I felt like a kid again with a new toy as I stepped on the gas and feel the engines surge as it rev up and cuts the wind heavily as my dune buggy speeds up on the rough trail. I held on the wheel as I turn on a corner, veering towards my left. Woah! There’s a cliff with a high drop on my right. Scary but I took the challenge and drove on the rocky and dusty trail despite the fear. Now this is what I call fun, I never thought there would be a Dune Buggy Trail Ride offering in Baclayon. It is certainly something different and new for this part of Bohol.
At Baclayon Baluarte (Pier), is the home of Bezo Recreational and Aquatic Activities in Bohol (BRAABO). Formed 2 years ago (September 17, 2008), the program aims to offer several eco-tourism programs that would help tourism and livelihood of the Baclayon Community. I remember three years ago, the pier was just a desolate open land and now it’s brimming with activity. From the jump-off to Dolphin and Whale Watching in Pamilacan, Kayaking, Biking and now I’m off to try some Dune Buggy Trail Riding.
We first had an orientation at the small but neat and orderly BRAABO center at the pier about the Dune Buggy ride. Our guide and instructor Edgar, enlightened us on our trail and gave guidelines and rules when driving the buggy. We’re going through a 14km trail that takes about 1 and a half hour with some designated stops along the way. I had my dry run drive around the Balaurte area while Edgar gave me safety instructions before we proceeded.
I donned my protective eye wear and dust mask which they provided. Edgar was at the helm of our 5 buggy/ATV group with me in the middle and the mechanic at the tail end. We first crossed the main provincial road to enter the inner streets passing by a community along the way. The terrain gets rough after the town into the inner hills and valleys of Baclayon. I enjoyed handling the Dune Buggy and felt a lot safer with it than an ATV, even traversing a narrow, cliff side trail. Especially when I’m speeding on the trail.
But this Dune Buggy Ride was not all thrill but educational as well. We would stop on certain sites like on a cliff side road where Edgars pointed us to a primary forest ideal for bird watching, told us about limestones and how most of the island is made up of it and also the plants used to make paper money. Really interesting.
We also stopped by a lake where we had to do a very short hike to reach it. They usually bring kayaks here for the guest but with El Nino, the water level was low. Again Edgar gave some trivia and facts about the lake and how this one lake was able to keep its water despite the other lakes in the area already dried up(it’s because of the water lilies). There’s also a cave nearby but we weren’t able to secure a permit in time.
It was getting late on our way back and I also dread the thought that the ride is almost over. There is another longer trail passing by Peacock Garden and had more challenging trails. Maybe next time I should try that one. But in the meantime I enjoyed going through that Dune Buggy ride. It was both a thrill and educational experience.
BEZO Recreational and Aquatic Activities in Bohol (BRAABO)
(038) 540.9474, 540.9373
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.