For the second day of our tour, the island of Bohol itself is our destination. It doesn’t sound very exciting, until we actually had the tour. And here’s how our second day of touring transpired:
Blood Compact Shrine
The closest historic spot from Tagbilaran City proper is the blood compact shrine. It is here where the blood compact (sandugo) between the chieftain of Bohol Datu Sikatuna and the Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legaspi took place on March 16, 1565, to seal their friendship as part of the tribal tradition. This is considered as the first treaty of friendship between the Spaniards and Filipinos. As expected tourists flock the area, both local and foreign, so taking pictures is a bit challenging (but manageable).
A few kilometers henceforth is another historic site, the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, or simply, the Baclayon Church. Aside from being historic, the current structure is massive and quite impressive as it is made of corals, and had been standing since 1727, considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.
Some excerpt from the historical marker (translated into English):
In this spot Jesuit priests Father Juan de Torres and Father Gabriel Sanchez formally established the first Christian mission in Bohol in November 17, 1596. The original church was made of wood in honor of the Immaculate Conception and became a parish in 1717. The current church made of corals was erected in 1727.
Visiting Baclayon Church would be incomplete without a visit to the museum, just beside the church. Taking photos and videos are prohibited, but the visit is quite worth it. You can see antique statues, documents, and even church relics made of gold and silver.
Our next stop was Loboc which is 24 kilometers away from Tagbilaran City. While waiting for our lunch at the famous Loboc River Cruise, we stopped over another site where Tarsiers are being taken cared of. It was a more intimate encounter with these delicate creatures, and I’d agree that they really are cute.
Fast fact: The eyes of Tarsiers are fixed in their socket. To compensate, nature gave them the ability to rotate their heads a full 180 degrees.
Loboc River Cruise
Finally it’s lunch time! I admit I was already famished when we arrived at the area, and the thought of a buffet was really exciting.
The area where we board these floating restaurants is just across the Loboc Church which is home to the world famous Loboc Children’s Choir. Unfortunately due to lack of time we weren’t able to visit the church itself, and were only able to view it from across the river.
Travel Tip: Get the lowest numbered table. Despite being a buffet, the first one to queue for the food are tables 1 to 3.
From Loboc we headed straight towards Bohol’s most iconic tourist attraction, the Chocolate Hills. It was still quite a long drive but watch out as along the way you’ll get to see some amazing sights (the first picture on this post is en route and was featured in running magazines). Naturally tourists from everywhere flock the site, and even if you don’t have a camera there are plenty of cameramen in the area to take your pictures with the hills. But you have to deal with the 214 steps towards the top of the observation area.
Butterfly Conservation Garden
On our way back to Tagbilaran we still have another spot to visit, the Butterfly Conservation Garden. I’ll admit I’m a bit queasy about butterflies, insects in general, but this tour gave me a bit of a change of heart. Our guide was very informative, not to mention entertaining, so I got to appreciate and understand butterflies more.
Travel tip: There are some quite interesting items sold at the Butterfly Conservation Garden, one of which is interesting ice cream flavors. The dragon fruit flavor is a must try.
And that concludes our second day of touring. We could’ve packed more but we had to hurry back to Tagbilaran to attend the briefing of the TNF Thrill of the Trail the following day. We covered a lot of ground today and we had to conclude it early. We could only manage an in-hotel dinner before calling it a day as the following day, race day, starts very early. You may have read about my race chronicles, but you haven’t read about Danao, coming up next. 🙂
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The Great Visayan Adventure: