This year is very special for me. My honey and I long planned for a vacation trip to Bohol this month of April. Its his first time to be there, while its my second visit to Bohol. Even so, I was also very excited about visiting Bohol again, since the last time was really a very short visit (since we just island hopped from Cebu).
The schedule for Bohol visit was perfect for the tour, but not for the tourist! haha.. Our flight was scheduled at 5:30am. My honey was coming from Fairview and the night/day before was also hectic. We didn’t have the chance to sleep at all! It was actually a very tiring night before the flight. I had to pack some more items that night, and I really had to rush complete an item due for one of my projects that time. My honey, thinking that it would be more of a headache to sleep for just an hour or so, decided to pass up on sleeping and just rest while we were on the way to Bohol. It could’ve been perfect, except that, the hardest part was actually to try and stay awake while waiting for the plane! :D
We arrived at 7am and the tourist guide was already there. It could’ve been nice to hit the day tour, except that we were so exhausted that we’d rather stay in bed for awhile.. Haha! Talk about sleeping out for half a day in what could’ve been a place for maximizing tour and gimmick! Oh, but before the gratifying sleep, we had (one of ) the best breakfast of our days in the restaurant beside our resort/hotel. It was called “Powder Keg“.
That afternoon and evening, we spent it walking by the beach, and checking out the food and the bars and restos. The beach of Panglao is a white beach. Some of the natives are proud to say that their beach is as white as what is found in Boracay and is not as crowded. Its true that the beach is as white as the sands of Boracay (as my Honey says so), and I certainly agree that its less crowded in Panglao. There were many foreigners too, but not as what I usually see in news reports regarding Boracay. I was very happy to be there with my honey, just relaxing and having fun. After the first day and night in Bohol, the next day was allotted for the day tour.
First stop was the Blood Compact Monument. Our guide said that this wasn’t the actual site where the Blood compact commenced (but in Loay). The view behind the monument was actually the shore of Panglao (where we were staying). Next, we went to visit the Baclayon Church. It was said that this church is actually the second oldest church of the Philippines! Isn’t it amazing?? And though its the second oldest, it is still being used by the natives there for their regular Sunday mass, weddings and baptisms! Its really an amazing church. I was really amazed by the artifacts found in that Church’s museum. There were records of the first Filipino priests, the oldest Priest gown, and even the old song books which were so huge! I guess I wouldn’t need glasses to read the next lyrics from that gigantic song book! hahaha..
We wanted to make it to the floating restaurant by noon, but before that we were to visit the Chocolate hills. Our tour guide decided to take us for a relaxing stop over by the man made forest. He said that it was “man-made” simply because this was a very conscious effort by the local government not for tourism purposes but to actualy prevent accidents caused by rolling boulders of rocks from the mountains. The road was made by cutting in the middle of a mountain, therefore there were instances where rocks rolled down from each side, sometimes causing accidents to those who were passing. By the planting of trees on both sides, these nature powered fence would keep these rocks from causing further damage to the people. It was a very beautiful scene, must like those of which you’ll find only in wallpapers, the scene would really take you to a very down to earth feeling. Nature lovers would really admire the beauty of this forest. If you would look up, you can see that the trees form an arch that look like its a hallway for the majestic. Standing inside the forest, you’d feel like you’d always be safe, and exceptionally, the air almost tastes so sweet and light there. I miss the place already.. :(
Next stop, the long awaited Chocolate Hills!!! It was a long way up to the viewing point of Chocolate Hills. There are two ways to climb it up (in case you don’t know). There is the normal way — which is to take the flight of concrete stairs (which is roughly 200 steps to the top!), and the spiral road at the left of the stairs (which is usually taken by the elders). We took the 200 steps just for fun.. ;) It was very hot, yet it was the perfect condition to view the hills from above. When you get to the top, it was very fulfilling. It was like mountain climbing at the same time! The hills by around April are not yet completely brown. From the very resourceful and knowledgeable tour guide that we have, he said that the reason the hills become brown in summer is that the thin layer of wild grass dies out in extreme heat during summer, and grows back during the rainy season.
When I was up there, I swear it was too bright to actually see the beauty of all the photos that we took, but they are all priceless now. I can wholly appreciate the beauty of the pictures now, and I say its one of the magnificent works of nature. And you know what? I got to find out the legend behind the Chocolate Hills too! Our guide said that it wasn’t really part of his basic tour explanation to include the legend, but since we were very intrigued about it, he explained it to us gleefully.
