Sunday, March 30, 2014

Back in Bohol

I arrived on a cloudy day and I have not adjusted the photos so that you can see what Bohol looks like in the off -peak season

I love Bohol and if ever there is one place in the country I'd love to go back to, it would be this province. It has the everything I want in a vacation: nice beaches, plenty of activities to do, and a vibrant culture!

That's why I was devastated when a powerful earthquake hit Bohol! While there were few deaths, some of their centuries-old churches were destroyed. It was a heart-rending sight for everyone who's been to Bohol because Boholanos  not only because they're famous tourist spots, but also because most Boholanos are devout Catholics who are very proud of their heritage.

But while the quake shook them up, the Boholanos quickly rose up to show the world they are back in business! For my birthday I went to Bohol to see how they were doing and maybe help bring the tourists back to Bohol.

And I am happy to report that it's quite safe to go to Bohol.

I went on a tour of Bohol in 2008, but I wanted to see if the sights are still ok.
Ruins of Loboc Church :(

Baclayon Church. They have gathered all the  stones and they will put it all back together again. Like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

While Baclayon and Loboc church are badly damaged, the government and the private sector are helping to rebuild and restore it.

I also visited some churches we didn't see before like Dauis church and Albuquerque church. It's just too bad they were closed when we got there!
Dauis Church in Panglao

Cafe Lawis in Dauis.

The terrace built around the acacia tree where one can order snacks, is said to be the brainchild of the Zobels

The ayala Foundation helped restore the Dauis convent and set up the gift shop


Albuquerque Church is unique because the bell tower isn't onthe side of the chuch but right in the middle. It also has a bridge that conncects it directly to the convent.

The famed chocolate hills are still there but the cement structure of the main viewing deck is still under repair. You can still climb to the top but spot where you can see most of the hills is blocked off.

People going down as I went up the view deck

This was where we used to have our picture taken.

But there are still some spectacular views on the side of the road

The tarsiers are now in a protected sanctuary which is better than the cage where they were locked up in Loboc. They also have a tour guide who point out where the tarsiers are and guard the critters from overeager tourists who want to touch them.

And here's something else that's new: they have found the real site of the blood compact between Raja Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. The traditonal site with the commemorative statues is in front of a cliff while the historical one is near an old well between 2 rivers.
The real site of the first international treaty between a Pinoy and a Spaniard.
Interesting bamboo pattern called "amakan" that my guide says can withstand gunfire? Believe it or not!

The stairs of the Loboc river port show some damage from the quake and my tour guide Rik-rik suggested I try out the Loay river cruise, instead because the food is better and there are no man-made structures along this river.
The buffet

Fried Takla or crayfish. 

Even on a cloudy day, the view is relaxing

While the food was ok, I kinda missed the singing kids on the Loboc cruise. On Loay, we instead got to see a group of Ati (indigenous people who live in the Visayas )
This was a big hit with the Koreans who seemed to like how exotic it all looked but it seemed too contrived.

We skipped some other attractions like the Hinagdanan Cave, the butterfly farm, the ship house (a house that looks like a ship) and the python zoo. I also just passed by the man-made forest.
The delicious organic products of the Bee Fram

I'm quite happy to see that the Bohol Bee Farm is now part of the itinerary offered. They still offer free samples of their products though the view deck is now restricted to guests and restaurant diners.

Things are looking up for Bohol once again. I didn't even get to try ziplining at the Danao Adventure Park, or riding an ATV at the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park...I'm just glad that Bohol keeps coming up with new reasons for me to return!

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