Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bohol: The 3,000 peso challenge

My Cebu trip last February 25, 2012 was quite a surprise because I was able to visit most tourist spots in a day and only spending below Php 2,000. With this I felt very proud of myself and so I decided to declare that I can finally join the emerging budget traveler bandwagon haha!
For me or more like I assume, budget travelers are not a fan of tour packages because 1) it defeats the purpose of travelling and discovering new places ALL BY YOURSELF (or by your group). Getting lost in translation or clueless on which jeepney or train to ride is all part of the travelling experience 2) time is your enemy and 3) you have no control over your money. The latter is my deciding factor for many reasons and I will provide some practical tips on how to cut cost for unnecessary expenses on your trip for my next blog post. But for now, I can say that there are few exceptions when availing a tour package and that is….if and only if transportation is scarce—so no choice but to choose the best reasonable package you can find.
In Bohol, we were lucky to find a countryside tour package offered by our hotel (El Portal Innhighly recommended!) for only Php 2,000 for 2 (inclusive of gas and driver for one whole day but exclusive of entrance fees and food for the driver is optional). Of course tour prices will go down if you are a big group but Php 1,000 each is reasonable enough for me. Also, don’t worry if your tour does not include entrance fees because I can assure you that total fees will be less than Php 200 anyway.
So here goes, my 3,000 peso challenge…

1) Blood Compact- This is the exact spot where Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Raja Sikatuna had a “Sanduguan” or blood compact to signify friendship based on respect and equality. No fees required here so just enjoy and appreciate history :).

2) Python Sanctuary- The biggest and “tamest” python in Bohol is open for viewing for only Php 20. Plus, you can get around 5% when you buy souvenirs inside. The place is small and it looks like a resto or some sort outside. When you get in, it’s actually a mini zoo full of gigantic pythons, albino snakes, reptiles, some birds, ostrich and monkeys. Well, honestly I am afraid of snakes but I’ve decided to have my picture taken with them just because I need to make sulit my Php 20 haha!

3) Tariser Sanctuary- Ahhh the tarsier—Bohol’s famous smallest primate in the world. It’s only here in the Philippines where you can see some of our long lost relatives that are as big as our palm…or even smaller! Entrance fee for adults is Php 50 but if you brought your school ID (and you still look like you’re schooling haha) then you get Php 10 off. Php 40 is the fee for senior citizens and students while children below 12 years old are free of charge. The sanctuary is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm only because Tarsiers are nocturnal therefore they are more active at night.
Inside the sanctuary, you are required to hear the quick briefing at the receiving area. The guides are very accommodating and knowledgeable about their precious gem. Cameras with flashes are not allowed and loud tourists are a no no inside the sanctuary. We need to follow these rules strictly because they say that Tarsiers when stressed, have the tendency to commit suicide by rotating their heads 180 degrees. Scary!

4) Man Made Forest- Two thumbs up to all the boy scouts who planted these trees in the past. The seedlings have grown into a wonderful “Twilight” type of forest and you can’t help but admire the perfectly lined trees on your way to the chocolate hills.

"Butterfly porn" according to our tour guide! whahaha

5) Butterfly Conservation Center- Try to hit the butterfly conservation for a nature tripping that’s worth it. Entrance fee is Php 40 and tour will take about 25-30 mins. You will definitely fall in love with these gentle and colorful creatures after the tour plus, your butterfly facts can go handy for surprising friends way back home—ala Kuya Kim haha!

Challenge accepted!

6) Chocolate Hills- Chocolate Hills is the place where you can sing your hearts out to the tune of “The hills are alive, with the sound of muuuusssiiiic” haha! This is probably the melting pot of all tourists in Bohol because you cannot deny the jaw dropping natural wonders of it. There are over 1,260 hills scattered all over Bohol and for only Php 50 entrance fee, you will have the opportunity to see God’s gift to our country—but you first have to climb 214 number of steps going up the viewing deck! So…challenge accepted?

Spot Sto. Pio's image
7) Baclayon Church- Built in 1727, Baclayon Church is the oldest coral stone church in Asia. This is foremost among the best preserved Jesuit-built church in the Philippines. You will see spectacular images and stained glass windows all over the interiors of the church. This makes the inside look as if it has colored spotlights installed. When you go here, make sure you spot the miraculous Sto. Pio’s image in one of the church’s exterior walls.
*Note: We didn’t go to the Loboc River Cruise because the buffet is Php 400/head and I am not convinced with the whole river cruise experience. But if you want to eat here, do note that they are available only during lunch time and will resume come dinner time.
To sum up all my expenses in Bohol alone, I only shelled out around Php 2,500. It includes my Supercat promo boat fare for two way (Php 870), accommodation at El Portal Inn (Php 950 dived by 2, Php 475), tour (around Php 1,200), and food already. Therefore, my Bohol 3,000 peso challenge was a success! I’m one happy explorer!

1 comment:

  1. hi, can i use your pictures for my website?? i need pictures of tourists visiting bohol.


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