Behold Bohol….Hershey’s Kisses and all.
Michael from NRV tours (and my new Filipino family) picked me up for our tour of the Philippines’ version of my favorite game from when I was a child – Candy Land – Bohol. (Pronounced less like butthole and more like Bo Hall I learned.) First on the list and the reason I am in Bohol are the Chocolate Hills which we lovingly referred to as the Mint Chocolate Hills as while typically brown during the dry season hence the name (and in my opinion shaped like a bunch of Hershey’s Kisses), they are green right now. There are some 1200 to 1700 hills here next in line to become an Unesco World Heritage site. It is a geological anomaly like no other. The locals say they believe this phenomenon is the result of being on the Ring of Fire and due to the numerous earthquakes over thousands of years. There are other explanations out there but in truth no one really knows the cause as it is not replicated anywhere else in the world I’m told. The legend of the province however is that a giant whose heart was broken by his lover, forever cried tears over his loss and those tears formed these hills. I myself am a fan of the legends!
To get to the Chocolate Hills you have to travel through the Manmade Forest. (See what I mean….Candy Land!) The Manmade Forest is a conservation project where students planted trees back in the 60s and now the trees are big and lush and lean towards each other creating a canopy or gazebo effect over the road. I dreamt about this place once and have been looking for it on my journey throughout the world. Here she is in Bohol. Finally! Now I just have to find the pier I dreamt about once. I dreamt that I walked down this long pier and the men I met throughout my life were on either side of the pier but when I reached the end of the pier I sat down next to the love of my life although (unfortunately) I never got to see his face. Still looking for the pier and who knows if I’m still looking for the man 🙂
After the Manmade Forest, Michael took me to the Hanging Bamboo Bridges. They need the “Slippery when Wet” sign there that they have at the golf course during the Masters in Augusta. Strangely, I had a blast traversing the wet bamboo bridges knowing at any moment it could give way and at many moments I thought it actually might! The locals tell me not to worry as bamboo is stronger than steel. I politely nodded when they told me this rather than changing the game from Candy Land to Bullsh*t 😉
Michael also took me to the Butterfly Garden where I learned so many interesting things about butterflies including the 21 day life span of the ones here compared to the Monarch’s life span of 9 to 11 months and the remarkable half male half female butterfly which I nicknamed the Thai ladyboy. This anomaly is actually a butterfly where one half of the body has a smaller more colorful wing and is male and the other half has a much larger wing but is less colorful. It was the first time I have been to a butterfly garden and learned something so I encourage you to go.
Our final stop was the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary. It is important to distinguish this from the Tarsier Conservation Area and make your tour guide takes you to the correct one. The former one is where the tarsier resides in its natural habitat. The latter has been cited for inhumane treatment of animals and is a for profit place which must be avoided. The tarsier is an endangered primate species in the Philippines and it is no bigger than the size of your fist and has eyes bigger than its brain. Kind of reminded me of baby Ewoks from Star Wars. So cute! They can only have one baby a year which is in part why they are endangered but what I found most interesting aside from how small they are, is that they are loners. They are always by themselves except the females for 6 months with their one baby. They only mate with the male once a year and then the male tarsier leaves. Of course, the baby leaves after 6 months not 18 years but still I can relate having raised Lexi alone and now am traveling the world alone.
It was a lovely day and I highly recommend contacting Michael at NRV (see FB) to set up your tours for your stay in Bohol. He can help with transportation to Oslob for swimming with the whale sharks or island hopping tours as well when you are in the area, hotel recommendations and ferries from Cebu, etc.
Once back at Alona Beach, I enjoyed another much needed massage, some dinner on the beach, ice cream from Yonk and people watching before heading back to my mat as I have an early morning tomorrow.
That’s all for now from Candy Land.