Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Our Planned Unplanned Bohol-Cebu Trip March 8-12 2008

Posted in Multiply March 16 2008

It was exactly what I needed: time off from the stresses of my life. It was what the doctor ordered – rest and relaxation.

Richard and I bought tickets to Bohol on a whim sometime late last year. Cebu Pacific had a Piso Fare promo (Cebu Pacific, I love!) and just decided to take advantage of it – thanks to the help of my best friend travel coordinator, Janice (Hi Jans!). We thought of Cebu and Bohol since it would mean we’ll get to visit 2 places in one trip and we haven’t seen these places yet (except Cebu – I’ve been there several times, but it’s still a first for Richard). We selected the dates to cover both our 2nd anniversary (March 10) and Richard’s birthday (March 11).

We originally planned it to be a honeymoon vacation – but the baby came before the trip. Hehehe. So it just became an adventure trip. Adventure meaning we planned nothing and decided to go with whatever happens there.

We’ve researched online on what we can find in Bohol, places to visit, etc, but never really booked anything or made any reservations. The day before the trip, Richard was frantically looking for a place for us to book because he feared we might end up sleeping in the streets of Tagbilaran. The travel agent quoted an exorbitant price and I said I’d rather risk sleeping under the stars than succumb to highway robbery (actually, it was more of they needed the payment by 230pm that day and both Richard and I couldn’t leave our work to pay at the bank).

Night before the trip (Friday) was the only time we packed our things. We are last minute packers – but efficient and effective nevertheless. We didn’t leave anything or forget to bring anything. Hehehe. So we got to sleep late, almost 11pm and had to wake up super early so we don’t miss our super early flight. Lack of sleep ito!


230am Saturday morning, the ever-reliable Chris came to expertly whiz his way to the airport. We were there by 3am and got checked in by about 330, just right for our 545 flight.

I knew I had to try to sleep coz it would be a full day, but I was too excited!

We boarded the plane at about 530am (super early!). The kid sitting in front of us was talking to his dad. He said, "Umaga na sa pupuntahan natin?" The dad said, "Umaga na rin naman dito eh, pero madilim pa."

We arrived at Bohol at 7am, as the flight attendant of Cebu Pacific said. It was a tiny airport but with lots of flyers of different hotels and pictures of places to visit in Bohol. Our vacation has officially begun.

We were picked up by the driver of our acquaintance (friend of a friend who volunteered to tour us around Bohol). Hi Espie! We had breakfast at their house and then immediately headed to Alona Beach, Panglao to find a place to stay.

Richard, having done his own research, was bent on staying at Bohol Beach Club. According to the stuff we read online, this was the best place to stay in Bohol. Our “guide”, however, said she won’t recommend it coz it’s too exclusive. Besides, if the beach is what you came for, you can find a place right in front of the beach and have places to go at night too. So, following her expert advice, we went from hotel to hotel along Alona Beach looking at their rooms and their rates. I wasn’t willing to pay a lot coz I read online that you can get a place for as low as P800. a night! After a few hours of walking along the shores of Alona Beach and looking at the different hotels, we finally decided on Lost Horizon.

After hotel hunting, we were now ready to do phase 1 of our trip: Countryside tour. Here are the places we saw:
Blood Compact site.

Loboc River (with Buffet lunch). – This is where Cesar Montano shot Panaghoy sa Suba. The waters, I was told are normally clear, but it had been raining the last few days, so it was brown and murky.

Tarsiers (the tiniest of the monkeys). – They probably are so used to cameras, they don’t really move or do anything even if the camera almost touches their noses! Too bad you can’t touch them anymore. You can only look! Richard said he can fit one in his camcorder case and no one will notice. Hehehe. Pasalubong daw kay Luis.

Ang evil tarsier (look at his eyes!)

The Nice Guy Tarsier
The monkeys and the tarsiers. Hehehe.

Chocolate Hills – They aren’t very chocolatey yet as there had been a lot of rain lately. They’re still very green. Climbing up was worth it. It was breathtaking!

Baclayon Church (although we didn’t get to go down and take pics because it was closed by the time we got there)

Hinagdanan River – I couldn’t see the point, why again is this a tourist spot? You could just see stalactites and a body of water. It was too dark and damp and way too creepy for me.

