(This feature was published in GMA News Online last October 21, 2012)
I like playing the part of a tourist in my own country. In fact, I make it a point to visit at least one domestic destination every year, preferably a place that I haven’t set foot in yet. But I also don’t mind revisiting a place that has left a good impression on me—a place like Bohol.
Bohol is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines since it boasts the famous Chocolate Hills, but there is more to it than those Kisses-like mounds.
The typical tour stops at famous historical and cultural landmarks such as the Blood Compact Shrine and the Baclayon Church and Museum. Then en route to the Chocolate Hills, we passed by the beautiful Man-Made Forest in Bilar and headed to a place to get up close with tarsiers. These are the standard spots in most tours, but ours included a daytrip to Panglao Island, which is known for its white-sand beaches. But before we basked in the sun and waded in the waters, we headed to the Hinagdanan Cave first, located in the town of Dauis.
Upon going into the cave’s narrow opening and descending down the ladder, I was surprised at the size of the cave and was in awe with its rock formations. This limestone cave has astonishing stalactites and stalagmites, as well as a green-hued lagoon. We walked around the area and even saw some writings and drawings on the wall. It was quiet and peaceful inside and I relished every minute I was there. When it was time to go, we ascended up the ladder, which translates to “hagdan” in Filipino, hence the name of the cave.Cozying up to Prony the python, one of the largest in captivity.
Before ending the day, we made a pit stop in the town of Albuquerque to see Prony, one of the biggest pythons in captivity. The snake is around seven meters long and about 300 kilograms. I had a chance to caress this scary yet lovely reptile and have a photo op with it as well. It was indeed an interesting way to end our jampacked daytrip in Bohol.
Welcome to Bohol
In my first trip to this Visayan province, I stayed at a modest inn situated in the capital city of Tagbilaran. It proved to be a strategic location since it was easy to get around town with the various public transport available there. But it was best to hire a private van or join a tour group to visit the must-see sights in the area, and my travel companion and I did just that.
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