Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kwentong Kaladkarin #22: Bewitching Bohol – Wildlife, Whatnots and Way Back When

Da Where: Bohol, Philippines
Da When: July 3, 2011
Da Who: Vin and me! :)
Da Trivia: Cheesy. Mushy. Corny. Old-fashioned. Call it what you may but this trip was to celebrate our 3rd year anniversary together. ;D

Looking back at our whirlwind of a day tour as soon as we stepped foot in Tagbilaran, the only thought that crossed my mind was that Boholanos are one of the luckiest people in this world.

Their tiny island/s of a province teems with beautiful natural wonders and rich with history and identity, one would feel almost reluctant to leave.

To show you what I meant, let's get on with the tour, shall we? :)

  • Corella Tarsier Sanctuary

At the Corella Tarsier Sanctuary, these small (can fit into the palm of your hand) animals are NOT caged and are allowed to roam freely within the area.

The government advocates against keeping tarsiers as pets coz tarsiers usually commit suicide in captivity due to trauma from touching and loud noises.

One of the sanctuary keepers looking for tarsiers in the enclosure within the sanctuary. We were asked to not talk loudly and refrain from using camera flash when taking photos.

Tarsiers are nocturnal animals and should not be disturbed at daytime. They are tiny, usually only 10-15cm body length but they are solitary and territorial. A single tarsier needs at least a hectare of space each.

They also exhibit one of the slowest fetal growth rates of any mammal, taking 6 months to reach the birth rate of 23 grams. They also only produce one newborn per birth.

Tarsiers can rotate their heads up to 180 degrees. How cool is that? ;D

Tarsiers DO NOT belong in a cage! When visiting Bohol, don't patronize restaurants or establishments that keep tarsiers in cages and lets customer get too close or even touch them. Head out to the Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella instead and observe them in their natural habitat for only PhP25.00/person.

  • Loboc River Cruise

The Lunch Buffet at the Loboc River Cruise

In the 1980's, the local government thought of embarking on another trademark Bohol tourist activity by providing river cruises down the clean and often-jade green waters of the Loboc River.

Al-fresco lunching, anyone? :)

For a fee of PhP100.00/person for the boat cruise and PhP300.00 for the buffet lunch (or dinner, if you prefer, but a little more expensive); one can enjoy fresh air, greens as far as the eye can see and a sumptuous Filipino buffet spread served with music from the rondalla or the boat's resident singer.

Kids and elders from the local community perform dances and rondalla music for the cruise guests.

  • Man-Made Forest

The Bohol Forest is a man-made mahogany forest in a two-kilometer stretch of densely planted Mahogany trees located in the border of Loboc and Bilar towns. 

When we entered the forest stretch, I immediately felt the abrupt change in temperature. It is hot outside the forested area, but once under the overhanging trees, one is refreshed by the cool breeze.  The picturesque line of towering trees also make it a great photo op spot.

  • Carmen Chocolate Hills

I couldn't describe the feeling when I saw the hills up close. I've only seen photos in my grade school textbooks and history posters sold at bookstores. Such grandeur!

The Chocolate Hills is as wonderful and as unique as its creation. There are about 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometers. 

The hills are actually made of grass-covered limestone that were formed ages ago by the uplift of coral deposits and the action of rain water and erosion. How amazing was that? :)

I saw this near the wishing well at the viewing deck. I wonder what's the story behind it? :)

  • Loboc Eco-Tourism Adventure Park

Cable car at Loboc Eco-Adventure Park, hanging over the Loboc River.

This newly-built and opened PhP4.7M tourist attraction (May 2011) boasts of adventure activities such as zip line and cable car that would cross the scenic Loboc River and hilly terrain. The fee is around PhP350.00/person.

  • Prony the Python and Friends

Marimar, the resident host, talks about Prony's background, in English, German, Dutch and a few other languages. Now that's what I call talent! :D

Prony is adopted by a Boholano family in Albuquerque and is in captivity for 14 years now. She was only 5 feet and 5 kilos when she was first captured. Now she's at least 26 feet long and weighs about 300 kilos.

