Philippines FTW! [Cebu – Bohol – Panglao – Bantayan]

So summer vacation was coming up again and we had to decide where we want to go to escape the brutal cold of winter in Korea! After a lot of deliberation, we decided on the Philippines. We did some research, spoke to friends who’ve been, and chose the islands that met our ‘special travel criteria’… We decided on Cebu, Bohol, Panglao (basically part of Bohol) and ending the vacay on memorable Bantayan.

Cebu isn’t (to my knowledge and understanding) your typical ‘white-sand and turquoise water’ tropical island. Cebu is rich in history with its old churches and fort. You need to go to the outer reaches of Cebu island to find your resorts and areas where you can relax (Cebu city is one crazy and busy place; watch out for the mangy dogs walking around EVERYWHERE).

We stayed in a hostel there. We booked a small package tour thing, that would take us around to the most popular and intriguing sites. It was quite cool; saw an old fort, some very very old churches and learned a lot about the history of the Philippines. The highlight of Cebu though was the trip to the Kawasan waterfalls. Reason being; this was the place where I asked my beautiful wife (then gf :)) to marry me, and she said YES! It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen on all my travels thus far, and I couldn’t have thought of a better place to get down on one knee… Certainly one of the fondest memories of my life so far.

Cebu has a tough history with other countries coming in and occupying it as their own. Thus, leaving behind many of their beliefs, culture and obviously buildings (as can be seen in these pictures). Spanish…

Not your average taxi. Almost puts a smile to your face everytime you see them.

The Kawasan waterfalls (Cebu), where I popped the question…

Loboc river cruise on Bohol island.

The Chocolate Hills of Bohol. Apparently there are around 1200 hills, all covered with green grass, which turns brown in the dry season, hence the name…“the grassy hills were once coral reefs that erupted from the sea in a massive geologic shift. Wind and water put on the finishing touches over hundreds of thousands of years” as quoted from Wikipedia. Strange to think these hills were once, long ago, under the sea.

We got to see the strange Tarsier. It is one of the smallest primates in the world. They’ve got very human-like hands and a tail (very rat-like) which is 2/3 times their body length. I almost want to describe them as cute and ugly at the same time…

This is what a 300 year old church looks like! Baclayon church in Bohol.

Our first beach resort. Alona Tropical Beach Resort, Panglao.

Literally in the middle of nowhere in the sea, a white sand island (Virgin Island).

Coolest deck under the cliffs at Bohol Bee Farm Resort.

The place where I saw my first ever sea horse whilst snorkeling…

St. Peter and Paul church on Bantayan Island.

The beautiful beach of Kota Beach Resort, Bantayan Island.

One of those names where you look twice, just to make sure you’re not mistaken…

Beach bar pussycat begging for scraps…

The Philippines is a jewel. With 7 107 islands in total to explore… I think I can come up with quite a few reasons why I will go back! Friendly people, ‘pleasant scenery’, inexpensive food and drink, yes please… you’ll see us again surely.

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