Thursday, October 1, 2015

Over the Hills and Far Away... [Island Hopping Part 2]

So, after reaching the MacArthur Landing Site in Palo, Leyte (a tad too early at that), we decided to loop the entire island of Leyte, since we were already here anyway, and we were ahead of schedule. It was a scenic ride while going through mountain passes. We stopped often just to take in the view.

Especially this beautiful waterfalls. Unfortunately, there was no cell reception, and GPS went haywire, so we didn't get to see the exact location of this hidden wonder.

We also passed by Agas-Agas Bridge in Sogod, Leyte, dubbed the country's highest bridge. I've seen this in ride reports in MCP and UBP before, but I did not have any idea that we will be passing this on our way to the southernmost part of Leyte. The view was spectacular.

An hour later (about 3:30 PM), we reached the southern tip of Leyte - Bato. It was a fishing and port village. We stopped by at the port, where just then, a RoRo was getting ready to leave port. We asked the lady in the counter where the ferry was heading. She replied, "to Bohol."

Bohol. Me and Jhon looked at each other. Bohol. Chocolate Hills, man. At that time, the same thought occurred to us. "Wanna go?" we both asked almost at the same time. Since there was no need for discussion, we hurriedly went to get our tickets to join the trip.

Here are our pics as we were about to leave for Bohol from Bato, Leyte:

Fare was: P65.00 - terminal fee
                P270.00 - fare for the passenger
                P270.00 - for the bike
Total:      P605.00

We arrived in Ubay port in Bohol at around 8:00 PM.

We braved the dark and winding roads that were unknown to us. We planned to reach Tagbilaran City and rest there for the night. Finally, after an hour and a half of a harrowing ride, we reached the city. We checked in at Nisa Traveller's Hotel to get some shut eye.

Here's my souvenir pic of the hotel in the morning:

We did not need our alarm clocks for the next morning. We woke up earlier than usual. Apparently, Jhon was as excited as I was. We had breakfast in the hotel's restaurant (for free, as included in the accomodation), then started our journey to the different tourist spots in Bohol.

We first visited the nearest tourist spot within our location - Panglao Island.  We were lucky to reach the island early in the morning, as we were given a treat: an amazing sunrise in a beautiful white-sand beach.

Unfortunately, we haven't got the time to go for a dip. Nor do we have extra clothing. This is unplanned after all. We moved on forward, to Corella, where the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary is located. Bohol, after all, is also known for the tarsiers, aside from the Chocolate Hills.

We were led inside the tarsier sanctuary by a guide. We were told to only take pictures from afar, so as not to disturb the critters. Tarsiers, after all, are fragile little creatures. They are nocturnal too. So we were strictly told not to disturb them during their sleeping time, if ever we spot one. Luckily, some of them were easy to spot. Here's one of them, in it's natural habitat:

Umm... Sorry, wrong picture. Anyway, here it is, our tarsier hunting was a success:

After our tarsier hunting, we went a bit forward from Corella to Sikatuna, and then to Loboc.

Loboc is famous for its river, where a fleet of floating bamboo cottages roam the river, serving lunch and snacks to all its hungry passengers - the Floating Restaurants of Loboc.

We didn't get to try to eat in the restaurant as there is a long queue of tourists, both local and foreign. We just decided to take pictures in Loboc Bridge, overlooking the river.

That's one of the floating restaurants in Loboc River.

We also got to visit the Loboc Eco-Tourism Adventure Park, popular for its dizzying zipline. Where else can you get to zipline through two hills flanking a river?

This is a cable car, another attraction in the Loboc Eco-Park, aside from the zip-line, which also shares the same path between two hills flanking the river.
Those cables (barely visible) are the ziplines. We would have love to tried, if we were not in full motogear.

You just have to love the view.

After resting in the Eco-Park, we pushed forward to Carmen, in central Bohol. This is where the Chocolate Hills are located.

But before reaching Carmen, we passed by Bilar, most popular for its man-made forest dotting along the road, making a wonderful tree tunnel.

 My camera just doesn't do justice to how amazing this place is. I should save up for a GoPro.

And then, off to Carmen we go! The island of Bohol is kinda small, you can actually loop this in a single day. After 30 minutes we've reached our destination, the highlight of our unexpected journey (The Hobbit-ish.)

Chocolate Hills Arc:

 Some of the views in Chocolate Hills.

This is one of the view decks here. If you plan to go up here, better take heed of the bottled water sold by vendors below, or better yet, bring your own. There are about 150 or so steps leading up to this view deck, and you may need that bottled water upon reaching the top.

We stayed here for about an hour, then it was time to go. We went back to Ubay to begin our travel to Leyte, but alas, there was a storm signal (from Typhoon Seniang). Even at signal number 1, the Coast Guard did not allow for any ship, big or small, to travel. We were stranded!

We agreed to settle for the night in Ubay. Luckily, there was an affordable hotel near the port, complete with their own restaurant. 500 pesos for a day's stay for an air-conditioned room with two bedrooms. Not bad.

Then, we made ourselves comfortable as the rain began to pelt harder. Darn. I hate being stuck in a place far from home.
What to do next? Until the next installment.

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