Monday, October 31, 2011

Langyaw sa Panglao: Dauis Church & Bohol Bee Farm

Dolphins? Check. Hinagdanan Cave? Check. Now, what's left for the Panglao Day Tour? 

Just before we ended the day, Kuya Ryan brought us to one of the oldest church in the Philippines, the Dauis Church. 

Tere, being a Roman Catholic, said her prayer while checking out the historic structure. While doing this, I was outside the church checking the area.

The sun was ready to set which gave more splendor to the picturesque view of the wharf located outside the church.  The river was calm and some of the locals were having a relaxing time at the wharf. 

All the sights we saw for the day made us crave for some refreshments. To finally conclude our day tour, we checked out Bohol Bee Farm. A friend of mine recommended their famous ice cream, and it was indeed a refreshing treat! We had our ice cream overlooking the view of the sea and the setting sun. 

Experience the Bee Life at Bohol Bee Farm or their creative handicrafts which are up for sale.

A day of the sun, sea and fun! Panglao is one amazing island.

But, wait, there's more! Bohol Beach Club, is next in line! A day of "luxury" and beach bumming.

Langyaw sa Panglao: Hinagdanan Cave

We had our dose of the sun in our Island Tour and saw the healthy Marine Life of Panglao Island. It was still too early when we got back, so we decided to see the rest of Panglao Island, this time on a habal-habal (motorbike). 

Day tours were available, but I love to do things on my own. DIY trips allow me more time on each destination and it's a lot cheaper than renting a car. ^_^ Just like my summer trip to Puerto Princesa

Our habal-habal driver first brought us to Daks and Gams Wildlife Park. He warned us that the place is not really that nice and well-maintained but we still decided to check the place. Sure enough, we were not disappointed by his warning. The place collected a P15/pax entrance fee. But, by the looks of the place, it's not worth such an amount. Or maybe, it's too small an amount to cover all the expenses needed to maintain such park.

We shook the disappointment away and tried to feel the good vibes to continue on our trip. Our next destination was Hinagdanan Cave. I've been to a number of caves, Mystical Cave in Antipolo, Underground River in Puerto Princesa and Cudugnon Cave in El Nido to name a few. But, the Hinagdanan Cave is my favorite! Although, it's not as famous as the mentioned caves, it sure has it's own beauty to boast of. 
Hinagdanan Cave: Entrance Fee P20/pax

Say hello to a deep lagoon inside Hinagdanan Cave! It was an amazing sight. Sure I saw a natural bath tub in the Mystical Cave, but who would have thought that such an enormous natural bath tub exist in Hinagdanan! The water was crystal clear and it was warm and inviting my hidden fins! 

 While the other tourists were busy taking photos and checking out the cave, I decided to take a dip in the dark, deep lagoon! Enough of my imaginations of shokoys or anacondas underwater, I just can't resist swimming!

When I was finally satisfied (and a bit terrified of the deep water), we decided to move to our next destination: Dauis Chuch and Bohol Bee Farm.

If you want a DIY tour of Panglao Island on a habal-habal, you may contact Kuya Ryan (09994676412). You can haggle and hire him for P350. Don't forget to give a tip or treat him an ice cream at the Bohol Bee Farm. 

Langyaw sa Panglao: Balicasag and Virgin Islands

Panglao is an island in the Philippines located in the Central Visayas, at the southwest of the island of Bohol and Cebu. (source: wikipedia)

For the sembreak getaway, I and my friend Tere, decided to focus our trip in Panglao as we have already explored the countryside of Bohol. Packed with the idea of watching dolphins at the break of dawn and swimming with the colorful fishes at the Balicasag Marine Sanctuary, I and Tere excitedly watched the banca operator set the sail for the day's island tour. 

The tour started with a few minutes of sailing and looking for the location of the dolphins in the area. I was really excited to see these friendly and smart creatures. However, as we enjoyed the sight of dolphins, I have come to realize that these creatues are disturbed in their natural habitat and their early morning hunt. The dolphin watching turned out to be dolphin "chasing" as the bancas tried to chase the poor creatures for the amazement of their customers. As much as I wanted to see them flip in the air, I am sure that the noise of the tourists and the motor boats scared and alarmed them. 

