Bohol, Philippines: A Place with Wonderous Things
March 15, 2019
by Jan Sales
I am very excited to share to you about my first-ever travel years ago in January 2013. It was a life changing trip for me because since then, I never wanted to stop.
Welcome to Bohol, Philippines
Landing on Tagbilaran Airport at around 11 pm, the first thing I could think of was food. Boy, I was hungry after a 12-hour trip from my hometown to Manila then Tagbilaran. I had a light snack courtesy of Philippine Airlines before then but hey~ A woman has got to eat!
Must Try in Bohol
From the airport, I took a tricycle and asked the driver to bring me to Gerarda’s Place. Based on some research I made before the trip. It’s one of the most recommended places to eat.
I asked the waiter to recommend a specialty that is unique to Bohol, but to my dismay, he answered that there’s no dish exclusive to Bohol. Perhaps, now that travel has gotten more popular. They have something more unique to offer.
Anyway, I ended up ordering buttered chicken and plain rice. To be honest, this is one of the downsides of being a solo traveler. Ordering too many is pricey, and there’s a limited variety of food you can try. The chicken was tender and buttery. Downright! It was a meal decent enough to fill me. And the price? It’s now Php 130 per order. Not bad, but back then; that was already expensive for me. Now that I think about it, I could have tried their menu offering with words I haven’t heard of like Chicken Halang-halang, Adobong Nokos, Nilat-ang Baboy with Bulad. Any of that could have been nice. Anyway, that’s something I must try when I get a chance to go back to Bohol.
Must See in Bohol
After lunch, the tricycle driver was still outside the restaurant. He actually waited for me and offered me a tour for Php 700. I told him that I only had a few hours since I have to board a boat to Balicasag Island by 5 pm. He asked me what I wanted to see. So, I showed him a list of places. After giving it thought, he told me that the best places we can go to were The Philippine Tarsier Foundation Incorporated and The Hinagdanan Cave.
Tarsiers in Bohol
From Tagbilaran, it’s about 15-20 mins ride by tricycle. The Philippine Tarsier Foundation Incorporated is located at Canapnapan, Corella Bohol. It is a sanctuary to the endangered tarsiers. I had to pay Php50 as an entrance fee.
Before I got to see the cute little primates, I got a tour, and I had a chance to get to know about some facts and figures about them. It was very interesting to know that:
- They cannot be contained in cages so they need a large area for them to propagate.
- If kept in cages, they commit suicide by holding their breath or banging their heads into the cages.
- Their eyes are bigger than their brain, and their tails are longer than their bodies.
- The head of a tarsier can turn 360 degrees enabling them to see what’s behind it without moving its body.
- They are also nocturnal animals, so I hope I’m lucky enough to see some of them in broad daylight.
So, I went into the sanctuary with a tour guide who led me to the tarsier sightings. It’s amazing for them to know where the tarsiers are in a one-hectare land area that tourists are allowed to enter. After a 30-minute walk, I was able to see five of them. I even saw a Mother and Child tarsier, and I was really happy. Unfortunately, some were too far for me to take pictures of.
After a 35-40 minute tricycle ride, I reached Hinagdanan Cave in Panglao Island. Hinagdanan means “laddered.” The entrance fee is Php 25. If you wish to swim in the cave’s lake, the bathing fee is Php 100.
Two holes lead in and out of the cave. According to the tour guide, this cave was accidentally discovered by a farmer who was also the one who built the ladders. The ladders going into the cave is small, so you got to hold onto it because the path is slippery and narrow.
The inside of the cave is about 100 meters. You can see beautiful rock formations with stalagmites and stalactites.
Outside of the Hinagdanan Cave, you’ll see souvenir shops that sell good buys to bring home to your loved ones. They told me that Peanut Kisses are the most popular ones that visitors buy. Of course, I also bought these little tarsier keychains to remember Bohol best.
Where I Stayed
From Hinagdanan Cave, it takes about 20 minutes to reach Panglao Island. It is where you can ride a boat going to Balicasag Island. I had to pay Php 1,500 to take me there. As I know, there is a service boat if you have a reservation on the island, but since there was no signal on the island back then, I couldn’t contact the resort.
We stayed in a cottage good for a family at Php 3,000. It was a cozy and airconditioned, but you can also enjoy the sea breeze if you wish to. The surrounding beach in the island has crystal clear waters with coarse white sand.
You can walk around it for 45 minutes and get to meet the locals. The island is also near a sanctuary so you can enjoy diving or snorkeling. They also offer dolphin and turtle watching activities. A word of advice, know the rates before booking a tour to avoid overpaying. I really hope you enjoy the island as much as I did.
Thanks and stay tuned for my next blogs.