Philippines’ Beaches: What’s Not to Love?

The Philippines, being an archipelago, is dotted with innumerable pristine, sparkling beaches. Some white, others black, a few brown, and surprisingly pink too! We have beaches that are as fine as talcum powder to gritty, sandy ones, while others are pebble lined. Majority of these tropical paradise boasts off crystal clear water that comes in azure to turquoise colors. Regardless of the color and texture of beaches’ sand and water, Philippines’ seashores will make one’s “beach escapade” memorable and fun!

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Besides the obvious aesthetics of our beaches, here are other reasons why bumming around the beaches of the Philippines is a must doPhilippines’ beaches have a laid-back vibe, especially the small-town beaches and the off-the beaten ones. They are the ultimate relaxation zones perfect for experiencing serenity and peace of mind. One can go for an afternoon walk along the shoreline or sit down under shady palm trees while reading a book. Or just lie down, let the crashing waves touch your feet and the gentle wind kiss your lips. Totally relaxing and an awesome escape to a stressful life!

Philippines’ beaches have a laid-back vibe, especially the small-town beaches and the off-the beaten ones. They are the ultimate relaxation zones perfect for experiencing serenity and peace of mind. One can go for an afternoon walk along the shoreline or sit down under shady palm trees while reading a book. Or just lie down, let the crashing waves touch your feet and the gentle wind kiss your lips. Totally relaxing and an awesome escape to a stressful life!

Philippines’ beaches are home to various water sports and activities. From surfing, to snorkeling to SCUBA diving, kitesurfing, kayaking, island-hopping and many more. Plus, the marine life is teeming with wonders.  One will never run out of things to do. These activities can keep you fit and make your vacation more fun-filled.

Philippines’ beaches showcase some of the most jaw-dropping sunrise and sunset views. Everything turns into a picturesque, surreal nature art once the sun starts to rise. It is even more dramatic during sundown. Sunset by the beach is one thing I look forward the most.

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Philippines’ beaches are generally cheap. While some of our beaches are becoming more and more commercialized, I want to believe that majority of our beaches are still inexpensive, and some even for free. One could spend some time along the beach without worrying about spending much – paying for entrance fees or buying pricey food because again, the cost isn’t really high.

Philippines’ beaches are home to good and hospitable Filipinos. I want to think that Filipino hospitality is evident in almost all parts of the country – whether at the mountain villages, to seaside towns, and various rural areas. Most Filipinos are willing to lend a helping hand in whatever ways they could. Some families would invite you their homes, some would even cook the freshest sea catch of the day for their visitors to have a sumptuous meal.

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They say “life is a beach”. Whether you have a beach bod, dad bod or whatever kind of body figure you have, the beach is one welcoming place for you to experience life, to live life.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be Juanderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

South Palms Resort Panglao (Bohol, PH)

Every time I stand before a beautiful beach, its waves seem to whisper to me: If you choose the simple things and find joy in nature’s simple treasures, life and living need not be so hard.

Sumptuous and Paradisiacal: Two words befitting to describe my visit at this prime Bohol resort in the island of Panglao called South Palms.

4South Palms Beach Resort is a 9.3 hectare tropical paradise within a 45-hectare spread of a beachfront property. I have to say it is one of the ultimate beach destinations in Bohol as it boasts off a beach with the longest coastline in Panglao. Unlike other beaches teeming with people, Bolod Beach of South Palms guarantees a relaxing leisure walk along its white sand-dotted shoreline, and enjoyable swimming in its azure to turquoise waters. Definitely PARADISIACAL!

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The resort rooms display local artistry, with utmost relaxation and a stunning view of the beach as footpath provides easy access to the lovely coast. Each of these tropically adorned rooms have AC system, a flat-screen TV, a personal safety cabinet, coffee-and-tea making amenities, and a private bathroom with toiletries and hot/cold shower facilities.

They also have a variety of luxurious recreational activities and facilities that range from ball games, different water activities (snorkeling, SCUBA diving), and even day tours to other Bohol spots. Truly an ideal place for family and friends!

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And, if you intend to come in group for a business meeting or a company outing, the beach resort is also a perfect venue as they also have conference rooms and function halls. While I was strolling along their beach area, I was thinking that it is a great area for team building.

