I could be wrong but I can't think of any other province in the Philippines that has a "countryside tour" covering several points of interests in one full day that's as popular as the one in Bohol. Nothing like this even existed two decades ago. A trip to Chocolate hills in those days, for example, was merely that and nothing more. Now Boholanos have made it easier for those short on time to really make the most of their time.
What's noteworthy is that visitors staying in either Tagbilaran or Panglao island are now assured that hotels and resorts offer "countryside tours" with practically identical itineraries lasting a whole day: blood compact shrine, Baclayon church & museum, man-made forest, Loboc river cruise, and Tarsier watching. If longer time permits, there's even dolphin watching that can be thrown in.
As we were booked on a packaged stay with Amorita, my family had the pleasure of doing this tour on a private van with a licensed tourist guide (all the while I thought we'd be pooled in a big bus like it's routinely done in other countries!). I'll let the pictures tell the story and point out the highlights:
|My family poses at the monument dedicated to the blood compact between Datu Sikatuna & Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legaspi|
|Baclayon church interior|
|The man-made forest of mahogany trees between the towns of Loboc and Bilar|
|Chocolate Hills before the rain|
|Chocolate Hills + Lovers during the rain|
|Chocolate Hills after the rain|
|Cruising Loboc river by barge . . .|
|. . . while feasting on diet-busting Pinoy food . . .|
|. . . and listening to ear-splitting live music . . .|
|. . . is made all the more memorable by a serenade of rondalla band playing folk songs. . .|
|. . . and the chance to actually burn all those calories by dancing Tinikling!|
|Meet another Bohol icon, the Tarsier|
|A Korean tourist eyes a Tarsier closer|
|Sta. Monica church & convent in Alburquerque|
On our way back to Tagbilaran, we had a quick stop in my father's hometown of Alburquerque where, as kids, my siblings and I spent our summers every May for the town's fiesta. Memories of me (just about the same age as those kids on the last photo) walking beneath the bridge that connects the convent to the church came back - boy, was I so happy! In this age of Sandisk memory cards, I can still say there's something about childhood memories that stick better ... even here where it beats!