A walk in the park
Autumn in Sweden is from September to October/November. It's generally windy and rainy, to put it simple it's the sign of the upcoming cold winter. But it's also the season of colors, when all the leafs turns to yellow, orange and red before they eventually fall off the treas. So what can be better than a walk in the park this beautiful autumn day?
Breakfast before hiking
Before you go hiking you need to eat a real breakfast, right? So this morning Danica went out and bought the breakfast... I usually advised her not to buy so much food, but as usual it was more than we could finish. For just around P100 we got noodles, chicken livers, vegetables, some kind of pork meat, soup and of course the mandatory rice!
Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary
One of the starting points for the hike is the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary. We had decided to make a combo, first visit the Tarsier Sanctuary and then do the hike since the hiking trail starts just behind the sanctuary. As usual we were assigned a guide who took us along some narrow trails around the sanctuary. Despite the dense vegetation I was able to spot several of the shy tarsiers and I regretted deeply that I had been lazy and hadn't brought my big camera with me. Grrr...
After tarsiers then hiking
Our main objective this day was the hiking. We easily found the beginning of the trail behind the actual sanctuary but after a couple hundred meters into the rainforest the trail wasn't that that clear to follow. We had been told it was easy to "just follow" but suddenly it didn't feel obvious. Danica was more concerned of the potential "monsters" hiding in the rainforest but I was afraid to get lost.
The rewarding view
Soaked in sweat with empty water bottles we finally came up to the viewing deck one. The view was breathtaking! We had almost a 360 degrees view over Bohol. It was worth all the blood sweat and tears to come here. A perfect spot to take photos from or having a romantic picnic or why not do both! Maybe even stay here overnight to experience the most awesome sunset and the sunrise... in that case I guess I have to convince Danica that there are no monsters hiding in the bushes beneath...
How to get to Corella
It's about 13 km going to Corella from Tagbilaran City.
Via public transport: From Sikatuna Jeepney Terminal, (This is right infront of Island City Mall) get into a jeepney bound to Sikatuna via Corella. This jeepney drops you off at Philippine Tarsier Foundation. Fare is P17.00. Tell the driver of the jeepney that you are headed to Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella. Upon arrival there is a huge signage and rough road, take it and walk for 300 meters to the research building.
Going back, just take a jeepney headed to Tagbilaran. And yes it is safe to hitch hike here. Fare is P15.00 for jeepney.
If you have your own motorcycle it's very easy to go there, just follow Google maps.
Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary and the Sikatuna Tree Park
You can start your hike either at the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary or at the Sikatuna Tree Park. There are two viewing decks to visit and the hiking trail connects the Tarsier Sanctuary with the Tree Park. Just follow the signs. Viewing deck one is closer to the Tree Park and the viewing deck two is more close the the Tarsier Sanctuary. Hiking from the Tarsier Sanctuary, visiting both viewing decks and end up at the Tree Park should take around 2-4 hours depending on your fitness level.
Comfortable shoes and water
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, it can be very slippery. Bring lot's of water. Plan ahead so you will be out from the rainforest before it gets dark, unless you intend to spend the night there. When it's dark it will be very hard to negotiate the trail.
Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary is worth a visit
If you begin your hike at the Tarsier Sanctuary you should take the opportunity to visit the sanctuary itself. The entrance fee to the sanctuary is P60. If you just go for the hike, it's free of charge whether you start from the Tarsier Sanctuary or the Tree Park.
Click this link to see other posts about Bohol:
A real Filipino breakfast is never wrong!
What can be better than salty bangus (fish) fried to crispy perfection, scrambled eggs, rice together with spicy sawsawan sauce? Did I hear crispy bacon and eggs?? Well, I guess nothing excludes the other, right?
Why are mangroves so important?
Fully loaded with protein, good healthy omega 3 fats, carbohydrates and caffeine we headed for Oboob Mangrove Garden. Maybe you have heard that mangroves are important...? So why are mangrove habitats so important? Basically Shoreline protection. Mangroves protect shorelines from damaging storm and hurricane winds, waves, and floods. Mangroves also help prevent erosion by stabilizing sediments with their tangled root systems. They maintain water quality and clarity, filtering pollutants and trapping sediments originating from land.
Oboob Mangrove Garden/Eco Park
It was easy peasy for us to go there with our beloved scooter. We paid the entrance and then attended a short lecture about the Eco park. In my opinion they are doing a great job preserving this sensitive habitat. We were assigned a guide who told us more about the Eco park and of course she even helped us to take some pictures according to Danica's directives.
Tropical storm Basyang
This morning at breakfast it had been quite windy. So later when we came back to our resort we heard about the tropical storm Basyang. There were rumors that the ferry would be cancelled for going back to Cebu Island. So of course we became a little bit worried. It was not the first time we had been stranded on an island. We had already been away for two weeks and it was time to go back to Dumaguete. In the evening we clearly noticed that the wind gained strength. Me: What's the problem it's romantic to be stranded on an island, right? But Danica: I am longing for my daughter huhu...
The typhoon luckily became degraded to a tropical storm but still with hard winds and lot's of rain. The result was that the ferry going back to Cebu island was cancelled. We decided to move from the somewhat remote Bantayan Nature Park and Resort in to the more central located Adelaida Pensionne. We were lucky, we got the last room! There were many other guests with the same strategy, staying near the ferry terminal and wait for the ferry to resume.
The ferry was resumed
After a couple of days the ferry was resumed. That day we had a quick breakfast at the Boulangerie Francaise and off we went. We reached Cebu Island at lunch time and then we had roughly 300 km to travel from north to south to our second ferry over to Negros. We had our dinner break at McDonalds in Toledo. I was beginning to be stressed. Time was already 5 pm and in one hour it would be dark.