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Another thing I like about South Palms is that they have their own restaurant. A seafood restaurant at that! I am a seafood lover so I may have a little bias here. Its resto is called Oceanica Seafood Restaurant that serves both local and international cuisines. It is an open restaurant meaning you have a wonderful view of the sea (and the pool) while you are eating. It is in close proximity to the resort’s pool bars (which offers a selection of refreshing drinks). Here are some of the really palatine-satiating food I have tried at Oceanica:

Manok Inato – a local dish of grilled chicken cooked in coconut milk with aromatic spices. First time to try this and my palate agrees that it is tasty! Then there is this “Gambas-al-ahilo”, a prawn delicacy that is both sweet and spicy. I am a seafood lover so yes, I love this one. Both dishes were a great match to my “inun-un” or crab meat rice. I also had a healthy and refreshing salad called “Watermelon Summer” salad made of lettuce, mango, and watermelon. I had cucumber lemonade for drinks, an all-time favorite drink of mine. So, it is safe to say that I really had a gastronomic experience at Oceanica. As I have said earlier, everything is SUMPTUOUS!

DSC_00743Other features of the resort include the following: a souvenir shop, an ATM, a spa, a gym, laundry service, and outdoor pools. Wi-Fi access is almost everywhere (even along the coastline, I love it!) There is a free public parking that doesn’t require reservation. It is good to know that they have a 24-hour front desk, a 24-hour room service, provides airport transfer and shuttle services (that is if you want to go to Alona Beach), and they even have currency exchange. I am also pleased to know that they have facilities for guests with disability.

 

South Palms Beach Resort Panglao is indeed a destination to keep in mind when in Bohol. I can even imagine it as a lovely setting for a romantic date or beach wedding

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Please refer to the images below for their rates and some promos:

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Anda: Bohol’s Kept Secret (No More)

Bohol, the 10th largest island of the Philippines, has always been a fascination to both local and foreign travelers. Together with the islands of Palawan and Cebu, this island province has proven to be a major tourism hub. Attraction drawers like the Chocolate Hills, Panglao Island’s exquisite beaches, the Loboc River Cruise, and the very charming primate tarsier have kept the visitors number increasing in this tropical paradise.

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And just like that… all the while we have seen the best of Bohol. It was during my 4th time in this alluring island when I got the chance to visit the north eastern town of Anda.  Being a secluded town, it isn’t that surprising that it has some of Bohol well-kept shorelines. And just like most Philippine beaches, it boasts off pristine, crystal clear waters, fine white sand BUT with a lesser crowd.  Sounds like the perfect spot, at least for me who isn’t into teeming beaches.

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My one-day stay in Anda, hopping from one beach to another, proved that indeed there is more to Bohol. So if you want to go beyond the usual Bohol itinerary, be willing to take on the extra mile by travelling up-north and enjoy this quaint town beaches like the beautiful public beach QuinaleBeach to the more secluded Bitoon Beach, and Bugnaw Beach. 

Also, the town have other attractions worthy of a visit like Can-umantad Waterfalls, Cabugnow Cave Pool, and Limanok Island. Twas quite unfortunate that I wasn’t able to visit these because of a heavy downpour during the rest of my stay. Well, there goes a good reason to go back to Anda.
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How to Get to Anda, Bohol

Anda is approximately 100 kilometers from Tagbilaran and it takes two to three hours to reach by bus or private vehicle. Several buses and V-hire vans available at Dao District also have several scheduled trips to Anda.

Anda Bohol Tourism Contacts

Municipality of Anda
Anda Tourism Office
Poblacion Anda, Bohol
Mobile: 0908-793-6643
Email: lgu@andabohol.gov.ph / toiurism@andabohol.gov.ph
Website: http://www.andabohol.gov.ph/

Lamanoc Island Tours
Operating Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Tour cost: Php300 pesos (inclusive of entrance, guided tour and boat trip)
Contact Numbers: (038) 510 8094 or 0917 3245917

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Special thanks to a very generous instagram friend of mine, @rey_of_light for allowing me to use some of his Anda photos. Follow him on his Instagram and you’ll be delighted to discover more of Bohol’s wonders.

