What’s usually the first thing that pops into mind when you think of a Bohol itinerary?
Let me guess.
Bohol Chocolate Hills, Loboc River and Sagbayan Peak?
How about a Bohol Countryside tour?
As enticing and fun as these places are, they weren’t included in our list of places to visit in Bohol.
Don’t get me wrong.
These Bohol tourist spots are captivating and a feast for the eyes.
But I’ve seen these wonders a thousand times in my life.
And more importantly, I wanted to add a dash of uncertainty to our not-so-well-planned weekend Bohol trip.
So, why take risks?
Why go renegade when there’s a safe, tested, and proven route?
On the surface, it doesn’t look like a bright idea.
Still, it’s a must and a pleasant experience for non-conformists like me.
Embracing uncertainty can do wonders, and uncertain moments are the flavors of life.
Although everyone craves stability and certainty, embracing uncertainty can lead to growth.
And besides, the world is too big, and life is too short to stick to the same old route.
There’s a tempting buffet of experiences and knowledge waiting and begging to be discovered.
And even with its small size, Bohol offers endless possibilities for adventure.
Where will our unplanned adventure take us?
Will we discover hidden gems in Bohol on this journey?
Everything is up in the air.
We’ll, qué Sera Sera.
Our unique weekend Bohol Itinerary
Day 0: 9:00 PM
This is not your ordinary Bohol itinerary.
There’s no van, island hopping tour, or stop at the iconic Chocolate Hills.
And I’m not sure how this Bohol trip will turn out.
Heck, I’m not even sure if there’s an early bus ride that will take us to our first stop.
I’ve figured out a couple of things and contacted guides for the Alicia Panoramic Park and Mount Matunog in Jagna.
But for the rest of our Bohol itinerary and the side trips?
We’ll figure them out.
It may seem reckless and absurd, but uncertainty is the spice of life.
As they say, uncertainty is the only certain thing in this world.
And learning how to embrace uncertainty is the only way to feel secure in life.
And guess what?
Life is also unpredictable.
Like a rollercoaster ride, it’s sometimes frightening and thrilling.
From relationships to career choices, we always face uncertainties that can cause stress and anxiety.
We must learn to live with uncertainty to thrive and survive.
As we depart from Cebu to Bohol, I see this trip as an exercise in living with uncertainty and a step outside my comfort zone.
Day 1 at Ubay Port: 2:07 AM
Nothing grows from your comfort zone.
I’ve said it a thousand times.
Comfort zones are a bit like eggshells.
They are warm, comfortable, and protective.
But they also limit your vision and stop you from growing.
And when you try something unique and new, you’re breaking that shell.
You’re like an eager hatchling, seeing the boundless and bright world for the first time.
For this Bohol itinerary, I know we’ll stumble and make mistakes.
But it’s okay.
We do make a shit-load of mistakes.
The important thing is to learn from those mistakes.
And one of the mistakes I made for this Bohol itinerary was that we picked an overnight boat trip with no beds.
That means we had little to no sleep.
At 2:00 AM, we disembarked from the ferry and made our way to a small tricycle terminal, where I asked people how to get to Alicia, Bohol.
The person in charge said we had to travel by tricycle to get to the bus terminal to catch a ride to Alicia.
On our way to the terminal, I was amazed by Ubay.
So many things have changed in Ubay since the last visit.
The town is growing and evolving.
And I wouldn’t have discovered it had I stayed in my comfort zone.
Day 1 at 5:09 AM: Touchdown Binabaje Hills, Alicia, Bohol
I’m lucky to have experienced Binabaje Hills across different chapters of my life.
The first time I visited it, I was blown away by its heavenly sea of clouds and emerald rolling hills.
Five years later, these hills remain stunning, pristine, and awe-inspiring.
Words can’t capture the feeling of witnessing the beauty of Binabaje Hills in person.
Videos and photos can’t capture it, either.
Not a reel, Thread, or TikTok video can capture it.
So, we spent a lot of time in Binabaje Hills, soaking up its sublime feel.
In my journeys, I’ve learned to live in the moment and savor every second of the journey.
Don’t rush things.
Take time to appreciate everything around you.
These moments may not happen again.
And you may never have the chance to see and experience them again.
With its fresh mountain breeze and exquisite vistas, this stop on our Bohol itinerary was a satisfying break from the world’s frenetic pace.
Day 1 at 09:41 AM: Bus ride to Jagna
Slowly, our Bohol itinerary is taking shape.
