Sunday, August 06, 2006

My First Trip to Bohol: Tourism Wonderland

The fast ferry ride to BOHOL was smooth and comfortable enough. Evelyn was excited to see this neighboring island of Cebu. I told her that according to the brochures, Bohol is small compared to Cebu but is a tourism wonderland.

We arrived at Tagbilaran pier in high spirits. We met our tour guide who was carrying a welcome signboard with our names on it. We were quickly settled in our seats on board an air-conditioned van, and we were off to our adventure.

We were given a brief of Tagbilaran City. It must have been the smallest city I’ve been to for in less than 5 minutes, we were in the main road going to the outskirts.

Our first stop was the Blood Compact Marker, where the first friendship treaty between Rajah Sikatuna and Legaspi was said to have taken place. We continued on the main road and our eyes were led to the beautiful view of Panglao Island to our right. The island was connected by two land bridges to the mainland. We were to discover later that afternoon that it had beautiful white sand beaches and an array of beach front resorts catering to varied markets. The island also prides itself with the Hinagdanan Cave which offers cool spring waters that are inviting enough to swim in. There is also the legendary Dauis Church, which features a fresh water well at the foot of the altar, the waters of which are said to be blessed with healing powers.

Farther on we were treated to a “show” by the local tinsmith, with three muscular men banging away rhythmically on a piece of metal to make a bolo.

We also witnessed elderly women weaving nipa for house roofing. We passed through the impressive Bilar man-made forest on the way to the Chocolate Hills, a majestic wonder of nature. It was a sight to behold.

On the way back, we viewed tarsiers in captivity. These smallest primates stink but admittedly are adorable little creatures!

Our lunch was on board a floating raft while cruising the Loboc River. It is my opinion this was the highlight of the tour. There was a sense of peace that came over me during the one hour trip, interrupted albeit delightfully by the songs of a local serenader on board.

Before going back to the city, we stopped by the Baclayon Church, said to be the oldest stone church in the country, and visited its Museum which featured a rich collection of antique religious articles.

Our last stop was a convenient souvenir shop where, aside from the baskets Bohol was famous for, we had to buy peanut kisses and kalamay (sweet treat inside a coconut shell) to take home. Our family and friends back home just had to have a taste of those Bohol goodies!

Evelyn and I dozed off on board the ferry on the way back to Cebu. It was a tiring, full day for us, but the experience was well worth it! I’ve been back in Bohol countless times after that first trip, and it is always well worth the trip!

Bohol is accessible via fast craft or regular ferry from Cebu. If you want to get the most of your trip to this island which prides itself not only of its rich history and culture but also of fascinating natural bounty, contact me.


Footprints on Boracay Sand

As a tourism professional, people always ask me where the best beach is… and I will always say Boracay… Well, it is true.. Boracay has the best white sand beach in the country, and I have yet to see something that can compare to it.

It is the only beach where I can enjoy walking barefoot, leaving footprints on the sand, at high noon! And the beach, oh, truly beautiful particularly during summer… the water is so clear it is like a swimming pool!

I must admit I am a bit disappointed with the obvious over-commercialism of the island. Although the many establishments offer a wide range of accommodation, food, beverage, souvenirs and activities, the multitude takes away the supposed “escape to nature” and “relaxation” one normally expects of an island retreat. There is, of course, a very big group of people, mostly the young, who look for “action” in the beach, making Boracay the perfect destination for them. In fairness however, there are still some places in the island where you can find sanctuary.

Thus, I can safely say Boracay has something for everyone, and is definitely worth visiting, not only once, but as much as you can in your lifetime!

Boracay is accessible by air from Cebu. You may also go via overnight ferry to Iloilo then by land to Caticlan.
If you want to imprint your own footprints on Boracay sand, contact me.


Enchanted by the Twin Islands

Leyte and Samar are known as the twin islands of Eastern Visayas. Allow me to share with you one of my trips to this not so popular but definitely enchanting destination. Click here.

If you want to be enchanted by the twin islands yourself, contact me.