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Date Posted: Sun, Apr 27 2014
Subject: A Tour of Cebu and Bohol

Here are more photos that I took some time ago. These photos were taken last December of 2013 when we went for a three day tour in Cebu and Bohol.

These two islands in Central Visayas are two of the most visited islands in the entire Philippine Archipelago. Cebu is the oldest city in the Philippines and Metro Cebu which is composed of several smaller cities is the second most populous metropolitan area in the Philippines after Metro Manila. Though Metro Cebu is rapidly growing, it is still much more manageable to explore than Metro Manila. Business is thriving in Metro Cebu. You will find local and foreign multi-national companies here particularly electronic, ship building, and IT/BPO companies. When you call customer service in the states, there is a big chance that you are talking to someone in Cebu. The design sector especially in the business of furniture and accessory making is also growing in Cebu. Cebu is well known in the Philippines for having the best designers. We stayed at a resort in Lapu-lapu City in Mactan Island. Lapu-lapu city at the suburb of Cebu City is where most of the resorts are located. Most of the beaches in Metro Cebu are either man-made or rocky. If you want a real beach, you will have to venture out one or two hours out of the metro area of the island province. We had a nice one day tour of Cebu on our last day in the islands. Weíve visited the place where Magellan got killed by Lapu-lapu; the downtown area of Cebu where you would see Fort San Pedro, Basilica Minore del Santo Nino del Cebu which is the oldest church in the Philippines and where they keep the statue of Santo Nino that was brought to the island supposedly by Magellan in the 1500s, and Magellanís Cross; the Cebu Taoist Temple in the Beverly Hills Subdivision of Cebu; a place where they make and sell guitars which Cebu is also famous for; and the new church built by SM company dedicated to St. Pedro Calungsod who is supposedly from Cebu. Iíve been to Cebu long time ago but my impression this time is, it is becoming more like Metro Manila but you could still feel that you are in the province and it is still more laid back than Metro Manila.

Bohol is a different story. They are more into eco-tourism. They are trying to follow what Palawan is trying to achieve for their province. You donít see high rises in Bohol. Instead, you would see mangrove trees along the rivers and coconut and mahogany trees along the highways. On our second day in Cebu, a van came and picked us up early in the morning at the resort in Lapu-Lapu City where we were staying to bring us to the port where we would take a two hour ferry boat ride to the island of Bohol. Since the tour in Bohol is only for a day, we were not able to see the rest of the tourist attractions that Bohol has to offer such as its beautiful white beaches, Panglao Island and some other places. We arrived at the port in Tagbilaran City, Boholís main town at the southern part of the island. A tour guide came and fetched us for our tour. We had a very nice tour guide. She was very friendly and knowledgeable about the place and the history of Bohol. We started the tour in Tagbilaran City which is I thought just a typical city that you would normally see in the Philippines then we headed up to the famous Chocolate Hills in the town of Carmen which is situated in the middle of the island. It took us awhile to get there since we stopped at different places along the way. We saw the remains of the old churches that were destroyed by the recent big earthquake that happened here two months before our trip. It was sad to see these old Spanish churches that once stood mightily for centuries in the towns of Bohol are now just piles of ruins. I hope that these old churches will be restored sometime in the future. One of the stops we did was a Tarsier sanctuary. I was excited to see a Tarsier for Iíve never seen one in all of my life until this trip. Tarziers are one of the smallest primates which are endemic to the Philippines. There used to be more Tarziers roaming around the island of Bohol and some islands in the Visayas and Mindanao but due to the loss of their habitats and people hunting them, the current population of Tarziers dwindled to just a few hundreds. They are now being protected by the national and local governments. Tarziers are beautiful and very gentle animals. We also went through a man-made forest that stretches two kilometers of lush mahogany trees and other tree species along the highway in the towns of Bilar and Loboc. It is very impressive. We finally got to the famous Chocolate Hills after a while driving the beautiful country side of Bohol. As what Iíve seen in postcards and photos, the hills were beautiful even though the hills were not brown to resemble chocolates when we were there. It is in the dry season when the hills turn brown. The view deck where we went was damaged from the earthquake but we managed to get a beautiful view of Chocolate Hills and the surrounding area.The view was breathtaking from up there. From Chocolate Hills we headed to Loboc River for the popular Loboc River Cruise. This must have been the highlight of our tour. It was very enjoyable. There was live music playing in the background as the boat glided down the river and while we were enjoying the food that was prepared for us. The food was mostly local dishes from the Visayas and Bohol. It was fabulous. The scenery was also beautiful. We were joined by local and foreign tourists in the river cruise. Iíve heard Bohol also offers Firefly Tours at night for watching fireflies at Loboc River and other places in the island. After here, we headed back down to Tagbilaran City for our trip back to Cebu with a quick stop at a souvenir store and at the place where they had the blood compact between the Spanish explorer Miguel Lůpez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna the chieftain of Bohol on March 16, 1565. The blood compact or ďSandugoĒ was supposedly the first treaty between the Phillippine and Spain to signify the friendship for both countries.

It was a very enjoyable trip especially the Bohol tour. I would highly recommend Bohol for anybody who wants to visit the Philippine Islands.

Chocolate Hills, Bohol


To view the rest of the photos, please click:

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