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Fine beaches. Breath-taking views. Magnificent landscapes. Hospitable People.

What is more to describe Bohol?

If you want to have a good vacation in budget, Bohol must be a very good option for you. Other than being known for its tourist spots, there’s so much to explore in the island that only first-hand experiences can describe. Bohol has remained to be the mysterious island that we’ve constantly attempted to profile. But there’s something in that place that really entices people to stay for Boholeños and attract visitors to come to the island.

We took a fast craft to Bohol from Cebu Island. As soon as we’re able to set our feet in the port of the island, we were welcomed by a very good-  looking jellyfish. IMG_7924Actually, this is the largest one that I’ve seen in real life and it’s glowing in colours so I was really amazed that the jellyfish lives near the port. And if you look at the port waters, it’s very clean. This just goes to show that Bohol waters are really that clear. Their port areas have crystal waters already, how much more are those in the beach resorts themselves?

I took a deep breath, and I told myself that this is yet the start of another 4 days exploring the beautiful Visayan island. We took a snap view of Tagbilaran City and the spots are awesome. Tagbilaran is not really a big city and it’s perfectly just right for being an ecological niche. I don’t think that commercialization of the area is even a good thing. And the GPS of the car helps in getting acquainted to the different structures and major highways.

Our first stop is the Panglao Beach, one of the most popular attractions in Bohol because of its white sand beaches and different sites of activities. Panglao is actually a very good starting point for island hopping, scuba diving and dolphin watching.

I actually love dolphins a lot and I really think they’re cute enough to be adored by humans. Scuba diving and dolphin watching should be made cheaper so that a lot of people are going to appreciate their preservation. This should also be made accessible to the locales so they can facilitate the protection of coral reefs and underwater habitats.

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There are so many food choices in the area, especially the seafood. And we have claimed a fair share of this taste after trying some of the best offers in a couple of restaurants. The Mango Shake is a must-try, with the perfect blend of guitars strung at my back with the wind gushing as I lay my tired spine in the relaxing platform near the sand’s glittering white.

Walking along the beaches of Panglao in sunset time makes you feel like you’re in a luxury resort. The presence of so many foreigners, scuba divers, beach stalls, souvenir shops, girls in bikinis and everything kind of leaves that elating feeling of being back in Bali or having gone to Boracay Island.

The next tourist attraction that we have visited is the site of the blood compact in Bohol. Then we went to different stops of the famous floating restaurant that sails along the Loboc River. The picture is a seafood meal with some musicians playing violin or the sexy sax in the background. And as soon as the restaurant guests arrive in the stop, there will be some performers in traditional attires who will dance some traditional dances of Bohol.

Visiting the Largest Python Zoo is a big thing to me because snakes are ultimate fears. I could die just by seeing a snake staring at me. But this python is really big. The snake is 15 years old, of Vietnamese origin and when it was caged,it is still very little. And thank God, he is sleeping when we went to his place that time. The zoo also has other animals like “melo” or the palm civet cat, monitor lizard, crow and many other species of birds, etc. The zoo houses some endangered species as well.

One of the things that made this trip a lot more interesting is visiting several churches and ancient towers. I think going deeper historically is a tradition for any tourist in an area and you can just find many old churches in Bohol that were built way back centuries ago. We went as far as Baclayon Church, which is one of the most-well preserved by the Jesuits and oldest churches in the Philippines, and also Loboc Tower.

Then we made our way to the most popular attraction maybe of Bohol – the Chocolate Hills. The hills entail a story with it and a lot of people have different interpretations of the story.IMG_8975 It actually turns brown during summer because the grasses that cover the hills fade due to the weather. And I guess that’s where they got the name of it because it looks like lumps of chocolates during summer time.

After going to Chocolate hills, we went straight to the Tarsier Conservation Area. One of the things that I have learned in the area is that tarsiers are very sensitive to lighting. And that is the reason why flashes are absolute no-no’s when you take photos of them. There are many tarsiers in the place, but you can just count them.We also went to the famous Ship Haus and Loboc Man-made Forest. Then we ended the day with sunset viewing near the beach.

And that folds my Bohol experience! I am looking forward to be back in Bohol once again in the near future. How about you? Visit the place and for sure you’ll love it too! Go beyond what I have gone to. I think I haven’t even gone to 50% of all of the tourist spots of Bohol. And it’s cool because that’s what makes it a place to still look forward going back to.

Here are some of the other photos that I took in our trip:

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Article and photos by Gabriel Billones Jr