Bohol is an island province in the Visayas; it is the tenth largest island in the country. There’s a map here to give you an idea of where in the Philippines Bohol is situated.
This is my third time in Bohol, the last visit being four years ago. Yes I’ve seen the sites before, but it doesn’t cease to amaze me. The last trip out of Bohol was a bitter one, I received news of my grandmother’s passing while waiting for our delayed flight home. Sad though that time was, it is not difficult to disassociate that memory from the rest of the island. This trip is also made special by the company I have.
Prior to coming here, I had already looked for arrangements for the tour. I knew we couldn’t just take public transportation and give it a go on our own. No, no, no. Dao Diamond was willing to arrange the tour for us for PhP3,000.00 on their lovely red van. My friend Joy was able to give me the name of the driver/tour guide that took them around the last time she was there with family.
I contacted Janny and I was thrilled that he gave me a price that’s lower than what Dao had quoted. Still, I didn’t confirm because it was still about two weeks away when I first got in touch with him. Nearer to the tour date though, he contacted me again to confirm and even said that I can ask for a discount. What a great guy, he did give us a big discount!
I totally recommend him, he was not on our faces during the tour, he would actually let you just do your own thing and let you take your time. He’s a bit on the shy side though but he will answer any questions you may have. We managed to snap a photo of him before he took us to the airport (with sidetrips, of course).
First stop: the Blood Compact park. The sculpture is by National Artist, and proud Boholanon, Napoleon Abueva – Daddy Abueva to us. Haha. No, we are not related to him but my former boss, Ate Amihan, is his daughter and we’ve had dinner many times in their Quezon City home. Oh, we’ve always enjoyed those haven’t we? Joy and I have taken to calling him and his wife, Daddy and Mommy Abueva (although we call them Sir and Ma’am when we’re in their actual presence, to show respect).
But I digress. The Blood Compact monument is situated in a very picturesque spot. You have an unobstructed view of the sea and that side of the Bohol Island. It’s a breathtaking first stop.
They don’t collect any fees on this monument.
Second stop: Meet the Tarsiers! In my previous visits, I got to see the Tarsiers along Loboc River. With the new tourist complex they have in Loboc, the shops in the former docking area for the balsa no longer house the Tarsiers.
This time around, we stopped right by the highway, to a small shack. Inside were eleven Tarsiers, with the youngest being just eight months. There is no entrance fee, but they do have donation boxes – for Tarsier feeding. There are also a few stalls selling souvenir items (Tarsier bags, purses, key chains, magnets, etc).
You are reminded not to use flash when you take pictures of the little primates, they could go blind if you do. They have big eyes, but very small pupils. They are nocturnal so they don’t move much during the day.
Tourists are not allowed to touch the little creatures and I don’t see any reason really to do so. But we were there early and no one else was around so the young man caring for the Tarsiers offered to put one of his babies on our hands/shoulders. I wasn’t brave enough though so I was content to see how happy Alfred was to experience that. Hehe. Oh and the boy also let us feed one of the tarsiers!
Third stop: Chocolate Hills, Carmen peak. There are two peaks that tourists can visit: Carmen and Sagbayan Peak. The latter is in another part of the island so we didn’t go there. That was the peak we visited four years ago though. Carmen Peak is still what I’d prefer of the two.
As soon as we arrived at the development, we realized that we were both stupid – we hadn’t recharged the camera batteries! So we settled on using my camera phone for the rest of the tour and we had to pay top buck for four photos at this majestic spot. We weren’t going to let the camera incident ruin the trip though, and we still have photos to show for it, the beauty and fun of the experience isn’t just stuck in our memories. Hah!
Don’t ask me how many steps those were, I didn’t count. There’s a memorial/peace bell at the top that you’re supposed to ring when you’re there, Alfred, in his excitement, didn’t even see it!
Here’s a tip, aside from making sure your camera is fully charged, or that you have a backup camera in hand, it is wise to bring a USB drive too. There are photographers on the peak that take your photos and print them out for a fee (highway robbery, haha) but they won’t mind saving the other shots you didn’t pick on your USB drive. I’m sure that if you ask nicely, they’d take more photos for you on their lovely DSLRs or even your own point and shoot.
Sorry these pics don’t particularly look awesome, I just took a picture of the prints.
Fourth stop: Butterfly Conservation – Hmm, I forgot the name of the place, Simply Butterflies was it?
For an entrance fee of 20 pesos, there’s a guide that will go around the garden with you, and tell you all about the butterflies, moths and other small creatures that can be found there. He even showed us the garlic plant, which really smells like garlic. It apparently has a lovely purple flower but they weren’t in bloom at the time. I took a number of pictures there but I’ll post those some other time 🙂
Fifth Stop: Bilar Man-Made Forest – According to Janny, the Mahogany trees lining this highway were planted decades ago at the same time that the road was constructed. The idea was to prevent landslides. Weren’t they wise? They should have thought of planting trees in every highway they build across the country!
Sixth Stop: Hanging Bridge – Okay, there is nothing very special to this bridge, as far as I’m concerned. This is a bridge that residents use everyday but it crosses the picturesque river. It’s made of different materials including suspension wire and bamboo. We chickened out of crossing it all the way though. We hadn’t thought it was worth is if we were only to see shops on the other side, and then have to endure the walk back. Haha!
The river isn’t normally of this color, it is usually green but it had rained very hard the night before and that kinda ruined everything. Not! Though this isn’t in Loboc town anymore , this river apparently joins the Loboc River.
My Internet connection goes all loopy every Saturday at noon – without fail (damn you PLDT DSL !) and that is what’s happening now. I’ll publish this post until this stop and continue on with the rest next time. Hang tight, the best stop of the tour has yet to be shown 🙂