The driving went awkward
Around Barili the the driving really went awkward. The tricky road crosses the mountains and the traffic was horrendous. Big trucks and buses speeding and overtaking each others and not to mention it was pitch black! We took a short break at a little sari sari store and I swept two Coca Colas to regain some energy. We still had roughly 60 km to Alegria where we had booked a room at Lucci Pension House for the night. Slowly I realized my mistake, 60 km is very far when driving in the Philippines specially when it's dark and you are drop dead tired. Lesson learned, be sure to plan ahead so you can avoid to drive long stretches in the dark.
Back to Dumaguete
From our lunch stop at Dulot we just had a couple of hours more to go before we came to the ferry over to Negros and back home. We had been away for roughly 2 weeks. We drove 600 km back and forth and maybe at least 200 km on Bantayan Island.
Road trips are fantastic!
Making a road trip is really a fantastic way to experience the true Philippines. You see a lot and have full flexibility to go and stay wherever you want. But beware of that the traffic might be very different from what you are used to from back home. In my experience you need to adjust yourself to the Filipino way of driving otherwise it might be difficult. Always bear in mind that there are many accidents daily in the traffic so driving a scooter in the Philippines is certainly a high risk activity. Use your common sense and follow some basic guidelines and you will be less likely to get in serious trouble.
1) Be sure you rent a scooter in good condition and with all paper works in order
2) Don't drink and drive and always wear helmet
3) Don't drive fast and furious, better to be safe than sorry
3) Avoid driving in the dark. You don't want to collide with a stray dog...
4) Plan ahead, out in the province it can be far between the nice places you want to stay at
5) Don't bring too much stuff, travel light and easy is part of the freedom!
Shooting Seagulls - with a camera
Today I tested the camera for fast flying objects, Seagulls. I took 1K+ photos and I actually cheated a little bit... I had an assistent who threw bread to attract some attention from them. And yes! We got attention and the competition for the bread was fierce.
Good bye Dumaguete
Good bye Dumaguete for this time. But I will be back.
The flight from Dumaguete to Manila went smoothly. It departed ahead of time and consequently arrived ahead of time to Manila. The video shows start and landing and an awesome view over Dumaguete and the Sibulan airport.
Two years old
Yesterday we had a mini celebration for Jas, who already turned to two years old. Fries, cake and eat as much as you can... What else can you ask for when you just turned two?
Tumalog falls is easy to find
Tumalog falls is easy to find. About 1 km north of Oslob Whale Shark Watching you find the signage along the highway which tells you where to turn. Drive additional a couple of kilometers. The last bit to the falls you have to walk 5-10 min. Eventhough the road is good I was surprised because it’s pretty steep walking down to the falls.
Check out the video
Struggling with steep roads and get amazed by the beauty of mother nature
Conclusion, it’s well worth a visit
The reality exceeded my expectations and that’s not bad. The falls is easy to find and we had fun going there so according to me it’s well worth a visit if you are in the neighborhood.
Japanese Shrine in Valencia
This historical monument called the Filipino – American – Japanese Amity Shrine (Fil-Am Japanese Shrine). It stands on a sacred battle ground where an encounter during the World War II actually took place. It was built to remember the many lives taken by the vicious war.
The pillar has three angles, making it appear 3 sided similar to a triangle. These three sides represent the three countries: Philippines, United States of America and Japan. In 1977 it was erected and unveiled by the war veterans, the surviving families of the water veterans, and the descendants of those who marched and died in the same war.
We hiked there
We hiked from Valencia proper heading in the direction of the more well known Casaroro Falls. After roughly 4-5 kilometers the road divides and there is clear signage, Casaroro Falls to the left and the Japanese shrine to the right. After the signage the road soon gets rough and it’s more suitable for hiking rather than driving unless you are an experienced driver. Going from Valencia to the shrine and back is around 14 kilometers.
Hot and sweaty
It was hot, sweaty and tiring to hike uphill. On our way up and down we encountered amazing views, barking dogs, the pure sound of the jungle and people singing karaoke.
Crystal clear water
Already from the ferry we spotted those nice fabulous beaches with white sand that we had read about. This was really promising. Even in the port in Santa Fe the water was crystal clear. In fact many of the big resorts are located close to the port.
Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resort
Most places were fully booked the day we arrived at Bantayan island. But on the fly we had managed to get a cottage at Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resort. On the map it looked close to Santa Fe and the port. But the reality turned out to be different. The distance was 6-7 km and the road going there was partly very bad.
Simple accommodation but nice
When we finally arrived there someone was very hungry. We ordered lunch and ate it in their open air restaurant. The accommodation was simple but nice with private bathroom, AC and fan. I really liked the place because the whole resort was surrounded by lush forest vegetation but with a nice view over the sea.
Due to the remote location of our resort, we were really dependent on our scooter, without it we had been stuck there. But every time when we were going back from town after darkness it was an adventure. Not so much for the traffic more on negotiating bad roads and watching out for stray dogs.
The Food market is an area big as a few quarters where most restaurants and bars are situated. Are you looking for nightlife, then it’s here you should be. Many times we went all the way from our remotely resort in to the Food market for our dinner.
One favorite was the French bakery, he had super delicious cheese cakes and baguettes. Another fabulous place was the Tiki bar which had very yummy food, specially their hamburgers which were both big and tasty. Outside the central of Santa Fe we sometimes ate cheap at small eateries and barbecue places.
Bantayan road trip part 1
Bantayan road trip part 2
Bantayan road trip part 3
Bantayan road trip part 4
Paradise beach Bantayan
To be continued...