Monday, July 16, 2007

Cebu - Bohol Trip

Our plan to visit both Cebu  and Bohol materialized when I was able to book a promo fare from Cebu Pacific. Our plan was to stay for one night in Cebu City and take the fast craft to Tagbilaran the following morning and from there return to Manila from Tagbilaran airport in Bohol.

From Mactan airport we walked a flight of stairs outside where a line of taxis are waiting for passengers. We asked the driver to take us to our hotel in downtown Cebu, which I found through the internet, the Hotel Mercedes in downtown Cebu.. The hotel was a bit old but since we're just staying for the night, we thought that it will do.

After settling in, we asked the hotel staff how to get to the Sto. Nino Shrine, Cathedral and Fort San Pedro which are all just within walking distance from the hotel. They gave us a map to give us bearing on how to get to the places we planned to visit.

Walking along Colon Street, claimed to be the oldest street in the Philippines, we turned right to Lrgaspi street and eventually found the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. We entered the church and lingered for a while.

Still walking further Legaspi Street, we found Fort San Pedro, a small fort built by the Spaniards to protect themselves from the Moro invaders during the Spanish era. After paying for a small entrance fee, we wandered through the fort.

Returning back to Colon, we passed the Juan Luna street and went to the Sto Nino Basilica which is beside the Magellan's cross and just across the Cebu City Hall. Vangie and Angel lighted some candles and then wandered through the grounds and inside the church.

Finally, we went to Tabo-an market for some pasalubong of dried fish and squid. Here, you can find all kinds of dried seafoods. They will seal your purchases in plastic bags to minimize the fishy odor. Just a remind, make this your last stop as the smell will stick on your clothes and you have to take a shower after a visit to the market.

The following morning, we took a taxi and went to the seaport for our trip to Tagbilaran. After paying for our fare and terminal fee, we sat in the waiting lounge for our trip. The fastcraft was a little bit late and I think was having engine trouble. The trip took longer than expected as the boat slowly made its way to Tagbilaran.

Upon arrival in Tagbilaran, we were welcomed by a staff from the El Portal Inn , which we also booked via internet, as they also offer free airport/seaport transfers. Once settled in, we asked the hotel staff how to get to Alona Beach in Panglao Island. They instructed us to take a mini-bus near the Bohol museum which passes by the beach. We took a tricycle to a mall and had lunch and bought some provisions for our stay on the beach.

After lunch, we asked for some directions on how to get to the mini-bus terminal and walked to the place. The mini-bus was really old but somehow provided the transportation we needed. We told the conductor to drop us at Alona Beach and asked what time does the last bus return to Tagbilaran. We were told about 4 PM.

After less than an hour, we finally reached our destination. We had to walk a short distance through a street before we finally saw the beach. We laid out our picnic mat and in no time at all, both Angel and I are already in the water.

Before 4 PM, we packed our things and proceded to walk to the highway to wait for the bus. Fortunately, a tricycle who just dropped by some passengers was returning to Tagbilaran. We flagged him down and negotiated a fair price for us to be taken to a mall in the city so that we can have our dinner.

We went to bed early as we had already coordinated with a private car who will take us for a tour to some of Bohol's tourist spots. First, we were taken to a Tarsier sanctuary where this nocturnal creatures live. Angel was quite scared of the small animals that we had to carry her around.

After the tarsier's place, we went to Carmen to see the famous Chocolate Hills, which are not colored chocolate at all, he he he. We climbed the lookout via the ramp going up instead of  using the stairs, which we used going down.

After the Chocolate Hills, we stopped by the man-made mahogany forest. Unfortunately, the shots taken there were all blurred. We then went to Loboc to have our lunch on the floating restaurants. I think the trip took us about an hour going upstream and back to where we started.

We also visited the Baclayon Church, one of the oldest churches in the Philippines and spent some time inside for some prayers.

Our last stop was the Blood Compact monument, where the Spaniard Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Datu Sikatuna, a local chieftain had a blood compact.

The following morning, we decided to visit the Bohol Tropics Resort since we were still early for our flight back to Manila. We took a tricycle going there and we checked out the place, so that one day we might be able to return and stay in the place.

After visting the resort, we returned to the hotel to pack our things. The shuttle that was supposed to take us to the airport was unavailable, but the hotel made sure that a taxi would take us there without extra charge.

While waiting for our flight back to Manila, I had a massage by a blind masseuse right there at the airport.

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