Don’t be wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Banacon Mangrove Forest (Bohol, PH)

The Banacon Island Mangrove Forest is a 425 hectares mangrove forest in Getafe, Northern Bohol. About 15 hectares are on dry land and 410 hectares are on the tidal salt flat area. This widespread mangrove plantation is now a rising tourist attraction in the Visayan island province. The charming trails beneath intersecting mangrove (Rhizophora stylosa) trees are gasping to behold. These trees primarily make up the river systems, estuaries and off-shore islands of the Bohol province.

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This mangrove forest has attracted an increasing number of local and foreign tourists who come to do stand-up paddle boarding and swim with a diverse species of marine organisms at the 272-square meter Danajon Bank – a Double Barrier Reef near the area.

With the continuous propagation of these mangroves, fish production has tremendously increased. To date, it is now considered as the biggest man-made mangrove plantation in Asia.

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So the next time you go visit Bohol, make your way to this beautiful place up north.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.

 

May Bisyo Ako: Isang Pag-Amin

May Bisyo Ako…

“ May bisyo ako, ngayon ko lang napagtanto.

May bisyo ako, pano ba nagumpisa eto?

May bisyo ako, nakaka-adik eto.

May bisyo ako, may mga kontra dito.

May bisyo ako, ewan ko lang kung gusto nyo.

May bisyo ako – pero hindi alak, yosi o bato.

May bisyo ako, bisyong mahal ko.

May bisyo ako, at eto ang nilalaman ng blog ko.”

Dicasalarin Cove, baler, Aurora.
Dicasalarin Cove, baler, Aurora.

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/dicasalarin-cove-aurora-ph/

Ang mundo ay isang libro, at ang mga taong hindi marunong maglakbay – isang pahina lang ang kanilang nabasa…” – iyan ang nakaukit na sipi sa utak ko.

Alas-kwatro ng hapon. SM Megamall.

“Isa akong galang guro.” Iyan ang bigla kong nasambit sa isang kaibigang matagal ko ng hindi nakikita, nito lamang nakaraang Martes ng nasa Maynila ako. Kakagaling ko lang mula sa byahe ko sa Coron, Palawan. Bago ako umuwi ng Baguio, naisipan ko munang mag-Megamall – para kumaen at tumingin ng pwedeng mabili. Nasa Goldilocks ako nun, malapit ko ng maubos ang binili kong Lumpiang Hubad ng may biglang nagsalita:

“Wow, long time no see… Kumusta ka na?”

Iginala ko ang paningin ko para hanapin kung saan galing yung boses na sumambit ng mga katagang iyon. Napatitig lang ako sa isang lalaking magara ang suot at mejo may kasosyalan ang dating. Actually, I did not recognize him, he looks familiar pero parang nagrerewind pa ang utak ko kung saang bang bahagi ng buhay ko nakilala itong taong kasalukuyang papalapit sa akin. Inabot niya ang kanan nyang kamay para makipaghand-shake sabay sambit ng pangalan ko at tila tuwang tuwa na nakita ako…

Cagbatan Island, Coron, Palawan.
Cagbatan Island, Coron, Palawan.

“Lester… Mark Lester Romulo…”

Bago pa niya mabuo ang medyo kahabaan kong pangalan, bigla ko ng naalala kung sino ang kaharap at kakamayan ko… Isa siya sa mga kaklase ko nung nasa high-school at ngayon, isa ng bigtime na empleyado (hindi nya dinisclose ang position nya pero isa daw sya sa mga Upper ups) sa isang malaking company sa Manila.

So ayun, since I was about to finish what I was eating at paalis na rin sana ako, he asked kung pwede kaming magkuwentuhan… (Akalain nyong may taong interesadong alamin kung ano na ang mga pagbabago sa buhay ko??) Since gabi pa yung kinuha kong byahe pabalik ng Baguio at ilang oras pa ang hihintayin ko bago mag-out mula sa trabaho yung kapatid ko, eh napagpasyahan kong paunlakan ang kanyang imbitasyon na magkwentuhan kami at magkape (kahit na hindi naman talaga ako nagkakape).

