A day trip to Bohol, Philippines (Day 7)

Day 7 Destination

We flew from Manila to Tagbilaran on the island of Bohol for a day trip on the island. We had pre-booked a tour with Bohol Travel Buddy that had a set itinerary as mapped below. Costed 1500 PHP per person in a comfortable private car.

map

Top tip

As mentioned before in our 2016 summary post, we highly recommend renting a scooter / car and seeing the best bits of the island by yourself, not because the the tour is not well structured but because all the animal-related attractions that were part of the tour affected us deeply and saddened us (descriptive post to be published).

We also did mention that this particular day of travel was our worst day of travel in 2016 but it was due to the reason above. There are genuinely fun things to see on Bohol. The self-planned trip website is an excellent resource for Bohol (and Philippines in general). We also have read that the firefly tour is really nice but we did not have any time left. 😦

The must-dos

We had a super-early flight to Bohol (yet again) from Manila but the weather was brilliant & we got a few pretty aerial shots (take one on the way in)

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Entering Bohol from the air

Chocolate Hills

There is no wonder why this is Bohol’s No. 1 attraction, this is such a unique landscape. Mounds perfectly shaped like Hershey’s kisses (the comparison and hence the name was supposedly done by Nancy Reagan on her Philippines visit) dominate from the viewpoint. It was beautiful to look at. Note that you’ll have to climb 200+ steps to get to the deck & its not accessibility-friendly.

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A wider shot and the observation deck

Man-made forest

We were quite surprised how pretty the mahogany man-made forest was. The road is under the canopy of the forest for about 10 minutes and it’s a fascinating drive through (no pictures though as we just drove through).

Hanging bridge

The bamboo hanging bridge over the Loboc river was legitimately fun, a bit scary and very scenic. There are a number of hawkers on the other side of the bridge if you’d like to shop but we stuck to snapping away. 🙂

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So much green!!

Baclayon church

This church was made out of coral stone way back in 1727 and has a rich history behind it. Coupled with its interesting architecture &museum exhibits, it was a fitting end of our day tour.

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It looks like a ruin due to an earthquake but is beautiful

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A room of idols

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Prayers

The should-miss

Any of the 2 python “zoos”

Both the zoos in question have highly negative TripAdvisor reviews with good reason. The caged animals looked genuinely distressed and there were many snakes in closed boxes. We’ll publish our rant soon but our recommendation is to avoid these, even if you’re on a set tour.

Loboc river lunch cruise

At 400 PHP per person, the lunch buffet river cruise is the definition of a tourist trap. The food is not very good, the music is ok and there are a bunch of people taking selfies at the front of the boat meaning you’ll have to jostle for views / good pictures. We’d have switched this out for Ziplining if we could. The only thing of value from this tour was the shot below in the few minutes we could stand in the front.

The “Make-the-calls”

These last 2 attractions are both animal-related and where their living conditions were much better than the python zoos, they could be better. These are the Tarsier conservation area & the butterfly park. The tarsiers are supposed to sleep in the daytime so don’t expect them to move about. The butterfly park was pretty good actually apart from the crowd control, its best to watch your step so as to not step on a butterfly.

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Tarsier perched on a tree

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Majestic

Our very last stop of the day was a poignant one of the statues signifying the blood compact between the local chieftain & the Spaniards in 1565. The statues are very detailed, notice the slash on the wrist on the leftmost statue.

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Getting in and out

AirAsia runs flights daily from Manila to Tagbilaran (just over an hour, around 2600 PHP per person).

We took the OceanJet fast ferry (2 hours) from Tagbilaran port to Cebu City port for 500 PHP per person (our tour company got us promo fares). Checking in luggage costed a bit extra (50 PHP per bag or something).

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