#BEHOLDBOHOL: Twelve Months of Bohol

9:00 AM

Bohol is gunning to be the Philippines’ top tourist destination this 2015. And earliet this month, the Visit Bohol Travel Fair was held at the Glorietta Activity Center Palm Drive at Ayala Center, Makati where those who want to experience Bohol may avail of “avail of as much as 60% discount on accommodations, tours and other travel essentials in this beautiful island province.”

While the Provincial Government is extensively marketing the province to the country and the rest of the world, it is also fitting for us Boholanos to see the places we take pride of and in our little means, be able to entice our friends to do the same.  So why visit Bohol?  Simply because no one else can better promote our province than us.

Here are the places I recommend for everyone to see, some of which I have visited already.

January - Canawa Spring and Can-umantad Falls, Candijay
Candijay is among those towns here in Bohol that holds a lot of beautiful sites to offer, yet it’s distance from the city has become a hindrance and the accessibility of the sites an addition to the dilemma.  But if there’s a will, there’s a way, right? Right!

Can-umantad falls during my visit in March 2013

Head on a water adventure in Candijay and start your journey at Canawa Spring.  The water of the spring is blue and is very deep. In fact, despite numerous attempts to measure the depth of Canawa, all these have empted up futile.  The bottom of the spring has never been reached and is still a mystery up until this day.  After making a swim in Canawa, go on a river trek to reach Can-umantad Falls, the highest falls in Bohol.  The site is definitely majestic!

Can-umantad Falls from a different perspective.
Photo by Stella Marie Dacera

February – Camp Verde, Duero
For the thrill seekers, this is the best date you can ever have.  Schedule a hike to Camp Verde, the last bastion to fall during the Japanese Occupation.  The walk would take an entire day but the view is undeniably breathtaking.  Go on a side trip along the way and stop by what the locals call “Lover’s Lane” and relax for a bit.

Duero's Lover's Lane

Spend the night at Camp Verde and sleep on the watchtower by a cliff.  On the way home, traverse to Jagna.  On the way, you will pass through a ride that offers you a 360-degree view of the place btu be very careful because if you fall off the left side, you’ll end up in Duero. Fall off the right side, you’ll end up in Jagna. A thrilling two-places-at-one-time moment. Interested? Just make sure to have a local guide who is well verse of the place to accompany you, like Holy Name University’s Divine Word Outdoors Club.

If you're fortunate enough, you can see a rainbow at Camp Verde
without looking up.  That is how high you can actually get.

March – Pamilacan Island, Baclayon
For students, classes end on March! What better way to celebrate surviving and/or excelling the entire school year than to go spend a day on an island, away from the buzz and stress of school works, books, and *ehem* crush life.  The Pamilacan Island can serve as the perfect island getaway.  Get a very early boat ride to spot some dolphins and whales on the way.  Tour around the island and soak on their crystal clear beach.  Make sure to bring loads of sun block since sometimes, the heat of the sun there could get very hot.

April – Padhan, Maribojoc
While Loboc’s Krus Dako might be the place to go to during the Holy Week, there are other places too where you can hold your Stations of the Cross tradition.  One is at Mt. Padhan in Maribojoc.  While the climb might be very steep and the trail could at times get very narrow, the view of the Tagbilaran Bay is majestic.  Once you reached the top, not only the cool air will greet you for successfully completing the station of the cross but also the view of Maribojoc and Tagbilaran City.

At the last station on top of Mt. Padhan.  The view there is just breathtaking.

May – Cave Pools, Anda
It is summer and going to the beach is too mainstream.  Good thing Bohol boasts a lot of water forms like lakes, rivers, and waterfalls.  If you want to keep it cool this summer, why not try dipping in one of Anda’s cave pools? There’s the famous Cabagnow Cave Pool where Jericho Rosales made a jump in one of his scenes for Panday. There is the Combento Cave Pool which could get extremely cold.  There is a lot more cave pools to go to so take a dip and enjoy the summer sun!