If there are other places to see, we didn’t get to see them anymore. Hehehe. We ran out of time and energy. But what we did see are enough to fill our cameras and our curiosity about Bohol’s “Country Side”.

After our tour, we went to Island City Mall to buy last minute stuff we need – like water, Peanut Kisses (get the pasalubong out of the way), and additional board shorts for Richard.

We had dinner at “The Buzzz Café”. According to Espie, this is a branch of Bohol Bee Farm’s restaurant. But that the Bee Farm had an entire store where you can buy different spreads, different breads (Camote Bread, anyone?) and eat at a restaurant overlooking the ocean. I fell totally in love with the Buzzz Café and got truly excited when Espie said she’d take us to Bohol Bee Farm in the morning to have breakfast there.

Woke up early to catch the sunrise. Never happened. Couldn’t find the sun. It was dark when we left our hotel room, we sat around at the beach, next thing we new, it wasn’t dark anymore! But the sun didn’t rise in front of us. Drat.

Well, good thing about this though, we got to speak with Eking. He offered his bangka for P1500. to do the following: Dolphin watching, island hopping (he promised 2 islands, Balicasag – where we can snorkel – and Virgin island). He said if there are 2 of us, he’d throw in the masks for free, but if we bring our 2 companions (Espie and Tess), then, we’d need to rent our masks.

We told him we couldn’t go on that day, as we had other plans, so maybe we’d go the next day.

We lounged about at the beach and prepared for our breakfast at Bohol Bee Farm. Because I was already hungry, I ordered halo-halo while Richard ordered coffee.

By the time Espie arrived, it was already time for brunch. Hehehe. So off we went to Bohol Bee Farm. It was really beautiful! It kind of reminded me of Sonya’s Garden. But they were different of course. Sonya’s Garden had a more shabby chic feel to it, Bohol Bee Farm had a more country-theme to it. I love their store! I wanted to buy everything. Then again, what will we do with all that pesto spread?! Hehehe.

Harana daw sabi ni Richard:

Camote Bread, anyone?
We had brunch at the resto near overlooking the beach and to my sheer happiness, they serve BEE FARM BUFFET! Of course, that’s what we had. It was “managed buffet”, as not everyone wanted that, so it was done only for our table. The buffet gave us a chance to sample their most popular dishes. Haaaaay, sarap.

In preparation for our anniversary (which was the next day), Richard recounted our love story to our two audience. Pang-pelikula nga daw. Hehehe. Ang Richard, shempre, ever so proud of our story. After that, Espie said, right before she picked us up, she was thinking if she would ever get married. And after hearing our story, that made her think that “nangyayari pa pala ang mga ganon”. Later on Richard said, maybe God wanted him to share our story so that others will still have hope in real love. Awww, ang shwet ng asawa ko, diba?!

Bohol Bee Farm also had a little nook below the resto where you can lounge about and enjoy the view. Richard and I so love it there! That’s actually where we stayed most of the time. We decided to find out if they had rooms available the next night, and if they did, that we would definitely spend our last night in Bohol there. And yes they did!

Steps to get to our nook:

Ah, heaven, is that you?!

More steps to bring you to the waters:

After this, we had to say goodbye to our 2 wonderful guides, as they need to prepare to go back to work the next day. How sweet our hostesses talaga, they said we had their driver at our disposal (wowowee!). But all we really needed (and wanted) to do was to buy our ferry tickets to Cebu the next day and head back to the beach. And so we did, after getting our Weesam ferry tickets, we asked to be dropped off at the hotel.

Once there, we changed into our bathing suits and headed right out to the beach! It was about 4pm so the sun’s not harmful anymore. We didn’t bring our cameras as Richard said he didn’t want to worry about losing them while we were playing in the water.

So we went. We walked a long way to find our perfect spot. There were a lot of people also swimming and “sun”bathing. Haaaaay, ang sarap. Most of the people there are foreigners, very few Filipinos – 2, Richard and myself. Hehehe. Actually, maybe there were 4 of us, or 6. I lost count. But bottomline, konti lang ang Pinoy. Next week pa siguro since holy week na. Hehehe.

We ended the day with dinner by the beach. Shempre, super spicy sisig (yummy!), grilled squid and grilled giant shrimps.


We woke up really early again to go dolphin watching. There were significantly fewer people on the beach – kasi weekday na. So we left Alona at about 530.

