Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dolphin Watching, Balicasag Island, Virgin Island & Tagbilaran City (Day 3)

I grew up with the sea just behind my house and with a grandfather who used to sail but for some reason (overprotective parents), I never once did venture out into the open waters.  Today was my chance, and a chance for my Lolo to return to the familiar environment  he used to tread.  

We were up early on a Tuesday for our Sea Tour costing P 1,800.  If you'll be arriving from Tagbilaran City, there is an additional P 1,000 round trip fee for land transfers because it's quite far.  We left the hotel around 5:00 am and were now headed to Panglao Island, this time for some sun, sand and splash!

After a long walk to the docks, we finally got to our motorized boat and on our way to the middle of the sea for Dolphin Watching near Pamilacan Island.  Dolphins are most commonly seen around 6:00 to 7:00 am which is the reason for the early start of the tour.  Despite being a weekday, there were a lot of bancas on dolphin watch, which according to our guide causes disturbance to dolphins and reduces the chances of seeing them.  After about 20 minutes of wait with no sighting, we decided to end the pursuit because my grandmother was feeling sea sick.  I was starting to feel bad and disappointed when two minutes into our retreat, we lucked out on seeing a gang of dolphins pop right across our boat!  They hoped, dived and dazzled in front of us for about a minute until  the other boats caught up and the dolphins disappeared for good.

Seeing the dolphins roam free in their natural habitat up close makes rising early worth it.  There is just more fun in seeing them unpredictable and in the wild compared to being in controlled environments like marine parks.

Early morning, lost at sea

The Countryside, Tarsiers, Chocolate Hills and Island City Mall (Day 2)

I remember a music video back in my youth (naks, feeling matanda, haha) entitled "Tara Byahe Tayo" sang by various local artists and promoted by the government under the Wow Philippines tourism campaign.  Back then, I wasn't in love with travel yet, but I think the beautiful images shown from our national attractions got ingrained into my subconscious  and explains why there is like a magnetic force pulling me to visit all of them.  Now, I cross one out one on the list, and boy was it worth the visit! 

The van picked us up around 9 am for our Countryside Tour costing P 2,400 as today we explore Bohol's most famous attractions.  Hearing a lot of good feedback from other people who've been here, there was a palpable sense of anticipation among the group.

First stop is the Blood Compact Site.  This is the sight of the historic treaty between Sikatuna and Legazpi known as Sandugo.  The ritual involved the Filipino and Spanish leaders drinking wine mixed with drops of blood drawn from the other as a sign of friendship.  It is a heavily visited area with tourists all lining up to have their photos taken.  The background set on top of a cliff also provides a dramatic view of the Bohol sea.  During July, the Blood Compact is celebrated by the townspeople in a feast filled with food and lively activities. 


Bohol... Arrivals, Dauis, Panglao City and Bohol Bee Farm (Day 1)

Bohol: The Famous Hills and Everything Else Untold

Bohol has always been famous for Tarsiers, the Chocloate Hills and Panglao Island.  To most tourists, it is a single day trip from Cebu with an overnight stay at the maximum.  They get to see the famous sights and possibly check out the beach before heading out.  However, one of the joys of traveling, is venturing into the unknown and making unexpected discoveries.  I wanted to see Bohol for all its worth, from the tourist spots, to the roads less traveled.

The Chocolate Hills