Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bohol: Loboc River Cruise, Baclayon Church and Panglao Island

The last time I was in Bohol, I relied mainly on public transportation to get me around. It took quite a while to wait for the next jeep or bus, but I was able to cover a lot of ground. So when Honda invited us to test drive the new City in Bohol, I immediately said yes.

We arrived in Tagbilaran mid-morning. I was still groggy after that power nap on the flight (didn't get any sleep the night before as always) and continued sleeping in the van that took us to the Clarin House in Loay where we were going to have our orientation and snacks. So when we finally arrived, I was still disoriented.

The Clarin House is a heritage house declared by the National Historical Institute. I've seen it from the outside but this time, we were given a tour of the inside by the owner, a former mayor of Loay and descendant of the Clarin senators. I enjoyed the snacks they served in Cafe Olegario which consisted of local Boholano treats such as puto maya (now I know where "gaya-gaya, puto maya" came from) which is glutinous or malagkit rice with ginger served with hot chocolate; malagkit (the local kalamay or rice cake), torta boholana (similar to mamon and ensaymada) and kamote fries with latik dip.

After the briefing, we were given the keys to the Honda City for Day 1 of our test drive. Our first stop was the captive display of tarsiers in Loboc for an encounter with the smallest primate in the Philippines (they are primates contrary to what the tour guides and some people have been saying). Also on display are a pair of flying lemurs and some monkeys. Captive displays of these primates are actually an issue in Bohol since misinformed tourists can cause harm to these animals aside from the fact that they are not allowed to roam in their natural habitat.

From there, we drove to the new Loboc River Cruise Terminal. I looked forward to this trip because of the food, the music and the pristine Loboc River. But it was a shock to me that they installed lamp posts on both sides of the river bank! I was told the lights serve as a backdrop to an enchanting evening cruise. But during the day time, it looks horrible!

The lamps stick out like sore thumbs and don't blend with the natural surroundings. What's is more disheartening is that the wiring is exposed and you can see the orange PVC casings of the wires nailed to the rocks and trees! They also uglified the small waterfalls area by building conrete posts on it.


Another new attraction I don't remember seeing in 2006 is the ukulele ensemble that entertains visitors when boats make their way back to the terminal. Each boat docks at the makeshift stage that houses the ensemble of locals who serenade guests as they play their ukuleles. Now that's tourism creating jobs!

After the cruise, we made our way to Panglao Island where we were staying for the night. On the way, we stopped by the Baclayon Church and the Blood Compact Monument.

We checked-in at the Amorita Resort in the afternoon to give us time to relax and enjoy Panglao. I walked around the beach for a while. But since it was high tide and I forgot to bring my flip-flops, I decided to take continue my nap. I woke up just in time for our alfresco dinner by the beach.

Part 1: Honda City test drive in Bohol
Part 3: Bohol by car (Day 2): Panglao Island and Chocolate Hills
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