Nagsasa Cove, San Antonio, Zambales
Nagsasa Cove, San Antonio, Zambales 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/nagsasa-cove/

Bago kami nagpunta sa isang coffeeshop, dumaan muna kami sa Parking Area para ihatid yung mga pinamili nya dahil hinihintay daw ito ng kanyang pinsan. Tinanong pa niya ako kung saan ko daw gustong magkape – syempre pa, since hindi naman talaga ako mahilig sa kape (nasabi ko na ata eto sa itaas na paragraph), sinabi ko na lang na kahit saan. As I have expected, sa isang kilalang coffeeshop na kinalolokohan ng maraming Pinoy kami nagtuloy… Alam nyo na iyun, di ko na babanggitin dito dahil hindi ko nais ipromote yung kapehan na’yun dahil masyadong mahal…

Aslom Island, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro.
Aslom Island, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro. 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/beauty-of-bulalacao-oriental-mindoro-ph/

Nagumpisa ang kwentuhan sa tanungan kung saan na si ganito – si ganyan, pinagkwentuhan ang ilan sa mga kaklase namin noon. Andami nyang kwento, noon ko lang narealize na madaldal din pala siya. Hindi kasi sya ganun nung high-school kami. Isa kasi siya sa mga taong napapanis ang laway sa classroom dahil di mo to kakakitaan na dumadaldal. Nagumpisa na rin syang magkwento tungkol sa sarili nya – mula nung college sya hanggang sa kanyang mga experiences sa pakikipagsapalaran sa trabaho at ang mabilis na pag-unlad sa kanyang buhay. From being a plain company worker to a big boss in a large firm in Manila; from someone who rents a cheap apartment into becoming an elite condo-dweller; ipinagmalaki din nya na X00,000.00 ang sweldo nya kada-buwan, at syempre pa, ang bagong bago nyang tsekot na kanina lang ay nakita kong nakaparke. (Medyo nayabangan ako sa kanya nung una pero napagtanto ko na okay lang kasi talaga namang may maipagyayabang sya, kahit na unti-unti na akong nanliliit at na-iinggit sa mga oras na iyon).  Gusto ko din kasi iyong mga na-achieve nya. Magandang tirahan, malaking sweldo, magarang kotse, magarang buhay. Pero wala pa ako ng mga iyon.

Boracay island, Malay, Aklan.
Boracay island, Malay, Aklan. 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/boracay-aklan-philippines/

Akala ko hindi na siya matatapos sa kanyang talumpati tungkol sa sarili niya ng bigla siyang magtanong. “Ikaw naman Lester, kuwento ka naman… Anong bago bukod sa medyo pagkadagdag mo ng konting laman?” Pangiti nitong sabi.

Halos pagpawisan ako sa kinauupuan ko. Hindi dahil sa mainit yung kapeng iniinom ko, kundi dahil sa nakakatakot nyang tanong. Isang lagok ko pa sa mapait na kape tsaka taas-noo kong sinabi na “ako ay isang galang guro” —  isang accidental educator (kung tawagin ng ilang propesyonal) sa isang unibersidad sa Baguio na nahuhumaling sa paglalakbay.

Skycyce Adventure, Eden Nature Park, Toril, Davao City.
Skycyce Adventure, Eden Nature Park, Toril, Davao City. 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/skycycling-101-davao-city-ph/

Mukha syang puzzled at parang napapailing sa narinig nya mula sa akin. Naisip nya siguro na ang weird ko naman. Iyon kasi yung mababasa mo sa noo nya. Kaya ayun, ako naman ang nag-umpisang magkwento.

Isa ako sa mga Pilipinong nagtatrabaho sa isa sa mga private academic institutions na lumalagare ng ikabubuhay 6 days in a week at sinuswelduhan ng sakto lamang para sa pansariling gastos. No car, no condo unit o apartment man lang. May mga savings din naman ako, but then, most of the time, napupunta ito sa one and only na bisyo ko – ang gumala o maglakbay sa mas magandang salita. Nakahiligan kong pumunta kung saan saan. Ibinahagi ko sa kanya ang pagbisita ko sa iba’t ibang lugar dito sa Pilipinas. Buong galak kong kinwento ang mga bundok na naakyat ko at yung mga di malilimutang moments sa mga lugar na ito. Dahil sa pambihirang talent ko sa paggagala, nararating ko ang mga nakakamanghang lugar na dati rati eh sa mga libro ko lang nakikita o kaya sa mga Travelogue magazines ko langnasisilayan.

