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MANILA TO BOHOL DISABILITY TRAVEL THE RORO WAY

The Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH), simply called the RORO System – linking the Philippine Islands thru Highways of the Sea, is an integrated network of the highway and vehicular ferry routes, forming a backbone of a nationwide vehicle transport system.

With my 32-year stint at the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), I had the privilege to gain significant exposure to financing of RORO vessels since the SRNH was launched in 2003 by the Arroyo Administration.  Despite the availability of fast and efficient transport system, I didn’t give it a try, only after I retired from the DBP service 7 years later!

Now that I channeled my exposure from the banking industry to the tourism industry, my focus now is at promoting existing and new tourism sites, creating accessibility options to explore the beautiful sites within the Philippine Archipelago.

My disability didn’t dampen my enthusiasm to travel and see the beautiful world outside my shell. My motorized wheelchair has greatly enhanced my mobility to move around and go interesting places.

Start off the journey with our new Tourist Bus and my motorized wheelchair

In 2013, I became a member of the Bohol Federation of Travel & Tour Operators (BOFETTO), an aggrupation of major tourism industry players in Bohol.  Realizing the need for transport buses to serve the growing potentials of Bohol, the association formally incorporated themselves primarily to acquire tourist transport service units such as buses, coasters, vans and cars.

True enough, the corporation acquired lately its 1st tourist transport bus which we brought from Manila.  We combined its road worthiness test trip with sightseeing tours along the way.  Our first of a series of road trip is a 4D/3N travel thru the Central and Eastern Nautical Highways from MANILA-SORSOGON-LEYTE-BOHOL.

We traversed the CALABARZON, Bicol and Eastern Visayas areas on board our newly acquired 50-seater brand new tourist bus, the “BOHOL PREMIUM TOURS”.

Our 1st day was spent literally on the road.  Departing 10:30AM from the Mall Of Asia area, we took off and travelled thru SLEX and took our lunch at Laguna.  After lunch, we continued our road trip towards Naga, crossed the Quezon Province with beautiful sights including the scenic Carilaya Lake along the highway.

From Binan, Laguna to Naga City, our trip covered a travel time of about 9 hrs. so that by 9:00PM we reached and checked in at Carmen Hotel, Naga City.

After breakfast the following day, we availed of a one-day Bicol Tour which covered the following destinations:

  • Our Lady of Penafrancia Shrine, Naga
  • St. John the Evangelist Cathedral, Naga
  • Penafrancia Basilica, Naga
  • Daraga Chuch, Albay
  • Sumlang Lake, Camalig, Albay
  • Cagsawa Ruins, Albay
  • CamSur Watersports Complex

At Penafrancia Basilica, we had the opportunity to have our new tourist bus blessed for road safety and pay homage to Our Lady of Penafrancia, the principal Patroness and Queen of Bicol.

Our 17-strong group was composed of incorporators who were joined by respective family members and associates.  There were no dull moments during this 4-day trip. Everyone was enthusiastic and eager to conquer the Southern Tagalog & Eastern Visayas regions covered by the route.

The following day, we proceeded to Sorsogon Province with a courtesy call and lunch date with Ex-Senator and now Sorsogon Governor Chiz Escudero at their ancestral house located at Sorsogon Province.

The journey was not totally smooth. Humps and bumps were encountered at far intervals, especially to a travelling PWD like me.  The FastCat serving the Matnog, Sorsogon to Allen Samar and v.v was excellent and was PWD-friendly.  A wheelchair lift was provided to carry wheelchair-bound passengers up/down the passenger area.

My major obstacle tho’ was at Bato, Leyte.  There were no good restaurants, passenger terminal and PWD restrooms.  The boat we took was not PWD-friendly. I have to be piggy-carried by my nephew in a not-so-safe platform to board a small vessel!

In a nutshell, the journey is indeed a BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE! And really worth a try!

 

QUICK BOHOL VACATION GUIDE

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF BOHOL VISIT

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Coming to Bohol on squeezed-tight itinerary, whether for business or just an island skip-trip, here are some quick guides to enjoy the most of the island:

Half-day Tagbilaran City Tour:

Explore Tagbilaran City for photo stops at the following landmarks:

1. St. Joseph Cathedral – St. Joseph, the Worker, is the city’s patron saint. Tagbilaran City celebrated the annual fiesta every May 1 in his honor.

