The Day Trip of Wonder, Bohol Philippines
Everywhere you visit, there seems to be a day trip for tourist to see the highlights of the area. The island of Bohol in the central Philippines is no different. The difference is this island is full of wonder and beauty and such a great experience.
The day began with a visit to the rain forest of Bohol and the Tarsier Sanctuary. Tarsiers are the world’s smallest primate, no bigger than the palm of your hand. For a small entrance fee, which was included in the cost of the day trip, you can trek into the viewing area. An area set aside four tourist to view this rare and endangered species. Every group is accompanied by a sanctuary guide which comes in handy. I don’t think I’d be able to spot these tiny primates on my own.
Tarsiers, it seems, have not been touched by evolution in thousands of years, with suction cups for finger tips. They are so rare they can only be found here in Bohol and on an island in nearby Indonesia.
They may have been transported here by aliens since they do resemble the Jedi Knight Yoda. Whatever the case maybe, seeing these wonderful Tarsiers was an incredible experience.
The excursion then took us through the beautiful countryside, covered with rice fields of Bohol to the Chocolate Hills.
These hillsides are mysteriously round. Of course, you can argue that the elements of rain and wind have caused the hillsides to form this way, if so, why isn’t the rest of the island this way or any part of the Philippines for that matter. The view from a top of the viewing platform, on a hillside, is spectacular. Fair warning, there are about a thousand steps to get up to the top of the platform.
These hills were given its name due to the fact that during the dry season the hills are brown with dead vegetation and resemble mounds of chocolate.
The next stop was a butterfly farm which I dreaded when I was first aware it was on the itinerary. Butterfly farms just don’t seem to scream adventure for me. But, to my surprise, I enjoyed the visit.
The guide provided by the farm was not only informative but also made the visit fun, as you can see in this photo as I take my first flight. The farm is also filled with wonderful fauna.
Down the road a bit, we stopped to cross the river on a suspended bamboo bridge. Why did we cross the bridge, you ask? So we could take touristy photos, of course. Coming from the US, bamboo bridges are nonexistent so we cross from one side of the river just to cross back again, for the experience.
The expedition took us further down river were we had a late lunch on a river barge on the Loboc River. The lunch was highlighted by local fair along with live music. During the cruise we witnessed beautiful riverscape views and local children swimming and diving from trees enjoying themselves as our barge moved up river. A long the river there were covered platforms to which I didn’t know purpose to. We came across one that was filled with locals dressed in tradition clothing. It was apparent that we would stop here to be entertained by the locals which also included their children.
This was the highlight of the cruise as they sang songs and performed the old traditional dance, the Tinikling. In this case, the children performed, dancing in rhythm back and forth as two poles are slammed together at their feet. It’s a delicate dance that takes timing and rhythm. These performances supplement the village’s income by producing donations and I was more than willing to give a donation for the wonderful performance I saw.
The tour included a visit to one of the old and historic churches in Tagbilaran but I didn’t have the heart to post a photo due to the damage caused by the recent earthquake.
The Bohol day tour was full of wonder and I enjoyed every minute of it.
As a side note, I was unsure if I would continue posting during my visit here in the Philippines as my father passed away. But, I’ve chosen to write again in hopes that this would provide for me some form of therapy, and to continue to show the world the wonderful country my father loved. I truly hope you enjoyed my land and the land of my forefathers.
(originally posted July 12, 2015)