I’m so excited to finally share with you my trip to Bohol from earlier this month! My friend Georgia and I spent 5 incredible days in this beautiful part of the Philippines. It only took us an hour and a half to get there from Manila on Air Asia (One World Alliance), so we decided to get up at the crack of dawn and take the earliest flight over! Georgia was a real trooper as she had only landed in Manila late the night before our departure. No rest for the wicked!
Upon arrival at Tagbilaran, we were swiftly swooped away in a car and made our way over to the Bellevue Bohol. The Bellevue is on Panglao island, the southernmost tip of the Bohol, about 30-45 minutes away from the airport. Arriving at the resort was a much welcomed breath of fresh air (literally!) from the madness of Manila, being surrounded with so much green and a stunning waterfront view. Just imagine my face when we sat down at the breakfast buffet and I spotted green smoothies next to the fruit selection! Healthy eaters rejoice!
Aside from breakfast, the Marea restaurant is open all day and is quite comprehensive with the meals they offer. As well as local specialities, there was a range of South East Asian food, as well as Mexican, Chinese, Japanese and Western dishes. As you can imagine, we were able to sample a lot from the menu over the span of 5 days, and my absolute favourite was the stingray and vegetables in a spiced coconut broth (Nilarang na Pagi). Soooo good! I was able to have a quick chat to the food & beverage manager at the Bellevue and he explained that they wanted to offer meals you would get if you went to your grandmother’s house in Bohol. Real, authentic Boholano food.
I don’t know if it was because I had been exhausted from a long string of work, or because the beds at this place were made with some sort of wizardry but I slept like a LOG! Which was rather timely as we had a lot of exploring to do on our Boholidays (sorry, I had to. Yes I’m becoming more Pinoy by the day)! Apart from the amazing beds, the facilities at the Bellevue were top-notch. There’s a sports bar which looks out to the beach, a games room/pool table, volleyball courts, and of course my favourite – the infinity pool. Water babies will be glad to know that the resort offers kayaking, speed boating, snorkelling and a bunch of other fun water activities.
Aside from lounging around at the gorgeous Bellevue, Georgia and I decided to hire a car and driver for a day, and we ventured up to see some sights on the mainland. We drove through countless luscious green fields as well as the Manmade Forest – which was actually much prettier than I expected! It’s essentially a windy road surrounded by towering mahogany trees, and I felt like I was in a scene from a Studio Ghibli movie. After a quick stop for a photo, we drove a little further to see the Chocolate Hills. Apparently a lot of the hills were destroyed from the earthquake last year, but it was still beautiful for me. It’s not like anything I’ve ever seen, a bizarre cluster of humps which were as cute as its name.
On our way back to Panglao island we stopped by a Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella. I think my eyes became as wide as theirs when I first saw these little critters. They are honestly BEYOND cute, and one of the smallest mammals I’ve ever seen. Tarsiers are sensitive little animals who can die from stress such as loud noises, so I was glad to see that they weren’t confined to cages, and tourists weren’t allowed to get too close to them. After a day of exploring we were ready for a good feed, so for our last stop we dropped by the Bohol Bee Farm. The organic food from this farm was delicious as well as beautiful – check out the colourful flower salad that we ordered! I’d recommend going to the farm during the day so you can appreciate the beautiful waterfront view.
As well as exploring the mainland, we also spent a day island hopping. We left the Bellevue at 6am in the hope of seeing some dolphins. We were warned, however, that a viewing wasn’t guaranteed. Much to our luck, our morning couldn’t have started better – we were greeted by hundreds of dolphins! Soon after we went to Balicasag island and spent an hour snorkelling amongst beautiful coral reefs, colourful fish, and even a few turtles! Not far from Balicasag, you’ll find Virgin Island – a white sand bar which only appears during low tide. There are a few vendors there who set up camp for the day to sell fresh coconuts and seafood which you can have cooked on the spot!
What an incredible 5 day adventure! The more I see of the Philippines the more I fall in love with this country. I’ll be checking out more destinations with Air Asia soon, so stay tuned!