I’ve got to admit, I have not been to a lot of places in the Philippines. I started traveling more outside the country because international flight tickets are actually cheaper than the domestic ones (except when you are the type of person who books in advance during promo period). Booking ahead of time just doesn’t work for me as there’s always last minute plans, events, meetings, etc. And I hate having a flight ticket go to waste, even if I got it from a piso fare promo. Hey, its still money!
Every time I’m in a foreign country, this conversation always happens:
Stranger: So where are you from?
Stranger: Oh wow, where in the Philippines?
Stranger: Nice! I’ve been to Cebu, Palawan (insert all other tourist destinations here). So beautiful there!
Me: Oh, I haven’t been…
And trust me, this ends with me feeling sorry for myself haha!
So when I nabbed a job that includes me traveling around the Philippines, I was ecstatic! I’ll finally get to see some places around my very own country (not everywhere, but it’s definitely a beginning!).
The first place that I am writing for this Traveling around the Philippines series is Bohol. A rich province in the Visayas region, popular for its beaches, unique land formation, home to the world’s smallest primates and diving spots. Since I have no idea what the place has to offer in terms of accommodation, I had to Google for the best budget accommodation in Bohol which I found through Traveloka. As soon as I had secured and booked my accommodation, I knew that I am all ready to go.
Again, I’m not going there for sight-seeing so I was beyond thankful to have half a day to see three tourist attractions: Tarsier Sanctuary, Chocolate Hills, and The Bohol Forest. We hired a van to take us there for P2,000 (we were a group of 5).
1. Tarsier Sanctuary
60 pesos entrance fee with orientation
The Philippine tarsier measures only about 85 to 160 mm (3.35 to 6.30 in) in height, making it one of the smallest primates. We came in the morning so all the tarsiers were still sleeping and didn’t get the chance to see their infamous eyes…
Trivia: The female tarsier has multiple sets of breasts, but the only functional set is at the pectoralis. The other breasts are used as anchor points for the newborn tarsiers. The gestation period lasts 180 days, or 6 months, after which only one tarsier is born. The newborn tarsier is born with much fur and eyes open.
Like all tarsiers, the Philippine tarsier’s eyes are fixed in its skull; they cannot turn in their sockets. Instead, a special adaptation in the neck allows its round head to be rotated 180°. Their eyes are disproportionately large, having the largest eye-to-body size ratio of all mammals. These huge eyes provide this nocturnal animal with excellent night vision. In bright light, the tarsier’s eyes can constrict until the pupil appears to be only a thin line. In darkness, the pupil can dilate and fill up almost the entire eye. The large ears are appear to be almost constantly moving, allowing the tarsier to hear any movement.
2. Chocolate Hills
50 pesos entrance fee
Featured in the provincial flag and seal to symbolize the abundance of natural attractions in the province. The Chocolate Hills are conical karst hills similar to those seen in the limestone regions of Slovenia, Croatia, northern Puerto Rico, and Pinar del Río Province, Cuba. They are in the Philippine Tourism Authority’s list of tourist destinations in the Philippines, have been declared the country’s third National Geological Monument and proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
There are at least 1,260 hills but there may be as many as 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres (20 sq mi). They are covered in green grass that turns brown (like chocolate) during the dry season, hence the name.
3. The Bohol Forest
No entrance fee
A man-made mahogany forest stretching in a two-kilometer stretch of densely planted Mahogany trees is listed as one of the 7 Fun Places You Need to Visit When in Bohol. The man-made forest stands out because of the uniformity in height of the big trees, the spread of its branches, thickness and design of leaves.
This rainforest is about 20 kilometers from Tagbilaran City. Plying the interior road from the capital, one passes the town of Loboc and what the Boholanos call the “tina-i sa manok” (chicken’s intestines) which refers to the winding road up the mountain of Loboc going towards Bilar.
After the forest, one passes two towns, the town of Bilar and Batuan, and arrives at Carmen town where the famous chocolate hills are sighted. Carmen is where you find hundreds of chocolate hills which are uniform in shape and size.
There are so many other places to visit in Bohol and I am sure that I will be back soon and I’ll be bringing my boyfriend next time! Have you been to Bohol, which one is your favourite tourist spot?