Six thirty A.M - two hours behind schedule, we started our expedition to the land where the rivers are green and the chocolates are hill-sized, the Island of Bohol.
It's been 4 months since our last adventure ride, and this was our first Inter-Island trip so both of us felt very excited. Planning is very important so we read posts of fellow MCP members who had been to Bohol for us to have an idea on the route, ferry schedules, road conditions, cheap accommodations and other tips that could help us maximize our budget and time.
Escaping the real world and entering your very own wonderland, that's how I could describe the feeling of travelling on a motorcycle. Going to a place you'd never been before and not knowing what to expect along the way makes it only more exciting. It has been a smooth ride, and it was 8:30 am when we had our first stop somewhere along MARILAQUE and had "Gotong Batangas" and rice for breakfast. We then continued our journey until somewhere in Lucban Quezon, Jun suddenly stopped, Oh! not again! We had a flat tire!
Day 1-April 12, 2105:
Twisted Roads Ahead
Luckily, Jun brought his tools, he removed the rear wheel and brought it to the nearest vulcanizing shop. He didn't want to compromise so he just had the interior replaced. This incident cost us an hour of our time and a total of 240.00 php. This had affected our mood as we had a bad experience like this before during our very first trip to Bicol. We just hoped everything would be just fine from then on and prayed for a safe journey ahead.
We ate boiled eggs and soda before we passed through the old zigzag road. Nothing has changed since the last 3 years. Old men and women and very young children, constantly waving their green and red flags assisting the motorists, expecting a few coins in return.
After consuming our quite expensive "carinderia" lunch in Caluag Quezon, we prepared ourselves for a bumpy ride as we approached the roads along Tagkawayan Quezon. It was not as bad as before but still, you have to be careful because there were still alot of ongoing road constructions.
We stopped and found shelter near the road. We stayed there until the rain stopped then went on and on and on until finally, we had reached Naga City. We had our OR photocopied in preparation for the Matnog to Allen boat ride.
We were actually targeting to reach Matnog port this night, find a decent accommodation there, then board the ferry first thing in the morning. But, targets are just targets, haha! After we had our dinner somewhere in Naga, we agreed to continue the journey and just look for a cheap accommodation along the way because both of us already felt so tired. At this very moment, we had the same thing on our minds, how can other riders finish the Manila-Matnog-Manila 24-hour challenge? Salute to all the finishers of that challenge, we have great respect to you messieurs!!!
We found it hard to find an accommodation that fits our budget of Php 350. Most of them didn't offer fan rooms and the price ranges from Php700 to Php1500. Until we saw this place in Polangui called LOUNGE.
And here's their price list:
We got the ordinary room with toilet and bath for 3 hours + 2 extra hours so we paid a total of 325php. The receptionist was so kind and she allowed us to stay until 4am the next morning. We checked in at around 10:00 pm so we got an extra hour for free.
The room was ok. Enough for us to sleep comfortably and recharge for the next day's journey.
SEA OIL BOCAUE - 2.98 Li 120.00php
PETRON FAMY LAGUNA - 2.71 Li 120.00php
PETRON ATIMONAN - 2.53 Li 120php
TAGKAWAYAN - 1 Li 50php
PETRON TAGKAWAYAN - 2.51 Li 120php
MILAOR CAMSUR - 3.49 Li 141.00php
Total Gasoline Consumption: 15.22 Li
Food Expenses: Php 512.00
Accommodation: Php 380.00
Misc Expenses (interior, labor and transpo):
Total Expenses Day 1: PHP 1783.00
Day 2-April 13, 2015:
Near, Far, Wherever you are...Oh Bohol, This ride will go on
At exactly 3:30 in the morning, we left Polangui and started our journey to Matnog, Sorsogon. This was our first time in Sorsogon so we stopped at this marker to take a selfie!
As we approach the port, nimbus clouds were visible in the sky, a not-so-good sign for us as it means our very good friend "rain" will accompany us as we cross the San Bernardino Strait.
The boat was crowded, videoke on board haha! My plan to take a nap and relax was spoiled because it was too noisy. We just enjoyed the view and took pictures. Until someone dared to sing this song:
Hearing this song while on a boat was hilarious and really made my day!!!
We reached Allen Samar at around 11:30 am and we ate lunch at a carinderia near the port. There were many road constructions along the way from Allen to Calbayog Samar so you need to be careful when you pass these roads.
We had to stop alot of times putting on and off our rain gears. It rained so hard when we were at Calbayog City so we need to stop and sheltered on a Petron station.
For those who were after challenging and difficult roads, this is for you. I don't know anything about driving but this was the first time I heard my husband complain about driving on curved roads. Maybe he was just so tired and I was a big "pabigat" hehe!!!
All the body aches, muscle pains, and sun burn - you'll forget about all of these when you reach this bridge. This was a dream come true for Jun, it looks amazing in the pictures but seeing it in person was just an awesome experience!
We had to pass alot of rough and muddy roads in Tacloban. The aftermath of the recent deluge was still noticeable. You can still feel the sad aura when you pass by Palo and Tanauan which were all devastated by typhoon Haiyan.