Calaguas Island, Vinzons, Camarines Norte
Calaguas Island, Vinzons, Camarines Norte

Mas naging madaldal din ako sa pagkwento ko, naibahagi ko sa kanya kung paano ako nagumpisang mawili sa ganitong klaseng bisyo at kung ano iyong mga dahilan kung bakit ninanais kong pagkagastusan ang ganitong bagay. Sinabi ko sa kanya na masaya sa pakiramdam kung may bagong kakilala, o angmakakita ng magandang tanawin, ang malaman ang kultura ng iba at syempre pa – yung exhilarating feeling na hindi mo alam kung ano ang susunod na mangyayari… Wika ko nga, travelling has been a great teacher… Andami kong natutunan sa paglalakbay ko… Para bang nagbabasa ka ng isang libro na punong puno ng kwento…

Maniwaya Island, Sta. Cruz, Marinduque
Maniwaya Island, Sta. Cruz, Marinduque 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/marinduque-the-heart-of-the-philippines/

At times, napapansin ko na napapakagat na lang siya ng labi at napapakunot ng noo. Pakiwari ko nga O.A na ako sa paningin nya. I was not so certain if naintindihan ba nya o naabsorb pa ba nya mga sinasabi ko tungkol sa sarili ko; o baka napipilitan na lang siyang makinig para lang hindi ako mapahiya.

Paglaon, nabanggit din nya na gusto nya rin daw magtravel kung saan-saan. Gusto niya daw makita ang mga vinta ng Zamboanga o kaya eh makatungtung ng ruruk ng isang bundok gaya ng mga nakwento ko na sa kanya. Muli nyang ipinagmalaki na marami siyang pwedeng gastusin na pera pero dahil nga sa mataas nyang posisyon sa company kung saan sya nagtatrabaho, eh wala daw siyang oras para sa sarili nya at sa ganitong klaseng bisyo.

Racuh A Payaman, Mahatao, Batanes
Racuh A Payaman, Mahatao, Batanes 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/breathtaking-batanes-sabtang-island-philippines/

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/breathtaking-batanes-basco-philippines/

Biglang nawala lahat ng panliliit at pagkainggit na naramdaman ko. Naisip ko na lang sa sarili ko – marami nga siyang pera, hindi naman niya nakukuhang maenjoy yung sinasabi nyang desire to travel kung saan saan.

Sabi pa nya – noon daw, nung naguumpisa pa lang siyang magtrabaho, naisip na nyang maglakbay. Eh ang kaso, wala daw siyang pera. Pero ngayon namang marami na siyang pera, wala naman daw siyang oras.  Pagkarinig ko pa lang sa mga sinabi nya, sobrang nalungkot ako para sa kanya.

Mount Apo, Davao - North Cotabato Border
Mount Apo, Davao – North Cotabato Border 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/mount-apo-king-of-philippine-peaks/

Nagflashback tuloy sa utak ko yung nabasa kong article sa isang magazine about a man who have been dreaming to travel before he dies. Actually, nasa bucket list ng taong ito na makita ang pag-labas ng araw sa Mount Pulag at ang paglubog ng araw sa mala-paraisong dagat ng Palawan. This man was so pre-occupied with his work, and most of the time, ended up doing more work kaya hindi niya magawa-gawa yung matagal nya ng nais gawin – ang maglakbay. He would usually reason out that “money is more important than anything else”.  Hindi nya narealize na hindi sa lahat ng pagkakataon eh aayon sa kanya ang panahon. Kaya ayun, namatay siya na di man lang nakakamit yung matagal nya ng ninanais.

Ika nga ng isa sa mga nakasama ko sa climb — “I think if you love doing something, you’ll find the time and place for it…”

My 1st Mount Pulag climb, and the main reason why my wanderlust spirit was ignited.
My 1st Mount Pulag climb, and the main reason why my wanderlust spirit was ignited.

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/mount-pulag/

Most of the time, there are a lot of things that we like postponing because we don’t have much time for these things. And it is sad to note na madalas, itong mga bagay na lagi nating ipinagpapaliban ay iyong mga bagay na mahalaga sa atin. Things that we instantly trade for bigger opportunities that involves more money. Most of the time nga, pera ang nagiging basis natin to gauge success. More money, the more successful a person is.

