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Bohol Day 2

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On day 2, our wake-up call came at 5:30 am, not exactly ideal when you're on vacation mode but necessary if you want to see some dolphins. So we all staggered out of bed and dragged our asses to the van that took us to the next-door pier.
So this is what the world looks like at the crack of dawn, a beautiful, balmy morning in Bohol.
The view from our bangka as we watched the sun rise from our boat
Breakfast was packed in a cute little wicker basket by the good people of Bohol Bee Farm.
There was a handful of other boats racing after the dolphins and let me tell you, dolphin watching isn't easy. There's no guarantee where they'll be frolicking so it's not a sure thing that you'll even get to see them. Our boatmen were awesome though! We got to catch several glimpses of them jumping in and out of the water! These amazing creatures are worth waking up for.
After two hours or so on the water, it was time to head for land. The boat brought us to the super idyllic locale called Pamilacan Island, a part of the Baclayon municipality
It's a lovely little community where manicured grass meets the fine sand of the seashore. The residents are used to tourists coming to their island so everyone was friendly and accommodating. If you don't mind roughing it a little bit with no electricity or running water, they even rent out small huts for P750 a night with meals.
P&D by the sea (-Rosanna)
The beach area is so pristine and untouched. It was nice to not have to contend with droves of people and just have the entire stretch of beach all to yourself. We haven't been to a beach this empty and this nice in a looong time.
After spending our morning on the island, we headed back to Panglao to see two more sites before retiring to our resort. First, we visited the Hinagdanan Cave where half the fun lies with the energetic and entertaining tour guides.
The cave was formed naturally and features a fairly large lake. The light streaming in plays some cool tricks too. The water's even clean enough to swim in. Watch out for the liquid dripping from the ceiling though, like our guide said, "if it's cold, it's holy water. If it's warm, it's holy s*** (from the cave swallows)."
The steps covered all of half my feet. The cave was a nice little diversion; worth it for around 20 bucks per person. As a bonus, the guides are pros at using any camera that comes their way. They knew all this photography jargon and tweaked our settings for the tricky low-light conditions in the cave. 
After the cave, we headed on over to yet another beach, not that we were complaining. Alona Beach is where most of the bars, resorts and foreigners flock to. It's a mini Boracay of sorts, actually, complete with henna tattoo and jewelry stalls, seaside massages and hair braiders.
Happy hour with parents around. Weird.
This is part of what makes Bohol such a nice place to visit. There's something here for everyone, whether you're looking for adventure, sightseeing, some R&R or a club scene on the beach, or all of the above, you'll definitely find it here. 

Bohol Day 1

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Over the Chinese New Year long weekend, D's family and I flew over to Bohol for some touring, good eats, and chilling out at the beach. 
Along the main road of Tagbiliran city. Our awesome tour guide, Vincent informed us all the tricycles are required (as in by law) to have a Biblical passage painted on at the back (the first random fact of many during the tour).
A view of Panglao Island from the highway; it's absolutely covered in green. Good job, nature.
First stop in our whirlwind, one-day tour of Bohol: the monument to the blood compact between Dagohoy and Sikatuna. This wasn't the actual place where it happened though so not much going on here historically.
Just down the road from the monument stands the Baclayon Church, one of the oldest of its kind in the country.
Lunch was served buffet-style aboard a boat cruising the Loboc River. We were serenaded by choirs at various outposts along the river. The tourism in Bohol is outstanding, well-thought of and executed with such charm.
Here's part of the insane climb what felt like a thousand steps up to the viewing area of the Chocolate Hills. It's quite steep too so if you've got a fear of heights, it's best to do it with someone you can latch on to.
The climb was well worth it with the view from up top. The hills are made from piles of fossils and coral left over from when this whole area was underwater. It's so awesome that the local government has really taken care of the natural beauty of Bohol.
The ledge of the viewing area was set up for tourists to take pictures that maximized the view. Clearly the photographers have had a lot of practice making up poses (i.e. flying on a broom and the obvious touching the tip of the hill).
For a fee, you could get a printed copy of the shot of your choice. You wouldn't say it was cheap but we figured, when in Rome...!
One of our favorite spots of the trip was the man-made forest with its incredible rows of mahogany trees. Vincent informed us that only snakes can live here because the fruits of the trees are too bitter for other creatures. How's that for random trivia? (Super blurry shot because we were right by the highway and did not want to get sideswiped by a truck!)
Amazing landscape!
The man-made forest is quite a long stretch so it's perfect for a leisurely drive or a scenic picture.
Since it was both our first time in Bohol, we couldn't leave without seeing the tarsiers! While they were cute and all (we're big on animals!), this leg of the tour quickly turned sour. During the orientation, the guide was quick to emphasize that we had to keep QUIET during our walk through the trail because obviously, tarsiers are nocturnal and they needed their sleep like we all do. When they get woken up, their stress levels rise quickly and this cuts their life span by a few years. The instructions were simple, tread quietly and don't use flash photography.
Unfortunately, I guess many people weren't listening. Many were shouting out "Hoy! Psst!! HELLLLLOOOO!" Some were shaking the trees to wake them up. We even saw a group of girls stomping their feet and using the flash of their cameras. How annoying! How would they feel if someone shook their beds as they slept in the middle of the night?! Jeez. We found this little guy looking absolutely exhausted. :( -end of rant-
Now bringing back the good vibes, if you haven't noticed from the snaps, the tarsiers are fascinating creatures. They're not to be missed if it's your first trip to Bohol.
Our last (quick) stop was this hanging bridge. For P10, you simply walk back and forth on these bridges. Not much of an activity but it's actually quite a rush! You're stepping on thin pieces of bamboo woven together and strung on extremely rickety cables!
These bridges were made extra scary by the pack of rowdy teenage tourists jumping up and down, making the entire structure shake! They obviously had more trust in native engineering than we did. Check out the office on the foreground too. This is just one of the many examples of how the Bohol has really embraced the tourist trade and made it so clean, efficient and pleasant for its many visitors. Cheers for local tourism!

More on Bohol coming up in the next couple of posts, including the beach and the Bohol Bee Farm. Sorry for the delay!