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Adventure Philippines Travel visayas

A quick getaway to Bohol Island

Bohol is known for its chocolate hills, tarsiers, and of course paradise-like beaches but it has more to offer nowadays and beyond. Bohol is just a few hours boat-ride away from Cebu, it’s almost like an extension of Cebu so we decided to take a quick getaway and to visit also my friend’s relatives.

We stayed in Panglao for 2 nights and the first thing we visited was the Baclayon Church.

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At that time La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Maria Parish Church, was being rehabilitated because some parts of it especially the interior were affected by the recent strong earthquake on 2013

La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Maria Parish Church or also known as Baclayon church because it’s located in the municipality of Baclayon was founded by Juan de Torres and Gabriel Sánchez both Jesuit priests in 1596. The church is a National Historical Landmark and was formerly included for the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List of the Philippines since 1993 under the collective group of Jesuit Churches of the Philippines.

We had our sumptuous lunch buffet at Loboc River Cruise where we were entertained by a live band featuring bisaya’s best hits as well as we had a stop-over to witness the dancing and singing Balsa choir and dance troupe (Balsa means water raft).

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We passed by the famous road in Bohol where a canopy of tall trees creating shade and provide a cool temperature in the area, the Loboc Man-made forest. The 2-kilometer stretch man-made forest was so quiet because the trees planted here are mahogany and became a death zone according to James LaFrankie, writer of the book “Philippine Native Trees 101: Up Close and Personal”, because the mahogany trees are foreign it cannot offer fertile soil for local fungi, food for mammals, berries for birds and insects, therefore, they are unable to effectively thrive themselves in this area.

The next stop was the Habitat Butterflies Conservation Center in Bilar just 5 minutes away from the man-made forest. We learned a lot on this visit for 20 pesos entrance we were guided by a well-versed and comedic tour-guide. Butterflies comprise the true butterflies, the skippers, and the moth-butterflies. 

Most butterflies do not eat but rather drink to maintain their water balance and energy stores. They sip flower nectar, rotting fruits, sap flowers on trees, bird droppings, or animal dung. Butterflies do not sleep with shut eyes because they don’t have eyelids, they just rest called quiescence under a large leaf or rock. In general, their lifespan is just 2 weeks to 2 months so “Life is too short” for them indeed.

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Camiguin Island from afar

On the following day, we had our lunch by the beach at the Boracay of Bohol: Anda beach (we settle at Quinale Beach Bar). Here also located the now-known Cabagnow cave pool; I did not go there but only the couple Ace and Merich because my old-soul self kicks-in and I just wanted to relax by watching the waves slowly creep the shore and the people and kids enjoying the sea. Tribya: Here in Anda beach you can see from afar the Camiguin Island’s silhouette.

You never visited Bohol if you won’t visit the famous rolling chocolate hills and purchase some sweet Calamay.

Bohol is now developing flower farms similar here in Cebu and they also have a glowing flower farm like in Lapu-lapu’s 1000 roses, The Jardin Necitas. Whether it’s nighttime or daytime the vibrant colors of the flowers will capture your eyes and you’ll surely can’t resist striking a pose because of its instagramable scenery. The entrance is I think 35 pesos, they have a small canteen inside but the place is kind of far if you are coming from Tagbilaran City.

After all the tours it’s time to relax and enjoy the peaceful beach of Bohol. We took pictures of the sunrise, I jog along the shore, ate breakfast together, and of course dip and enjoy the crystal clear sea of Panglao, Bohol.

We tried also this cafe that we can see in Robinsons Galleria, the Buzz Cafe.  Here in Panglao is where their original restaurant/manufacturing site is located and of course, we tried the organic flavors of their ice creams to know if they have the same taste in Robinsons Galleria and the verdict is: the ones in Cebu still offers the authentic ice cream flavors. I think what they (in Cebu) don’t have yet is the flower salad which is weird but the organic eaters will surely love this place. Everything here is organic and I love the location of their restaurant it’s above the cliff and overseeing the beautiful sea.

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Bohol will soon become as progressive as Cebu in a few years from now. Major projects (some are proposed and in-progress as of this writing) will soon realize like Bohol Business park similar to Cebu’s IT park or Ayala Business park for BPO and KPO industries, the recently opened Panglao Island International Airport, Cebu-Bohol Power interconnections this 2021, upgrade of Bohol connectivity to the national fiber optic node into fully-protected submarine cables ready for commercial use, accreditation of special economic zone, monorail system stations at the Bohol business park to connect Tagbilaran city to Panglao airport, Cebu-Bohol Friendship Bridge (2026 -2035) though this is still in the feasibility study but this is part of the long-term Visayas spatial development framework: inter-island bridges. Botanical gardens, public parks, golf course, boulevards, water treatment facility, and many more.

