Behold Bohol: Around Tagbilaran

By Elie - 5:24 PM

Another day, another post! I'm really excited to be moving onto the sights and seeings of Bohol by now because it really means that I could be reliving the good days I had when I was in the Philippines. Truth be told, I was really excited to head out and find these new adventures fill me up especially when it came in a form of a country so differently set up. Just to set the stone in place, let me start by telling you what makes Bohol...Bohol.

Remnants of crumbled buildings: The common sight of Bohol today.

While a chunk of Bohol had crumbled to dust from the earthquake that hit on the 15th of October 2013, the Boholanos (residents of Bohol) have not quite given up on their homeland and instead has found much more strength in working together to build it back up. Quoted from the words of the Governor of Bohol, Gov. Edgar Chatto: "Boholanos did fall, but only to rise sturdier in continuing recovery and resolved to attain a condition more stable, if not readily glorious, than before their bleeding knees bended, torn lips kissed the shaken earth."

The History

While they share a drink of blood, I pose for a picture.

Located in Barangay Bool of the Tagbilaran City, the Blood Compact Shrine is said to have been built by Napoleon Abueva, a fellow Boholano artist in commemoration of the Sikatuna-Legaspi blood compact in 1565; a treaty of friendship between Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Bohol chieftain Datu Sikatuna. Today this shrine acts as a popular tourist spot and behind it is the amazing view of the Bohol Sea while there are extremely quick photographers who print your pictures immediately as souvenirs if you wish to buy any. 

It's a free spot to visit for great pictures to be honest and if anyone approaches you to sell souvenirs such as keychains and what not, I would suggest you BUY THEM if you're looking at bringing home gifts. They are at least 30% cheaper than what you get at shops and tourist spots, so I had this major regretful moment of not buying any because I truly thought I could get them cheaper elsewhere.

Blood Compact Shrine
Tagbilaran East Road,
Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines

The Heritage

Welcome to Baclayon.

Also known as The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary Parish Church, the Baclayon Church stands as the oldest Christian settlement as it was founded in the year 1596 while the construction of the church itself was completed in 1727. To enter the church, you will have to pay a minimal fee of PHP 50 (RM 3.70) to cover the cost of maintenance and to me, it's just so worth it.

Outside church grounds. Tell me if you see an image of a mother and child on the walls.

The altar of the Baclayon Church, untouched and complete.

Statues inside the coral church.

From where I stand: History by my feet.

Souvenirs are obviously available in the church front and if you're one for great parish music or items of such, do purchase it from them as money earned is believed to be put into restoring the church following the earthquake that ripped through the grounds of the Baclayon Church. 

Where mass used to be held. It is currently held up by metal frames following the destruction of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

What used to be the watching tower of Baclayon Church.

It's the past that makes the present, no?

A little surprise to the church is the existence of the Baclayon Ecclesiastical Museum, a space where religious artifacts, old testaments and much more is open for everyone to look at. The setting itself does present you to a day of the past what with the creaking wooden floors and stuffy environment that's definitely worth visiting. You are not allowed to take pictures of the museum however but do feel free to get clicking in the church. 

 The ticketing counter of Baclayon Church.

Baclayon Church
Baclayon Bohol, Philippines 
(Along the Tagbilaran East Road)

The Experiences

Have you ever imagined yourself having lunch while on a river cruise alongside live music being played to you? It's perhaps one of the things I would have never thought will happen but welcome to Bohol when the impossible becomes possible.
Visiting the Loboc River.

And having funny travel mates.
 Safety is not taken for granted onboard.
Well known as the Village Floating Resto & Cruises, the boat cruises down Loboc River for about an hour or so and makes a stop by a village where there are locals waiting to sing you songs and perform unique dances for you to enjoy. While you are encouraged to leave them a little donation by the end of it all, it's essentially up to you and they're not too pushy on matters like this; something that I really liked from their end of hospitality.

The boats all lined up and mine is the one far out.

Gaining access takes courage and a leap.

The one thing I did most during the cruise: Lay back and chill out.

I am not even kidding.

I had to at least look good sometime, right?

The food isn't quite anything to shout about but the experience does make up for it and the boat actually fits quite a lot of people at once. We were lucky to have had a boat to ourselves so there was much that we could do without the odd stares of other guests and that itself was a treat. The trip takes about an hour so you're usually encouraged to visit the loo before you board and boy is the toilet a surprising trip too. It is air-conditioned, is not at all smelly (And in fact actually smells good) and there isn't a spot of water at all. 

Cruising down the river.

Spotting little splashes.

 And arriving to our halt. Beyond this is the upstream of the river, a place we cannot set to.

Our pitstop for villagers to perform for us.

Dances included this extremely intriguing bamboo dance.

Video here!

I won't deny, I was very captivated by this old uncle and his worn out guitar.

Because nothing beats happy visitors with happy villagers.

It will push you back between PHP 450 - PHP 500 (RM 33 - RM 37) per person but that includes the entrance fee, river cruise and food costs plus other maintenance needs. In all fairness, the experience was still a fantastic one despite the shortcomings of lesser than satisfactory food.

Barangay Valladolid,
Loboc, Bohol

Disclaimer: This has been a trip graciously sponsored by AirAsia and the supporting parties on hotels, tour services and visitation fees in the Philippines. Much thanks shall be given to AirAsia MY and AirAsia PH as well as the F1 Hotel Manila, South Palms Resort Panglao, Angels' Wings Tours and Tourism Bohol for the gracious 4 days 3 night AirAsia Media Familiarization Trip. 

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