Welcome to Bohol. After 3 solid weeks in the Philippines it was time to move on to the island famously known for the smallest primate and an epic viewpoint that looks over hundreds of perfectly half sphere shaped hills. Being a big island we weren’t sure how long we would need to explore the island. Eventually we decided to spend no more than 10 days.
To our surprise, our Bohol trip couldn’t have started any better. We were on a 4 hour ferry from Siquijor to Bohol, sat in our seats and after a couple of minutes a couple sat next to us. It just so happen that they were Maltese. Do you know what are the chances of this? Very, very slim. Malta’s population is just over 400k. So the 4 hour ferry which at first seemed exhausting went by before we knew it. This couldn’t have been any better.
Tagbilaran is the Capital City of Bohol and is where the ferry port is located, this is where we first set foot on Bohol. Many visitors use the ferry to reach Bohol since it is the most convenient and cheapest way of getting here.
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Outside the port we and all other new arrivals were literally bombarded by scooter rental guys and even gals. I understand that everyone needs to make a living, however this was just crazy. Literally we had 5 people all around us pulling to go with them. Come on, we had traveled all morning and this was the last thing I wanted. We just moved away into a cafeteria and when everything cooled down I came back and rented a scooter at least in a reasonable manner.
The Following Days….
Bohol is a large island therefore the best way to get the most out of our few days was to move around. Some places would have been a couple of hours’ ride from the main tourist area Panglao. So moving around and staying in different areas was definitely a wise decision. Our accommodations were spread out between Tagbilaran, Panglao and Anda. Reaching Anda alone is a solid ride at 110 km and takes at least 2.5 hours from Panglao or Tagbilaran.
For the upcoming days we would be cruising around the island and exploring popular and less known spots. Bohol is an all round destination with a combination of fun and rewarding activities. But I must admit that waterfalls and viewpoints are always high on our list.
For the first few days we booked a homestay in Tagbilaran city. Cool cafes and local eateries scattered around the city reminded us of cities in Indonesia like Surabaya and Mataram in Lombok. We based ourselves in Tagbilaran and rode up to the Chocolate Hills and Mag Aso waterfall.
Are the Chocolate Hills worth the Hype
Bohol is a large island and offers loads of things to do. One of the most popular activities is Bohol’s Chocolate Hills. The Chocolate Hills are a cluster of hundreds of hills that look like lumps in the earth. The reason the hills are unique is that no trees grow on them and only small vegetation survives. The way in which these hills have come to be is impressive and riding along them was amazing. However, as we reached the viewpoint the experience wasn’t what we expected. In fact we were rather underwhelmed by our experience.
I wasn’t thinking of writing about Chocolate Hills on my Personal Blog. I just thought of mentioning them since it is one of the island’s most popular things to do. In fact, I only wrote these 2 paragraphs to give insight into what we thought. Hence the title.
An Epic Ride and Stunning Viewpoint
Wow this day was amazing and turned out to be the best day we had in Bohol!!!
The day before setting out on this crazy adventure we set a plan and eventually came up with a route. The plan was to ride out of Panglao and stop at lesser known spots. And the route would take along roads that not too many tourists venture out to.
What I’m on about is a full day trip that left us on our heels till the very end.
We started off early morning, rode along pitch black streets and as planned, we would reach our first spot for sunrise. Meanwhile, on our way, we cruised along misty highlands. Bohol’s highlands is where the farmers grow their crops. The climate up here was cold and visibility was low due to thick fog. However, the views and atmosphere was like someplace other than the Philippines. Actually we felt like we were riding in some rural area in China.
Our first stop was Mt. Puntaas and we got here right as the sun had started to rise. We had just rode for 2 hours and was no doubt worth it. Again, we didn’t really feel we were in the Philippines. This place looks like it should be somewhere in Switzerland. We sat here on the top of a mountain while a few carabaos’ were munching on the grass and farmers were cropping their fields. The view from Mt. Puntaas looks over hills tumbling down into a sea of clouds. And between the hills, in a valley loads of rice terraces are carved out of the hill’s face.
More About This Day….
We still had a lot of riding to do and to add to that, google.maps was leading us along roads fit for a dirt bike. This was the bumpiest ride we have ever had and definitely wasn’t official. In fact, in some areas along the way to Can Umantad waterfall we didn’t come across a sole.
2 hours riding along rock paved roads and we finally reached Can Umantad waterfall. Now we had the chance to rest our bums after the treacherous ride and the fall itself was unbelieving. The waterfall cascades from high above, crashes onto a plateau and makes its way into a small pool. We must have stayed here for over an hour while taking photographs and dipping in the chilly water.
We couldn’t see this from where we stood, but apparently Cadapdapan rice terraces are right behind Can Umantad. Cadapdapan is the answer to Ubud‘s rice terraces. And the view goes on tumbling down the mountains. Fortunately our rides from here weren’t that bad.
Cadapdapan and Can Umantad waterfall are relatively close to Anda, a small seaside town located on a peninsula Southeast of Bohol. This is where we based ourselves for the night.
1 Night in Anda
Our night in Anda didn’t go as planned and unfortunately we didn’t visit the places we had planned. Anda is a small town known for a couple of cave pools which were about 5 minutes ride from our hostel. But the weather wasn’t on our side. Instead of going to the pools we decided to head back to Panglao and did a 2 hour long ride in the pouring rain. Although weather conditions weren’t ideal, I would say this was just another unexpected experience. This is an experience I look back at and think how amazing these couple of days in Bohol were.
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