This cathedral isn’t the original church. The original was built in 1595 by the Jesuits. Then an earthquake in 1798 burned the church to the ground. It took almost 50 years before the Recollects reconstructed the church between 1839 and 1855. The Cathedral of St. Joseph the Worker is located in the central part of Tagbilaran City in Carlos P. Garcia Avenue.

2. Plaza Rizal Park

3. Bohol Provincial Capitol – One of the old government buildings in Bohol and is part of the Philippine Heritage. It is the seat of government in Bohol and is located in front Plaza Rizal Park.

4. Bohol Museum – For a minimal entrance fee, it is recommended to visit this museum and learn how the chocolate hills were formed with illustrations. Different seashells, butterflies and the origins of its island people with some skeletons and on display. Some interesting facts about the world’s smallest primates called the Philippine Tarsiers are readily available therein. It may be worthwhile to visit the place to know some stories behind them before taking closer encounters with these adorable and cute little critters.

5. K of C Drive – A scenic drive fronting the Tagbilaran City Pier and the Tagbilaran causeway leading to Panglao Island.

6. Tagbilaran City Hall – The seat of government of the City of Tagbilaran. The new edifice was constructed in the new and expanded commercial district of the city.

7. Island City Mall – A shopping center for complete shopping, dining, and entertainment experience while in Bohol.

For more information please visit this link.

 

SAY “I DO” IN THIS ISLAND PARADISE CALLED BOHOL

A WEDDING MADE IN HEAVEN

 

Marriage is a union of two hearts in love and speaks of eternity.  It is a major chapter of both parties’ life as they enter into a lasting commitment with one another.

It is thus but expected that as both engage into this promise of lifelong relationship, the pact has to be sealed in a perfect hideaway, a dream paradise to witness the climax of their union as one heart and one body!

Before saying “I Do” to each other, there is that vision at the back of their minds, both future bride and groom, an ideal place for their big day!  A relaxed, picturesque place and romantic haven.   What more could be inviting than the island paradise of Panglao, Bohol?

Panglao is endowed with endless stretch of white, powdery sands and the clearest, turquoise waters in endless horizons! It’s really a perfect getaway to celebrate a big Day, creating a once-in-a-lifetime event to remember with love ones and the countless generations coming ahead of them.

Bohol is blessed with a wealth of talented and experienced wedding planners to take care of all the wedding details. World-class florists in the like of this amazing tandem Michael Yu and Joseph Ven Dumadag of Bluegrass, is here to perfectly say the true meaning of love in flowers and blooms!  Published herein are just some of their creations intricately designed for dream weddings made great in Bohol!  So what the bride and groom have to do is relax, smile and wait of the perfect moment to “Yes, I do!”

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Affordable Cebu and Bohol Tours

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Do you dream of taking a holiday in some exotic tropical island with the best value for your money? If you’ve never been to Cebu and Bohol or even heard of these islands, then it’s time to check out this amazing getaways!

These two neighboring islands landed the top 10 Best Philippine Destination and are 2-hours away by fast sea crafts and could be reached by plane direct from Manila. Slow boats are also available at various ports and entry points from both islands.
Cebu and Bohol  islands are blessed with marvelous white, powdery and sugary sandy beaches and are endowed with the best marine underwater species to explore and dive in the world!
Enjoy island hopping and get face-to-face encounters with the ocean wildlife like the dolphins and “Butandings”. Find out more of Malapascua, Bantayan, Camotes in Cebu as well as Panglao, Balicasag, Pamilacan and Virgin Islands in Bohol.

Aside from exploring these beautiful islands, there are traditional and budget inland tours to discover the rich culture and fall in love with the bizarre-shaped Chocolate Hills and cuddly tarsiers which are among the world’s wonders.
Plan your vacation getaways to Cebu and Bohol with our guide to this amazing tropical Islands. See the best resorts and hotels including the resorts in Panglao and the latest unspoiled wonders of Anda beaches at affordable tour packages.

