the Blood Compact Shrine monument. This serve as a memorabilia of the historical event between the Filipinos and Spaniards. The landmark features a life-sized bronze statues of the Spanish Explorer, Captain General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, and the chieftain of Bohol, Datu Sikatuna, doing a toast and the three other witnesses of the said sandugo.

It is placed on an open and raised dais where visitors are treated with good view of Bohol Sea behind the monument. The site is easily accessible since it is alongside the national road. You can buy various souvenirs here since there are many stalls offering different souvenir and gift items. A lot of tourist will rest for a while and do some picture taking.

With the help of the site, people will be able to remember the wonderful and sincere friendship that was built by the Filipinos and Spaniards back then.

Café Lawis

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Dauis, Restaurants, Tourists Spots
Cafe Lawis
Cafe Lawis

Because of the fast-rising trend of social media like Facebook and Instagram and the world’s famous phenomenon, “Food Selfie”, one of the booming businesses in the province today is establishing coffee shops and restaurants. Having different themes, interior designs and various kinds of foods, they are surely eye-catching.

In the town of Dauis, one of these coffee shops/ restaurants is uniquely built. Situated beside the Assumption of Our Lady Shrine Parish, Café Lawis is an extraordinary coffee shop constructed between the church and the seaside.

It was formerly created as the church’s convent but is later on developed into a place where tourists, visitors and churchgoers can taste different authentic foods with the Boholano touch. It has a vintage feel once you come inside with the oil lamps and the traditionally-designed furniture. It has also a display of handmade products on the inside showcasing the native’s talent in handicrafts.

Anyway, the ones mentioned above are just a part of this place’s exceptional features. Outside the café is an ample space nestled by the Tagbilaran harbour under the big acacia trees with spherical and cylindrical Capiz shell lamps that give off a romantic lighting at night. No wonder this place is also one of the best spots to hold a wedding reception. Aside from not being too costly, it is just alongside the church, too. In this case, you’re not draining so much of your purse spending too much and likewise having a magnificent venue in celebrating your marriage. That’s just like a pain-in-the-head-no-more for couples who are planning to tie the knot but don’t have that much of a budget but wished to have a momentous celebration.

Moreover, this is a must-visited place especially for tourists that have passion for rare and classically tasting foods. You will love everything in this food shop, from the unusual mouth-watering foods and desserts to its perfectly chosen location. This just proves how creative Boholanos are.

Bohol Provincial Capitol

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Bohol, Government Building, Tagbilaran City

One of the buildings in Bohol influenced by the Spaniards colonization is the Bohol Provincial Capitol. Going through history, the was built on 1860, primarily as a tribunal building that serves as Spaniard’s military quarters. It was constructed using the Spanish traditional materials namely stones and limes; and consisted of 27,300 bricks, 4325 cavans of limes, 61,000 roofing tiles and etc.

Although the building has undergone repair and renovation for a number of times throughout the years, the Bohol Provincial Government has done its best to keep the appearance of the capitol with its subtle changes. However due to the recent calamity that has struck Bohol, the capitol has suffered damages causing most of the offices within it to be temporarily transferred to the Governor’s mansion that is located CPG North Avenue, old DepEd Bohol Division office located below the grandstands at the President CPGarcia Sports Complex, and old DENR office located in the New Capitol Heights.

As of now, some offices that remain at the old capitol are the following: Provincial Treasurer’s office(PTO), Bohol Employment and Placement Office(BEPO), Bohol Information Communication Technology Unit (BICTU), Bohol Environment Management office(BEMO), General Services Office(GSO) and Provincial Accountant’s Office (PAccO).

Some are temporarily housed among the three named location above. For the Governor’s Mansion, the offices includes: LGA office, Provincial Administrator’s office, and SEEM cluster office . While the old Deped Bohol Division Office holds the Provincial Legal Office(PLO), SICAD Office and Human Resource Office(HR). The Office of the Provincial Assessor is in the old DENR office.

