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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Unbelievable Donsol Trip

Just as I thought I have something to brag about today in my quest to swim with the butandings (whale sharks) in Donsol, Sorsogon, my experience is unbelievable!

Last February 23-25, 2008 out of 20 boats out in Donsol Bay, we were one of the few who didn't get to see any. Visibility was very bad due to the two-week heavy rainfall that hit the Bicol Region right before the trip. We were warned by the locals to cancel our trip but we didn't listen. We accepted defeat after spending 6 hours at sea.

We were so eager to go back for a vengeance in April. I've booked our flights, checked out the weather, booked the best Butanding Interaction Officer (guide) in town and made land arrangements.

The day has come for Donsol-2, April 16, 2008 my sis and I took the flight on Cebu Pacific, for Cebu to Legaspi via Manila. Our flight to Manila was delayed so I approached the check-in counter if we could still make it to our connecting flight and after an hour's wait, we got confirmation from Manila that we can since the flight to Legaspi will also be delayed and our luggages are checked through and we had our boarding pass already. When we reached Manila at 1pm, we were denied transfers. I spoke to my cousins who were on the plane, (they can see us from the plane!), they have not left and the doors are still open. They were trying to lure with ex-deals for 6 passengers to deplane. So the ground crew confessed we were bumped off since the flight was overbooked and our seats were taken! On record, they made it appear that we missed the connecting flight since our flight was delayed. That was the last flight for the day. They denied booking us on the next day, we didnt get any offers of concessions, they refused to provide a status report, they denied for me to speak to the supervisor, not until 3 hours later when I caught him speaking to another complaining passenger. After another hour, I took a pic of him, that's when he offered to let me fill up a customer feedback form and signed a certificate of delay, but that's about it. So we were left with no choice but to fly back to Cebu with no assurance that tickets will be refunded.

The lies doesn't end there, the supervisor on duty insisted that when we arrived, the plane already left. Com'on I have 13 relatives who can testify otherwise. The certificate of delay contained incorrect information as to flight numbers saying we were accommodated on the next flight. duh!

This has ruined not just our day but the whole well-planned vacation. I'm furious, I need a lawyer!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Extreme Adventure Weekend - EAT Danao, Bohol

A visit to Bohol with no Tarsiers, no Chocolate Hills, no loboc river cruise...
We got news about this place from RCTV (local TV lifestyle channel) and Cebu Pacific's Oct-Nov 2007 issue of Smile Magazine. I wasn't so eager about the trip unlike my friend H since I've already had an awesome exhausting experience trekking in Batad Rice Terraces and spelunking at Sagada in Northern Luzon in 2006. But I can't allow myself to miss the fun while my friends are enjoying it... so I went along.


We left Cebu for a 2 hour boat ride to Tubigon, Bohol on JadeStar. From there, was another hour land trip up hill before we reached the Visitors' Center of Magtangtang, Danao. Out of nowhere was a newly built spacious Visitors' Center. That was such a pleasant surprise, all along, I thought we're in for a rough night out in the mountains.

Since we were not that excited about the trip because of our previous "experience", the guide decided to bring our group for an evening spelunking. I freaked out when I first learned about it (that was a few days before the trip). Isn't that crazy? We may have experienced spelunking but doesn't make us a pro. During the briefing, our guide tells us, we were the 2nd group to ever do this activity at night. I freaked out even more, makes me think am I this adventurous? And yes, I did it anyway!

The evening trek down the mountain with limited light was difficult, not counting the bees and ants around that left us screaming every now and then. The entry to Kamira cave was challenging I should say, the hole was small, we have to climb up then down just to get in, our sweat was dripping and it was just the beginning. Once inside, it was pretty easy for someone who has previous "experience" in spelunking like me. hehehe Except for that part where we have to do the duck walk since the ceiling was really low, that was painful on the legs! It took us more than an hour to explore the cave, and more than half of the time was spent posing for pictures not minding the bat dung that was on us! After spelunking, our group decided to skip the sunrise tour as we were so sure that we can't wake up early the next day. This is what we missed!

