Sunday, 27 September 2009

Honeymooning in Bohol

Harley is giving me my dream wedding, so I am giving him his dream honeymoon. Thankfully he doesn’t demand a European tour (Although I do!  But I can wait. LOL.). He is a simple guy, so easy to please. I could not have been luckier.

Whenever we go home to the Philippines and our schedule permits we make time to island hop to Bohol. Harley adores white sand beaches. So it is a no brainer choosing where to go for our honeymoon. Our beloved country, with its 7,107 islands both high tide and low tide, boasts numerous beach getaways flocked by many tourists from around the globe. As there are so many to choose from, the challenge is choosing which island to go and which resort on that island to book.

Since I don’t possess a bottomless pocket, I have to choose wisely.  I am looking for a destination that will blow his socks off but not outrageously expensive or it might turn out I can only afford to send him there. Alone. Without me. Yeah some honeymoon...

Are you are in the same predicament and looking for an unforgettable beach honeymoon destination? Or are you planning a perfect romantic getaway with your loved one. Why not visit one of the gorgeous beach resorts in the Philippines? Convinced? Well to jumpstart your planning, read on for some stuffs I have researched.  Let me start with Bohol first.

Bohol
HOW TO GET THERE?
Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have as many as Manila to Cebu flights a day. A MNL-CEB flight usually takes around an hour and 15 minutes. Of course waiting at the airport takes longer than that and make allowances of your flights getting delayed. Typical of Filipino’s infamous habit of tardiness. As a precaution, it is better to take the first flight of the day.

To go from Cebu to Bohol, you need to take a “fast craft” ferry. Journey time is around 2 hours and 40 minutes. As far as I know there are only three (3) ferries with route CEB to TAGBILARAN (Bohol). These are:
Oh yes their names blatantly say they’re fast. But I would have to agree as on the bigger ferries like Cokaliong Shipping Lines and Trans-Asia Shipping Lines it takes approximately 5 hours.
From Mactan International Airport (Cebu), take the cab to the Cebu City Pier 1 for SuperCat , Ocean Jet and Cokaliong.  Pier 4 for Weesam Express and Trans-Asia.

If you haven’t got ferry reservations or tickets yet upon arriving at Mactan International airport, you can go directly to the Cebu City Pier. The ticketing office per shipping line is also located at the pier area (number) mentioned above. Or if you are a bit scared to wander aimlessly at the port area, go straight to Ayala Center Cebu. There are ticketing offices there. Just ask around.

To get from Tagbilaran Pier to Panglao Island (where all the good Bohol beach resorts are located) you can arrange with your chosen resort for a van/car to collect your party. Or if don’t have resort booked yet and want to shop around, there are vans / cars at the pier area that will take you there at a fee of course. I don’t know how much it is but haggle. You can always negotiate for a lower rate.

WHERE TO STAY?
Bohol is perfect getaway for newlyweds who want to cocoon themselves from civilization, and just spend time together rolling around on a white sand beach, basking in marital bliss. It is not as crowded and not as commercialized as Boracay but there are still plenty of things to do.  I have shortlisted here resorts in Bohol that I highly recommend to honeymooners:
This resort is nestled on a cliff at Alona beach. Harley and our families spent two days there on December 2008 and we definitely want to visit again. I highly recommend this resort. Food is great although a tad expensive but really could not complain because the service we got was top class. Whenever you bump to someone from the resort, you’re greeted with a smile. The staff easily provided us with a relaxing atmosphere.



For packages and rates, click here.
At the moment, this must be the most expensive and exclusive (yes because it’s very expensive) resort in Bohol. It has villas with their own infinity pools and whirlpool baths. I have no idea what a whirlpool bath is I’m afraid.

For packages and rates, click here.
The beach strip of this resort is to die for.  I’ve heard that the service here is also world class; it was after all the top resort before Amorita and Eskaya opened in Bohol. Reviews of this resort in TripAdvisor are generally high.

For packages and rates, click here

MUST DO / MUST SEE
  • Dolphin Watching
Make an arrangement with your resort for a boat tour or you can contract a local boatman for a cheaper price (usually you can haggle a thousand pesos cheaper than what the resort charges).  You need to wake up early so as not to miss the dolphins. Arrange for your boatman to collect you from the resort at around 530 AM.

