Weekend Getaway: Bohol

Summer has come and gone, and I’ve not written anything decent on here yet. Sigh. Time to hustle, and here’s one I’ve drafted over a year ago! 

Bohol is probably one of my most favorite places to visit because of its proximity (2 hours away from Cebu by ferry), its beautiful white sand beaches, laidback and relaxed atmosphere, and the friendly locals.

I’ve been here several times but I haven’t been back since 2010, so when a friend invited me to her twins’ baptism in January, I jumped at the chance to go!

It was so nice to be back and find that everything’s pretty much the same – Boholanos are as friendly, and the place is still as beautiful. A slight downside is that because it has become more popular, several new resorts have opened up and more tourists are now visiting regularly, so that means the beach could get a bit crowded. (To think this was the Sinulog weekend – a huge Cebu festival, so I knew most of them would be back in Cebu!)

I decided to book my accommodation in Tagbilaran because it’s cheaper, and planned to just ride a jeepney to Panglao the next day and spend the whole of Sunday lounging on the beach. My host wasn’t sure how to get there by public vehicle and neither did my friend. But I thought I’ll just ask around and hoped to figure it out somehow.

So Sunday morning while I was preparing to head to the beach, I got a text from my friend that she’s sending a car to take me to there! And while I thought I was only going to be dropped off, another nice surprise was that it was actually an island tour! Admittedly, I was a bit hesitant because I just wanted to hang out all day at the beach and I’ve been to Bohol several times so I’ve already done the usual tours before. But you know when some things don’t exactly go your way, and they end up being better than you expected? Well, because of the tour I got to revisit a couple of places and discover new ones, too.

Our first stop was the Hinagdanan Cave. When I visited 11 years ago, it was quite a challenge going down the cave because it wasn’t as well lighted. But now, they’ve put in more lights and have built a walkway to make it easier for the visitors. They also now have guides! My guide showed me ‘hidden’ cave drawings which I didn’t see before. Cool!

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One of the drawings inside Hinagdanan Cave

My driver guide also brought me to the Shell Museum. I have never been and I was amazed to see that many shells – in all shapes and sizes (and price!). I got to meet the owner himself, too.

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For lunch, the driver dropped me off at Bohol Bee Farm. Since they opened a branch of their restaurant Buzzz Cafe in Cebu recently, I’ve been going there regularly. I love their all-organic, fresh food. Imagine having Sunday lunch with this view…

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Sigh.

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I came a bit early for lunch

After a satisfying lunch, it’s finally off to the beach for me! The driver asked if I wanted him to wait for me for a couple of hours so he can take me back to the city. Since I wanted to stay longer than that, I told him I’ll just find my way back and it should be easy to find buses and jeepneys right? He said yes. (I learned later that it’s actually not :P) So we bid goodbye and I started my search for the perfect spot.

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Nothing beats Vitamin Sea!

I decided to stay in the vicinity of the high-end resort we visited the day before. But since I wasn’t technically inside the resort, I didn’t have to pay anything- score! And under a coconut tree, I spread my blanket and just chilled …

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This part of Alona was still pretty secluded 5 or so years ago

Spent the rest of the day alternating between swimming and napping. Perfect Sunday!

P.S. After a hurried dinner, I walked back to the main road and looked for PUVs heading back to Tagbilaran. There were lots of habal-habal waiting for passengers, but no bus or jeepney in sight! The habal-habal drivers were trying to convince me to ride with them because they said there’s a slim chance of finding a jeepney on a Sunday night. Because I really really don’t like to ride on a motorcycle with a stranger through dark roads (yep, I’m praning like that), I decided to wait it out and just hope an odd jeep or van or taxi would pass by. After 30 minutes or so, I was on the verge of giving up when a tricycle heading onto Tagbilaran turned up thanks to one kind driver who waited with me and flagged it! The trike was full so I had to sit at the back of the driver, which was still much better than riding than a habal-habal! 😛

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