While waiting for Eking to set up his bangka:

Onboard our majestic, "Gladys"

The Captain, Eking

We got to where the dolphins were at about 7am. Funny thing was, I thought we would stop somewhere and wait for the dolphins to come out and play. DUH! Apparently, it doesn’t work that way. The bangka was still moving while the captain, Eking and his Chief Mate (I didn’t catch his name) would point out where they were. So Richard and I had our cameras and video cams ready to try to catch them when the 2 men would point. Hehehe. I most ly got pics of the water. Ngahahaha. Although, I did get to catch some of them! Richard was able to record some of them.

May dolphin ba o water lang? Look closely!

After getting tired of the dolphin watching excitement, we decided to continue on to Balicasag island. Richard was a little hesitant to allow me to snorkel at the Fish Sanctuary (baka daw delikado for me coz I’m pregnant). As if naman I would willingly sit around and do nothing when the action was right under water!!! Besides, I’m sure nervous lang siya for us both coz it’s a new thing. So I had the guide say out loud that it’s safe for pregnant women. So ayun! We went! Hehehe.

Richard and Lolo Guide:

Our guide (lolo na ito) didn’t speak a word of Tagalog, so I just got bits and pieces of what he was saying, but communication was clear when it was time to pass the pieces of bread for the fish. It was obvious that he too, was enjoying himself, he was also looking under the water! Hehehe! Buti na lang his assistant (maybe son?) also helped out by keeping an eye out on us and would lead us away from where the sea urchins were (drat, I wanted to go nearer and check out their spines – yun pala yung dangerous. Hehehe).

Too bad our cameras weren’t waterproof. We didn’t get to take any pictures underwater. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL! Beautiful is such a gasgas na word, but I couldn’t think of a more suitable word. Maybe SPECTACULAR? MIND BLOWING? SO OUT OF THIS WORLD? All of that are true! Honestly, all the underwater video clips they show on National Geographic do not give justice to how gorgeous it really is underwater. The colors of the fishes are so vibrant and they are definitely not ordinary. If you have a piece of bread in your hand, they’d ALL go and eat! Ang ganda talaga. After all the awful things that have happened in my life recently (the emotional and psychotic mess left from my dad’s death), snorkeling really made me say, “God, you indeed are majestic.” No exaggeration. It restored my faith in his grand ways.

Haaaaay, drama aside, I couldn’t help but try to keep my head under water for as long as I could coz I wanted to remember all the vivid shapes and colors! I knew we don’t have pics of them. Grabe. Remember “Under the Sea” from Little Mermaid?! So true.

Anyway, after this, we had lunch of grilled maya-maya, sinigang na maya-maya, and scrambled eggs. Haaaaay, a hearty way to end a hearty activity. Ang galing!

Negotiating for lunch:

After which, we went to Virgin Island. There were a few tourists there, also brought there by their captains and bangkas. It was great. The island itself is small, but right “attached” to it was a long stretch of sand that you can walk on. They said if the water is low, the sand is out, but if water is high, you can still walk on the sand, but it’s underwater. When we got there, sand was underwater. Ang galing talaga. Pristine blue (and green) waters. We walked on the sand and got far, but water was only up to our knees.

Welcome to Virgin Island:

halata bang we're having fun?!

After exhausting our cameras (and our feet) and seeing that our bangka was the only one left, we decided it was time to head back to Alona Beach – since we were checking out and moving to our new home for the night, Bohol Bee Farm. However, coming from Virgin Island, our bangka decided to die. The motor wouldn’t start. I wasn’t worried coz I knew that our captain and his Chief Mate knew the waters like the back of their hand and that they would think of something. Well, they didn’t need to think so much right away coz another bangka (a bigger one) came and rescued us. We moved to this other bangka that would take us to Panglao Island (the other side – where we would need to take a tricycle ride to get to Alona). It was A-OK. Additional adventure daw, sabi ni Richard. Medyo scary lang having to transfer from our bangka to the new one. One wrong step and you’d be swimming in the deep sea.

After the successful transfer to the bigger bangka:

Arriving at Panglao Island:

After settling everything there is to settle at Lost Horizon, we were brought to our new home for the night, Bohol Bee Farm. Our room was great!