Ten hours ago, it was a book with plenty of empty pages to be filled.
It only had an introduction (Alicia), a middle chapter (Mount Matunog), and a finale (Tagbilaran City).
Thanks to an old friend, Geezelle or Geemiz, we found someone who could help us explore Mount Taliwtiw and Mount Palingkod in Jagna.
His name is Chris, and he was willing to help us hike this underrated part of Bohol.
Soon after, we arrived in Jagna, where we bought supplies for our camping trip to Mount Matunog.
For the perfectionist, our Bohol itinerary is an absolute mess.
There’s no clear route, no schedule, and no concrete plans.
But isn’t life a mess too?
The thing is, life isn’t a linear and smooth-sailing journey.
It’s an intricate tapestry of challenges, setbacks, personal growth, and experiences.
And embracing life’s messy nature lets us appreciate the beauty and charm in the unexpected.
The detours and winding roads we encounter provide us with lessons, unique perspectives, and opportunities for self-discovery.
Even better, embracing life’s unpredictable and messy nature often leads to pleasant surprises.
I wonder what surprises are in store in our not-so-ordinary Bohol itinerary.
Day 1 at 11:01: Bound for Cabunga-an Elementary School
Earlier, Chris told me to look for a bao-bao for Cabunga-an Elementary School.
I wasn’t exactly sure what bao-bao looked like.
In the Visayan dialect, bao refers to a turtle.
So, does that mean we’re hopping on a turtle-like vehicle?
We asked locals how to get to Cabunga-an Elementary School, and they always say take a bao-bao.
Ultimately, a local helped us find a ride to Cabunga-an Elementary School, and we found out what a bao-bao is.
In Thailand, bao-bao is called tuk-tuk.
We, the Visayan folks, call it such because it obviously looks like a turtle.
Along the way, I was fascinated by how my spontaneous and unplanned trips transformed me.
I’m an introvert.
And naturally, I did have fears of talking to strangers.
Years ago, the idea of asking for directions from locals seemed scary.
But embracing uncertainty has helped me conquer this fear.
My trips abroad like Bangkok and local explorations gave me the confidence to speak to strangers.
Fear, to me, is a self-created monster.
Every time you dive into something new and step outside your comfort zone, you’re slowly slaying this beast.
With every challenge you overcome, every new place you explore, and every skill you learn, you, bit by bit, build your confidence.
Day 1 of our Bohol itinerary at 12:16 PM: Mount Taliwtiw
Doing or seeing something new can break up the monotony and add flavor to your life.
It’s easy to fall into the same patterns and routines, but trying new things can keep life fulfilling and exciting.
And that’s why I included Mount Taliwtiw in our Bohol itinerary.
For the most part, trips to Alicia are paired with stops to Candijay and Anda.
But I wanted to try something new.
I wanted to see Bohol from a different perspective.
And Mount Taliwtiw satisfied that craving.
With Chris and his friend leading the charge, we arrived at the top of Mount Taliwtiw and were in awe of the views.
It’s a hidden gem, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the places to go in Bohol.
From Mount Taliwtiw, we hiked our way to Mount Palingkod, a sacred site with a bird’s eye view of the town of Jagna.
From the summit, we saw Jagna Port, which provides ferry service to Camiguin.
Suddenly, I had a light bulb moment.
I had been planning to travel to Camiguin via plane for the past few months.
And this experience gave me a cheaper option to travel to Camiguin from Cebu.
I’ve already created an itinerary in mind on how to experience Camiguin from Bohol without breaking the bank.
That’s one of the perks of trying something new.
Unique experiences fuel your creativity, sparking new ideas and inspiring you to think in new ways.
When you break away from familiar environments and routines, you invigorate your mind and fuel your creative fire.
With Mount Taliwtiw and Mount Palingkod in the books, I thought we’d already completed this section of our Bohol itinerary.
Well, guess what?
There was one more stop in this part of our Bohol itinerary: Kinahugan Falls.
While not one of the most famous falls in Bohol, it was still a sight to behold.
Didn’t I mention uncertainty can lead to surprises?
Day 1 at 4:27 PM: The ride to Mayana
Sleepy and tired, I could feel my eyes about to close as we traveled to Mayana on a tuk-tuk.
The hikes weren’t exhausting or physically challenging.
But we didn’t sleep the night before we arrived in Bohol from Cebu.
Yes, there are drawbacks to having no plans and diving into ambiguity.
