BOHOL: Beauty After Tragedy

Enjoying our Loboc River Cruise in Bohol

Enjoying our Loboc River Cruise in Bohol

My friend, what do you consider in travelling?  Well, we always consider our budget, the place that has all the activities that you want to do and the convenience.  Those are the usual reasons.  But for the travel plan I did recently, I also consider helping out our fellowmen.

Bohol is one of the places in the Philippines I visited a few times and never get tired of it.  I went there with friends and will always go back there if ever asked again.  So when my sister Thess and her son EJ asked me if we can go there for my sister’s birthday, I did not hesitate and availed of the promotion that Air Asia has to Tagbilaran.  I booked it together with my partner B and my mother so all 5 of us will go to that wonderful place in Visayas on March 2014.  I booked our tickets last May 2013, a few months before Bohol suffered the damages brought about by a strong earthquake.

Loboc Church Ruins - sad to see a damaged sacred place :(

Loboc Church Ruins – sad to see a damaged sacred place 😦

Dauis Church - one of my favorite churches in Bohol.  Now it is being reconstructed and not yet open to the public

Dauis Church – one of my favorite churches in Bohol. Now it is being reconstructed and not yet open to the public

After the earthquake and seeing the damages in Bohol and its neighboring provinces, all 5 of us worried if we will still enjoy our vacation.  I also thought if my family and B will still see the same glorious sceneries and churches I have enjoyed numerous times.  We thought of backing out.  Then again, tourism is their main source of income.  Although our family donated some for the victims of earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan, I guess promoting their Tourism is one way of helping them.  So I continued searching for a place to stay in and arrange the countryside and island tour I did before.

ACCOMODATION

Playa Blanca de Asteria at Panglao, Bohol

Playa Blanca de Asteria at Panglao, Bohol

If you are looking for a cheap place to stay in near the pristine beach of Panglao, Bohol; I highly recommend Playa Blanca de Asteria which is very near the beach.  We only got one room for the 5 of us for Php 3,100 a night which includes 2 beds where each bed can occupy 2 adults, 1 extra mattress, aircon, our own toilet and bathroom, and a small fridge.  If you want a cheaper option, they have a fan room or kubo for only Php 800 a night. I contacted the very accommodating Ms. Aster Alegrado via email (aster_blessing@yahoo.com) and texted her, too (+63 920 353 5708).

Our gorgeous view from our room

Our gorgeous view from our room

TOURS AND FEES

B in the middle of the road at Bilar Man-made Forest at Bilar, Bohol

B in the middle of the road at Bilar Man-made Forest at Bilar, Bohol

For convenience, Ms. Aster offer us their tour services, too.  Their roundtrip airport pick-up/drop off plus Bohol Countryside Tour is Php 4,300 which includes, driver’s fee, van rental, gasoline and parking fee.  As for the entrance fees to our Countryside Tour like in Tarsier Conservation Area, Prony the Python Area, Chocolate Hills viewing deck, Butterfly Sanctuary, Hanging Bridge and Loboc River Cruise with lunch, allot Php 960 per person for it.

Cute little Tarsier at Tarsier Conservation Area

Cute little Tarsier at Tarsier Conservation Area

Don’t worry, there is no fees to the Blood Compact Site and seeing Dauis Church and Baclayon Church.  If you want a side trip to Bohol Bee Farm, just add Php 500 for it.

Enjoying my sister's birthday treat at Bohol Bee Farm

Enjoying my sister’s birthday treat at Bohol Bee Farm

 

For Island tour which includes going to Balicasag Island, Virgin Island and dolphin watching, the cost is Php 1,800 which includes boatman fee, gasoline, and boat rental.  The prices mentioned is already for the 5 of us.

As always, I enjoyed snorkeling at the pristine sanctuary near Balicasag Island in Bohol

As always, I enjoyed snorkeling at the pristine sanctuary near Balicasag Island in Bohol

Enjoying fresh coconut water in the middle of the sea at Virgin Island, Bohol

Enjoying fresh coconut water in the middle of the sea at Virgin Island, Bohol

In total, here’s our fees for the tour plus accommodation:

Php 9,300   –   One room with aircon for 4 days and 3 nights good for 5 people at Php 3,100 per night

4,300   –   Countryside Tour

500  –   Bohol Bee Farm side trip

1,800  –   Dolphin watching & island tour

Php 15,900 – TOTAL

÷                5 – Number of pax

Php 3,180 – Room and tour fees per person

+         960 – Entrance Fees and Loboc River Cruise w/ lunch

Php 4,140 – Total Fee per person for 4 days, 3 nights

 

POSITIVITY AFTER TRAGEDY

Our funny tour guide at Butterfly Farm in Bohol

Our funny tour guide at Butterfly Farm in Bohol

I will not further explain the places we visited.  In fact, these were all explained by other bloggers.  But what I can tell you is this, Bohol is more wonderful after the earthquake!  Take it from me 😉

B and the Chocolate Hills at Carmen, Bohol

B and the Chocolate Hills at Carmen, Bohol

Yes, their gloriously old churches were ruined, their roads may need constructions, their Chocolate Hills Viewing Deck may need to be reconstructed, but their positivity is still alive.  When I went to the Butterfly Sanctuary, we went there on our own without a guide.  But when we went there last March, we have a guide and was very funny.  During our Island Tour, our boatman was very helpful and stating his experiences with the friendly dolphins.  During our snorkeling activity at Balicasag Island, our guide was helpful, encouraging us to swim further to see the colorful fishes and corals on their sanctuary.  And as always, the Boholanos were the warmest people I have ever encountered!  Every time you pass by them, they always have a smile on their faces as if they never encountered any tragedy.  You will see them working hard and dedicated to their job which I see with our guides.  They remain to be optimistic despite some decline in their Tourism.  They are still accomodating and have the spirit to rise to the challenges!  It warms my heart to see role models in this province.  Yes, we may have paid more than other bloggers have spent on their trips, but I am more than willing to shell out more for our kababayans in Bohol to help them rise up because they are working hard for it and they deserve more of it.

Romantic full moon lighting the waters of Panglao Island

Romantic full moon lighting the waters of Panglao Island

So my friend, if you are thinking of a place to visit this summer, visit Bohol and you will learn something from them.  Not only about the history, not only about their cute Trasiers, but also with their character of never giving up and retaining their positivity to rise up from disaster.

 

-Tinakits-

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