For the four of us, not only this trip became our first time to travel together after high school, but more significantly this adventure had sparked the latent desire to travel more, explore other places in the Philippines (hopefully in other continents as well), and learn from the adventures and misadventures we have had while on the road.
So after booking our flights from Iloilo to Cebu and vice versa, we started looking for the most affordable yet decent accommodations we could find in Cebu and Bohol, and started packing our bags for what we considered as our “maiden voyage.”
Here is the itinerary that launched our now unstoppable “lagaws” (an Ilonggo word that means roam, travel or wander).
2:00 pm We arrived in Mactan International Airport in Mactan Island, Cebu. From the airport, we took a taxi going to South Bus Terminal and boarded the bus en route to Sibonga, Cebu. Depending on the traffic and weather condition, it usually takes 2 to 3 hours of travel to arrive at the Simala Shrine.
5:45 pm We didn’t know where to get off the bus so we just asked other passengers to tell us where to get off to get to the shrine. Once alighted, we begged for the trike driver to take us, as fast as he could, to the shrine after knowing that the church closes at 6 in the evening. The trike ride from the intersection to the church is about 10 minutes. So you can imagine our adrenaline instantly going up, which was a good thing for it gave us the needed energy to run as fast as we could from the gate of the shrine to the interior of the castle. We felt like we were one of the contestants of Amazing Race as we ran up the stairs, took off our shoes (you need to remove your shoes to enter the interior of the church), and beheld the marvelous collections of Virgin Mary in all forms and titles. After some time, the security guard requested us to leave the vicinity of the church for the closing of the church’s doors.
9:00 pm We traveled back to Cebu City and checked in at The Center Suites.
9:00 am We took a taxi from The Center Suites to the fastcrafts’ port bound to Tagbilaran City, Bohol. We passed by a drive-through restaurant to buy some breakfast and wolfed it down while waiting for the boat that would take us to the island of Bohol. Travel time from Cebu to Bohol is approximately 2 hours, depending on the weather.
11:00 am We arrived at the Port of Tagbilaran. The resort’s driver picked us up and brought us to Dumaluan Beach Resort in the island of Panglao in no time. On the way, the driver briefed us of the basic facts about the island. There we knew that it’s illegal to wear full-face helmets when driving a motorbike in Bohol, which sounded quite counterintuitive.
After we have checked in and rested for a couple of hours, we explored the resort’s environs and enjoyed the breathtaking sunset while relaxing in the lounge chairs. We’re lost for words to describe the beauty and serenity of the place.
Day 3: Bohol Countryside Tour
Our second day at Bohol was scheduled to be spent as a “countryside tour” of the island of Bohol. We were like children underneath a Christmas tree on Christmas day when we found out that only the three of us and the driver would use a Grandia Van for the entire tour. We felt like VIPs for a day! (Tip: Book during the off seasons if you want to be treated like kings!)
First stop, Chocolate Hills Adventure Park (CHAP). There were endless activities and adventures you can do in CHAP. But because we didn’t have the luxury of time to experience all of them, we decided to get a combo of bike zip and some obstacle race above the treetops.
Second stop, Bohol’s centuries-old churches.
Next stop is the Loboc River cruise…with eat-all-you-can lunch!
Fourth stop, Bilar’s man-made forest.
Other places of interest we visited include the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary of Canapnapan-Corella Bohol, Bohol Python and Wildlife Park, Butterfly Garden, Sandugo or Blood Compact Shrine, and the Bamboo Hanging Bridge of Sevilla, Bohol.
After a tiring but definitely worthwhile tour of Bohol’s countryside, we went back to Dumaluan Beach Resort, watched the golden sunset (again!), enjoyed a delicious dinner, and dived in the resort’s refreshing swimming pool. What a day it was!
We woke up to the smell of the eat-all-you-can breakfast prepared by the resort especially for those who are going to go island hopping. We ate to our heart’s content and readied ourselves for the most-awaited part of the trip: dolphin watching and snorkeling at Balicasag Island!
After the island hopping that lasted for a couple of hours, we went back to the resort, checked out, and travelled back to Cebu City for the last leg of our trip.
By 2 in the afternoon, we were back at Cebu City and found ourselves heading to the newly-opened SM Seaside City or locally known as SM South Road Properties.
During the evening, we hang out at Ayala Mall to watch the Christmas lights that danced in the rhythm of popular Christmas songs.
We went back to The Center Suites to spend our last night in Cebu.
It was our last day in the island of Cebu so we decided to buy some “pasalubongs” and some souvenirs to take back home.
Before we even started our 5-days-4-nights trip in Cebu and Bohol, we promised not to leave the island of Cebu without eating their famous lechon. So we stayed true to our promise and here we are!
This 5-days-and-4-nights adventure in the islands of Cebu and Bohol became the starting point of our many adventures. This is just the beginning, so be with us in our next trips!