One side of the room
The other side of the room:
We slept the entire afternoon and then headed out for dinner at around 6pm. We went straight to the restaurant overlooking the ocean. Not a lot of diners there, just one couple. Richard kept walking straight to our little nook below. I told him, “Sarado na yata. Ang dilim na o.” he said, there must be a light somewhere. I was a little hesitant coz I thought, maybe at this hour, they don’t allow visitors anymore.

Then one of the waitresses went down the steps carrying a plate of their famous salad, put it down on a table for two and said, “Kayo po ba ang magdidinner dito?” I immediately replied, “Ay, hindi. Hindi kami pa nagsabi. Bakit, may nagreserve ba dito?” And she said, “Meron po, in-house guests namin.” I got offended thinking we won’t be able to hang out in our favorite spot coz some guests reserved the area. Had I known, I would have reserved it myself! And to think we would be leaving the next morning, how will we get to enjoy our nook?! And so I curtly told her, “In-house guests din naman kami ah.” And turned around to walk out. Hmph. Richard though, stole the drama, by announcing, “Bunny, ako yung nagpa-reserve! Happy anniversary!” Hehehehe. I was so shocked and surprised, not to mention, embarrassed by my outburst. Sabi na lang ni Richard sa waitress, “Ang sungit ng asawa ko noh?” Hehehe. To which, the bright young lady replied, “Nabigla lang po si Ma’am.” Good answer, good answer.

So we got our nook all to ourselves! And have buffet by the waters too! Life is still good!

The surprisee:
The surpriser:
Buhay tamad: After eating, higa higa lang:

Happy anniversary to us!


I slept well only til about 3am, after that it was on and off. Something fell that shook the whole of our room’s floor (Richard said it was to remote control to shush me). I felt a hand tousling my hair. When we woke up the next day, Richard said it wasn’t him. And that he “felt” something last night. Ngiiii. Oh well, medyo I thought the same when I heard the “remote control” fall. Masyado naman yata mabigat ang remote to make that kind of impact.

Anyway, great way to start Richard’s birthday! Hehehe. We went down to the resto to have breakfast – yummy too! I haven’t eaten anything from Bohol Bee Farm which was not good, I swear! Then went to shop for pasalubong at their store. We still had about 30 minutes left before being brought to the pier for our Cebu-bound ferry ride so we hung out at our favorite nook. Haaaay, God is still good.

Breakfast at The Buzzz:

At our favorite nook:

Views from the Nook:

When we got to the Pier, Richard and I were reliving our Bohol vacation and kept saying with mock tears in our eyes, “Bye bye Bohol. We’ll see you again soon.” Bohol was super great!

Once again, we had no reservations whatsoever in Cebu. So we didn’t really know what we would do there except buy dried mangoes and dried fish. Once onboard the ferry, I texted my old colleague and friend, Joy, who was a certified Cebuana. She toured me around the first time I went to Cebu. I asked her where we could stay and what we should visit and she replied in just a few minutes! Galing talaga, my friends! All helping out as quickly as they can!

These are the things she said we ought to do:

*Stay at Mango Park Hotel (reasonable rate considering we won’t stay long there anyway, plus we’ll be leaving early the next day – we didn’t want to stay in a grand hotel).

*Eat at CnT Lechon at Guadalupe, and then buy dried mangoes at R & M Factory Outlet (cheaper than getting them at the malls).

*Buy dried fish at Taboan or Carbon Market.

*Visit Sto. Nino Church

*Visit Magellan’s Cross

*Visit Fort San Pedro

*Visit Malacanang (this we didn’t get to do, Richard said he was too tired. waaaah!).

Cebu was ok, but it’s like Manila na rin eh. Kaya hindi masyado exciting. We enjoyed our few hours-stay there, though. Kahit papano.

We ended the day with dinner at Golden Cowrie with eat-all-you-can rice. Hehehe.


We left the hotel really early (6am) so we could be at the airport on time. We passed by Jollibee (hehehe, how very authentic Cebuano) to take out food for breakfast. While at the airport, we were coordinating with Imelda (Luis’ yaya) in Manila. They wanted to join Chris, the driver, to pick us up! Shempre, yes yes yes! We soooo missed our Luis! And he sooo missed his daddy (waaaah, when we were away, puro daddy ng daddy lang daw.)

Excited to see our Luis!!!

View from my window:

back in Manila! Waiting for our sundo: Luis!

Ahhh, nakakamiss ang anak namin! Mwaaaaah! Maka-daddy nga lang. hehehe.