Since it is my first time to be in Cebu and Bohol, I will tell you about our awesome experience there!
Day 1 – Exploring the Heart of Cebu
The Lapu-Lapu and Magellan’s Shrine
Since the place is near the airport, my sister and I decided to drop by the Lapu-lapu Shrine.
It was built in honor of the very first Filipino hero, Lapu-Lapu, who fought and killed Magellan in 1521. It is situated in the city that is named after him. The shrine is about 15-20 minutes away from the airport. There is no entrance fee as this is a public town park.
Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan also has a shrine in Mactan.
On our first day in Cebu, we visited our nun cousin, Sister Jeana whom we haven’t seen for more than ten years.
She toured us around the busy yet beautiful street of Cebu.
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
Located right in the heart of Cebu City is its Archdiocese, the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Angels and of St. Vitales.
My cousin Sister Jeana explained that this church was chosen by the Vatican to keep the Door of Mercy open throughout the year. According to her, we are very blessed to have entered it while it is still open.
The Miraculous Sto. Niño Basilica
A few steps away is the Minor Basilica of the Holy Child, or known as the Sto. Niño Basilica. We went there on a Friday so the place is mobbed by faithful devotees of the Holy Child.
The Historical Magellan’s Cross
Despite being the busiest city in the Visayas region, Cebu is apparently the seat of the Christian faith. The Magellan’s Cross, which is situated just outside the Sto. Niño Basilica, symbolizes how Magellan brought Christianity in Cebu.
Exploring Fort San Pedro
A few steps from the Basilica is Fort San Pedro, a military defence structure which was built by the Spanish under the command of Miguel López de Legazpi, first governor of the Captaincy General of the Philippines. (Wiki)
Inside the Fort is a park and a museum. The entrance fee is PHP 30.00.
Day 2 – Hello, Bohol!
We left Cebu city at around 8:30 am via Supercat. Fare is PHP 550. The trip lasted for almost two hours.
Upon arriving at the port, tour agents welcomed and offered us vans that can take us on a countryside tour. I was surprised that there was a lot tour agents at the port! There is no need to book online!
Cruising the Loboc River
Our first stop is the Loboc River. It was around 11 am when we arrived in Bohol so having lunch while afloat the river was a good idea!
I have always heard that one’s escapade in Bohol will not be complete without cruising this famous river.
For an amount of PHP 450.00, you can have lunch in one of their floating restaurants while cruising the river. Though the food is okay, I believe that this experience can still be improved in terms of the cleanliness of the floating restaurants and of course, the river itself.
Nevertheless, the Loboc River cruise is quite a good experience!
The Tarsier Sanctuary
I am not a fan of zoos but since the Tarsier Sanctuary is part of the countryside tour (and I really want to see a tarsier haha), we entered their little kingdom for PHP 30.00.
Kuya Jeremy, our tour guide/driver, told us that since it is not summer yet, the hills do not look like chocolates but more like mint-flavored hills instead. Lol.
True enough, the hills are covered with lush green trees and grass. It’s a beautiful sight!
Before beholding the beauty of the hills at the view deck, it took us 250 steps going up there. It’s all worth it!
Entrance fee is PHP 50.00. As of our visit, the rest of the view deck is still under construction.
The Man-made Forest
Among the places that we visited on our first day in Bohol, the man-made forest in Bilar is my favorite.
Why? Because first, it’s for free. Second, it’s simply beautiful and picture-perfect!
Bohol Forest is a man-made mahogany forest stretching in a two-kilometer stretch of densely planted Mahogany trees located in the border of Loboc and Bilar towns. Before and after this man-made forest are the naturally grown forests of Loboc and Bilar which are thick with a kaleidoscope of green foliage, different species of trees and giant ferns lining the road.
The man-made forest stands out because of the uniformity in height of the big trees, the spread of its branches, thickness and design of leaves. Seedlings abound around the older trees. Trunks, some thick and others just a few months old, grow resplendently straight up towards the sky which is obscured by the branches and the thick leaves. (Text from bohol-philippines.com)
The Hanging Bridge
If you’re looking for quite a nerve-racking yet fun adventure, you can try the hanging bridge for PHP 20.00 only.
