Woke up early today (expect the next few days to all begin with that line). I left Sugbutel at around 5am as I planned to catch the very first ferry going to Bohol. I took a taxi to Pier 1 where Oceanjet‘s terminal was. I bought a return ticket to Tagbilaran (Bohol’s capital city) which cost ₱825 ($19/€13).
I went back to my seat and tried to catch up on lost sleep, all the while trying to ignore Step Up 3D that was playing as part of our ‘pirated in-ferry entertainment’.
The journey to Tagbilaran takes nearly 2 and 1/2 hours, which is exactly why I made it a point to catch the first ferry — I wanted an early start to my day.
As soon as I disembarked, there were several agents offering tours of all the sights on Bohol island. They cost more or less the same as they did back in Cebu, so I walked on. Just outside the Dao ferry terminal, were tricycle taxis who approached me as well. They had laminated sheets showing me the same sights and told me they would take me to each attraction and then drop me back to the terminal by evening. They quoted ₱1200 at first but I bargained, and eventually agreed for ₱1000 ($23/€16) — which I felt was a bit more reasonable.
I was more keen to take a tricycle taxi than a minivan full of tourists for my own selfish reasons. One, open window means I can take photographs a lot clearer than behind the usual tinted windows of a tourist van. Two, being the only customer, I could ask the driver to stop wherever I wanted.
I tried my best to get the shots without too many obstructions or blurry plants that usually appear in photographs while travelling.
The ‘man-made’ forest is called so because decades ago, Bohol residents meticulously planted mahogany trees along a two-kilometre stretch.
I paid the entrance fee of ₱50 ($1.15/€0.83) to go up to the observation point on the top of the hill.
Chocolate Hills were just nicknamed such because of their resemblance to bon-bon chocolates. Other names include “God’s tears” or “God’s droppings”.
I felt I had taken enough photos, so I went back down.
I had an overpriced boku juice (coconut water) and then went back to my tricycle driver.
Waking up really early just to catch a ferry, coming all this way — it was well worth it. The Chocolate Hills are undoubtedly a ‘must-see’ in Philippines.
The next sight on the tour was a hanging bridge in a locality called Sevilla.
After ‘docking’ the boat alongside the platform, the locals began.
When researching, I read that there were many unauthorized or illegal venues where one can see tarsiers, many who just capture tarsiers from the wild and profit from it. So I told the driver to take me to the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary in Corella, but he told me that I might not have the time for that as it is very far and beyond Tagbilaran City.
Oh well, one sign this place was legit was that there were no entrance fees.
The driver dropped me back to Tagbilaran City, near the church, where I paid him the agreed upon ₱1000 for the tour (plus a ₱50 tip). I still had nearly 2 hours before I had to catch my ferry back to Cebu.
I left the church and walked towards a Wild West-themed cafe and bakery right beside the church. They had a banner outside advertising their ‘famous’ mango pies. Looked and sounded delicious, so being the foodie I am, I ventured in.
The cafe mostly serves locals its fix of Americana, with the menu mostly comprising burgers, steaks and other Tex-Mex fare. Prices are reasonable and they were still serving customers main course meals despite being 3:30pm. What I found most interesting was — some of the waitresses were deaf. There were books on display on how to communicate in sign language, but for me, my order was simple. I pointed to the mango pie sign on my table and simply indicated ‘one,’ with a smile.
I sat for a while to cool off, drank ice cold water and then when I felt like walking, left the cafe.
Hmm, that’s it really. Tagbilaran is no Cebu. The SMs and Ayalas are yet to set foot on Bohol.
I got my ticket checked and waited in the departures hall for my 6pm ferry. When you buy a return ticket from Cebu itself, it entitles you a spot in a ferry returning at any time. I was done with Bohol as far as I was concerned, so I decided to catch the early ferry.
I went back to my seat and instantly dozed off, despite how freezing it was inside my cabin. I guess I was really tired and the early wake up was getting to me. Still, I felt satisfied knowing that I saw everything I wanted to see in Bohol. Even though my tricycle tour (eventually) was not that much cheaper than a van tour, I’m still happy I opted for it because I had the freedom to stop the driver whenever I felt like taking photographs.
I was back in Cebu past 8pm and I headed back to Sugbutel first, so I could dump my bag. Then I went to SM City for dinner.
Fortunately, a McDonalds was still open (though they were cleaning up) and I managed to get the last remaining burgers on order.
I headed back to my room, took a nice shower, backed-up my photos — nearly 600 of them (out of which I only used 188 in this post). Bohol was well worth the trouble and I can highly recommend a day spent on the island for anyone visiting Philippines.