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!

Related entries
Visita iglesia to our heritage churches
Holy Week practices in the Philippines
Visita iglesia and more Holy Week practices in the Philippines
Visita iglesia routes for Holy Thursday


  1. Anonymous27.3.06

    Great blog Ivan. Thanks for caring for our heritage. When I'm given the opportunity I try to visit also some of the churches in our country. I visited some churches in Iloilo found some of them where dissapointments. Like Tigbanuan church which I think they added 2 horrible looking belfries recently. But in consolation at least they have some beautiful mosaics as I remembered it. I also got to visit Leon on the advice of a priest in Miag-ao (if I remember it correctly). Well nothing much to see in the old church of Leon but it must have been a grand church before. Another odd or stupid thing I observed was in Guimaras in Navales near the vacation house of the Lopezes. Theres an old small church there, wherein they demolished the walls but retained the facade as well as the tree that was growing on it to denote its age. Another sigh! In addition, just in case you haven't visited San Jose church in Batangas it has a painted interior and for me one of the better preserve churches that I've seen. It also has a garden. There are also a number of old houses there. Another one would be the church in Calaca, Batangas. It also has a painted interior and a number of old houses also in that town. Balayan church for me, is also okay, except that the way they restored the belfry was simply downright ugly.

  2. Anonymous27.3.06

    where in the world, indeed, is ivan??? now i know why you are so not here in pampanga! i have to use your site like a radar screen to track you down!

    great photos, great writing, great layout. you have enough material for another book. you can even audition to the TODAY show as matt lauer's replacement!

  3. Hi Ivan,

    Thanks for the travelogue commentary! : ) It really brings the history and geography of Cebu into life. Lovely! And I love the picture of the tree with all its tired feathered friends taking a break on its branches. Hv fun travelling!

  4. Wow! Is this "around the Philippines in 80 days?". It looks like fun and I envy you quite a bit! Thank you for sharing your travel stories.
    After reading your entry about the Rio Grande de Pampanga I will try to do the same trip with some friends early April.

  5. Hi Bogs, thanks for visiting. I'm on my way to Miag-ao right now. Haven't been able to update since I did night travel the past two days.

    Robby! Yes. I guess my blog will let you know where I am for as long I have time to get internet access. Hehe!

    Hi Sidney, it's more of see as much of Central Visayas in 6 days. Hehe! The river cruise will be fun!

  6. I envy you! Hehe. I love to travel. What you're doing is very beautiful.

    Good luck and God bless!

  7. Anonymous7.8.07

    bohol is just near cebu and the place looks like cebu , i mean the churches at your back .. bohol is a cool place , i wish to be there too

  8. Thanks for featuring a bit about Maribojoc, Bohol. But there's much more there, only those who have the time to really explore will reap awesome rewards. There is a new destination called the Maribojoc Cafe in Abatan, Lingkod, Maribojoc, right after the bridge from Cortes. This floating cafe features bamboo raft cottages where you can have coffee and a massage. The rafts are also the base for a boating tour of an enchanting mangrove forest nearby where there's an emerald mangrove canopy on high tide and eerie caverns of huge roots on low tide. You can also take a winding tour of a mangrove and nipa island nearby and just soak in the calm blue green waters. Cooper Resabal,

  9. Bricks24.4.09

    Nice Blog Ivan! This will really help us decide where to go for summer vacation. If you happen to be in Cebu again pls. let me know I'll offer my services free...LOL.

    Keep in touch!


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