Travel Date: September 24 – 27, 2015
Bohol is located in the Central Visayas region and about half of the island is covered in limestone which is why its terrain is mostly rocky and hilly. Its famous attraction, the Chocolate Hills, are made of limestone left over from coral reefs during the Ice Age when the island was submerged and they turn brown during summer.
My ComBroadSoc orgmates and I have always wanted to see the famous hills, so it was the destination that we all agreed on for our first legit trip after grad. You see, this trip has been quite historical for us because this is the first tourist destination that we were able to visit as a group aside from always being in Los Banos. Tagaytay was actually the farthest place we’ve been to because we’re broke. But now that we’re all working, we’ve got more reasons to be broke. Hah! 🙂
People usually do a Cebu-Bohol trip, but we opted not to because it is better to explore each destination separately. And so we did! After booking for a Bohol trip, we actually booked for Cebu a month after. Oh and btw, that’s going to be a few days from now (Nov 18) and we’re all going crazy about our flights’ status due to the APEC Summit in Manila. Okay, that will be a different story.
It was really my first time organizing a group tour for 12 persons since I used to be the free-rider in my other travel group [El Nido], so I never tried doing the leg work. And dude, I swear I didn’t realize that it wasn’t that easy! But it was really fun researching for all the must-see’s and must-do’s in Bohol.
How We Got There
We booked a round-trip ticket from AirAsia through Gwensanica’s Travel and Tours [my aunt’s travel agency] for a group tour package during its seat sale. We got it for P2,300 each. We left NAIA Terminal 4 at 10:55 AM and arrived in Tagbilaran Airport at around 12 NN.
Where We Stayed
Photo from Arabelle Suites
Arabelle Suites is less than five minutes away from the airport and is located at the town proper. Getting around the town proper was also easy because there are many tricycles around the area. This hotel was included in our tour package [accommodation, tour, and airfare] and breakfast was also included. They have a cafe which had big servings with very affordable prices. Their rice meals cost P150 and they also have budget meals at P55. I ordered lomi at P55 during our first day and I was surprised that their serving was big. On the following days, we were sharing a lomi for three persons to cut costs!
Payag, which means kubo in Bisaya, is known for its chicken inato [P120 for a rice meal]. It’s like the chicken inasal of Bohol. We also tried their binakhaw [kilawin] and their gambas. Oh the gambas was so good that it triggered my seafood allergy and I was almost sent to the ER for having breathing troubles. Whoa! Good thing my friend, Carroll, had allergy meds or else I could have died in there omg.
Lesson learned: always bring other meds [anti-histamine, decolgen/neozep, paracetamol, anti-motility, etc] aside from vitamins because you’ll never know what might happen during the trip.
The Loboc Floating Restaurant is included in our Bohol Countryside Tour as our lunch venue. We had a super late lunch that day and arrived at 2 PM. It was a good thing, though, that they still accommodate guests during that time. The Pinoy-style buffet was okay but there was nothing quite special about the food. After all, the highlight of that restaurant is the view of the Loboc River and the entertainment while enjoying the food.
The Buzzz Cafe at Bohol Bee Farm was the best restaurant in Bohol for me. Their food was so delicious and organic! I love everything about this resto. The food, the nice ambiance, the service, and not to mention the nice view of the beach. I love their organic salad with edible flowers because they are so nice to look at and are very delish! I tried their seafood lasagna [P220] which I wasn’t able to finish because of its big serving. My other friends tried spare ribs [P220] and honey glazed chicken [P190]. We also received a complimentary appetizer of pumpkin bread with pesto and honey spread. They were delicious so I bought a loaf of the pumpkin bread [P90] and their pesto spread [P190].
(c) Ais Manuel
(c) Ais Manuel
Actually, we didn’t expect that they have a store full of ~goodies~ so I think that’s were my contingency fund went. I bought a small jar of Molave Honey, Pesto Salad, Pumpkin Bread, Corn Coffee, and Veggie Chips. If I had more budget, I could have bought the salabat [ginger brew], guyabano tea etc, and a bigger jar of pesto spread! The goodies were all there, not to mention their organic ice cream [P50/scoop] which is also very popular. After eating lunch, we had a quick tour at the organic farm and were lectured about bees.
Since we were 12 for this trip, it was easier to get a private tour because that is the ideal number of people who can fit in one van. The tour package that Gwensanica’s Travel and Tours got for us was from Arabelle Suites because they also offer tours for their guests. Our driver and tour guide was Kuya Joel who was very nice to us despite our demands. 🙂
The tour package gave us their itinerary but we also had a lot of changes in the destinations after researching for fun and a bit hipster way of seeing the Chocolate Hills. We tried the ATV tour and The Rush Zip Bike from Chocolate Hills Adventure Park [CHAP] to see the hills in a different angle and to make it more challenging. Details of our activities on my next post! 🙂
Sorry for the poor image quality. I just snipped it from my screen 🙂
Our budget was I think mid-range, it wasn’t really a budget trip or a luxurious one, but I think it was quite enough to see everything that should be seen in Bohol.
My actual expenses were about P500 higher than this planned budget.
Lesson learned: if you’re going to Bohol for the first time, prepare extra cash for the Bee Farm! 🙂
I will be writing more about the details of our tours in my next post, so just hang in there folks! 😉