We had to stop because of a heavy rain somewhere in Tanauan Leyte. We left our motorcycle near a closed bakery and crossed the road to buy snacks from a sari-sari store. We took the opportunity to inquire if there's any place where we could spend the night nearby. The woman in the store and her son was so accommodating. I felt sorry when I started a conversation about typhoon Yolanda because unfortunately, the husband and grandchild of the woman were among those of thousands who lost their lives during the storm surge. As if seeing it on tv so many times was not enough, I still found myself dumbstricken hearing the story from people who actually experienced it. It was just sad to know that according to them, It was the NGO's and some foreign organizations who had helped them start over again because the government was too slow to do some action and that there were some "palakasan" that took place. I felt a twinge of anger upon hearing this and just can't believe how some people could still take advantage of their fellow who literally were so down and broken. Well, what goes around comes around anyway.
We had to continue driving because we can't find any hotel, motel or even a pension house to stay, not until we reached Abuyog Leyte.
We paid for a 12-hour stay in a fan room and bought 2 cup noodles for dinner. The room was comfortable enough, and after a long day, we finally closed our eyes and hoped to finally see Bohol the next day.
Total Distance Travelled: 474 km
SHELL DARAGA - 2.41 Li 100php
PETRON IROSIN - 2.59 Li 150php
PETRON CALBAYOG - 2.11 Li 100php
PETRON CATBALOGAN - 2.53 Li 120php
SHELL TACLOBAN - 3.4 Li 141php
Total Gasoline Consumption: 13.04 Li
Food Expenses: Php 427.00 Accommodation: Php 350.00
FERRY - 700 php
Total Expenses Day 2 : PHP 2088.00
Day 3: April 14, 2015
The Simple Life
We were told that the ferry leaves Bato port at exactly 9:00 am so we left Abuyog at 6:00 am. We decided to take this route and agreed to pass through the Agas-agas bridge on our way back.
We were advised to wear our life vests for coast guard inspection. As soon as the inspector left, all passengers removed theirs. Not a good practice because safety should always be first. We didn't remove ours and we didn't care if we were the only ones wearing it throughout the boat ride. It's better to be safe than sorry.
We sailed for about 2 hours and 30 minutes until finally! We set our foot on Jun's beloved province, the beautiful island of Bohol.
Jun's mom was from Bohol, and his grandmother in particular resides in Hagbuyo San Miguel. We had never been there before so his uncle fetched us and guided us to their place. We arrived there at around 11:30am, just in time for lunch.
When I posted this photo on facebook, one of my childhood friends commented
"Zel, dati dinodrawing mo lang yan, ngayon nandyan ka na". That was so true, during elementary days, we always have to submit a compilation of the beautiful sceneries in the Philippines, I used to draw the Banaue Rice Terraces, Mayon Volcano and the Chocolate Hills and I never thought I'll get to see all of these wonderful creations of God in person. Thanks to my beloved husband and ofcourse, to our motorcycle!
You have to climb a couple of steps before you could reach the viewdeck, but it's ok, when you go down after sight-seeing, you could have a massage by a blind therapist, for only 50php!
We enjoyed so much and we almost forgot about the time. It was already dark when we got back at lola's house. We had dinner with relatives and a little chit chat afterwards. They were very accommodating and the hospitality was overwhelming. We slept early because we'll be needing energy for our next day's activity, We were going to my favorite place on earth, the beach!!!
day 4: April 15 2015
now, it really is summer!!!
I see trees of green,
red roses too.
I see them bloom,
for me and you.
And I think to myself,
what a wonderful world.
I see skies of blue,
And clouds of white.
The bright blessed day,
The dark sacred night.
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world.
- Louis Armstrong - What a Wonderful World
Mornings signify a new beginning, a fresh start, and nothing can be more refreshing than waking up and seeing this view outside your window, simply WONDERFUL !!!
We completed the experience by drinking coffee outside while enjoying the cool breeze. After finishing our heartwarming breakfast, we excitedly sped up to one of the country's most beautiful beaches, Panglao.
Along the way, we saw the Tarsier Conservation Center and since we were already there, we stopped to visit my long lost cousins, the teenee weenee, wide-eyed tarsiers.
We paid 60php each for the entrance fee then proceeded to see the tarsiers. The caretakers built a nest for each one of them, They go back to their nest to rest after a night of hunting. They were territorial and suicidal too. Stressful and noisy environment can trigger them to kill themselves by hitting their heads against hard objects. Taking pictures with the flash on and making too much noise are prohibited.
It was only 10:00 in the morning when we reached Loboc. We have to wait for about an hour if we would try buffet lunching on the floating restaurants, we have to maximize our time so we decided to let the opportunity pass and just take pictures of the green gorgeous Loboc River.