I was hesitant at first but after telling me that Prony has just eaten last week and won't be hungry for another 3 weeks, I finally gave in. After all, if Vin who's deathly scared of snakes did it, so can I! ;P

I am not usually a fan of animals kept in cages but the lady owner of Prony said that the python is treated like a family member and gets a whole pig or goat as her monthly meal.

Pogi.... Nung hawk. Hahaha! :D

The family that keeps Prony also keep other animals like hawks and monkeys. Their house is like a mini-zoo now which you can enter for PhP15.00/person.

The entrance area also has stalls that sell souvenirs, they've got lower prices for Bohol goodies like peanut kisses and calamay.

Just how adorable is this monkey? He's got a banana so all is right with the world. :D

  • Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception or Baclayon Church

Amazed with how the original structure and foundation of the church was preserved through the years.

Baclayon Church is the second oldest stone church in the Philippines. The church obtained a large bell in 1835. In the Baclayon church is a dungeon, which was used to punish natives who violated the rules of the Roman Catholic.

Their museum is open for visitors for PhP25.00/person but we just opted to say a prayer inside and lighted candles outside.

Candles for prosperity and good health, coupled with prayers to the Immaculate Conception.

  • Sandugo or Blood Compact Site
Bottoms up, Senor Miguel López de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna! ;D

Bring out your history textbook, stat! :D This site, known as Sandugo (One Blood) or the Blood Compact site was erected to commemorate the blood compact performed in the island of Bohol between the Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna the chieftain of Bohol on March 16, 1565, to seal their friendship as part of the tribal tradition. This is considered as the first treaty of friendship between the Spaniards and Filipinos.

We literally clowned around at the site but meant no disrespect to our ancestors. Salud to Fil-Spanish friendship!

  • Hinagdanan Cave

Openings in the cave ceiling let natural light in and serve as bat doorways.

Hinagdanan Cave is in Panglao and is a naturally lighted cavern with a deep lagoon and many large stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is lit by sunlight which filters through holes in the ceiling. The underground lake is a popular swimming spot, but it has been known to test for high levels of various pollutants, since it is fed by ground runoff. So no jumping into the cave pool unless you want to get sick for the rest of your vacation! :)

Entering the cave, we were met with the strong smell of bat poop or guano. If you get nauseous from such smells or a little claustrophobic, I won't recommend you dropping by.

As the name implies, the cave was structured with stairs for easier navigation. Less exciting than Lumiang-Sumaging in Sagada or Bayokbok in Bulacan, though. :)

Would you believe we completed our tour of almost the whole province of Bohol in less than 7 hours? Granted, we were grimy and exhausted after that but it was still a blast!

Perfect way to cap our tiring day? A beach-side Alona Vida dinner of appetizing fresh seafood, stars in the sky and sand in our toes. Nothing could be more supreme than that. Except, maybe, having your dinner the same way every night. ;D

Work is the farthest thing on my mind right now. ;D

Fresh catch!


  1. favorite place ko is the petrified forest! sarap photo kasi parang nasa ibang lugar. :D

  2. tama, tarsiers dont belong in cages. if only nakita mo sila sa loboc river, parang konting pitik nlang at mamamatay na sila. they look so exploited. and unhealthy. kakaawa..

  3. @Ed - Hehe, true! And the cool breeze was a welcome relief from the heat. We only rented a tourist tricycle kasi to tour the province. :)

    @Chyng - Agree! May nadaanan kami a couple restos na meron caged tarsiers and they looked so pitiful! I think it's important to spread the word na wag na puntahan mga ganitong places. Sayang, ang cute pa naman nung tarsiers! :)

  4. I think I enjoyed the Loboc River Cruise the most out of all the places we visited during the tour. I like the tourism set up in Bohol. It's so organise you could easily visit all these beautiful spots in a day even if they aren't near each other.

  5. @lakwatsera de primera - I did enjoy the cruise too, Claire! Sayang it was too short, a nap would've been great after the meal kasi sarap ng breeze dun sa river. Tapos di masyadong jade-green yung water dahil naulan the past days so murky yung ilog. But it was a blast all the same! :)

  6. Awesome adventure in Bohol. I love this place. I hope the place has already recovered after the earthquake.

    I recommend everyone to go back to this place and check it out. Win the lottery to get more pocket money during your travel. Visit here http://pcsolottowinner.blogspot.com/