According to bohollifetours.com, the Bamboo Hanging Bridge crossing the Sipatan River in the Municipality of Sevilla, Bohol, is originally constructed using just bamboo and rope. Today the rope has made way to steel cables, giving added safety and stability.The deck of the bridge is formed out of woven bamboo slats. In places some of these appear broken but its still sturdy enough to take the weight of tourists, locals and even small motorcycles.
The Butterfly Farm
Get to know the life cycle of a butterfly and enter their sanctuary for a fee of Php 45.00.
That’s my sister with her jolina-inspired hair pin. Haha!
Meeting the Humongous Prony 1 & 2
Prony 1 is a dead snake, preserved and displayed at the Phyton Park.
Adjacent to Prony 1’s cage is Prony 2’s. It’s so big and scary that I proudly decided not to touch nor go near it.
Phytons, by nature, are not venomous. I do not care. But just in case you you want to see them, the entrance fee to the sanctuary is PHP 30.00.
The Blood Compact Shrine
It was almost dusk when we visited the historical Blood Compact Shrine.
To give you a background about this monument, the Sandugo was a blood compact, performed in the island of Bohol between the Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna, the chieftain of Bohol, on March 16, 1565, to seal their friendship as part of the tribal tradition.
This is considered as the first treaty of friendship between the Spaniards and Filipinos. “Sandugo” is a Visayan word which means “one blood”. (Wikipedia).
We weren’t able to visit Baclayon Church because it was already closed when we went there. I would also like to mention that almost all old churches in Bohol are still being reconstructed from the devastating earthquake that hit the region in 2013.
The image above was captured while we’re crossing the highway-bridge going to Panglao.
DAY 3: Island Tour
We set sail at 6:30 am. With a medium-sized boat, which I think can accommodate 5-6 passengers, my sister and I headed to Binacayan and Virgin Islands.
We spent more than an hour traversing the beautiful Philippine sea before reaching Balicasan Island.
We were offered to try snokeling but it’s a bit pricey so we declined. I think it’s about PHP 250 plus equipment rent for PHP 150.00.
And so we decided to hop on to the next paradise, the Virgin Island, which is around 30-45 minutes away from Balicasan.
The Virgin Island is a small paradise — a kingdom of starfish, pine white sand, and fresh buko!
That’s my sister enjoying her fresh buko juice.
The island tour costs PHP 2,000 but we got it with a PHP 200-discount.
Panglao beach by night transforms into a perfect place to enjoy the evening at the shore complemented by live music, good food and the smooth sound of the waves.
While we were in Cebu, we stayed at New Era Hotel.
Rate: P1,200/per night (discounted) for two persons (with free breakfast meal). They also have dorm type rooms for PHP 350+ only (common rest/bath rooms).
The room is good and wifi works well.
Contact number is 0922-858-5474.
In Bohol, we stayed at Eco-Hotel located in Brgy. Tawala, Panglao City.
Rate: Php 1,200.00 / night (for 2 persons) – no free breakfast meal. Well, we are so blessed that we were given a discounted rate again.
Their rooms are excellent! I like the minimalist design and the concept of combining wood and white walls.
Their wifi does not work properly when inside the room so we had to go out and stay at the reception area to get a strong internet connection. It’s okay though.
They also have a small pub/cafe place where tourists can bring in food and beverages.
If you’re on a budget, you can also try their dormitels for only PHP 350+ per night (common rest/bathroom).
Ecohotel is 8-10 minutes away from the beach. There are also convenience stores nearby.
Ms. Jhoy, their hotel attendant, is so accommodating and kind!
+63 917 855 3859 / + 63 38 422 8490
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
They also have hotels in Palawan, Boracay and Tagaytay.
I can say that Ecohotel is one of the best budget hotels!
Our countryside tour guide is Kuya Jeremy. He is one perky, patient, and very welcoming tour guide!
He also offers island, sea, and Panglao tours. You can contact him at (0908) 455 1125.
Our 4D-3N Cebu and Bohol tour is definitely something to cherish! Thank you, Lord! 😀