Travel {Bohol}

Who would have thought that a spur-of-the-moment phone call would have me packing up my bags for a two-day trip to Bohol? I have never been to the small island of tarsiers and chocolate hills before, so when a cousin of mine told me that he'd be in Bohol for work I jumped at the chance to tag along. Bohol is just two hours away from Dumaguete by fastcraft, a little bit longer if you go by Cebu, but it is pretty near compared to other interesting destinations that I have my eye on for this summer. I jumped on a bus headed for Cebu where I would meet my aunt and sister. We stayed at Sampaguita Suites for the night, and in the morning, we boarded a ferry to Bohol.

The trip was uneventful and we managed to get two hours of sleep on the boat. We docked at the Tubigon pier, which is one of the busiest ports in Bohol and located just 53 km northwest of Tagbilaran. After an early lunch, it was off to visit relatives and then off to explore Bohol, with Danao as our first destination.

Never did I think that by going to Bohol I'd be doing anything remotely adventurous. Bohol, to me, meant cute tarsiers and peanut kisses and chocolate hills.



The view from Sagbayan Peak
Sagbayan Peak is a popular destination because from there you have an unlimited view of the Bohol chocolate hills from all sides.

Butterflies at the Butterfly Garden

Tarsiers!

This changed when I reached Danao and saw that Bohol is also an adrenaline junkie's paradise.

Danao is where you can find E.A.T. Danao or Extreme/Eco/Educational Adventure Tour, an LGU-run ecotour and nature park. It is home to the Suislide, the local version of the zipline, the Plunge, which is a modified and tamer modification of the bungee jump, and the cable car. All these involve suspension from a certain height, which is pretty terrifying in itself, but even more terrifying if you start to ask questions and the guides tell you that you'll be suspended from a height of 200 meters, with only a steel cable and a bungee cord separating you from life and a paralyzing freefall to certain death on the rocky gorge below. But there's no use thinking about morbid thoughts if you have " Bungee Jump" or "Scare pants off self by willingly jumping off cliff" in your bucket list. I do and so deemed it the guiding hand of Fate that was leading me to the Danao cliff so I can finally cross said items of my list.

The Suislide

It was the zipline, fondly called the Suislide that we tried first. My sister, who people always mistake for 12 even though she already has a nursing degree, went with me, the two of us looking like really tall preschoolers with our red and blue protective hats. First, the staff wrap you in a harness that resembles the protector worn by baseball catchers.You have to stand while they strap you to various buckles and belts before you are told to lean forward and let the harness catch you. This is when they completely strap you in. Everything was so quick that I really did not get enough time to completely savor the feeling of impending doom that you are supposed to feel in moments like this. I wanted to wriggle out of my harness a couple of times, but thought that it would be a wimpy thing to do in front of all the strangers waiting for their turn, and with my sister grinning happily next to me, completely unbothered that we are about to cross the gorge in a few minutes.

After they finished strapping us in, the staff asked if we were ready. I managed to ask if anyone has died doing the zipline, and they staff said no, as if it's a question that they get asked everyday. They gently swung us back and forth, as if to rock us to sleep, and then someone shouted 'Bombs away!' and we were off, the harness going 'swooooossshhh' and me about to hurl as I gripped the harness tight. Everything went fine the first few seconds when I could still see land under me. It was when we were starting to cross the gorge, with the river in full view below us that I started to scream and pray. I prayed for the forgiveness of all my sins while crossing the gorge, that I did. My sister was also screaming her head off, but soon our screams turned to laughs and shouts of exhilaration when we realized that we were ok and that there's a pretty good chance we'll reach the other end with our wits intact. You have to ride the zipline back to the base,so anyone want to try this out must be prepared to make the trip a second time. Doing the whole thing the second time wasn't as scary, probably because I was too busy fussing with my camera phone in an attempt to get the whole trip on video.

The Plunge


The Plunge is the most extreme ride in Danao because it involves being suspended by a cable 45 meters down before being launched on a pendulum swing. Anyone who wants to feel completely helpless for a few minutes will definitely appreciate this type of adventure. It didn't cross my mind to try the Plunge out at first. It simply was too scary and more fitting for those who really wanted an instant adrenaline high. But when I saw another girl try it out, I thought what the heck, I might never get to try this ride ever again. So off we went to the booth where they signed people up and paid the PHP 700 fee for the ride. My cousin and my sister also signed up, although I was a little bit apprehensive about having to see my sister swinging from a rope a few hundred meters down. She seemed more excited about the idea, though, and even managed to borrow a couple of bucks from me so she could do the ride.

I went first, although I wanted to do it mainly just to get it over with. I knew I couldn't take the torture of waiting for my turn, so I went ahead and got myself strapped in. The staff wrapped me in the harness, with me tugging at each buckle to make sure that everything was secure. The staff gave me instructions on what to do: sit on the metal platform, and then slowly assume a standing position as the platform is tilted down and you'll eventually be hanging freely. You will then be instructed to put your head close to the padded harness and the staff will count from three before they release the cable and send you swinging to the middle of the gorge for about 15 terrible and terrifying seconds. So off I went, going down on the platform in a sitting position. I heard the grate of the metal as the platform was lowered and in a few seconds I was hanging on the side of the mountain. I heard one of the guys shout that I should put my head close to the harness and so I did. They started shouting a bunch of numbers and I heard a snap, and I was off, swinging wildly, my heart about to burst because I was holding my breath and so terrified that I thought I had almost peed myself. The first snap gives the most terrible feeling of all, because you feel like your life is completely out of your hands and for a minute I felt angry at the staff for not talking me out of doing something so incredibly stupid. But after realizing that I was still alive, I managed a choke and then a shout, and then finally several exhilarated shouts out of sheer gratitude that my rope had not snapped and that I was still alive, terrified out of my wits, but alive. The guys at the Plunge let you swing from side to side for a few minutes, to the delight of onlookers. They even give out helpful tips on how to pose while swinging on a rope 200 meters down a mountain (there's an on-site photographer who takes pictures while you take the rides for PHP 50 per picture). I managed to do a few poses while grinning idiotically to the camera above me. You do not think about being photogenic when you are hanging on to a rope for dear life. However, the encouraging shouts of the guys above helped the girl taking pictures take several acceptable snapshots of me.

After my turn was done and one of the guys asked me if I left something on the side of the mountain. I told him I did, it seems like my spirit left my body after that first snap. He chuckled and nodded his head, told me that that's what all the others before me had said.

For more on Danao, go to the official site here.






4 comments:

kat said...

two trips or not take the plunge at all.. i may have to see how high it is in person to decide if i am willing to take it twice. once would be frightening enough. it's great that despite all the things going on up there, you managed to take lots of shots.

looking forward to our next trip! =)

Vacation Leave said...

great photos! what camera did you use?

joselle said...

@kat: actually it's the suislide that requires you to take two trips kat :) but both are pretty terrifying! Looking forward to another trip too!
@Vacation Leave: Salamat! I use an Oly 510 :)

Orville said...

Nice Shots! My Kaberks are planning to be here this April 24

 

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