FLASHBACK: Exploring Bohol with only Two Hours of Sleep and a Hangover


In November last year, I booked a trip to Cebu with pictures of nice beaches and old churches in my mind. Never did I realize I would spend four days in the Queen City of the South seeing neither of those things. I should have expected an incredibly spontaneous trip, since I was travelling with my best friend, Alej. Packed with lots of money and our innate alcoholism, our four-day Cebu trip transformed into long booze nights, tons of foodtripping, solo trips around the city, and a wonderful tour on the nearby island, Bohol.

Bohol was actually part of our original itinerary (read about the Most Spontaneous Cebu-Bohol itinerary here), though I wasn’t really looking forward to it at the time. We were already drunk by the first night in Cebu but still we pushed through with our plans to go to Bohol the next day. With only two hours of sleep, we dragged our heavy bodies to the sea port to catch the boat that would take us to Tubigon.



lovely skies at Tubigon Port
Upon arriving in the port after about an hour of travel, we were greeted by our Manong driver (Alej pre-arranged the tour the night before). Manong drove us around Bohol for the entire tour. Our first stop was the Sagbayan Peak, where the Tarsier Sanctuary was found. Those little creatures were exceedingly cute and amazing! It was an awesome experience holding one in my arms. I never imagined they’re so small. See my pics below—I’m such a tourist!



with the cute tarsier
Anyway, after looking at the tarsiers, we walked around the little park in Sagbayan Peak and just marveled at the lovely pine trees and amazing views. It was as if anywhere you look in this part of Bohol, there was always a Chocolate Hill in some distance. Later on, I learned that there were actually thousands of them scattered among three towns – cool, huh?





breathtaking views from the Sagbayan Peak
We then went to Carmen where most people actually observe the hills from a better view point. We spent some time there looking at this spectacle – it was simply beautiful. You’d think seeing these natural sites would be incredibly corny and boring after studying all about them all through grade school, but no, I realized they weren’t famous for nothing. Too bad we weren’t allowed to actually climb them, though. I had really wanted a picture of me smoking on top of one hill, but then that would be a double violation (climbing and smoking). That’s one thing off my bucket list due to feasibility reasons.
photo of the Chocolate Hills taken from the car as we rushed down the cliff-side road


After looking at the marvelous hills and making some new friends who are also on tour, Manong took us to the Butterfly Garden. Here, a tour guide explained some scientific facts about butterflies and other random shit I wasn’t interested in, but I must admit that the butterflies were beautiful to watch. Afterwards, we proceeded to the Man-made forest, a two-kilometer stretch of land planted with mahogany trees. This sight was actually something, like you were in a movie or something. Alej and I spent some time there taking pictures (for Facebook purposes, haha).




the man-made forest
By noon, Manong took us to Loboc, to have a buffet lunch aboard one of the floating restaurants which traverse the Loboc River. The food was okay (normal Filipino fare—grilled meats, seafood, salads); what was more interesting is that you are immersed in lush greenery while the boat sails on the Loboc River, with matching live music from the band playing aboard. I have had a similar experience in the Backwaters of Kerala though, three years ago when I was in India, and the Loboc wasn’t as awe-inspiring.


view of the Loboc River from the port
After about an hour of sailing, we approached a small hut where folk dancers and musicians were stationed. The artists played some music and performed a tinikling dance. We were invited to join in, and of course I did! I tried to hop around with the expert tinikling dancer, even though my footwork was more like that of Jive. It was incredibly enjoyable!
me dancing tinikling! Photo credit: Alej Uy
We cruised back to the boat station, and on the way, the band played VST & Company songs, to which I and a certain talented lady from the boat danced the swing. Other passengers were watching and taking pictures.

Our next stop was the Xzootic Animal Park. Located on a stretch of deserted road, Xzootic is actually a mini-zoo which houses a few exotic animals like ostriches, pythons, leopards, owls, and iguanas. However, the fa├žade is so shabby anyone could have mistaken it for an eatery or a convenience store. The over-all appearance of the place made me hesitant to enter – the cages looked dirty and seemed like they could break any minute; the entire area reeked of who-knows-what-that-foul-smelling-object-is; and the animals looked drugged or something. Nonetheless, Alej and I walked in, spent about five minutes inside, took a few pictures, and went back to the car.
touching the giant python at Xzootic Animal Park
somebody just got circumcised...
The drive that followed took a bit longer, since our next attraction was the Baclayon Church, a centuries-old Spanish-style church along our route to Tagbilaran. We actually lingered here, as the structure was incredibly nice to look at and to photograph. There is also an intriguing image on the wall—the face of Padre Pio, according to Manong driver (Padre Pio who?)—which just appeared there mysteriously. You can see the image clearer on pictures, rather than actually staring at it. It was kinda creepy and awesome, if you ask me.
see the image on the wall?




To conclude our tour, we visited the Sandugo Shrine in Tagbilaran to see the Blood Compact Monument. Honestly, I was expecting something incredibly majestic. Imagine my disappointment when I saw the sculpture, which looked to me like a bunch of guys drinking Emperador Light on the streets of Tondo. It has a historical significance though, and was the explosive ending to our Bohol Countryside Tour, so you’ve got to love it!


Empi Light, anyone?
Before driving back to Tubigon Port, we shopped for some souvenirs from a shop across the Sandugo Shrine: key chains, coin purses, and ref magnets all depicting cute tarsiers. Then Manong driver told us to hurry as it was beginning to rain already, and we made our way back to the port.

I couldn’t remember the length of time it took us to drive back – one hour? two hours? – because we were asleep all throughout the ride. The tour took almost 8 hours in total, and it made us very exhausted. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun, though. Not only did the tour make it possible for me to cross out two items from my bucket list (seeing a live tarsier, seeing the Chocolate Hills), but it also gave me new experiences and memories. As I always say, travel is for non-stop exploring, not lounging around and relaxing. With such astounding beauty surrounding me, I could walk all day and not complain.

~*~
Have you been to Bohol? What did you like most about it? Shoot a comment below!
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