In the times of the giants and fairies, there once lived two giants–a couple in Bohol. These giants were friends of the natives and they were harmless beings. The people of Bohol as well as the giants lived in an abundant supply by the generous nature. One day in summer, the giants passed by the natives who were just about harvesting their sweet tuber. Curiously, the giants asked the natives about the crop that they were harvesting, and if it tasted deliciously. Kindly, the natives hand picked the best of their crop and offered half of it to the giants.
The couple enjoyed the sweet tasting crop, and immediately gained interest on how to plant these crops for themselves. The natives then explained that the seed is to be implanted in small cone shaped mass of land that they gather on top of regular flat soil. This way they can control the growth of the crop. They put the seed in the middle and pat the soil to form small cone shapes. These cone shape mass of land will hold the seed inside in warmth and moisture.
Hurriedly the giants created themselves around 90 mass of cone shaped soil formation and implanted a seed for each. After some time, the giants were disappointed, seeing that the crop did not grow from their cone shape formation. They did not get the information, that the crop would only die out in extreme heat. They were able to harvest nothing. In anger, the couple slammed the cone shaped formation very very hard that it almost solidified into what we now see as small hills. :)
It was actually the first time I’ve heard of it, and it was good. It wasn’t reallly much like those legends about fairies or unknown beings, but it was more sane sounding and cool.. ;)
After the mesmerizing Chocolate Hills, we went to pass by the famous Hanging Bridge. It was said the locals were the ones who started with this initiative, since some of them lived across the river. It was very hard for them to transport food to and fro the city proper and their homes. Soon after their good local government saw it, they provided funding to strengthen this bridge, and now it served as a wonderful tourist spot. Some skip this part because of fear. But I say it was worth the challenge. My honey is afraid of heights, but he was able to conquer his fear; and at the end of his bridge crossing challenge, we met Buko King. Buko King was actually one of the famous Pinoy stuntmen. His act was to peel off a dead coconut using his bare teeth in twelve seconds! And guess what?? He actually did it! (watch the video to check the time).
Crossing the hanging bridge twice, it was now time to refill the strenght by eating! We hopped on to the floating restaurant. Food was enjoyable. We brought our guide along with us to enjoy the food. I must say, that must be the time I gained a couple of pounds for eating so much in one day! I think I had about 2 plates of watermelon, along with a banana, soup, fish, chicken, pork, vegetables, etc. It was a wonderful experience! Food was really good, and I had so much fun waving at the other boat riders.. hehe.. (ang di kumaway, KJ!) :P And, oh, by the way, spend time to watch the video I shot of the whole Loboc experience. I bet if you haven’t been to Bohol and you’re a nature lover, you’d want summer to go back at once! Hahaha..
After the sumptuous meal we had there, we stopped by some natives who were singing and dancing in the middle of the river is a floating raft. It was the initiative of the local women, elders and youth to offer a small performance number for the visitors. It was really great! I loved the whole trip and just the fun of enjoying the scenery while spreading good cheers to everyone. The trip back to the port was also great, because the on board performers played old school music that were bringing also good memories back. :) Sigh, I love Bohol..
On the way back to Panglao, we stopped over the Tarsier place and at the place were Proni, the largest python in captivity stayed. The tarsiers are the smallest mammals with the biggest eyes. They are nocturnal, much like the lemurs were (as there were lemurs too). The caretakers said that these animals leave their places by night, and just return to them normally by day. I don’t know why the tarsiers and lemurs are so obedient, but its a fascinating characteristic. There is one amazing trivia that I learned too about tarsiers! They are actually very loyal to their mates that they don’t even try to seek for another even when their mates are long dead! Oh, how I wish men are like that!!! Hahaha.. ;)
Proni on the other hand is a friendly python. They say that when his owner leaves the house without saying goodbye to him, he never lets the tourists see his head. They feed him a pig monthly, and takes a shower four times a day! Hmm.. he’s officially neater than I am! :P
After the fulfilling day tour, we had time to do pasalubong buying, and we even had discount coupons because our tour guide was part of the Dept. of Tourism guides. Cool eh? :)
The next few days of our stay, we spent it lounging by the beach from morning til night.
Bohol is beautiful. Need I say more? :)