The last time we did this our boatman was able to get very near to the dolphins. We could almost touch them! So don’t forget to ask your boatman to get as close as possible. Dolphins in Bohol I must say are born entertainers. They love giving a show. And it is such a joy to watch them playing at their natural habitat.  This is really a must do activity, a real treat enough to make want to come back to Bohol again and again.
  •  Snorkel at Balicasag Fish Sanctuary
When the dolphins have decided they’ve entertained you enough and they scatter away to wherever they spend the rest of the day, your boatman will then take you to the Balicasag Reef / Fish Sanctuary where you can spend the rest of the morning snorkelling! Floating on top of thousands and thousands of colourful fishes is an experience one will never forget. Remember though to bring enough cash with you as you still have to pay for your snorkelling gear and for the banca (as only shallow hulled banca can get near the sanctuary). You can inquire about these beforehand from your boatman so you’ll get an idea how much these extras will cost you.
  • Virgin island / Sandbar
After you’re thoroughly scorched from hours and hours of snorkelling and decided you’ve had enough swimming with the fishes, ask your boatmen to take you to what they call the Virgin island. You and your hubby or loved one can do a HHWWPSSP (holding hands while walking pa-sway-sway pa) on this crescent-shaped sandbar. How romantic!






You can also arrange with the resort you’re staying for a day sightseeing tour around Bohol. Or if you want to get a cheaper deal, as we all know resort hotels charge a lot that even their local rates are still pretty steep, ask some locals you might see around the resort. Even ask one of the staff or the guards secretly for some local tourist guides they can recommend. Haggle. For the Bohol day tour I think we were able to get it for 2500 only, compared to Amorita’s 4k price. Not bad, eh?

A Bohol sightseeing Day tour usually includes trips to the
  • Hinagdanan Cave
This is an underground cave with fresh spring water and old stalactites and stalagmites located at Dauis. Click here for more about Hinagdanan Cave.
  • Blood Compact Site
The blood compact of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna happened at Barangay Bool Tagbilaran City on March 1565. It marks the first treaty of friendship between the Spaniards and the Bo-ol natives. Click here for more about the Blood Compact in Bohol.


  • Baclayon Church and the Church Museum
The spot where the Baclayon is was just a visita erected by the Jesuits in 1595. Sometime in 1717, the construction of the church commenced. Native Baclayanon forced labourers constructed the church from coral stones, which they took from the sea, cut into square blocks and piled on top of each other. They used bamboo to move and lift the stones in position and used the whites from millions of eggs to cement the coral stones together. (source: http://www.bohol.ph/article8.html)
  • Loboc River cruise. Don’t miss the eat-all-you-can lunch experience on a floating banca/restaurant that can accommodate up to 50 people while being serenaded by local musicians. The cost of this is outside the day tour package. I think the buffet costs 280 per person.
  • Tarsier
The tarsier is the world’s smallest primate. Usually the Bohol Day Tour package will take you at Tarsier sites along the Loboc river. But it is strongly advised not to patronise these sites as the tarsiers are kept for tourists or display purposes only... they live shorter lives than Tarsiers living in its natural habitat. Please visit and support instead the sanctuary of Philippine Tarsier Foundation, located at between the municipalities of Corella and Sikatuna in Bohol. Corella is 14 km northeast of Tagbilaran City.

  • Man-made Forest
On the way to Carmen for the Chocolate Hills, don’t miss the man-made forest of mahogany trees. If you don’t want to get off, just open the windows of your car, stretch out your hand and feel the cool breeze these 2 km rows of giant trees bring. Click here for more about the man-made forest.
  • Chocolate Hills
Bohol is world famous for its 1268 (or more) chocolate hills that spread the towns of Sagbayan, Batuan, Carmen, Bilar, Sierra Bullones and Valencia. They are not made of chocolate, which what my parents had led me to believe when I was a child and was terribly disillusioned when I first saw them and realized I couldn’t lick them. They are strange geological formation and actually look chocolatey (brown) during the summer. There is a viewing deck atop one of the hill at Carmen town that provide a 360° view of the hills.

3 comments:

khimphotz said...

bohol is a good choice sissy..as in super ok jan...we went there last april and we have so much fun...

mav said...

I had super fun in Bohol :)

Photobooth Rental Philippines said...

Yeah BOHOL is great! Specially for honeymoon. Lot's of places that really offers supreme privacy.

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