Sunday, April 8, 2012
Bohol: Rich in History, Culture and Island Adventure
The morning after, I was fetched by Gery, a DOT accredited tour operator, who services groups and brings them to the tourist spots around Bohol. Of course, my Bohol trip will never be complete without seeing the famous Chocolate Hills. The viewing deck is situated at Carmen, where the Chocolate Hills National Monument is located. There are approximately 1,776 hills, which are actually grass covered limestones, scattered in as much as 50 sq. kilometers covering several towns in Bohol.
Another must see are the tarsiers! The Tarsier Sanctuary, a more tarsier-friendly home for the primates, is located at the town of Corella. It currently houses 113 tarsiers as of today, and will soon spike up as the mating season ended last October/November, and the tarsiers will soon be ready to bare little tarsiers. These creatures measure up to 5-6 inches big, and can live up to 15-20 years in captivity.
Before, people were able to hold the tarsiers, but they noticed that when the tarsiers get stressed they tend to bang their heads and go suicidal, so the new Tarsier Sanctuary do not allow people to hold the tarsiers anymore. They teach the tourists the value of conservation and protection of the tarsiers, and providing for a sustainable eco-tourism adventure spot.
The Immaculate Conception Church in Baclayon, or more commonly known as the Baclayon Church is another must see. It is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines, believed to be built in 1595, when the Jesuits arrived in Bohol from Cebu. It was built from coral stones and cemented with egg white. The current building was completed in 1727. Adjoining the church is the old convent, where the priests lived. It now houses a small museum of centuries-old church artifacts, religious relics, and antiques from the 16th century. I was lucky to have heard the internationally famous Loboc Children’s Choir, practicing for a wedding that afternoon.
For a leisurely lunch, you must try the Loboc River Cruise, an hour ride down the Loboc River on a floating restaurant with a buffet Filipino lunch and an on-board live entertainment, which ends at the Busay Falls, which is just more than a meter high. As the boat takes off, the buffet and the singing begin. As you are eating you can enjoy the lush greens slowly sliding along your table, while being serenaded by either a band or a local singer.
From lunch, we headed back to my resort at Amorita in Panglao, but before that, we passed through 3 stops, one is the Blood Compact Monument in Tagbilaran City, where it commemorates the symbol of friendship sealed between the Spanish and Filipinos when Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna (the chieftain of Bohol), made the Sandugo or blood compact on March 16, 1565.
The next is pasalubong shopping at the only DOT accredited local delicacy shopping
center in Bohol. I bought a lot of Peanut Kisses to give to my family and friends. The peanut kisses is actually crisp and crunchy peanut and egg white cookies, a Bohol delicacy in honor of the Chocolate Hills.
Lastly, I asked to be brought to the Bohol Bee Farm, not to see the bees, but to take a look at the nice organic farming and organic products they have at the farm-resort. Their fresh food and organic offerings which you can take home to your family are really a treat! Do not forget to try their homemade ice cream and fresh spreads and honey. I personally liked the malunggay ice cream, which I now crave for.