But I beg to disagree… hindi kasi ganun ang pananaw ko sa buhay.  Hindi ako naniniwala na pera ang batayan ng tagumpay. If that’s the case, then, masaya sana lahat ng mga mayayamang tao dahil sila yung may maraming pera. Pero hindi eh. They may have all the riches in this world, but they don’t have the time to enjoy it –they don’t know how to enjoy their lives.

Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao
Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/batad-rice-terraces/

Bago ko tapusin itong medyo napahabang blog na ito, bakit di nyo pagisipan tong mga iiwan kong tanong?

Bakit ka ba nag-iipon ng pera? Para saan ba ang mga iniipon mong pera sa bangko?

Well I am not saying that saving our money is bad. Pero para saan ba at nag-iipon tayo? Future. Oo naman. Para sa future. Pero sana, wag din nating kalimutan yung present – yung mga gusto mong gawin ngayon na tingin mo eh makakapagpasaya sayo. Baka naman, uugod-ugod ka na eh yung pangarap mong magbunjee jumping eh nabaon na sa limot dahil nga hindi mo na kaya kahit na marami ka pang pera…

With friends at Salagdoong Beach, Maria, Siquijor
With friends at Salagdoong Beach, Maria, Siquijor 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/salagdoong-beach-siquijor-philippines/

Sa mahigit 2 oras na nakaupo ako sa bangkang patungong Banana Island, napagtanto ko na every person isn’t given the chance to do the things I am capable of doing. So, kung may pwede kang gawin na sa tingin mo eh makakapagpasaya sayo, aba! Don’t wait too long.. Do what makes you happy. Travel. Explore the World. Tandaan – Lahat ng tao, gustong maging masaya, eh ano pa ba ang silbi ng buhay kung hindi mo rin lang ito ma-achieve.

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https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/bud-bongao/

And as I always, always say — Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust’… take it easy ebri’juan’…

Lester out —

Originally written on February 11, 2009 (22:35). Baguio City.

Chocolate Hills (Bohol, PH)

The Chocolate Hills are unique geological formation spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometers in Carmen, Bohol, Philippines.  It is said that there are around 1200 (or more) hills which are covered with grass that eventually turns into brown during the dry season looking like undulating chocolate kisses. To date, it is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the country.

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The rolling terrain of this spectacular mounds in conical and surprisingly in an almost symmetrical shape has drawn the attention of both local and foreign tourists. These karst hills are said to be made of limestone, each with a range of 98 to 164 feet in height.

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This Philippine attraction can be visited anytime of the year as they will be just as spectacular during the rainy season as during the dry one. The thought if standing atop one of the hills maybe pretty delightful however, no one is allowed to climb the hills. Nonetheless, a great way to marvel at these natural beauties is through a viewing deck put up by the local authorities. I believe that this is also a great means of preserving these wonders. The viewing deck is accessible by stairs so one should be patient enough to walk their way to the area.

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How to Reach Carmen, Bohol:

From Manila, fly your way to Tagbilaran City, Bohol’s capital. If by boat, access points are in ports around Bohol like Tagbilaran, Tubigon, Jagna, Ubay, Talibon, and Jetafe which are connected to Cebu, Manila, Leyte, Siquijor, Negros and even some Mindanao provinces. The most popular option is to get to Cebu city via the airport and from there to take a 90 minute ferry to Tagbilaran.

Once in Tagbilaran City, take a ride to the central part of the island, to the town of Carmen. Most common way tourists do is to rent a car or a jeepney in Tagbilaran. If you want to ride a scooter or a small motorbike you will be able to rent one for a day for 400 pesos.

Recommended Place to Stay in Bohol: The Barn

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.

Balicasag Island (Bohol, PH)

Seemingly floating in the Bohol Sea, is a small island called Balicasag. It is regarded as one of the best dive sites in the island province of Bohol. This marine sanctuary is home to various fishes and corals.

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My 2008 Bohol jaunt gave me a chance to explore the wonders of this island. Recalling my experience then, we were asked to start our day early for our sea tour. My friend and I were staying at the Dumaluan Beach Resort in Panglao. Our habal-habal driver-slash-boatman fetched us early. Because of the early wake up call, we were able to witness sunrise at this side of Bohol.

