Day 2: Cebu–Bohol Getaway

Waking up very early in the morning is really not our cup of tea but during this day we had to force ourselves out of bed in order not to miss the SuperCat bound for Tagbilaran for our Bohol Day Tour.
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This is where snacks come in handy. Since we woke up late, we did not have any time to eat breakfast which is why we ended up eating a few sweets and chips for breakfast, good thing drinking water is free in the hotel.

After getting ready, we took a cab from the hotel to Pier 4. Upon arriving we went directly to the SkipTrip Counter which was located inside the pier. We met with Flor Loren, she is charge of the Island Skip Trip Counter of SuperCat. Then we settled our tour payment which was Php 2,850/person (inclusions will be posted later) and the final instructions were given and we were off to the waiting area.
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Pier 4

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SuperCat Island SkipTrips Counter: Look for Flor Loren

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A photo of Bohol.

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Finally, at 8:30am we were ready to board the SuperCat bound for Tagbilaran, Bohol.

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Our tickets and itinerary.

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Good thing they serve food inside the craft: 2 cups of coffee, 1 ham and cheese sandwich, and 1 order of pork asado with rice= Php250.00.

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After a 2-hour duration we reached the Port Of Tagbilaran in Bohol.

We went directly to the exit gate to meet out tour guide Ms. Marlyn. She welcomed us with a beaded necklace coupled by a Tarsier pendant and led us to the shuttle where our companions for the trip were already seated.
First stop: Blood Compact Site in Brgy. Bool, Tagbilaran City, Bohol.
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Tip # 6: Camera Tripod: A Must Bring Item especially if you are travelling alone or travelling as a pair. In most cases, tour guides are very helpful in taking photos of tourists just like the picture above.

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View from the site deck.

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On the way to the Blood Compact Site the shuttle passed by St. Joseph Cathedral Church, Tagbilaran City.

Second Stop: The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Baclayon

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This church is said to be one of the oldest in the Philippines. According to our guide, the all parts are still in their original state except for the roof. When visiting the church, there is a dress code that needs to be followed. In case you are wearing an improper attire you will be asked to wear a piece of cloth over your outfit.

Third stop: Loboc River for lunch in one of the Floating Restaurants.
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We passed by another church before arriving at Loboc River, Sta. Monica Parish in Albur.

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View from the bridge over the Loboc River
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Church of San Pedro, Loboc: the second oldest church found in Bohol. It also has a museum like the Baclayon Church.

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Our raft c/o Travel Village
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HIS and HER plate. Buffet. One buko per person.

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Dessert.

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Balsa Livelihood Project. Almost every floating raft stops at this area in order for tourists to watch the locals perform song and dance numbers.

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Busay Falls (in the background), this is the turning point of all floating restaurant rafts. According to the guide, the current is very strong near the falls which was why this was the closest we could get.

Fourth stop: Tarsier Conservation Center

After lunch, we proceeded to the Tarsier conservation area which was approximately 20 minutes from the Loboc River. Tarsiers have been considered as endangered species a few years back, but during our visit to the conservation area, the people in charge informed us that it has been removed from the said list. Conservation areas are very important and helpful in raising the awareness regarding the fact that even endangered species like the Tarsier can be saved from extinction; all we have to do is to work hand in hand as an aid in their survival.
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The maximum size of a fully grown adult tarsier is 6 inches.

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Mother and father tarsier. Smile

Fifth stop: Chocolate Hills Complex

The tarsier encounter was really an eye-opening experience but we had to ride the shuttle going to our next destination which took us more than 30 minutes travel time. Before arriving at the Chocolate Hills Complex, we passed by the Bilar Man-made Forest which was created in order to decrease the incidence of landslides in the area; unfortunately, we were note able to take photos because the shuttle bus did not stop at that area.
Arriving at the Chocolate Hills Complex, we were welcomed by a very high plight of stairs (214 steps) leading to the viewing deck. But for tourists who do not want to take the stairs, you can have the option of going up via the ramp.
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For those who have back and joint problems, there are rest areas while going up the stairs.

