April 2005 was the first time that I went to Tagbilaran City and it was for work so I wasn’t able to visit the beach that time. My second time was with my kaps Trina and her family where we did a Cebu-Tagbilaran-Cebu route and we just stayed for one day in Panglao. It was a great time and I promised myself that I’d go back to the wonderful island.
I initially planned this trip for a friend whom I think and believe really needs a time to think and serenity. So planning this trip was like hitting two birds at a time, I’m helping a friend out and I’m doing myself a favor by going outside Luzon. Plus, I really missed going to the beach and I had to try my underwater camera and everything fell in the right place.
Though this trip wasn’t really an easy thing to plan, there were challenges came along the way and I’m glad it still pushed thru. We ended up being 6 in the pack and one of my craziest travels ever.
Destination: Panglao Island
How to get there: By air from Manila
Budget: 9,000 inclusive of fares, taxes, accommodation and food
Travel companions: Merski, ODH, Mojacko, Stephen, Bullet (rushers)
First impression: For me Panglao Island will always be the place where I’d want to go to when I want to have peace and solitude.
Highlight of the trip: In summary I think the highlight of this trip is the friendship that I’ve gained and bonding with these friends. It is a first to most of them and being the mastermind of this trip my main objective was to ensure that everyone goes home with a smile that they’ll bring those memories forever.
I guess I can categorize the highlights into 3 parts, 1st part is the Chocolate hills tour, we got to have lunch in a cruise boat but before doing so we were able to see Bohol’s python and an “animal show” was staged, too. We went to the butterfly sanctuary and I was impressed by the guide because he talks with too much knowledge and mistakable for an entomologist. Climb the top of the hill to appreciate the beauty of the “green” chocolate hills, mustered the courage to finish the hanging bridge and took a lot of pictures at the man-made forest.
The 2nd part was my favorite because this is the very reason why I wanted to go back to Panglao Island. We woke up early in the morning and traveled for an hour to see the dolphins. After that we ate breakfast the beach then headed for snorkeling. We were blessed with equipped and polite boatmen and every peso was really worth it. After spending an hour and half snorkeling we transferred to a deserted island called Virgin Island where we spent a little less of 30 minutes. Took more pictures and walked thru the sand bars and breathe fresh air. That was the last stop of the morning and we returned to the resort for lunch.
The last part was the night of playing cards, exchanging stories, thoughts and ideas. Whenever I think of Bohol, I remember the almost 2 minutes of non-stop laughter because of Mojacko and how he was too serious about the game 123 pass. This is one true example of having night outs without beer but sheer laughter and enjoyment and for me nothing will beat those nights.
Local words learned: Bohol originated from the word Boho that means hole from which spring water usually gush forth
Things to do and see: Your 3 days and 2 nights stay in the island will be enough but if you have another day to spare I would definitely recommend that. There are lots of things to do in Bohol and it can be divided into 3 parts.
Part I – The Chocolate Hills Tour where you can get to visit the Baclayon Church, the Butterfly Sanctuary, Python visit, Hanging Bridge, the Blood compact and of course, the magnificent Chocolate Hills.
Part II – The Panglao Island, this is a must thing to do. You just have to wake up early for these activities dolphin watching, breakfast at the beach, snorkeling then island hopping. Then you’ll have the rest of the afternoon in the resort.
Part III – The City Tour where you’d get to visit Hinagdanan Cave and various churches and get a feel of the city.
Tips: Get a tour guide with van rentals inclusive and tie it up with your hotel accommodation. I highly suggest do an extensive research on this. We were able to save 900 per person because I have booked our accommodation with tours outside.
Before going back to the hotel, make sure you have water and snacks because stores are hard to find in the resort area and hotel food are too pricey.
Lastly, say no to horse playing better be safe than sorry.
Things that I’d try when I’d go back: I think what I’d like to try next time is scuba diving Bohol has been known as one of the diving spots in the country with only healthy corals and school of fishes to boast. Aside from that maybe next time I’d also include a travel of 2 hours from the city to EAT Danao which is the newly developing haven of adventure with tube rafting and zip lines to name a few of what it can offer.
Local food that I’ve tried: We went to the Bee farm and got to taste organic food from Corn muffin, to Malunggay spread, Salabat tea and the Spicy Ginger Ice cream. I went to the free taste; I wasn’t in the mood to shop and to do a food trip that day.
In summary, going out-of-town will always be something that I’d do. I can go alone but nothing will ever surpass the experience of being with good friends. This trip will certainly be one for the books. The pain-staking planning, extensive research, making hundreds of calls to make this trip as close to perfect was really worth all the trouble.