Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kwentong Kaladkarin #23: Bewitching Bohol – Life's a Beach

Da Where: Bohol, Philippines
Da When: July 4, 2011
Da Who: Vin and me! :)
Da Trivia: Cheesy. Mushy. Corny. Old-fashioned. Call it what you may but this trip was to celebrate our 3rd year anniversary together. ;D

Tatlong taong gala ng dalawang tao na makakati ang paa. ;D

I've been dragging my feet to finish my Cebu-Bohol posts. Work has been crazy the past couple of weeks after getting back from our short reprieve. Or maybe I didn't want to let go of the memories of the trip just yet because I feel that hitting Publish Post button would be to say goodbye to some of the best fun I've had this year. :)

After an exhausting day tour of Bohol as soon we stepped on Tagbilaran soil, we finally had a good night’s rest before rising and shining at 0500H. Thank God the rain that poured the previous night has let up and a weak sun was finally peeping through the clouds as we made our way from Paragayo Resort to Alona Beach, a good 5-minute walk away.

Yes, I almost performed a sun dance ala John Lloyd Cruz just to get a dry, if not sunny, day as our second day in Bohol is slated for exploring the beaches – the part that I’ve been giddily looking forward to!

We were met by Kuya Charles, our designated boatman for the day and as I stepped into the boat, I silently uttered a prayer. As much as I love the beach, I’ve always feared open waters since I don’t know how to swim. I’ll try and conquer that fear, bolstered by the fact that I also got over my fear of snakes by sitting beside a 300-kilo, 26-foot long reticulated python just the day before. ;D

And off to sea, we go!

Dolphin-watching off the coast of Bohol

I’ve always wanted to see dolphins and see them frolic in the water. I just couldn’t bring myself to watch them in shows in ocean theme parks. A lot of these dolphins (and marine mammals) are made to perform by training the animals using a food reward system – often starved so they’d do tricks and get food in return. Not exactly the best way to enjoy a nature show, isn’t it?

That’s why when I learned that we could go dolphin-watching off the coast of Bohol and see these adorable animals up close in their natural habitat, I couldn’t be any happier. We were about 30 minutes from Alona Beach when Kuya Charles switched the boat’s engine to a low hum and waited. I didn’t realize I was practically holding my breath until I saw several dark-colored things break the calm waters. Finally, the dolphins showed up! :D


My pitiful point-and-shoot camera couldn’t capture the quick dives of the dolphins so I settled to just spot several of them swim swiftly past our boat, a little one even making a couple jumps out of the water. Needless to say, I was grinning from ear to ear. :)

Snorkeling at Balicasag Island

The sun was starting to climb up the sky when we finally sailed off to Balicasag Island, another 30 minutes away from our dolphin-watching area.

Feeling nasa yacht lang. Haha! :D

Upon reaching the beach, we were met by Kuya Doro, our contact person for the boat rental, thanks to Happy Sole who provided the contact number.

The shores of Balicasag is made of crushed corals, making it a little harder to walk on the beach. The island is known for snorkeling so we immediately rented snorkel gear and a smaller boat to bring us to a good spot. There was some confusion with the rental fees for the gear and boat services later on so make sure to discuss and settle the fees first. Lesson learned for us. :)

Balicasag Island

I tried submerging in the water a couple times before giving up. The waters were a beautiful clear cyan, the fishes were colorful and aplenty, snapping up the food we brought along and the corals were eerily beautiful under the the water but my fear of the open water overcame me, even with a life vest on. After a mouthful of salty seawater, I just decided to stay in the boat and do the fish-feeding from there.

Vin swimming with the fishes...
...while I'm stuck in the boat, happily feeding. :)

We enjoyed a brunch of freshly-caught grilled squid and rice before heading back to the boat and go to our last island-hopping destination.

Swimming at Virgin Island

The first thing shoved to our faces as soon as we arrived in Virgin Island were open-faced sea urchins, ready to be eaten. There were about five vendors scooping up the urchins, said to be best eaten with vinegar. Vin and I tried a piece each for PhP20.00. I don't think I was able to taste it properly as I gulped the whole thing down and immediately drank water. I remember it being grainy in texture, like eating a chico fruit but salty. ;D

Sea urchins! The spikes are poisonous and are expertly removed by the vendors.

Virgin Island has finer coral sand than Balicasag and you can stroll the whole island in 15 minutes. During low tide, there's also a long stretch of white sand bar but it was high tide when we got there so we we just sunbathed and swam in the seagrass-filled white shores and tried looking for soft-shell tiny white crabs in the sand.

Indeed it is still a virgin island - untouched and undeveloped. My kind of beach. :)

I could live here forever. ;D

Just before noon, we finally made it back to Alona Beach and thanked Kuya Charles. Alona Beach, as is, is actually a beautiful stretch of white sand beach. But there were just too many tourists since it has beachfront resorts. I prefer my pure shores peaceful; the more deserted it is, the better. :) So we decided to have the last stop for the day at one of the more high-end resorts in Bohol for some downtime.

A Beer at Bohol Beach Club

After a shower and a change to dry clothes, we took a habal-habal (single ride motorcycle) to Bohol Beach Club, a 10-minute ride from Tawala. The last time I rode a habal-habal was almost 2 years ago, in Samal in Davao. I forgot how fun it was. :)

Wind in my hair! Mind you, I was wearing a dress! LOL! ;D

We shelled out PhP350.00/person for the the day tour fee, with the PhP200.00 consumable. We had a late lunch first since we were famished after an adventure-packed morning we had.

Greetings from BBC!

Drowsy and with full stomachs, we enjoyed the hammocks lined along the beach. The sea breeze lulled us into naps, it was already late afternoon when we woke up. We enjoyed a refreshing dip in the pool before heading to the beach and played like kids on the sand.

Nothing like a sea breeze to lull you to sleep. :)

One of the three swimming pools at BBC.

Our habal-habal ride promised to pick us up by 1800H so we decided to enjoy the last hour with a nice cold bottle of beer (outrageously priced at PhP80.00!) while lounging on the tanning decks and enjoying the tourist-less, sandy white stretch of Bolod Beach.

Just me, the sun, the sand and the sea. And oh, Vin the photographer, of course! ;D

Mr. Krabs, off to make some Krabby Patties

Best beer session view. Ever. ;D

We were almost at Paragayo when big fat droplets of rain pelted us as we rode the habal-habal back to the resort. Perfect timing, it started pouring as soon as we stepped inside our room.

Thanks Mr. Sun, you gave us a full day of warmth and sea and fun and I couldn't have asked for more. :)

"Don't grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach." - Michelle Held

Want more of our Cebu-Bohol trip? Check out these posts:

Kwentong Kaladkarin #19: Cebu Chronicles – Soaked, Skinned and Smoked in Sugbo
Kwentong Kaladkarin #20: Bewitching Bohol – Wildlife, Whatnots and Way Back When
Kwentong Kaladkarin #22: Bewitching Bohol – Paragayo Resort
Kwentong Kaladkarin #23: Cebu Chronicles – the Church, the Caffeine, the Cholesterol and the Crazies

No comments:

Post a Comment