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Adventure Philippines Travel visayas

First time in Boracay Island

When you are stressed out and you need to relax and unwind, we Filipinos are very lucky because the natural gems of the tropics are within our country. We have beautiful waterfalls, rivers, mountains, amazing roll of hills, and of course beaches. We don’t need to spend a fortune to experience white and fine sand, pristine crystal clear water, adventures within paradise, and relaxing services. We all have it in here whether you will explore it in Luzon, Visayas, or Mindanao surely you will experience one.

The most famous gem that we have and we are very proud of because this is known worldwide is Boracay Island. Boracay was recently closed for 6 months, a hiatus for it to recover and somehow clean and restore the island’s beauty. The hiatus started on April 26 and ended on October 26 of 2018.


I remember the time when we went to this beautiful paradise a year prior to its hiatus. We were there September of 2017, there are a lot of foreigners and local tourists as well despite the fact that it was an off-peak season. So far it was the first trip that for me I truly enjoyed my vacation because we were really very relaxed. Usually, my travel is more of discovering the place so we tried to compact our schedule to visit the different attractions sites or activities for that place. But in Boracay, we did not have an itinerary, it’s a come what may thing, it’s like we have so much time to waste. We sleep as long as we want, we wander the beach, we experience activities that are not in the plan. Our only solid plan when we were there was to relax, look at the beach, walk on the shore, take a dip or swim in the powder blue sea (usually seashore’s are turquoise but Boracay is like a huge swimming pool, the sea is powder blue).

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There are really instances that hotels are inviting passers-by to have a luncheon in their restaurant in exchange of little time to spend to hear their membership feature. Lucky for us we were invited, we didn’t expect it, someone just approached us and we even thought that it might be a scam. The hotel is Astoria Current

Though we can experience activities like parasailing and helmet diving here in Cebu, why not try it in Boracay too?

Beside from sleeping.. Eat..eat..  and eat is an activity that’s part of the “relaxing” agenda hahahaha

So far, I think we spent around Php 10,000 plus for this trip, below are the items I can remember.

  • Airfare: ~3K to 4K
  • Accommodation: ~1.5K each
  • Ferry ticket: 75 per way
  • Terminal fee: 100
  • Environmental fee: 75
  • Parasailing and Island Hopping: 2K
  • Food: ~2K
  • Van: 200 per way

It was really worth it and will surely come back, as of this writing Boracay is still rehabilitating, especially the streets and the waste management. The road is not that good right now and unlike before that you can visit the island even without a reserved accommodation as of this moment you cannot do that, you need to have a reservation because they are controlling the crowd which is nice. Let’s face the fact we humans are the reason why our natural resources and beauty are devastated.

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Adventure Philippines Travel visayas

The Charming Island of Siquijor

The majority of Filipinos probably are stereotyping when they heard the word Siquijor. Siquijor is an island  known for traditional faith healers, witches and witchcraft, mystical creatures, and magic but for me personally (I admit I was kind of anxious at first) the island is ultimately charming, it feels like the whole island is all new, peaceful, and very clean (maybe the climate has something to do with it, Siquijor has a 9 to 10 months of wet season, dry season starts from Feb to April or mid-May).

Siquijor is also known as “Isla del Fuego” or Island of fire as it was like burning from afar when Spaniards discovered this island, but actually, it ‘s just the abundant population of fireflies living in the Molave trees on the island during that time.

Tribya: Siquijor is the 3rd smallest province of the Philippines, with a land area of 327 square kilometers and a coastline 102 kilometers long.

How to get there?

The island has no airport, therefore the only way to get there is through the sea. The nearest point if you’re from Manila or somewhere far from the island that you’ll need to take an airplane to get there is you need to land in Dumaguete. From Dumaguete head to the Dumaguete port near Silliman University (pier or ‘pantalan’).

There are numbers of shipping lines that will cross from Dumaguete to Siquijor, what we took was Oceanjet for Php 230 then a terminal fee of Php15. Oceanjet is a little expensive though it’s fast the travel is around an hour.

