Oct 12, 2017
Bike Climb to the Virgen de Guadalupe
Location: Virgen de Guadalupe, Loboc (municipality), Bohol (province), Philippines
Mountain Bike Guide: Jeffrey Huerte
Another Day, Another Climb
Today was an arduous climb on a bike with Jeffrey to the Virgen de Guadalupe, a giant statue of the Black Madonna perched on a Loboc summit with a clear line of sight to another iconic religious landmark, the Cruz Daku.
Virgen de Guadalupe
In May 24, pilgrims flock to the shrine asking for miraculous intercession. Women who want to conceive dance by the foot of the statue. Some return to give thanks for answered prayers. Together with the giant Cruz Daku, Loboc becomes the Mecca for devotees during Lent.
From the town center, Jeffrey, son of Juan (who was my biking buddy from Cruz Daku), led the way. It was a good warm-up to bike along the hiway before we swerved to a local road that ascended all the way to the top. Like the trail of Cruz Daku, the climb was unrelenting with only a few short reprieves. Jeffrey was a strong rider. We kept a good pace to make it to the top in good time with a minimum of dismounts.
Although not as high as Cruz Daku, the view was more accessible. There was a wide clearing opening-up the scenery to the town of Loboc, with the Loboc River snaking through town. The statue was immense as it hovered above everything else as if to overlook the well-being of Loboc below.
I love the climb but the downhill part was sweet as well. On some parts, I let the brakes go and white-knuckled technical sections with rocks and ruts. It was an adrenaline rush without the caffeine. My one fear was the bike itself. It's a cheap bike and I have no idea how much trashing I can do before the bike falls apart.
Post-ride, I was looking at Jeffrey. Here he was, hammering down on kick-ass trails while having ample time for his 8am job. Upon arriving home, he was unhurried as he prepared for work - which was a short walk away. How cool is that?
Compare that to a worker in Manila who has to wake up at 4 to leave the house at 5am to beat the morning rush hour traffic! Sometimes, I wonder why people put up with over-rated dysfunctional cities when technology is now available to live on the fringes of the grid in any location with internet connection. I digress but that's my 2-cents.
Whoa! 3 days in a row I'd been riding hard. Juan and his son Jeffrey taking turns to ride with me, showing me to the hidden wonders of Loboc. If that's not amazing enough, tomorrow is another ride!
Next stop: Busay Falls
Loboc, Bohol, Philippines
Bohol FYI / Tips
- the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located within the Alona Beach area
- the tourist attractions in Bohol are far apart and spread-out. It would be difficult to visit them all using public mass transit. Better hire a van (P3500/day) if in a big group, or rent a motorcycle (P400/day + gas)
- Bohol relies on its tourism for revenue. As expected, everything they can capitalize on from tourism is extensively used and developed
Tagbilaran Port to PanglaoYou can charter any tricycle from the port all the way to Panglao (~P300), but if you want to do it on the cheap,
- don't take the tricycles lined-up inside the port. Walk past the port gate and immediately outside, you'll see many tricycles. Take one to the bus terminal in Dao (~P15)
- in Dao, take the jeep that plies the Panglao route (~P20)
Tagbilaran (Bohol) to Cebu City by boat** schedules and rates keep changing, call for latest schedule
- Weesam Express - departs 6:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 4:00 PM
one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
- Ocean Jet - departs 6-7:05-8:20-9:20-11:40AM, 1-2-3:30-4:20-5:30-6:30PM, 2 hours, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
+63(32)255 7560 / +63 (32) 255 0115 / 0917 638 0000
- SuperCat (2GO) - departs 5:50-11AM, 3:45-5:25-8:15PM, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
+63 32 233 7000
Things to do, Places to go in Bohol
- Chocolate Hills - this is a clustering of more than 1200 hills within a 50km2 area. They range in height from 30-50 meters. What's unusual is their near-perfect conical shape resembling an individual chocolate chip. No one knows how they were formed. Entrance is P50/pax.
- Tarsier Conservation Area - located Upper Bonbon, Loboc. The tarsiers are no longer being played at by tourists as circus props, but instead, visitors now view them in cordoned-off areas in their natural 6ha habitat. As they are territorial and nocturnal, they are predictable on where they can be viewed. P50/pax.
- Alona Beach (Panglao) - Alona Beach is the tourist hub of Bohol. It has 1.5 kms of white sand beach lined-up by bars, hotels and restos. Alona is also the jump-off point for Balicasag Island, a world class dive destination.
- Danao Adventure Park - located in Barangay Magtangtang, 72 kms (2 hours ride) from Tagbilaran. Adventure activities include river trekking, tyrolean traverse, rappelling, bouldering, rock climbing and ziplining.
Carlos P. Garcia Island
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