For those who are planning to try the Loboc River Cruise, please refer to the following for the current rates:
RATE (Loboc River Day Cruise)Php 350 - River Cruise and Lunch
Php 100 - Maintenance, Safety and Security Charges
Php 450 (children 12 years & below, FREE)
DISCOUNTING (cruise and lunch):Senior Citizen : 20% please present your ID
0 - 3 years old - free without soft drinks
4 - 8 years old - 50% with drinks
9 - 11 years old - Php 250
12 up - php 350
LOBOC RIVER NIGHT CRUISESchedule & Rates (STARTING FEBRUARY 28,2012)
6:30 P.M. (nightly) – Dinner (Buffet) – P300.00
7:30 P.M. (nightly) – Cruise – P350.00
8:30 P.M. (Fri & Sat) – Loboc Youth Ambassador Band Concert – P200.00
Loboc River Night Cruise
Loboc Youth Ambassador Band Concert
Schedule: Friday & Saturday
Loboc River Night Cruise Concert
Schedule: Friday & Saturday
Schedule: Friday & Saturday
6:30 P.M. & 8:30 P.M.
Guests are requested to be at the complex 30 minutes prior to the scheduled time.
Prices may change without prior notice.
Booking is necessary.
And finally, at around 11:00am, we reached Panglao beach, a paradise of fine white sand and clear blue waters, a piece of heaven on earth,
A woman we met in the Chocolate hills the other day told us that it is best to visit Panglao beach during the night because bars and restaurants were being set up along the shore. Fire dancers were also doing performances and the fun really starts at night, but aside from the fact that we don't have the time to spend a night there, we prefer to go to the beach during the time when it serves it's real purpose, that is, to make us reflect and feel closer to nature, appreciate it's beauty as we dip our tired bodies into the cool waters, feel the heat of the sun and enjoy the soft sands under the soles of our feet. They're slowly turning this place into a "Boracay" which is kind'a sad in my opinion. For me, the beach is not a place to get drunk and have parties, let these worldly activities stay in the city. Tourism is good but too much commercialization can lead to the destruction of this beautiful place. I just hope the local government of Bohol won't allow this to happen.
A birthday party/reunion was waiting for us in Tito Vic's house so after playing, we enjoyed the beach for a couple of minutes then left Panglao at 4:30pm..
On our way back to San Miguel, we saw a signage pointing to a certain Hanging Bridge. We wouldn't like to miss the opportunity so we looked for it. The Bamboo Hanging Bridge was located in the municipality of Sevilla Bohol. At first we said " Ito lang yun?", but when we tried to cross the bridge WHOOOOAAAAAAHHH!!!! It was like joining an extra-challenge show, well maybe not for Jun, but for people with a bad case of acrophobia like me, crossing this bridge would really take a lot of courage. My husband teased and laughed at me, my legs were shaking as I stepped onto the creaking bamboo bridge floors, it felt like walking on a cradle, a bit of movement will make it shake and move. When I looked down and saw the river, my legs shook even more and I was sweating like hell. There were 2 bridges, we crossed the first one to the other side of the river, then the other one to get back. When it was finally over, I felt so relieved and was very proud that I had overcome my fear.
We went on with our journey after this heart-stopping bridge-crossing thing until we passed through the 2Km stretch of Mahogany trees known as the Bilar Man-made forest, man-made because these mahogany trees were planted as part of a reforestation project way back 1947. The project was conducted so as to protect the Loboc watershed which was a victim of kaingin farming back then.
The man-made forest is a clear proof that we, human beings can really make a big difference when it comes to saving our environment. If we really get serious about it, we could preserve mother nature so that the next generation would still be able to enjoy it's beauty and wonderful gifts.
It was already 7:00pm when we arrived at Tito Vic's house. They prepared "adobong pusit", "kinilaw na tanigue", native fried chicken, and other mouth-watering dishes which enticed us because Jun and I really missed those kinds of foods. That was a special night because it was a celebration of lola's 75th birthday and also, a catching-up and bonding moment with relatives. It was our last night to spend in Bohol so we savoured every moment of it. We went back to Lola's house at 10:00 pm and prepared to face the inevitable, tomorrow will be start of our journey back to reality.
DAY 5: APRIL 16, 2015
Leyte, we shall return!
I hate goodbyes...but today, we need to pack up, leave and start the ride back home.
We had our breakfast and left as early as 7:30 am. The boat will leave at 8:30 am so we need to be at the Ubay port before the departure time.
After paying the necessary fees, we proceeded and after nervously watching the porters carry our motorcycle to the boat, we immediately boarded and slept throughout our voyage to Bato Leyte.
Agas-Agas Bridge, we've been hearing a lot about this place, this is by the way, the Highest Bridge in the Philippines. A little trivia: With a length of about 350 meters (1,150 feet) and a height of 292 feet (89 meters) above ground, the center span of the structure measures 177 meters (581 feet) in length supported by two piers measuring 241 foot (73 meters) and 246 foot (75 meters) from the ground.
The mountainous Agas-Agas section of the Pan-Philippine Highway in Southern Leyte is prone to landslides during heavy rains, much more when a typhoon strikes the province. The bridge was constructed in 2006 to avoid the troublesome section and cut down the driving time for motorists.