Other Shipping Lines, click here

  • MV Siquijor Island Ferry
  • GL Shipping Lines
  • Delta Ferry
  • Montenegro Ferry

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Our trip was just a day tour so we booked immediately for our departure tickets going back to Dumaguete when we arrived. For our transportation, we rented a multi-cab for about Php 1,600 for the day tour (it was 1,800 actually but we haggled).

Budget damage for this trip in Siquijor was around Php 1,000 each, we’re 6 in the group.

  • 230 Oceanjet x 2 = 460
  • 15 terminal fee x 2 = 30
  • 266 multi-cab
  • 30 Salagdoong beach entrance
  • 8 parking fee in Cambugahay Falls
  • 84 lunch
  • 10 fish spa
  • 16 red cross donation (I think this one is optional)
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Adventure Philippines Travel visayas

Manjuyod Sandbar, the Maldives of the Philippines

Manjuyod Sandbar which what I heard is the “Maldives” of the Philippines and the reason why we checked it out. Manjuyod Sandbar is a 7kilometer stretch and I guess it’s the longest or largest sandbar in the Philippines, but please feel free to comment if you know something else. Manjuyod is located in Dumaguete and can be accessed via boat for about 15 minutes from Bais or from Manjuyod.

Before the summer ends, though there’s no “summer” here in the Philippines as we only have 2 seasons the dry and wet season, we prefer to still categorize the months of April and May as summer; we visited 2 beautiful islands in the Visayas and one of it is Dumaguete.

It’s a 3-day trip, our 1st day was not really productive and we just watch Wonder Woman in Robinsons mall in Dumaguete while our second day we went to Siquijor and on the third day, it’s Manjuyod day!

Ready-Starts-Go!

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We went early (that’s the plan), though not really early since we went out in our Apartment around 8 AM.  We went to the bus station and took the bus with “Manjuyod” route. I don’t recommend this route, it is better if you’ll take the Bais route. Bais City is 45.8 km away from Dumaguete City and took you an hour ride versus if you’ll take the Manjuyod route which is 67.2km or 1 hour and 44mins (well it will take you more than that actually because the bus will keep on load and unload passenger for like every few meters which were so annoying).

It was high tide when we arrived, the best time is early morning until 9:00 AM according to the bangkero. Good thing a little sand bar showed for us to enjoy  🙂

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According to Yen, one of my friends who had an experience taking the Bais route, that it is more convenient than Manjuyod since you’ll drop off at their market where you can still buy your foods if you like and there are a lot of options for the boat-ride (you know a healthy competition). What we took was the Manjuyod route for a change LOL, well for us to try and so I can give you a first-hand experience of how it was.

The Manjuyod Route

For Manjuyod route, you’ll drop off in the middle of sugar cane fields where there’s like a couple of tricycles waiting. It will shell you out an extra cash for the tricycle ride (good for 9persons), they’ll ask 400 pesos for the back-and-forth ride from that entrance to the “abandoned” restaurant.

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There were fewer options for the boat, in fact when we arrived it’s just one vendor offering for 2.5K for a small boat and dolphin watching is not included in that package. According to Yen, they got a whole package for like 3K and that includes tricycle transfer, boat ride, and dolphin watching when they where in Bais City.

I think the tourism office of both Bais City and Manjuyod should level-up their game and provide a better tourism experience because it seems like there’s no control yet especially for environment and vendors. Anyway, we enjoyed the sandbar, the sea, the sun, and the sand! You just have to be more patient on the bus ride.

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Adventure Philippines Travel visayas

Bantayan Island Cebu for one night

Last weekend we headed to the north of Cebu to relax, discover and unwind, feel the summer breeze, bask in the sun, and dip in a clear turquoise sea of Bantayan Island Cebu for one night.

Tribya

Located in the Visayan Sea, Philippines Bantayan Island Cebu is situated to the west of the northern end of Cebu Island, across the Tañon Strait. The island area is 110.71 square kilometers (42.75 sq mi) and mostly covered by coconut palms. Bantayan derived its name from popular folklore; it says that during the time of 22nd Governor-General Sebastián Hurtado de Corcuera, the Visayans were continually harassed by Moro pirates who came on raids to capture slaves. Consequently, tall stone walls and watchtowers were built in different parts of the archipelago, for refuge and protection from Moro aggression. These watchtowers were known locally as “Bantayan sa Hari,” meaning “Watchtowers of the King,” and they served as lookout towers for incoming vintas (Moro pirate vessels). In the course of their vigil, it became common to say, “Bantayan! Bantayan!”, Meaning, “Keep watch! Keep watch!”, and that was how this island-group got its name. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bantayan_Island)

Travel

From Cebu City, we took a vhire or van for hire in North Bus Terminal heading to Hagnaya port, and the fare was 200 pesos each. The travel was about 3 hours though with vhire there’s a chance that the travel time would be less versus traveling by a bus because of less stop-over. However, just expect that you are packed along with other passengers and the ride is not as comfortable as the bus.