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One’s Bohol experience is not complete unless you visit and capture the wonders of the Chocolate Hills.

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Sixth and Seventh stop: Simply Butterflies Conservation Center and Pasalubong Center

Last two stops before going back to Cebu was at the Simply Butterflies Conservation Center and at the Pasalubong Center.
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The color of this butterfly changes depending on the lighting and the angle.
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Creative shots c/o our superb guide in the Simply Butterflies Conservation Center. Smile

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Sunset at Tagbilaran Port.

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Tired but contented on board the SuperCat bound for Cebu City. Behind us is Ate Mei, our new friend from Davao who joined us for the Bohol Day Tour.

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Munchies from the Pasalubong Center and Simply Butterflies Conservation Center.

We arrived at Cebu City Port at approximately 8:30pm and it was already raining even before the craft finally docked which was why we opted to eat dinner at The Terraces instead of going for the Sky Experience Adventure. Upon exiting the port we tried to hail a taxi going to Ayala Mall; just when we thought we will never experience a taxi driver who charges his passengers with unreasonable fees, we had a taste of what other travellers call “mandurugas” or “manggagancho”. The first driver we approached tried to charge us Php 200 for a one way trip to Ayala Mall which normally costs only about Php 70-80 depending on the traffic conditions, good ting we asked before entering the cab. The second one (yes, you read it right, lucky us we experienced two indecent offers in a row) just let us ride the taxi and then a few steps from the point where we took off we told him to turn on the meter of the taxi, then he suddenly said “Php 150 lang wala kasing pasahero pabalik dito” (“Just pay Php 150 because there are no passengers coming back to this area”); we were so astonished and before we even argued with the driver we requested that he just let us down the cab and we will just take another one, at first it felt like he was reluctant but maybe when he saw that we were serious he motioned the cab to the side of the road and we got down. After that incident, a security guard and another personnel from the port saw us and asked us what happened and they helped us get another taxi (the one with a decent driver).
Arriving at the mall, we were so famished because beside the snacks that we munched at the craft on the way to Cebu, our last meal was from the Loboc River Cruise. So we headed to The Terraces which looks very similar to Serendra in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City in Manila; like Serendra, The Terraces also houses several restaurants and bars. Even if we were so hungry, we decided to stroll first to look for a good restaurant; after about 30 minutes of walking around, we ended up eating dinner at Mooon Café which is a Mexican restaurant. The food was delish and it was gone before we even got the chance to take pictures. Smile
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From Mooon Café, we planned to try some of the shops that served desserts but there was no more space even for a bite of chocolate cake. By that time heavy rain was already pouring, good thing that the mall’s taxi stand area was shaded. We headed back to the hotel to snooze for the last time in Cebu City before checking out the next day and transferring to Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort in Mactan.

Tip # 7: Always bring a camera that can capture even the slightest detail that can give you big memories.

