In the middle of the Visayas region of the Philippines sits Bohol, a little island packed with a ton of fun and unusual things to see. In the Bohol province you will find quintessential beach resorts with swimmers and sun bathers galore, geological wonders like Chocolate Hills, and a culturally enriching experience cruising along the Loboc River. You can even pay a visit to the tiniest (and cutest) primate in the world: The Tarsier.
We stayed in the renowned Alona Beach area in Panglao. It’s what you would expect from a popular beach resort: beautiful white sand, warm water, a plethora of food and drink choices, and lots of people! Definitely a place many travelers choose as a base for vacationing in Bohol Province.
Our adventures in Bohol began with a little sight -seeing before sun bathing. Our first stop was the Sandugo (Blood Compact) shrine found in the Bo-ol district of Tagbilaran City. This monument commemorates the first international treaty of friendship between Spaniards and Filipinos. Sandugo is the Visayan word for “One Blood” and was a tribal ritual performed to seal bonds of friendship. Do you think the Spaniards understood what they were getting themselves into?
Our next stop had sort of a misleading name: Chocolate Hills. Sounds yummy huh? I am a huge fan of chocolate! I’m on a strict “Yes to Chocolate” diet. So when I heard we were going to view the Chocolate Hills, I naturally was beside myself with excitement. Imagine my surprise when after all that walking the only hills I saw were limestone mounds covering the landscape as far as the eye could see.
I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t be frolicking along huge mounds of chocolate and eating all I could eat but this view definitely made up for it. They were so named because in the dry season they turn brown and look like mounds of Hershey’s Kisses. Plus, legend has it that the Chocolate Hills formed when a Giant fell in love with a human. Knowing that they could never be together, the giant wept and the the tears formed the Chocolate Hills. I’m always a fan of a great legend!
After a pit stop to buy a bag of chocolate (hey what can I say? I’m a slave to my cravings..don’t judge! ), our last stop of the day was to see the tiny Tarsier. I have to admit: I was a little apprehensive because I have this weird thing about tails and big eyes. It freaks me out a little. But these guys were too cute for words, and so shy.
We started off with some unique sights the next day. First: A test of courage across a bamboo bridge!
Then, a mini trek into the Bilar Manmade Forest. This was an interesting sight to say the least. I had a strange feeling here that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Was it the fact that it was a bright and sunny day on a bright and sunny tropical island and as soon as we stepped into the forest it turned cool and dark? Or, was it the fact that the non- native tree species which make up this forest seemed a bit out of place and very imposing? Maybe both…
We also saw some rice fields! Real rice fields. That’s not something I see back home everyday!
After an adventure filled morning, it was time to sit back and cruise along the Loboc River complete with a buffet lunch , music, and scenery.
Along the way, there are floating rafts were the locals perform cultural song and dance. This was my favorite part. I love listening to local music and dance anywhere I travel.
Bohol is truly a gem of an island that anyone would enjoy. In two and a half days I saw a few things I’d never dreamed I’d ever see.
On our last morning we got up with the sunrise to sit back and take in our last moments in Bohol (and to catch an early morning flight back to Manila. Ugh WHY so early??!?!). Bohol offered us so many interesting and unique things to experience but it was nice to just sit back and see the island just as she was waking up to greet everyone. It was so serene.
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