We arrived at Hagnaya port and bought a ticket to Bantayan Island, the damage was 170 pesos for the vessel ticket and then 10 pesos each for the terminal fee.  The travel time from Hagnaya to Bantayan (Santa Fe port) is 1 hour, and once you arrive, you can get a motor cab to bring you to your destination. The motor cab fare will depends on your destination, the farther it is, the more expensive it will be, and in our case, the driver asked 15 pesos each for a 2km ride).

Accommodation

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We booked our accommodation at Budyong Beach Resort. There are a lot of accommodations in Bantayan Island, you just have to look for it in TripAdvisor or ask the motor cab driver, they know a lot of accommodations that may not in listed in accommodation aggregators. Personally, I don’t recommend Budyong Beach Resort at this moment though its location is great, I’m sure that there are better resorts that offer a quality stay. Good beaches can be found in the southeast around Santa Fe, and in the northwest at Patao and Madridejos.

Itinerary

We actually didn’t have an itinerary because initially our goal right there was the beach but the motor cab driver offered us Land Tour as well as Island Hopping. We took the Land Tour since we were discouraged in Island Hopping option. Island Hopping here in Cebu will not land on those islands that you will hop in, there’s a  fee if you opted to.

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The Mangrove Forest of OMEGEICA
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The Land tour will range from 500 to 1,500 pesos and for us we’re lucky to found a gem and got the lowest price. The land tour that they’re referring is a rent for their motor cab including their service to drive you to the location for the whole duration of the visits. The land tour covers four areas around southeast of Santa Fe. The land tour inclusions are: The Mangrove Forest or OMEGEICA, Paradise Beach, Ogtong cave (this is inside a resort, and during that time we’re not able to visit because ethe resort controlled the visitors and prioritized the resort’s guests), and Cliff Diving in Kandugyap (we skipped this since we’re not interested in cliff diving).

Before we went home we had a few minutes to enjoy the Kota beach then went to HR music bar and restaurant for our sumptuous lunch. By the way, extend your patience if going home as it was worst; a long queue for the ship ticket and when you reached in Hagnaya port you will still have to queue for the ‘limited bus’ that was coming, though this will only happen during or around Lenten season. Overall we enjoyed Bantayan island though we never maximized our trip since it’s just one night but we will definitely come back very soon!

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This was not my first time to visit Bantayan, below are the pictures I took on my first visit.

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Adventure Philippines Travel visayas

Sirao Flower Farm: The Little Amsterdam

It was a lovely day! We visited the famous little Amsterdam of Cebu City located at Barangay Sirao, and that’s 15.9Km away from JY Center (this is the mall in Lahug where you can find motorcycles for hire a.k.a habal-habal). The farm plants various types of flowers but the majority of it are the Celosia’s also known as Cock’s comb/Roster’s comb because of its appearance. DidGeeKnow that Celosia plant can be eaten and considered as a side dish? In fact in Nigeria, it is the leading leafy green vegetables and known as soko yokoto’.

 

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Yellow Celosia

We went there with our own vehicle so it’s not much of a hassle for our part and we enjoy much of the day but if you don’t have a ride you can contract the motorcycles in JY Mall in Lahug. The fare would be around Php500~ish for the back-and-forth, I guess you can haggle too by asking them to include the Temple of Leah as part of your destination (at least you are hitting 2-birds with one stone). Both attractions have an entrance fee of Php50 as of this writing (last year, what I know it was free then Php30) while parking space is Php20.

 

The Sirao flower farm is flock by many local tourists so expect of photo bombers in your pictures though to solve it, it only needs for the perfect angle and technology like mobile or desktop applications. The farm has ornaments and booth like a colorful mini windmill, Marry Me wall, wood benches, goddess-looking statue, swing-bench, and they also offer a Dutch costume rental for Php 30. It is best to visit the farm during August until October as this time the flowers are fully grown and ready for harvest by November, the farm usually provides flowers for the All-Saints Day and All-Souls Day.