Loboc is not the only river town in Bohol. The island province, home to the chocolate hills and the tiny primates, tarsiers, have four major rivers intersecting through the island. Up northwest is the Inabanga River, the largest on the island and Ipil River up north. Utilized for eco-tourism is Loboc River coming from the center of the island down to the southeastern coast and recently, the Abatan River flowing to the southwestern coast. Our adventure guide, Buzzy Budlong, found excellent paddling opportunities on the latter and set-up shop along with the town’s RiverLife tours to offer something different and new.
“We can’t find our boat!” paddling master, Buzzy Budlong, tells me after several attempts of trying to spot our convoy outrigger boat through the maze-like passageways of Banacon Island, north of Bohol. Buzzy was at the back of our double kayak as I was the one in charge to shoot. We wait for the others south of the largest man-made mangrove island in Asia. He switched places with my assigned-writer friend, Oggie, back to his favorite yellow stand-up paddle (SUP) board, Mango Float. His sight looked far to the mainland. “Let’s head to that lighthouse!” he pointed. “Is he kidding?!” I thought. That’s almost 10km away by sea and we’re passing through two sea channels and an island. But he paddled on. He’s crazy like that which also partly makes him great.
A vast field of mangroves filled more than half my vision as I start my way down a two story rocky stairway. Somewhere beyond this 1,400 hectares of mangrove at Cogtong Bay, Anda, Bohol is Lamanoc Island, a small limestone island enveloped in an eerie veil of tales of a banished witch and a place where shamans congregate. Why would I visit such a spooky island? Because within its shallow caverns and lush tangled vegetation are remnants of a fascinating culture dating far beyond the pre-colonial era.
Anda’s Quinale Beach is such a gorgeous beach. I knew the moment I saw its stretch of white sand I didn’t go wrong on choosing an accommodation just a stone’s throw away to the inviting sea and to the attractive shores. Little Miami Beach Resort is a small 9-cottage resort along Quinale Beach and served as my home in Anda for a couple of nights. I wasn’t expecting much at first but the cottages were a surprise and the location very pleasant.
Bohol is one of those places that so far have continued to amaze. Even if I have been to the island more than five times already, there are still areas for me that I have yet to explore. Yes, the 2013 earthquake may have sent a number of our heritage in crumbles but the good news many of the natural wonders are still intact. My recent visit to Bohol sent me about 100km east of Tagbilaran City to visit the small and charming coastal town of Anda to be dazzled by their fine white sand Quinale Beach. And I have thought I have already seen the best of Bohol already.
I kept telling people that there is more to Bohol than the usual Chocolate Hills, Tarsiers and Panglao. I had a chance to go back to Bohol several times this year and coincidentally, most of the activities I had there is to sample exciting adventure activities on different spots. Bohol is turning out to be one exciting adventure hub along with the popular attractions the island is known for. Here’s a nice itinerary for a Three Day Adventure in Bohol.
I parked my Dune Buggy at the side of the port just in time for the sun to go down. Baclayon shore faces the sunset making for a relaxing view in the afternoon. Even from afar, I could see tables and chairs being set up just across Baclayon Church. In the evening this baluarte turns into boulevard of barbecue stalls and eateries where locals can enjoy lounging around with a drink in hand and enjoy the ocean view. Something I haven’t seen before a couple of years ago when I was in this area.