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Exotic Creatures in Bohol

Since I was young, I’ve always been fascinated by animals, exotic or domesticated. Looking at books and watching TV, they captured my heart! What I fancied most are their unique features, colors, physique and style. But the one I like the most are reptiles, especially snakes.snake1

These misunderstood creatures often have a bad reputation as dangerous species and killers to people particularly here in Bohol. They are the most feared and hated creatures because of their image as slithering venomous. It’s hard to convince those people who think so badly about snakes that not all of them are deadly. Educating them about snakes is tough, especially when you’re doing it alone. Nevertheless, it’s not a hindrance for me to stop convincing them. That’s how passionate I am with snakes.

For some in southern Philippines, cobras are mostly found in Visayas, especially in Bohol. Such cobras have this venom called neurotoxins which immobilizes their prey, shutting down its nervous system and eventually swallowing the prey as a whole. Other snakes like the python, kills its prey snake2by constriction and often eats animals even double their size. There have been accounts of snake bites resulting to death from a cobra bite from the famous Banakon (King cobra, Ophiophagushannah), the most feared snake in Bohol, reaching a length up to 18.5 to 18.8 ft (5.6 to 5.7 m). No wonder they are afraid of it!]

Sadly there is no anti venom here in Bohol, so if a person is bitten by a venomous snake let’s hope it’s a dry bite.

I’ve spend my days hunting snakes here in Bohol, I’ve capture many snakes snake3here venomous and non-venomous. What I do is catch and release them once I caught them. I just took pictures of them then release them because their existence will help enhance the bio-diversity of the environment.

For one, they help lessen the existence of rodents that destroy the rice fields; some eat birds that destroy crops and vegetables in farm. We just have to respect them and their way of living. I always remember that we live under one planet we must learn how to share snake4and respect each other, big or small.

If given the chance, I like to travel around Bohol and educate the people about snakes; that not all are dangerous and scary. They are just misunderstood creatures. I highly recommend that you go visit Bohol spend time with nature. Here are the pics of some of my “catch and release” snakes.
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KESTER DURAN
Blogger
Poblacion, Sevilla, Bohol

 

The Jewel of Dubai – My First Arabian Experience ​(Accessible Dubai Tour)

 

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Our Dubai trip was God’s gift as counted in so many ways! First, we were one (1) of the only two (2) lucky recipients of a 3D-2N Dubai visit package, courtesy of Meteor Philippines, Inc., a Manila-based travel agency specializing in Mediterranean Tours. Secondly, Cebu Pacific, the Philippines’ renowned low-cost carrier, made available low fares for Dubai. Still, among others, there are many Filipinos working in Dubai whom we can easily call for assistance. One of whom is Celina “Linlin” Anora, daughter of our closest friends Efren & Cecil, who gave us last minute tips to finalize our itinerary!

Travelling on a motorized wheelchair could be taxing! However, I believe in the PWD saying that “If there’s a wheel, there’s a way!”. My excitement to explore the Middle East surpassed whatever reservations I had in my mind! Mobility, after all, is just a state of the mind!

I finally conquered Dubai! A very accessible city welcome to travelling PWDs. I cannot say it was hassle-free and in sum, it was really convenient to get around the city! Therefore, I encourage PWDs like me to get out of your shell and see the other side of the fence! The grass outside might be greener!

Read more please click here!

 

Best guesthouse we’ve been to

From Kat Casimiro, Makati City

“Best guesthouse we’ve been to”

Reviewed January 23, 2014
We stayed here for 3 nights. Upon arrival at the airport, Kuya Hapon picked us up. (We availed the tour package) The service car was an SUV. After only about a blink of an eye we were at the guesthouse. Yes, it’s that close to the airport that you can actually walk to save gas. =)
The building was very easy to find and well located. The reception was friendly. On the first floor, you will find the reception area where you can also book your tours. The second floor is where the rooms at, the kitchen and dining area and the common area.

Everywhere you look, the place looks spotless. The common area has a TV and Wi-Fi, although we were not able to use it so I can’t comment on that. I like the kitchen and dining area so much! It’s the only guesthouse I’ve been to that has complete kitchen facilities and even provides free water. And you can actually cook there. There’s also a smoking area in the third floor.

Now on to the room.
The room we had was a double deluxe which was a steal for 800 Pesos. It has a private bathroom. The size of the room is ok but for me the bathroom is quite big.