Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bohol: Visita iglesia to Bohol churches

I had inquired with Fr. Ted Torralba the day before how to go about my trip to Bohol and its churches, particularly how to maximize my time. So he suggested that instead of going straight to Tagbilaran, I could take a ferry to Tubigon instead and with the half day I had left, pass by the towns of Calape, Loon and Maribojoc on the way to Tagbilaran City. For day 2, it was a trip to the chocolate hills passing by Loboc, Loay, Alburquerque and Baclayon. Hopefully I have enough time for Panglao and Dauis, and maybe the tarsier conservation project in Corella. The churches of Bohol are featured in the book of Regalado Trota Jose entitled Visita Iglesia Bohol.

When we arrived at the terminal, I only had two minutes left to board the 12:45! It was a photo finish! I did not know what time exactly the ferries left since the guard a Pier 1 told me they left frequently. Good thing I asked around Pier 1 so we went straight to Pier 3. Had we been late for just a minute, the next ferry was at 3 p.m. and goodbye itinerary! Good thing I also had a UP ID so I was charged the student rate of PHP143.36 for the trip. Really cheap!

I arrived in Tubigon at about 2 p.m. if I remember it correctly. You could see the church from the pier but it was a short walk. And to exercise myself, I decided to walk instead of take a tricycle. The church exterior was not that striking but it had nice ceiling murals inside.

After Tubigon, it was a ride to the next town, Calape. I was pointed to a jeepney terminal for Calape but passengers weren't riding and I didn't have the luxury of time to wait. So I asked what time it was leaving. Then one of the drivers offered PHP150 for a special trip. Was he out of his mind? I countered that I was on a tight budget. Then he offered PHP100. Grrrr! Do they really think tourists always have money. Not all! Hehe! I noticed buses passing by and knowing how it went in Cebu, boarded the bus to Tagbilaran. I ended up paying only PHP14 for the Calape trip!

Calape is supposedly a copy of the San Sebastian Church. It is actually. Hehe! Construction on the church started in 1933 and ended in 1948! The town also had a nice presidencia (town hall). The next stop was Loon. This I had high expectations for since I've seen it in books. So I waited for the next bus. But a van-for-hire passed by instead. Great! Aircon I said to myself. Hehe! But the fare pissed me off! When I gave a 50 peso bill to the conductor, nothing came back. Maybe he would give the change when I debarked I said to myself. So when I got down at Loon, I asked how much, and he replied PHP50, smiled and closed the door giving me only enough time to say it was expensive. Damn!

But the Loon Church met my expectations. Marvelous coral and limestone church! And great murals inside! After Loon, it was off to Maribojoc. I got on a jeep and paid PHP20. Along the way was the Punta Cruz Watchtower in the same town but I didn't have enough time so I skipped it and went straight to the church.

The jeep ride reminded me of Upsilon's Car Stuffing! How many people can you accomodate on a passenger jeepney? If I remember right, there were over 40 of us in the jeep. That was nine on either side so 18, plus three in front so that made 21. That did not include the six who were hanging on at the back making it 27.

When I though we weren't going to get any more passengers, they brought out this contraption for the aisle that they called "extension" which was a small wooden bench that could seat two people one facing the front and the other facing the back. Hmmm, clever I said! But we still took in more and another extension was brought down from the roof. So we now had 31! And then we stopped to allow a group of teenagers to board. The two ladies sat on yet another extension so we were now 33. And the ten or so males went up the roof! God, that was 43 passengers! If they went out of their way to do this, transportation might be scarce so that is when I decided not to pass by the watchtower.

I was greeted in Maribojoc by the tolling of its bells. The exterior was not impressive but the inside was a pleasant surprise. The ceiling was all carved wood painted in gold and other colors! It was just like in the old San Ignacio Church which the Americans bombed. Then I remembered, many of the churches in Bohol were Jesuit.

Then I waited for the next ride. But the roads were close to empty! Unlike Cebu, transport in Bohol seemed to be scarcer and it took close to 30 minutes before a bus arrived. I paid PHP15 for Tagbilaran thinking that this was going straight to the poblacion. Well, we were dropped off right after the border of Cortes and we had to take a jeep to the town proper.

In the town proper, I walked to my last stop for the day, the Cathedral of Tagbilaran. Facing it was an impressive Spanish colonial structure, the Provincial Capitol of Bohol! One attraction at the plaza was the arrival of swarms of black birds which filled up all the trees. And when I said swarms, I really meant swarms since thousands were coming out to greet the night! The photo of one of the trees is below. Those aren't leaves but birds.

Just like in Maribojoc, I was greeted by the tolling of the church bells. I really like the sound of these big bells tolling.
After taking photos, I looked for a place to stay. Got a room for PHP250 a night at the Nisa Travellers Lodge but no aircon and common bathroom. Nisa is said to be Tagbilaran's backpacker haven. Well, we're on a tight budget. Hehe!

After freshening up, it was off to this place called MR Restaurant near the pier which Fr. Ted had suggested. The tricycle ride was PHP10. I wasn't into seafoods that much so I had inihaw na baboy but for my vegetables, had two types of seaweed salad. The first one was called guso, and the other locot which looked like green angel hair pasta. I was not that competely satisfied with the food I picked since it was quite sour and I think a little bitter. Maybe it has something to do with the Boholano taste. Anyway, at least I was full.

So I'm now in an internet shop blogging. I will go around Bohol tomorrow and leave for Siquijor tomorrow night. About last night after I left the internet shop which charged me an exhorbitantly high price of PHP40 an hour when here in Bohol, it's PHP10 per hour only; on the way back to the hotel, I was lured by this streamer adverstising Swedish-Shiatsu for PHP170! The Devanara Spa was a few meters away from the Capitol Inn where I was staying. Great ambiance! I suggest you get a massage there if you're in town. The foot massage is only PHP100 an hour for the duration of their summer promo! Hehe!

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Visita iglesia to our heritage churches
Holy Week practices in the Philippines
Visita iglesia and more Holy Week practices in the Philippines
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