I was super excited for our countryside tour! I really wanted to see the chocolate hills and the tarsiers (although I have seen one before when I was in Davao). I think the excitement came from touring a place that is familiar because of photos, yet unfamiliar because I really have no reference point on what to expect (gulo I know but really, I hope you get what I mean).
The night before I was texting Kuya Tatsky, I asked him what time he recommended us to start with the tour. For me I wanted to start early so we can rest in the afternoon before we prep our things for our flight the next day. Kuya Tatsky replied that it is best if we start early – around 7.30 or 8 AM is good. So with that, I told E that we should sleep early since I already expected the countryside tour to be a full day!
A Breathtaking Start
When I read most DIY trips, most often than not tours start with the chocolate hills. Our driver however recommended that we start with the Hinagdanan Cave. He said that since most tourists start with the chocolate hills there would be a lot of people there already and if we do start there we will arrive late for lunch at the Loboc River Cruise. We decided to go with his recommendation and it did not disappoint.
When we got there we were the first tourists and we had the place all to ourselves. This was my first time to explore a cave and I was doing it with E and Bunny – woohoo Family Firsts! Yay! So we started our tour and our guide mentioned that the original entrance was just descending to the cave using a rope but that they discovered a new entrance which was way easier – it had stairs!
I tried to keep in mind as much as I can during the trip – some of which that I can remember is that most locals visit during Saturday and Sunday (this means it is perhaps best to go during weekdays just so you can enjoy the cave without being cramped to what space is left) and that most tourists come mid morning to late afternoon. Aside from that the water there is clean, there are no bats inside the cave, the depth of the water ranges from 3 ft to 10ft plus (if it is high tide it is deeper)
Bee Farm Round 2
For our second day, we already toured Bohol Bee Farm (well really we ate lunch and bought yummy spreads!), I didn’t know that it was part of the tour though! If you will be travelling without a little toddler you can opt to check out the bees but since we had bunny with us we just walked around and again bought stuff (Chocolate Spread, Tea, and ICE CREAM). I am not sure if I mentioned it in my previous post, but do try out their ice cream! It is super yummy!
Monuments and Churches
Our driver Kuya Rikrik then toured us to the fake blood compact monument, the Baclayon Church, and then the real blood compact monument.
Kuya Rikrik then explained to us why they had two blood compact monuments. Turns out, when the first one was built it was thought that the site where it was placed is where the blood compact happened. However, further investigation of literature revealed that the real site is in another place which is also confirmed by the National Historical Institute. The proof was of the mention of a body of water near where it happened – not the sea but when you go to the actual site there is a well. When you compare the two however, more tourists visit the fake blood compact monument and it seems like it is better taken care of.
The fake monument
The Real Monument
We also dropped by the Baclayon Church. Kuya Rikrik shared with us that the earthquake was really devastating for everyone. We asked him where he was when it happened and he shared that he was driving tourists similar to what we were doing. For him it was a blessing that it happened during a weekend because his kids were safely at home since their school was destroyed. He smiled and said “Buti na lang talaga mam at sir, kundi wala na akong mga anak.” And upon arriving at the Baclayon Church we saw just how much it has suffered as well. Kuya Rikrik mentioned that it now has more semblance of what it looked like before, because the builders are really trying to give it the beauty it once had before.
After our tour around the monuments and churches, we went straight to the Loboc River for the Cruise. To be honest my expectations for this was low, but after our cruise it was my most favorite part of the day. After paying P425 per head, we went down to the floating restaurants. They served buffet lunch and only a few people were present. It was a bit after 11 AM, which is just right since we were also feeling that low grumbling sound in our stomachs.
The lunch service was great, although we shared a table but I think that is because most of their tables are for groups made up of four and six individuals. They do have tables for two to three people but it was already occupied.
When we started with the cruise, the sudden gush of the cold wind on my face reminded me of times near the beach or of times in our old backyard – relaxing and refreshing. Everywhere you look you can see greens, tall trees with ropes used when people jump into the cold water of the river. Clear water, that seems to have been taken great care of. Tourists SUP-ing with their guides, fishermen trying to catch what they can, and when you look up above the clear blue sky.
It was picturesque, simple but nature in harmony with each other – think yoga here.
We did make a stop wherein natives performed a dance – to which bunny danced or clapped her hands joyfully to.
The whole cruise left me smiling – just because it was perfect.
Before we headed to the Chocolate Hills we dropped by the sanctuary first. I was excited for this one because Bunny likes animals and insects, scratch that nature as a whole. This perfectly fits her description if I base it on the Secret languages of birthdays, ha. (Try yours here Secret Language)
This I think was her favorite part too! Aside from seeing butterflies our tour guide inside the sanctuary even placed a butterfly on her chest and on her head! She wasn’t scared at all! She just looked at it and was even tempted to touch it.
When we got there, it was around 2PM. The heat was tolerable but the walk up the viewing deck was too much (200 hundred steps while carrying a baby). The view for me at the viewing deck was okay but I think the view at the drop off area though was better. This I think can be further developed given that it is one of the most visited places in Bohol.
Man Made Forest
This was my second favorite place in our tour! Just imagine seeing trees everywhere – to be honest gandang mag pre-nup here. According to Kuya Rikrik men planted trees here in 1953 as an answer to the severe deforestation that was happening due to the slash and burn – kaingin. I think this effort was well though of, because the place is just beautiful. You can even have your picnic there where it is a bit chilly amidst the hot weather. At that time I honestly wished that we had something similar here in Cavite and Manila – perhaps in coastal road or cavitex just to even help take the stress down a notch when traffic gets too severe.
Our last stop before our trip back to the hotel (we decided to not visit the hanging bridge just because we were super tired – but this is part of the tour as well as the other attractions we didn’t visit). When we saw the tiny little tarsiers we gushed a bit. It was so cute! So tiny and cute! Do remember that you can take photos but you have to disable flash and also you have to stay quiet. Stress is bad for tarsiers, seriously they bang their head on trees when they get stressed.
Overall, our third day was super full and super fun. We got back to the hotel around 5 PM and decided to just have Jollibee for dinner. Bunny and E slept through the night it was just me who stayed up late because I wanted to pack things early. I highly recommend Kuya Tatsky’s services and Kuya Rikrik. Even after our tour Kuya Tatsky asked us how our trip went and if we had any feedback for Kuya Rikrik – I just shared that I hope there’s free water since the tour is very tiring but overall I give Kuya Rikrik a five star rating. 🙂