A Sneak-Peek: The 4 Days- 3Nights Cebu-Bohol Getaway

View from the top before landing.
Travelling on a very tight budget can sometimes be devastating. We know this for a fact due to our first-hand experiences. And it actually found a seat during our Cebu-Bohol Escapade.
The Obstacles.
1. Airfare – Getting the best deal for airplane tickets can be challenging because regular fare rates can be quite expensive (plus never forget the terminal fees: Php200/person for Domestic flights), sometimes it will consumer almost 50% of your budget. Hence, it is advisable to book your tickets at least 6 months in advance in order to score cheaper seats. Also, last-minute bookings cost about 50-70% more. 
Another option, and the best so far, is to watch-out for ONLINE AIRLINE SEAT SALE. The prices can be cut from 70-99% off (other charges i.e. Fuel Charge, Seat Selector, and Web Fees are not included). This is common in many airline companies including Cebu Pacific Air. Visit their website regularly and sign-up for the latest seat-sale updates.
As for our ticket, we booked it 10 months ago from a SEAT SALE PROMO from Cebu Pacific Air.
2. Accommodations – This is the most common obstacle that people encounter when travelling to a new place. If you have relatives residing in Cebu for example it won’t be a problem, but if you are like us who are new to the place intensive research needs to be done. During the research process, we found other posts from various travelling bloggers very helpful which led us to Gran Tierra Suites.
PROs:
Affordable: The hotel rates range from Php 789.00 – Php 1,189.00 depending on the room type and the number of people who will be occupying the room. The price is very reasonable especially with the amenities that go with it. Based on our experience, the room where we spent two nights is very similar to hotels in Manila which cost about Php 2,500/ night.
Very friendly staff: From the time we called to make our reservations up until our departure the staff including the security guards made us feel very welcome.
Free pastries: We forgot to take photos but once you check-in you will be given complimentary pastries c/o Cebu Cardinal Bakeshop.
Unlimited supply of drinking water: Along the hallway, you will see two water dispensers which have hot and cold features. So you can just buy instant coffee or powdered iced tea and enjoy breakfast and snack time inside your room. (A cost-cutting option). Cups and glasses are provided in the room.
Clean room and bathroom: Considering that this is a budget hotel, we were very skeptical at first because honestly, it is impossible to get a decent room at the very cheap price. However, our point of view changed the moment we entered the hotel lobby.
The staff don’t expect tips: During our arrival, the hotel attendant helped us with all our bags as we went to the second floor where our room is situated. After he turned on the lights and the air conditioning unit, he was just about to leave when we handed the tip, he was somewhat puzzled, shocked, and thankful; then he said thank you and then finally left the room.
Convenient location: Gran Tierra Suites is only 5 minutes away from Fuente Osmena Circle, 10 minutes away from Ayala Mall and 15 minutes away from SM City Cebu.
CONs:
Unfamiliar hotel to many taxi drivers: As much as we would like to take the jeepney we found it a bit time consuming to learn the twists and turns in order to reach the hotel which was why we stuck to taxis. Since this is a somewhat new hotel, 2 out of the 3 taxi drivers were not familiar with the hotel name which is why it is best that you always keep a copy of the hotel address (particularly the street name).
No elevator: We did not really find it very inconvenient since our room was located directly in front of the staircase going to and from the first floor.
Here are some of the photos taken inside our room:

The bathroom was very clean with complimentary soap and shampoo. The shower provides hot and cold water.

This is their DOUBLE ROOM which is good for 2 (max. 3 pax). Additional Php 200/ extra pax with bed, Php 150/extra pax without bed.
It was really great that we found this hotel because we were able to save thousands of pesos, thus allowing us to splurge a bit on a pricey hotel when we transferred to Mactan Island during our third day. In Mactan, we were able to grab a great deal from Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort.
3. Tours – Many people especially international tourists spend 55-75% of their travel budget on tour packages and tour guides just for the convenience. But did you know that well planned do-it-yourself tours can cut your costs to more than 50%. During the planning phase of our Cebu-Bohol trip, we almost ended up signing for a package being provided by an online agency. But due to further research, we ended up following our do-it-yourself itinerary. The great thing about it is that it contained all the things that we wanted to do and all the places that we wanted to visit without going over the budget.
Tip: When planning your do-it-yourself itinerary, keep in mind the places that you really want to visit and start planning from there. But always remember to keep your plans organized. Print your itinerary and include the name of your contact persons, their contact numbers, and their addresses (especially for hotels/ dormitories/ resorts).
Those are the top three elements that travelers, including ourselves, find as very challenging to fulfill. But unlike any obstacle, this is the type that does not require years to solve; just be ready with your pen, paper, and computer/ laptop/ smartphone.
This is just a teaser of our Cebu-Bohol Adventure.

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