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Our first stop that day was the much anticipated dolphin-watching near Balicasag Island. I like boat rides in the morning as the sea breeze is cool and not yet sweat-inducing. At around 7 AM, we were already in the middle of the sea, waiting for the dolphins. Accodring to our boatman, it is best to do this activity early morning as the number of dolphins decreases between 8:00-10:00 AM.  There were several boats waiting for the dolphins when suddenly one boat started to chase a group of dolphins. The other boats followed and it was like I was watching a regatta.

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It was my first time to see these loveable mammals. And I love the fact that I saw them in their natural habitat, instead of seeing them at a theme-park making the entire experience surreal, raw, and really gratifying. Despite being elusive, the thought of seeing them with my own eyes is something I was happy about then. After chasing the dolphins, we proceeded to Balicasag Island to snorkel and have our late breakfast.

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Upon docking, I have noticed that the shores of the island is washed up with pebbles and coral pieces (some, pretty sharp, hence it is best to have a footwear). I decided first to walk along the coastline to take some photos before eating my packed breakfast under a tree. At this point, more and more boats were docking bringing in more people.

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So, I decided to go swimming and snorkelling after donning a vest. I must say that the underwater of Balicasag is teeming with marine life – multi-hued corals, vibrant starfishes, diverse fishes, sea grasses and many more. Too bad I didn’t have an underwater camera then. Nonetheless, the memories of that experience are still intact whenever i visit memory lane.

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Right before noon time, we decided to leave the island and go back to mainland Panglao. It was an exhausting but fun-filled day. I told myself that I should return sometime in the future (with an underwater camera at hand) and maybe do some SCUBA diving.
Fees/Charges:

Small paddle boat to snorkeling site – 150.00 Php / pax

Snorkeling Gears with lifevest – 150.00 Php / pax

Aqua shoes – 100.00 Php / pax

Boat Fee  – 1500.00 Php

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How to Go to Balicasag Island:

From Manila, one can fly their way to Tagbilaran (Bohol’s capital). From Tagbilaran Airport hire a van, ride a habal-habal or even a tryke to Panglao and choose a place to stay. From Panglao Beach, they can arrange your sea tour to Balicasag. Alternative route is from Manila to Cebu, the once in Cebu, ride a fast-craft to Bohol.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.

Mag-aso Falls (Bohol, PH)

I go to nature to be  soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. – John Burroughs

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Visitors who make their way to the island province of Bohol would often visit the ever-famous Chocolate Hills, the stunning man-made forest of Bilar, experience the cruise along Loboc River or just bum around the pristine beaches of Panglao. But for a travel dopehead who likes exploring the off-beaten path, Mag-Aso Waterfalls is some place he/she wants to tick off his/her list.

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Mag-Aso Falls in the town of Antequera, Bohol, is a natural spot that isn’t usually part of a typical Bohol itinerary.   This twin falls, with a height of about 25 feet, is charming against a backdrop of high trees, wild plants, and deep chasm. The rocks at its base, gnarled through the years, form a large catchbasin creating a natural pool.

with friends I met along the way...
with friends I met along the way…

Trekking your way to the falls is made easy though the concrete steps (around 200) made by the local government of Antequera (this may be disappointing to some nature seekers though). Nonetheless, it was believed essential for those who do not have the ability to pass through slippery track. Shelters were also built for people who would like to take a rest or take refuge in case it rains.

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If one looks up in to the forest, you will see a smoke like mist.  This was where the name Mag-Aso coined as the term “aso”, in the local dialect means “smoke”.

How to Reach Mag-Aso Falls:

Take a flight to Tagbilaran City, the capital of Bohol. Once in the city, there are passenger jeepneys and buses going to Antequera. If you’re in the city center, hail a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to the terminal of jeepneys going to Antequera. Travel time from Tagbilaran to Antequera is just about 30 minutes.

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Once you reach the town proper of Antequera, look for habal-habal motorcycle or even a tricycle which can take you to Mag-aso Falls. The falls is located in Barangay Can-omay roughly 2 kilometers away from the town proper. You may ask the habal-habal driver to wait for you while you are in the falls or you may ask for his cellphone number so yo can contact him once you are ready to leave the place. Entrance fee is at Php30.00 (this was wayback 2012 when I got the chance to visit the place).

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.