Cebu to Bohol – Day 1
Cebu port 1 was packed to the rafters with passengers awaiting their ferries to various nearby island destinations. We arrived half an hour before boarding time to make sure we didn’t miss ours – a ferry to Bohol. Two days before the trip, we pre-purchased our tickets at an Ocean Jet Ticketing Office across Fort San Pedro within the city. It was P1000 ($25AU) per person, Bub was free. We were told to check in our two luggages, at P20 (50c) each. At 10:30am, they announced our ferry was ready for boarding. Passengers scrambled in line to be the first ones on. Some fellow tourists were kind enough to let us skip the line seeing Bub strapped on me looking all cute, one Korean even shaded her with his umbrella from the searing sun.
The ferry was quite clean on the inside. Our “business class” ticket meant our seats were inside the air-conditioned section, chosen purely for Bub’s comfort. I didn’t bother venturing out in the open air section. It was a two hour long journey to Tagbilaran City, capital of Bohol and was hoping to steal a nap since my seat was a few rows back from Wifey, Bub and my mother-in-law.
Upon arriving at Tagbilaran Port, I immediately went straight to the baggage holding area, grabbed our luggage and made our way to the taxi rank. Our driver quoted P500 ($15) fixed fare to Panglao Island. There were four of us plus it was a 35-40mins drive and so we thought it was a fair price. There was no time for haggling. We wanted to reach our resort as soon as possible. Panglao Island, home to many beautiful beaches (and of course resorts) is connected to the main island of Bohol via a bridge. While we were on the road I noticed flags of different Asian countries hoisted up on power poles by the road side. “The ASEAN Summit was just concluded this morning at Henann Resort, that is where I am taking you, right?”, our driver asked.
As soon as we set foot in the huge lobby, I knew we had picked a top notched resort. The lobby’s high ceiling opened up the space even more. A grand staircase spiralled up the second level to a restaurant above. We moved to the sitting area which had a decent view of the swimming pools and beautifully landscaped gardens. Welcome drinks were served, Wifey and my mother-in-law choosing mango while I quenched my thirst with guava juice.
The room was spacious and super clean. Interior was quite modern, this style flowing through the shower/toilet area. One tiny let-down (very tiny) was the view – it was the resort’s car park but lush tropical plants managed to disrupt and soften the scene a little bit. Bub was happy to test drive the softness of the bed, nearly sinking in between the fluffy pillows.
After settling in and freshening up, we headed toward the beach passing through the vast grounds of the resort. I counted five swimming pools along the way filled with people enjoying the warm water. There were plenty of sun bathers getting their tan on, basking in the heat on banana lounges, some reading while others sip tropical fruit drinks. Venturing further out we reached Alona Beach, the famous white sand beach of Bohol.
Restaurants lined the shore and it was quite difficult to choose a place for our very late lunch, however, Hera Greek Taverna stood out from the pack with its Santorini inspired theme of blue and white painted facade. Stone steps led you up the top floor where the tables were set. Greek drawings and pictures of Santorini were plastered all over the walls. It was quite warm and very humid at the table. The fans were not helping at all as it was far from where we were sitting. Bub was getting restless and to top it off, she suddenly needed a nappy change and we had left her nappy change bag in our hotel room. Since all of us were uncomfortable at this stage, we decided to take away our gyros and headed back to our room to cool off.
While Wifey, Bub and my mother-in-law napped in our cool hotel room, I snuck out to explore the rest of the resort.
As the sun slowly set on the horizon, Wifey, Bub and I finally took our first dip in the pool, it was heavenly. Bub could not contain her excitement, splashing about in the water without a care in the world. That was the first time in our trip that I felt relaxed, sitting in the water as I watched Wifey and Bub play and the setting sun behind them.
It was dinner time and we were off again to find a place to eat. This time around we ventured outside the resort, the street side and just outside the gate, right next door to Henann was a beer garden that offered grilled food. For some reason, fish was ridiculously expensive, somehow ironic that we were staying at a sea side resort. We ordered some grilled squid and pork with rice instead. The meal also came with ice tea. The food was delicious for a reasonably priced meal.
Walking further down the street, more restaurants popped up offering various cuisines from Korean, Japanese to traditional Filipino dishes and grill houses. “More options for us” I said. Bub was getting sleepy at this point and so we headed back to our hotel room as we had another day of relaxation ahead of us in the morning :).