Prior to the damage it has suffered, the construction of the capitol is currently on going however not on its old location. The construction site of the New Capitol is in Lino Drive Chatto, Tagbilaran City, where most of the province’s department offices are also located such as the new DepEd Bohol Division office and DOST office. The construction has started last January 22, 2016 and hopefully completed on January 10, 2018. The site as of now is still undergoing clearing in preparation for project implementation. Until then, offices that are temporary transferred will stay on respective temporary locations.

As of the old capitol’s original location, local authorities state that the remains of the old capitol building will be restored to its original state and will be converted into a branch of the National Museum with National Government funding its construction. This newly constructed building will be the new home of peculiar and important native artifacts and remains preserving the history of the province.

Bilar Butterfly Garden

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Bilar, Tourists Spots
Butterfly Garden
Butterfly Garden

Aside from its eye-catching tourist spots, one of Bohol’s most explicit beauties is its well-preserved ecosystem. This is evident in its clear rivers and seas and robust forests. To keep Bohol’s biodiversity balanced, Boholanos set up refuge centers for animals that are endangered due to poaching and deforestation.

The Bohol Habitat Conservation Center in Poblacion, Bilar is one of these. It is managed by Simply Butterflies Conservation Center and is established on butterfly conservation principles. They “protect and strengthen the natural environment of the butterflies, through plant research, breeding and releasing” according to their official website. They started their project in the year 2002. Their mission is not just to help conserve the butterflies but also to help the locals in the area gain income for their families.

In the center, tourists can visit their butterfly garden, butterfly enclosure, rest and snack area, restaurant, and gift shop.

Accompanying you to the butterfly enclosure are well-trained and amusing tour guides that will show you the different stages on how the butterflies in the center are developed. Moreover, the butterfly enclosure is covered with net so that you can have the opportunity to take pictures with them.

Another good place in the center is the butterfly garden where you can see freed butterflies wandering from flower to flower. It is a good place to unwind from the busy and noisy streets in the city. It can also help you refresh your mind from brain-emptying activities.

The last good spot in the sanctuary is their rest and snack area. You can eat variety of foods there. One of the most delicious that you should not miss in visiting the area is their ice candy with different flavors. It can help you quench your thirst especially when you’re visiting during the summer. Their gift shop is just beside the resting area. You can buy various souvenir items which are low-priced but are worth buying.

Make your visit to Bohol a memorable one, not just with its eye-captivating tourist spots but also with its invigorating natural environment.

Assumption of Our Lady Shrine Parish

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Churches, Dauis, Tourists Spots
Dauis Church
Dauis Church

Being the home of almost ninety percent Catholic devotees out of its whole population, Bohol is also the home of countless Catholic churches. From the Spanish era until now, the number of churches in the province keeps multiplying in number.

One of these notable churches is the Assumption of Our Lady Shrine Parish located at Poblacion, Dauis, three kilometers southwest of Tagbilaran City. Founded by the Jesuits under the matrix parish of Baclayon, the church became a separate parish in 1697 subservient of the nominal patronage of the Assumpion of Our Lady. The entirety of the church, convent and watch tower were built with coral stone blocks. It is of Gothic and Neoclassical architecture. Construction of the watch tower was done by Father Santiago del Corazon de Jesus, Order of Agustinian Recollects (O.A.R.) in 1774. The erection of the present church was initiated by Father Julio Saldana, O.A.R. in 1863-1879. The church was inaugurated by Bishop Juan Garordo of Cebu last August 23, 1923 and was proclaimed Shrine of the Assumption of Our Lady on August 15, 2004. It was also cited as a National Historical landmark in 2009.

This old church is also one of the victims of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that retaliate the province last October 15, 2013. The church’s façade and its portico are badly disfigured. At present, the restoration of the church is on-going. However, tourists can still visit this historical church and can still witness its beauty especially the magnificent frescoes on the church’s ceiling that were painted by Ray Francia and Canuto Avila in 1919-1923. But this visit must be done with caution because of the said reconstruction. Currently, masses in the parish are temporarily held at St. Therese Hall, located at the ground floor of the Dauis convent.

