It’s been a while since we were in Bohol, and a while since I blogged about the first part of our stay… but I should finish it off.
Day 2 started again with breakfast at Arts Cafe. Delicious, freshly prepared food.
We hadn’t quite finished eating when I saw Ramon, our driver, waiting for us outside our hotel. I ran down to ask him if it was ok to wait 15 minutes or so. He was so punctual the whole time we were there. It may be because his watch was set at a time about 15 minutes ahead of the actual time. Later on in the day, we asked him if he’d take us to the airport the following day at 1pm.
He said: “What time is it on your watch?”
Mr H looked at his watch and read out the time.
Ramon looked at his, read out a time about 15 minutes ahead and said “Ok, they’re roughly the same time, that’s fine. See you tomorrow.”
So Ramon took us on the ‘Countryside Tour’ of Bohol. The full tour includes 9 stops:
1) Blood Compact Shrine
This is the site where the Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna the chieftain of Bohol performed a blood compact, on March 16, 1565, to seal their friendship as part of the tribal tradition.
It’s marked by a monument. A lot of the other tourists didn’t seem to have any qualms about climbing all over it to have their pictures taken.
2) Baclayon Church and Museum
The second stop was this church, which is considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Ramon told us that it’s built from coral. It was really impressive. We didn’t look around the museum, but did wander into the church.
3) Python Sanctuary
And then it was on to meet Prony, the the longest and largest snake in captivity. I think it’s the longest and largest because it gets fed pretty big meals (a pig every few months) and doesn’t have very much space to move around. A sad sight to behold. There were other animals in the sanctuary, also in pitifully small cages.
4) Tarsier watching
From Pythons to Tarsiers. Tarsiers are one of the world’s smallest primates and are indigenous to Bohol. I’d been worried about the conditions the tarsiers would be kept in, but I was pleasantly surprised. There was a really big enclosure, full of jungle where the tarsiers seem free to roam around. I was a little concerned that there were paper markers pointing out where a tarsier was sitting. I looked really closely, but couldn’t see anything tying them to the spot. I spoke to one of the rangers who told me that they sit so still during the day because that’s when they’re resting. It’s at night that they come to life and move around.
Other than some really inconsiderate tourists who were intent on waking the tarsiers up by blowing on them, speaking to them etc. it was really pleasant to see these cute bug-eyed beasts.
5) Man Made Forest
After the tarsiers we drive towards the Chocolate Hills. Our route took us up ‘chicken intestine road’ (so called because of all the sharp bends) through the Man Made Forest. Essentially just a standard forest with lots of tall, straight trees planted in nice straight lines.
6) The Chocolate Hills
Other than the tarsiers, Bohol’s other big tourist attraction is the roughly 1200 Chocolate Hills. They have a very distinctive shape and apparently look at their most beautiful at dawn and dusk. We arrived in the middle of the day, in the rain. They were still really impressive. We were driven to near the top, and then could walk up some 200 odd steps to the top of one of the hills to get a great vista of some of the other Chocolate Hills.
There were 3 other things on the tour, but we didn’t do them:
Loboc River cruise
Butterfly Conservation Centre
Instead, we stopped at another church this time on Panglao island – Dauis ‘Our Lady of Assumption’ church. It is famous for a well that is at the alter. Another beautiful church.
We arrived back at the hotel at a reasonable time (mid afternoon) thinking that we’d be able to enjoy a cocktail or 2 during happy hour, only to be met with a sign on our room door saying that no alcohol would be served until midnight Tuesday! All because of the election. So we had to make to with enjoying some sunshine as we lay by the pool.
We did manage to find some alcohol later that night at a hotel bar along Alona beach. Phew.
On our last morning, again we enjoyed an Arts Cafe breakfast before getting in some last minute pool time. The sun was out in full force and it really felt like we were on holiday.
I’d definitely recommend a trip to Bohol. It’s an hour away from Manila, by plane, but feels a whole lot further. It’s quiet, clean and beautiful.