After a few minutes of dolphin "chasing", I signaled our banca operator for our next stop: Balicasag Island. Balicasag Marine Sanctuary is indeed a haven for the marine life.I spotted colorful fishes of different sizes and species and as always, I spotted Nemo and his other friends! ^_^ (sorry, I don't have an underwater cam with me, it's for me to see, and for you to find out)

Balicasag Island
After an hour of snorkeling and a sumptuous seafood lunch at Balicasag Island, we headed to our last stop: Virgin Island. Virgin Island offered a beautiful beach view and a healthy marine life as well.The powdery, white sand was irresistible, I laid my back and relaxed for a while. It was heaven for a beach lover like me.
Virgin Island

After taking a "few" photos, we finally headed back to our banca. The Virgin Island is naturally untouched. The only unnatural thing I saw was the group of coconut vendors lining up at the island. But, thanks to them, I had a refreshing buko juice after soaking under the scorching heat of the sun. 

I may have experienced island hopping in Boracay or El Nido, but the island hopping in Panglao is unlike any other. Seeing the dolphins and the marine sanctuary of Balicasag Island was an incomparable experience and sun bathing in Virgin Island was something I would definitely do again.

Check out how I braved a deep lagoon inside Hinagdanan Cave here!

For Island Hopping Tours in Panglao, you may contact: Kuya Viao (09164645214). The tour cost P1400 (for 2pax). Snorkeling gears in Balicasag cost P100/pax and lunch is P250 (3choices of seafood, a cup of rice and softdrinks). 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ilocos Norte: A travel treat for my parents

What's the best gift  can you give to your parents? That day when you finally wear your school toga and receive your diploma? A grandchild? Trip around the world all expense paid? Hmm, let's see.

College Graduation.  Yeah, any parent would be so proud to finally see you graduate after years and years of schooling. But, it's usually towards your own benefit right? ^_^ You get to have graduation gifts, invite your friends to your thanksgiving party, get a good job and of course, your hard-earned salary!

A grandchild: If your parents are wishing for a little kid to run around the house to keep them company, then go make a family and make their wish come true! But, if you're like me who's single, no boyfriend, and have no plans of having a baby soon, well, just tell your parents "Later Ma, in God's time". Oh di ba?! Di na papalag mga yan. ^_^

Trip around the world: Yes! This is  I guess the best gift for a parent, or for anyone! Unlike the first two choices, a trip around the world is really towards your parents' benefit. No hidden agenda and you're doing it without expecting anything except of course the pasalubong in return.

Unfortunately, I could not afford the third choice. But, I sure can afford a part of it: tour around Ilocos Norte  for my mudra and pudra all expense paid! Oh di ba?! Bongga na. :D Thanks to the first choice, I got a job which can allow me to treat my parents big time! 

So there we were (yes, I went with them. Talk about hidden agenda, eh? ^_^ ), spent four days, 3 nights roaming and experiencing the beauty of Ilocos Norte.

Our itinerary? Laoag, Pagudpud and Vigan.

This is my parents' first time to go on a tour together. My Mama was anxious at first because of budget constraints. But, my Papa was too excited for the trip, I couldn't let him down.

First stop: Laoag and Batac
Destinations: Marcos Museum, Fort Ilocandia, Malacanang of the North (which was closed during our visit), the Lighthouse of Cape Bojeador

Next stop: Bangui, Pagudpud
Destinations: Bangui Windmill, Patapat Viaduct, Pagudpud Beach

My Papa, if born as a fairy, is Tinkerboy (male version of Tinkerbell). He loves to tinker on whatever his hands get a hold of. He watches videos on youtube to figure out how to fix stuff. When we were in Bangui, he was fascinated with the windmills. The tinker that he is, he tried to figure out how the windmills actually worked! @_@

Next stop: Vigan
Destinations: Baluarte, Hidden Garden, Calle Crisologo

We especially took a lot of pictures of the animals in Baluarte to be shown to my little nephews and niece back home.

My Papa enjoyed this trip the most. He is an Ilocano and he's the only one who could understand what people around us were talking about. Plus, he loved to stroll and explore the place on his own (even if he wakes up in the morning with arthritis)  and under the scorching heat of the sun.

Whew! The trip that was! This trip is, by far, the best and the most meaningful trip I ever had. Every single centavo spent for this trip was worth it. If I had the resources, I would bring my whole family in a Palawan trip! (Next time, though. I have 5siblings, 2nephews, 2nieces. A bigger budget will be needed for this trip. ^_^)

How about you, what's the best gift you've given to your parents? :)