On day 2, we started the day hearing mass with a 45-minute homily! Proceeded with a (30ft)rappel by the falls late in the morning. Twas not as difficult as I've expected! You just have to have that go for it attitude and conquer your fear of heights, next thing you know, you've done it! So we continued the riverside activities... trekking by Wahig River, across boulders of rock with occasional drizzle... I had a hard time doing the trek with slippery wet sandals! Oh by the way, this activity is called bouldering! In between we had a dip in the river, with natural jacuzzi. To end the trek, we have to climb up the hill. We were actually not climbing but crawling up the slope! Since there was no trail, we had to grasp on whatever sturdy roots, branches or rocks we can find. With rocks falling from the footstep of the person ahead of me, the helmet served its purpose. We reached back to the visitors' center past 4pm for lunch... thanks to the camote (sweet potato) cue served before the activity it filled me up and the lemongrass juice was definitely refreshing.

Take a look at this last picture, imagine we trek from the top where this shot was taken, down to (Wahig) that river below and back up through that hill across. Whew, it's unbelievable. It was an adventure filled weekend and we look forward to their plan of setting up a series of Tyrolean Traverse (zipline). That should be worth going back.

It's a promising destination for eco/edu/extreme adventure tour for the Visayas or as they call it EAT Danao, Bohol. I hope they get the support of the Department of Tourism.

The EAT Danao tour costs P3,500/pax, all inclusive of transportation from Cebu to Danao, Bohol via Tubigon, full board and lodging (served all organic meals including snacks!) and choice of two activities, for more info check out their site.

We ended the trip with a 2-hour land trip from Danao, Bohol to Tagbilaran, Bohol on a Pajero with a Mayor's plate, a rockstar treatment don't you think?! We had a hearty buffet dinner at Bohol Bee Farm perfect to nourish our weary bones. We all managed to stay up late for a game of "catch phrase" before we snooze off in those cozy rooms of Bohol Bee Farm. We cancelled our early morning dolphin watching trip as we opt to bum around at the resort the next day before we take the fastcraft back to Cebu. :D

Updated rates per activity as of January 2010 from

Entrance Fee

* Adult - P25.00
* Children three (3) yrs. old below - free entrance

Parking Fee

* Motorcycle - P 5.00
* 4-Wheeler Vehicle - P 10.00
* 6-Wheeler & above - P 20.00
* Towing Equipment - P 50.00
* Heavy Equipment - P 50.00
* Bicycle - P 5.00
* Landing fee for aircraft - P 2,000.00

Charges for Recreational Equipments/Facilities and Activities

* Plunge - P700 per person
* Sky Ride - P250 per person
cable ride with a gorgeous view of the river and gorge.
The small open air cabin is suspended 200 meters above the ground, a 15 minute ride back and forth. The cable car has a maximum capacity of 6pax. It has a working load of 8 tons.

* Caving - P350.00/person (minimum of 5 persons)
* River Tubing - P200.00/person
* Kayaking - P200.00/person
* River/Mountain Trekking/Hiking - P200.00/person
* Wall Climbing - P100.00/person
* Rappel (60m) - P600.00/person (Minimum of 5 pax)
* Rappel w/ root climbing - P400.00/person
* Suislide - P350.00/person
* Suislide - P150.00/person same day ride
* Suislide & Rappel (60m) - P850.00/person (Minimum of 5 pax)
* Camping - P25 per camper
* Village Tour - P200.00/person

Rental Charges

* Rental of Water Proof Camera - P100.00/activity
* Dry Bag Rental - P20.00/activity

Transport Services:

  • Public Transportation:
  • Trips per day from Tagbilaran to Danao:
5:00 am, 6:00am, 8:00am
12:00 noon, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 4:30 pm, and 6:30 pm last trip
  • Trips per day from Danao to Tagbilaran:
4:00 a.m., 5:30 am, 6:00 am, 7:00 am, 8:00 am, 9:00 am, 11:30a.m.,
1:30p.m., 4:00p.m., 5:00 p.m last trip

  • Bus fare is P75.00
  • Buses are at Integrated Bus Terminal – Dao – Dampas, Tagbilaran City
  • Bus will only be at Poblacion, Danao. Motor for hire (habal-habal) are available to transport guests going to the Adventure Park at P30.00/person. We encourage guests to look for drivers wearing patch with Danao Adventure Park logo

Contact EAT Danao:

Local Government Unit -Danao
- 507-3106 local 187

Ana Loinda Saluan
Mun. Tourism Officer
- 0917-3021701

Ma. Weina Saguid
Booking Officer
0921-7594403 / 0917-3021700