But the pros outweigh the cons, and the rewards are always satisfying.
I wanted to bathe in ice or sleep in a snug, immaculately clean bed in a 4-star resort like South Palm Resort Panglao.
One more hike for today, I said to myself.
Moments later, we arrived at the gym, where we met our guide and one of the protectors of Mount Matunog: Merilyn.
Day 1 at 5:00 PM: The hike to Mount Matunog’s campsite
On a good day, getting to the campsite is a walk in the park.
Unlike Mount Talinis, the trail isn’t extremely steep and has no prickly plants.
But the Universe wanted to challenge us that day.
The Universe wanted to remind us to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
The trail was a bit slippery and incredibly muddy on our hike to the campsite.
And I also had to carry 10 liters of water in addition to my load.
As usual, we completed and conquered it with determination and a hint of humor.
Along the way, we shared funny tidbits and talked about our experiences.
As they say, laughter is the best medicine.
A funny movie, a good movie, or seeing something silly can make you feel better and distract you from your challenges or pain.
Laughter, after all, unites people during difficult times.
And we had someone who could create tons of laughter for our Bohol itinerary: Bing.
We ultimately arrived at our campsite, pitched our tents, and prepared our meals.
Preparing a meal outdoors isn’t hard.
But again, the Universe was sending a reminder on our one-of-a-kind Bohol tour.
With a storm about to enter the country, the winds were strong and howling this evening.
We had to be creative and work as a team to prepare food that evening.
And we did, though it wasn’t perfect.
But who cares?
Sometimes, going outside your comfort zone and trying something new can help you unearth hidden talents.
It’s fascinating how we live with ourselves for decades, and yet we fully don’t know our capabilities.
That’s because we don’t push our boundaries, and we’re afraid to try something new.
When you engage in something new, you challenge your known skills and uncover new ones lying dormant within you.
And this trip, in some way, reminded us how uncertainty can develop life skills.
After dinner, we had socials and talked about our action-packed and unplanned Bohol itinerary.
Ma’am Merilyn also shared information about Mayana, Mount Matunog, and Bohol.
And she talked about her unique and inspiring life.
One of the best things about embracing uncertainty is increasing social interaction and meeting people like ma’am Merilyn.
Many new experiences provide opportunities to meet new people and form meaningful relationships.
And through our social interaction, I realized there are still many people like us.
People who prefer to escape the rat race and live a simple and meaningful life.
Day 2 of our Bohol itinerary at 6:30 AM
Despite our action-packed 1st day, we still woke up early and energized on our second day.
Spearheaded by ma’am Merilyn, we began our hike to the summit of Mount Matunog.
On our way to the top, we encountered minor challenges, like prickly plants, slippery paths, and a snake.
And then, we arrived at the top of the highest peak of Bohol and were treated to beautiful views of the town and the island’s verdant landscapes.
We also got glimpses of the towering Mount Hibok-Hibok in Camiguin.
I always dreamed of summiting Mount Matunog.
Years ago, I read Geezelle’s blog about the mountain and was inspired to conquer it.
And even though I’ve climbed the highest mountains in the Philippines, like Mount Pulag, I still dreamed of hiking Mount Matunog.
Finally, I did it, thanks to my friends and our extraordinary Bohol itinerary.
After snapping pictures from the peak, we went back to our campsite, ate breakfast, packed up, and hiked to the base.
We, then, hopped on a bao-bao, and bid farewell to ma’am Merilyn.
Day 2 at 12:02 PM: Jagna proper
Earlier, Chris suggested that we include Dimiao on our flexible Bohol itinerary.
Like Mount Matunog, I’ve also dreamt of exploring the enchanting waterfalls in Dimiao.
Are they as gorgeous as the pictures have depicted?
Well, you’ll never know until you try.
And time, I wouldn’t let this opportunity pass by.
It wasn’t in our original plans, but we all agreed to take this detour.
I didn’t know how to get to these falls or how much it would cost us.
Still, it’s a risk we were all willing to dive into.
The truth is, many of us often wonder what could have been if we’d done something differently.
Don’t live in the shadows of “what ifs”.
Try that new thing you’ve been curious about.
It might be challenging, but at least you won’t regret not trying.
Remember, even failure is a lesson learned, a stepping stone toward success.
Minutes later, I realized I have a friend, Honey, who lives in Dimiao.
I sent a message to her, and thankfully, she gave us answers to all my questions.
Day 2 at 1:22 PM: Dimiao proper
I thrive in chaos.