The famed Cabagnow Cave Pool of Anda

June – Danajon Double Barrier Reef, Bien Unido and Cabilao Island, Loon
Cabilao Island is one of Bohol’s best dive spots, taking pride of its reach marine life.  The town of Tubigon is home to the Danajon Double Barrier Reef, a 90-mile double barrier reef system. Double barrier reefs are considered to be a rare geological formation, and Danajon is the only one in the Philippines and is among the world’s six documented double barrier systems.  End summer with a thrill and head to these amazing dive spots and take a plunge and be amaze by the scenery under the sea.

July – Street Dancing in Tagbilaran City
No need to go any further! Tagbilaran City is the place to go to. Majority of the activities of the month-long Sandugo festivity slated to be held at Bohol’s capital city, becoming more inviting to residents and tourists alike.  But if you can’t go to the different displays, concerts, amusements, and activities for the Sandugo celebration, then you better not miss the street dancing parade which culminates the entire affair.

The Holy Name University contingency during
the 2014 Sandugo Street Dancing Competition

August – Eskaya Community, Br. Biabas, Guindulman
August is dubbed as the Philippines’ Buwan ng Wika.  What better way to celebrate than to get in touch with the Eskaya, the indigenous tribe inhabiting the province.  Head on to Br. Biabas and learn their language, Ineskaya.  They’ll be more than happy to teach a few words.  You can also go see Mt. Cumbing, Bohol’s highest peak and be enamored by its breathtaking beauty. Once your visit is over, never ever forget to say Lami Samyal.

Divine Word Outdoors Club batch 15 trainees and senior members
with Tatay Juan (sitting, middle), the chieftain of the Eskaya community
in Brgy. Biabas, Guindulman.

September – Birhen sa Kalooy, Calape
Story is that the Birhen sa Kaluoy was once a little image on a seashell.  As the years passed by, the image grew, as well as the shell, and while the image grew, details have become more vivid, like the fingers. The Tourism Office of Calape would want the town to be a pilgrim site with the Birhen sa Kaluoy of Bentig and the San Antonio de Padua shrine in Tinibgan, where people go to seek help over lost things, as the main attraction.  Go to the site on this month, the month of Mama Mary’s birth and see for yourself the miraculous and mysterious Lady on the Shell.

The miraculous Birhen sa Kalooy in Bentig, Calape
Photo by Mister H from Flicker.com

October – Ruined Churches of Bohol
The 7.2 earthquake left us with deep scars.  Although visiting the churches trampled by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake could freshen up those wounds, especially with the thought of how the of the century-old pieces as well as our memories pinned with the church were reduced to rubble, the journey to these different churches may also be a good reminder to all of us that even though we’ve lost our dear worship houses, we still have our faith intact.  In fact, our faith is even stronger than ever.  Light a candle in every church and say a prayer, not just for yourself but for all the victims of the earthquake that everyone might have recovered from it with replenished hope and healed hearts.

A statue of the Virgin Mary standing on the makeshift altar
on the grounds where Loon's Our Lady of Light Church once stood.
Photo by Marianne Bermudez for Inquire.net

November – Brgy. San Agustin, Talibon
Go on a historical trip and visit the birthplace of the great Boholano statesman, Carlos Polestico Garcia.  Schedule the trip on his birthday for the trip to be more meaningful.  Learn more about him from the place where he grew up.  The Municipality of Talibon, as I have been told, is eyeing on rehabilitating the place to make it just like how it is during Garcia’s days.  But while that is still underway, a visit to San Agustin should still be in every Boholano’s must-see places.

December – Party in Panglao
Different resorts, restaurants, and party places in Panglao usually hold different parties and events, one after the other, in time for the Christmas season.  What better way to get the party mood on than to attend any of these events. Whether it is a dinner concert or a disco party, Panglao has its own way of celebrating the Christmas holidays!

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DEEJAY WRITES is a proudly Boholano lifestyle and travel blog by LifestyleBohol in-house writer Deejay Arro. Launched in June 2014, DEEJAY WRITES ranks among the Top 200 Entertainment and Lifestyle blogs in the country and has been consistently receiving positive feedback from readers..