Monday, May 9, 2016

Tagbilaran Heritage Walk

Our 2.5-hour walking tour started at the Human Nature shop. Nothing significant here. Just that this is also where Dagohoy World Travel, the travel agency that came up with this heritage walking tour, is. We were given a straw hat and a short introduction about Tagbilaran, then off we went donning our straw hats.

Our first stop was outside the gate of Holy Spirit School. Through the grate we gazed at the white building that is said to have been built in 1929 and served as a dormitory. The building looked like a place ghosts would find very comfortable. Too bad we could only look at them through the grate, and them at us through the window.

Holy Spirit School

Next stop was an old house where the owner still resides (though we did not get to meet her). Only about a fourth of the house is still used as a residence, the rest had been converted into commercial/office space.


After the house visit, each of us was given a plastic of coins (amounting to Php 8) with a printout of three sentences in Visayan. I found it quite amusing and concluded right away that this walking tour was designed for foreigners.

For our mini group of four, we had to hail two tricycles. I noticed that tricycles in Tagbilaran are small and can only carry two passengers in the cab and one behind the driver. Another thing I noticed about tricycles in Tagbilaran is that each one had a Bible verse painted on the back of the tricycle. Without it, explained the guide, they would not be granted a permit to operate.


The tricycle driver dropped us off in front of St Joseph Cathedral. I thanked him and sheepishly grinned as I gave him my plastic of coins. We went to the side of the church where we lit a candle of our chosen color (each color has a meaning) and said a silent prayer. (The guide paid for the candles.)

St Joseph Cathedral

We then crossed the street to Rizal Park, disturbed the pigeons, then crossed another street on the other side of the park to snap a photo of the Bohol Provincial Capitol, which was under repair. Then on to the next building, the Bohol National Museum.

Rizal Park

Bohol Provincial Capitol

A visit to the Bohol National Museum is not part of the tour but we told the guide we wanted to go inside. (It was sweltering hot and the air-conditioned interiors of the museum beckoned.) We were ready to pay Php 10 each for the entrance fee, but the guide said she'd pay for it (thank you!). We took our time in the small museum and, with our boiling brains, tried to learn a little bit about Bohol. There were some archaeological finds, a stuffed monkey, a stuffed tarsier, an explanation of how the chocolate hills formed, paintings of local heroes, and a section about ube (purple yam). Of all the things in the museum, what struck me the most was about the beliefs in planting ube. Maybe I was just hungry.

Skulls and paintings inside the National Museum

And just in time, for our next stop was Jojie's Painitang Bol-anon for some local delicacies (yehey! snacks are included in the tour!). We were given a cold bottle of calamansi juice and a plate of dinumugan, cuchinta, biko ube, balanghoy, and nilubid (cassava, ube, chocolate). I've had cuchinta and balanghoy before (and biko, but the regular kind), but the other three were new to me. I liked the biko ube and the nilubid.

Snack time

After the snack break we moved on to the Carlos P Garcia Heritage House (and on the way, we passed some old houses). Carlos P Garcia was the Philippines' 8th President, succeeding Ramon Magsaysay when the latter died in a plane crash. Garcia was born in Talibon, Bohol to parents who were natives of Bangued, Abra. The house in Tagbilaran was built in 1953 and was where Garcia lived after his failed re-election bid.

Old houses

Carlos P Garcia Heritage House

The final stop and the grand finale to this heritage walk was the Casa Rocha, a bahay na bato (stone house) built in 1831. What caught my eye upon entering the house was the domed ceiling of the living room. Other than that, it was the squeaky floor and the heavy wooden door. The wood planks used for flooring tells of how rich the owners were (the wider the plank, the richer the family). The roof was made of tiles. This house would have been a sight to see had it been well maintained.

Casa Rocha

For Php 700 per person was this walk worth it? I thought it was too expensive, the houses visited too few, and the scorching sun too torturous. But that's just me, my thrifty pocket, and my sunburned self.

To book the Tagbilaran Heritage Walk contact Dagohoy World Travel through the following:
ecotours@dagohoyworldtravel.com
0917 896 0486


This article is also featured on GPSmyCity. If you find this article useful and plan to use it to explore Tagbilaran, for a minimal fee, you can download the GPSmyCity iOS app to view it offline and use the GPS-aided map.


Bohol Bound
Tagbilaran Heritage Walk (you're here!)

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