I’m creative and innovative when I’m unhinged.
And in this trip to Bohol, we had to be creative and innovative.
When we are faced with uncertainty and ambiguity, we’re forced to think creatively and critically.
The typical strategies and methods we use in predictable situations only work in specific situations.
We had to adapt to every new situation, and this needs coming up with creative solutions and thinking outside the box.
When we arrived in Dimiao, we were greeted by a friendly tour guide and tuk-tuk owner, Jojo, recommended by Honey.
And we wouldn’t have met him or explored Dimiao if we didn’t think creatively.
Day 2 at 1:45 PM: Dam-agan Falls
I’ve seen photos of Dimiao’s Twin Falls several times on social media.
While the town has a collection of cascades, these falls constantly get mentioned.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to see it.
The nearest waterfall we could visit for this Bohol itinerary, according to Jojo, was Dam-agan Falls.
And so, we ventured into the Dam-agan Falls without a clue about what it looked like.
As we were hiking our way to the falls, we were stunned by its verdant rice terraces with the Catugasan Peak in the background.
We didn’t know these terraces existed before our trip.
So, it was another delightful surprise on this Bohol itinerary.
Afterward, we arrived at the waterfall and spent ours enjoying its cold and refreshing waters.
Our Bohol itinerary
- 06:30 PM: Meet up at Cebu Pier 1
- 08:30 PM: Depart from Cebu to Ubay
- 01:00 AM: Arrive at Ubay Port
- 02:00 AM: Disembark from the ferry
- 02:30 AM: Arrive at Ubay Bus Terminal
- 03:00 AM: Bus departs
- 03:30 AM: Arrive at Alicia Town Hall
- 04:10 AM: Start hike to Binabaje Hills
- 05:00 AM: Arrive at the peak of Binabaje Hills
- 07:45 AM: Depart from the summit
- 08:20 AM: ETA base/ make payments
- 08:55 AM: ETA Alicia market/eat breakfast
- 09:30 AM: Depart for Jagna
- 10:30 AM: Arrive in Jagna/buy supplies
- 11:00 AM: Depart for the base to Mount Taliwtiw
- 11:35 AM: Start hike
- 04:00 PM: End of hike
- 04:27 PM: Travel to Mayana
- 05:00 PM: Start hike
- 05:30 PM: ETA campsite/pitch tent/prepare dinner
- 07:00 PM: Dinner
- 09:00 PM: Lights out
- 05:30 AM: Wake up
- 06:00 AM: Coffee
- 06:40 AM: Start hike
- 07:00 AM: Mount Matunog summit
- 08:00 AM: Depart from the summit
- 09:00 AM: Breakfast
- 10:20 AM: Start hike
- 12:00 PM: Jagna proper
- 12:35 PM: Ride bus to Dimiao
- 01:22 PM: Arrive at Dimiao/Prepare lunch
- 01:45 PM: Dam-agan Falls
- 04:30 PM: Return to Dimiao proper
- 04:45 PM: Ride bus to Tagbilaran
- 06:00 PM: Tagbilaran City/visit church
- 08:00 PM: Tagbilaran Port/chilling like a boss
Important contact numbers
- Andrew (Alicia and Binabaje Hills): 09949383441
- Chris (Mount Taliwtiw, Mount Palingkod, Kinahugan Falls): 09391560349
- Merilyn (Mount Matunog): 09637582889
- Jojo (Dimiao): 09974031228
Day 2 at 08:00 PM: Tagbilaran Port
After four bus rides, four peaks, two waterfalls, and bao-bao rides, we finally came to the end of our Bohol trip.
Although we didn’t plan it thoroughly, our Bohol itinerary seemed like a perfect orchestra.
Sure, there were hiccups and challenges, but overall, it was a satisfying and memorable trip.
We just trusted the Universe and our inner compass for this trip.
We, then, realized there’s a reason for everything.
There were six of us for this Bohol weekend getaway, though we invited some of our other friends.
We wanted to share this experience with them.
But surprisingly, six was the lucky number for this trip.
If there were seven or eight of us on this trip, we wouldn’t fit inside a bao-bao.
There’s also the weather.
Since the trails were open, we would have struggled hiking those mountains if the days were sunny.
And how can I forget the lessons we’ve learned on this Bohol itinerary?
Not only was it an exercise in creativity and resilience, but it also gave me the confidence to do DIY trips again.
So, expect to see more going on random and unplanned DIY trips.