In 2007, when Gim and I visited Bohol, Philippines, we took the Bohol River Cruise, explored the Loboc Museum and visited the Chocolate Hills. All in a day. And by public transportation, no less.
This time around, we ditched the open-air buses and contracted an airconditioned van to tour us around for the whole day. We explored the Hinagdanan Cave, burned ourselves sunning in Panglao Island Beach Resort and visited the site of the famous Sandugo (Blood Compact) site where Spanish king conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Bohol native Datu Sikatuna drank each other’s blood as a sign of friendship.
We also stopped to take pictures of tarsiers, an enormous snake (and his very interesting keeper), a lemur and some birds. Oh and we visited Bohol’s oldest church and another really old church. It was a very fun day, and like last year, we only spent a day in Bohol. The next day we went on to Dumaguete (but we’re already planning the Bohol Tour of 2009!).
Our first stop in Bohol (after dropping our things off at the hotel) was Hinagdanan Cave. This wasn’t part of the plan but I saw the site on a flyer in the hotel and asked what it was. As Gim and I are both spelunkers (no, seriously, we are!), the idea of visiting a cave outside of Zamboanga intrigued me, so we had to go. :-)
The Hinagdanan cave was discovered in the 16th century by a haciendero (land owner). It says (in the sign behind us) that he saw two adjacent holes in the ground, threw some stones in and heard a splash. He made a ladder (hagdan) and that was how people got inside the cave for a long time. Later a big tree died and decayed, leaving behind a hole leading down into the cave (the present entrance).
This is the present entrance of the cave. Careful, Gim! :-) The steps are steep and narrow… And both Gim and I happen to have very big feet.
Now I’m going down, too. But wait! Shoot a picture first!
And we’re in! Nards, our guide, takes a pretty picture, doesn’t he? He was one of two men waiting outside the cave, and generously led us down the cave and started touring us, without us having to ask him to. He was such a nice person! And he turned out to be an excellent photographer, too. He took the camera off my hands, fiddled around with the settings (settings I didn’t even know what to do with!) and expertly took TONS of pictures of me and my boyfriend, no questions asked! He was SO nice.
Same scene as above, without me and Gim. The two holes on the roof of the cave are the original holes the haciendero found on his land. Below the holes are some foreign tourists enjoying the cool brackish water (it’s part seawater, part fresh).
Nards says that scuba divers actually start their dive from this point. They swim underneath the rocks and then it will lead them out to sea. How cool is that! :-) Nards is a scuba diver, by the way. He’s a lifeguard, too. In fact, he was the one who told us to go to Panglao Island Beach Resort, because it had an infinity pool. :-)
Here’s a view of the entrance of the cave, and the manmade stairs used to go down into the cave.
It’s an awfully big cave, isn’t it? The water looked so tempting. Gim was begging me to let him dive in, but I wouldn’t let him. Manong Driver would kill us we if sat in his very nice van dripping wet! We had to content ourselves just dipping our feet in the water. :-)
Here’s Gim and me, directly under a hole, light shining through and all that.What did I say? Nards is a great photographer, huh? You have to understand, it was DARK in the cave. I tried to use my flash to take pictures of the cave, but since the cave was so big, the flash didn’t go far. My pictures turned out terrible. But Nards made the cave look bright and colorful!! He had very steady hands…
And another awesome light-rays-shining-down-upon-us pic from our genius guide! :-) He said he learned to take good pics from all the years he spent giving tours. I think I envy his life…
Here’s Gim pretending to be holy. Yeah right, Gim, your days of innocence are long past gone. (I rid him of it!)
Just more pictures of Gim and me… Gim’s sweating a whole lot in the pics, if you notice. I guess since I’m fairer, I don’t show it, but I was sweating profusely too. It was hot inside the cave! And Nards had us climbing slippery slopes, walking over sharp rocks (barefoot!) and crawling on the muddy cave floor just to get the our shots! Hahaha. It was hard work, modeling. ;-P
Here are some paintings on the cave walls. Before you think there lived any ancient peoples here, let me tell you this is fake. Haha. These paintings were created for a movie (that’s what Nards said, anyways). I felt really sad about that. It’s cave desecration, plain and simple. *tsk, tsk*
Here’s a close-up of the cave roof. You can see some birds living in the holes (their nests). These are the birds that make nido, from which Bird’s Nest Soup is made of. Nido is actually the saliva of the bird, which the birds use to make their nest, hence Bird’s Nest Soup. It’s a prized delicacy in the Philippines, and quite pricey.
This is one of the cave holes, shot from above ground. Nards showed us not only the inside of the cave, but also the surrounding areas.
This is the back of the cave, and as you can see, it faces the ocean. The water from the cave is fed partly by this sea.
Beside the Hinagdanan site is Panglao Island Beach Resort, where Nards lifeguards on a part-time basis. He also told us about another resort that was the direct competitor of Panglao Resort, the Bohol Beach Club or something. He said the shore was wider and much prettier there, but the facilities so-so. Well, I can see pretty shores anytime, what I wanted was an infinity pool! So we had to choose Panglao Resort, hehe.
But that’s Bohol Tour Part V… :-)
P.S. I’m naming this post Bohol Tour Part IV because I have yet to post the pictures from the Bohol Trip 2007, my bad! So I’m reserving Part I, II and III as prequels to this post. Just like in Star Wars.