Aside from the historical church, tourists can also visit the wharf located at the back. It is an absolute place for a repose from your busy schedules. In addition, a coffee shop and resto called Café Lawis is also situated beside the church where you can eat Filipino touched delicacies and a place under the acacia tree overseeing the sea between Panglao Island and Tagbilaran City.

This one of the many historical churches in Bohol is not just a place to pray and be closer to the Almighty Creator but is one of the very good spots to loosen from wearisome activities.

Hinagdanan Cave

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Dauis, Tourists Spots

Hinagdanan Cave
Hinagdanan Cave

Panglao Island is one of the most visited tourist spot in Bohol because of its famous beaches with white sand and also of its hotels and resort where the tourists will be staying while having vacation in Bohol. But aside from that, there is also another tourist spot where the tourists are currently putting their attention to, the Hinagdanan Cave.

The entrance fee is very affordable with only twenty pesos per person and with that fee, you can ask for a local guides that are on standby around the place. They will be the one assessing you, entertaining you and at the same time, your photographer all throughout the tour inside the cave. They undergo seminar and training on being a guide and especially for the perfect corner and angle of the cave where to take picture that would come out the best.

The cave has one meter small hole that served as entrance with a ladder going down to the cave. Before it was discovered, the said land owner was clearing up the place with an old trunk of trees when he saw the small hole. He was curious with what was inside the hole, so he was throwing a piece of stone inside the hole when he heard a splash meaning there was a source of water underground. So since then, he told everyone about what he discovered. There was no ladder on the cave, it was just an ordinary hole going down the cave but the ladder was purposely made for easy access in the cave. That is why it was called ‘hinagdanan’ means laddered cave.

The interesting thing is that, even how small the entrance is, but once you are inside the cave, you will be amazed by the view and setting that can be offered by the cave. It’s not a dark cave for it is lit by sunlight which filters through holes in the ceiling. There are also electrical bulbs that add more brightness inside the cave. Many large stalactites and stalagmites that can be found inside and there is also an underground lake inside that has 10-12 feet deep with a clear water having a temperature about 25 degrees Celsius. For those who wants to experience swimming the cold water of lake, you are allowed to but with an additional fee.

Bohol has a lot to offer in terms of tourism. The places are great and worth all the visits of the tourist and one of them is the hinagdanan cave. In overall, it was such a nice place. It is worth your visit.

Bohol Bee Farm – Nature-loving Organic Sweets Galore

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Panglao, Tourists Spots
Bohol Bee Farm
Bohol Bee Farm

If you have a sweet tooth and you’re craving for yummy organic treats, Bohol Bee farm can help you with that. Known for its all-organic products, Bohol Bee farm is a nature loving haven located in Panglao Island few kilometers away from Tagbilaran City.

Getting inside the Bee Farm can cost you Php30 that will serve as your entrance fee. What welcomes you once you’ve arrived is an open restaurant with calm ambiance and a clear blue pool where you would want to dip and have fun. Going on, you’ll see the information area where you’ll pay the entrance fee and a lively local guide will welcome and introduce you to their beautiful paradise.

He’ll explain the various organic plants they have in care and explain briefly their qualities. Questions from those curious ones are welcomed warmly just like the usual educational tour from school.

Another part of the mini-tour is the agricultural products of Bohol. There you can see local women weaving local fibers into mats while the guide tells you how they weave it, what fiber they used and what are its products. You can even try it if you want.

Then the last but not the least is the meeting with the sweet bees. But be careful, it may stung that’s why lectures on how not to annoy them so you must pay attention. Pictures can be taken and you may even hold the thing that holds the bees and their honey.

After the tour, sweet goodies and treats like honey and jams, together with other organic products like beauty soaps are available at their “buzz shop”. There is also an ice cream parlor that has a lot of flavors available where to taste all of them is at your disposal.

“Bee Natural” as their slogan says together with the homey and cozy feeling it can give off attracts tourists, locals or foreign, to include this place in their itinerary.

Prony, Remains of Bohol’s Largest Snake in Captivity

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Albur, Tourists Spots

Being one of the 7,107 islands in the Philippines with a well-preserved tropical rainforest, Bohol is rich of wildlife animals such as insects (butterflies and beetles), arachnids (spiders), reptiles (snakes and lizards), amphibians (frogs and toads), birds and mammals.

Owing to this fact, no wonder Bohol is the home of the largest snake in captivity. Popularly known as Prony, this amazingly enormous reticulated python was captured last October 21, 1996 by Mr. Sofronio Salibay, a native of the town of Alburquerque, Bohol. Prony is a female python and was obviously named after her captor. It was said that Mr. Salibay captured Prony at a cemetery near their home with just a starting length and weight of 5 ft. and 5kg. ,respectively. She was a self-developed and trained python and was fed with a whole pig once a month, thus is the reason of her enormity.

Regrettably, she died last August 14,2013 with yet an unknown disease. However, her owners preserved her body to commemorate her being and also, for the public to see her actual size when she was still alive.

Furthermore, her preserved body is not the only attraction in the place. A snake named Prony 2 is also one of the highlights of the sanctuary together with another Burmese python and its little hatchlings. You can also see other animals such as monkeys, flying lemurs and some species of bird. The remains (bones) of Prony can also be seen in the refuge center.

Aside from these animals, one of the main attractions in the place is the high-spirited and comical guide known as Marimar. She is amusing and is a very good dancer. She will introduce to you the history of the captivity of Prony. In addition to her brief discourse is her show that can surely make your jaw drop and stomach ache caused by her phenomenal and hilarious moves.

Well, an entrance fee of only 50 Php for this part of your countryside tour doesn’t hurt your wallet or ATM card that much and on top of it all, it brings you closer to nature and its awesome and charming creatures.

 

Bilar Man-made Forest

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Bilar, Tourists Spots
Bilar Man-Made Forest
Bilar Man-Made Forest

It was really amazing to think that from a good intention of reforestation project, comes an output of such a wonderful place the man-made forest of Bilar. The project was created for the response to the alarming deforestation of the Loboc Watershed. The Bilar man-made forest was being successful due to government employees, laborers, students, scouts, pupils and socio-civic volunteers who came in droves from 1968 to late 1970’s to plant seedlings of the mahogany.

Anyone can say that this is really a beautiful work of art specially when you think that it is not a forest made by the nature but by the volunteers gathered to create such forest of 2 km. This is the only man-made forest found in the Philippines.

The Bilar man-made forest is one of the tourist attraction in Bohol. For the people travelling with their route pass along the road that meets Loboc and Bilar, this is where you can witness the man-made forest. The place can be described like a portal wherein you can feel that along the way, you are in the different world. It stands out for having a uniformity in height of the mahogany trees and its branches that curved overhead completely blocking the sun rays where it can also be compared like a tunnel. As a result, once you enter in the so called portal, you can feel that the road becomes darker, there is a sudden temperature change and the freshness of the air. This can be specially felt during summer season. People travelling for Chocolate Hills cannot miss this place.

Tourist cannot help but to stop for a while, admire the forest and the hands that made the forest, and most of all, taking pictures. One thing to remember is that, the only parking area is near the entrance of another tourist attraction in Bilar, its eco park. This is the only place for the four-wheeled vehicle to stop and have a picture taking. Be careful, you might focused in taking pictures that you will forget that it is still part of the high way.

Bilar man-made forest is known as a favorite stop for the tourist travelling, giving them a healing time, recharging their energy and giving them positive vibes. And also, this place can make us proud to think that Filipino people are helping each other to save and love mother Earth.