Day-Touring Bohol: Chocolate Hills, Tarsier, Loboc and More!

I had 3 flights to Bohol that all got cancelled for various reasons – budget, leave not approved, and that earthquake. Finally in between the Christmas and New Year holidays of 2015, I hopped on a plane by myself and headed to Tagbilaran. But actually, Mary was already waiting for me there since she spent Christmas with her family in Bohol.

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Day-Touring Bohol: Chocolate Hills, Tarsier, Loboc and More! Panglao sunset

It was only for the weekend as work decided not to free me up for the tax season (a trainer has perks and responsibilities, you know). So we had to stay one night in Panglao, and another in Tagbilaran itself to meet her mother.

The resort we found (needless to say, it was difficult to find one on a peak season) hired a driver to pick us up at the airport. He offered his Mitsubishi Montero for a land tour the following day after he asked what we planned to do the following day.

Kuya Michael took us to the following places (package rate below):

CHOCOLATE HILLS IN CARMEN, BOHOL

One of the Philippines’ national geological monument, the hills number to more than a thousand and are spectacular to view from the deck. It might be hot on the deck as it’s an open air, under-repair facility at the time we were there. Make sure to bring your umbrella, sunglasses and maybe put on your sunscreen.

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Day-Touring Bohol: Chocolate Hills, Tarsier, Loboc and More! Chocolate Hills and the Gopro!

Entrance Fee: PhP 50 per person

While you’re there, check out what else you can do at the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park! As for Mary and myself, we drove off a buggy for a good half hour.

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Day-Touring Bohol: Chocolate Hills, Tarsier, Loboc and More! Buggy around the Chocolate Hills

BACLAYON CHURCH IN BACLAYON, BOHOL

La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Maria Parish Church is made of coral stones but has suffered heavily in the 2013 7.2-magnitude quake that rocked Central Visayas. Not only is it the second oldest stone church in the country, it was also shortlisted to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site until it sustained major damage after the quake.

Entrance Fee: Php 25, but still being renovated as of December 2015

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Day-Touring Bohol: Chocolate Hills, Tarsier, Loboc and More! Baclayon Church under renovation

TARSIER SANCTUARY IN CORELLA, BOHOL

They’re a little elusive to catch, really. Since they are as small as a man’s fist, it’s difficult to spot them when they cling to branches because the leaves camouflage them. While they are known to be the smallest primates, they are not as rowdy  and naughty as the other primates we know. They actually look scared, or shy, to say the least. The tarsier actually reminds me of the Steven Spielberg creation ET, with its huge eyes and peculiar fingers.

The unfortunate event of corrupted flash drives rendered my close-up photos of the tarsier utterly useless. Lesson? Always transfer your files right after the trip.

Entrance Fee: PhP 50 per person

SANDUGO: BLOOD COMPACT IN TAGBILARAN, BOHOL

You will remember the word “Sandugo” because of your Philippine history books and teachers, and maybe when you grow older and more outdoorsy, you come to know of it because of a brand of hiking sandals. However you understand the word, the monument will remind you that the Spaniards, led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, befriended Datu Sikatuna, after unsuccessfully settling in Cebu and northern Mindanao.

No entrance fee, with a stunning view of the sea in the background.

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Day-Touring Bohol: Chocolate Hills, Tarsier, Loboc and More! Sandugo!

BUTTERFLY CONSERVATION CENTER IN BILAR, BOHOL

With about 20 species of butterflies tucked safely in the 30×30 net enclosure, it is both educationally beneficial and environmentally impacting to visit this butterfly haven. Not only do kids and adults learn about the life (longest span is 2 months), of the butterfly, but it also helps in the center’s advocacy to release butterflies back to the wild and sell butterfly by-products. The employees there actually have developed some playful camera skills such as seen below.

Entrance Fee: PhP 50 per person

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Day-Touring Bohol: Chocolate Hills, Tarsier, Loboc and More! Spread your wings and fly… My butterfly!

 

MAN-MADE MAHOGANY FOREST IN BILAR, BOHOL

The two-kilometer forest in the borders of Loboc and Bilar, has 60+ year old trees lining the road like an arch blocking the sunlight or a light drizzle. You won’t miss it on the way to Chocolate Hills.

No entrance fee, just be careful of vehicles passing by.

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Day-Touring Bohol: Chocolate Hills, Tarsier, Loboc and More! The man-made mahogany forest in Loboc and Bilar

PYTHON SANCTUM IN ALBURQUERQUE, BOHOL

If Agusan had Lolong, the largest crocodile living in captivity, then Bohol had Prony, the longest (23ft) and heaviest (300kg) Python in captivity. She died at 17 in August 2013 for unknown reasons, but is survived by another male python, which is still being shown in the sanctum slash prison. There were so many smaller snakes kept in plastic containers, and other animals that I don’t think were treated correctly. I even asked myself if the place had a registration to “care” for such animals. It badly needs an upgrade, and the people in it needs to undergo legit animal care training.

Entrance Fee: PhP 10 (but I do not clearly remember).

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Day-Touring Bohol: Chocolate Hills, Tarsier, Loboc and More! The smaller albino python at the sanctuary

LOBOC RIVER CRUISE AND ATI VILLAGE IN LOBOC, BOHOL

There are two companies running the lunch and dinner buffet in the river, and I remember that we had to go to the newer one because the queue was so bad. We were able to secure two seats with the help of Kuya Michael. Do not expect too much for the food, it’s not fine dining. You are served one drink (a cola or juice) and the rest is unlimited. We get off the Ati village along the river for some pictures with the bayawak (Philippine Monitor Lizard) and snakes, Ati children and locals. You can give a tip if you took pictures with them. The cruise runs for about an hour with a local singer either serenading or rocking (literally) the boat.

Entrance Fee: PhP 450 per person

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Day-Touring Bohol: Chocolate Hills, Tarsier, Loboc and More! Music and food!

 

 

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Day-Touring Bohol: Chocolate Hills, Tarsier, Loboc and More! Ati Village in Loboc

 

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Day-Touring Bohol: Chocolate Hills, Tarsier, Loboc and More! The “Pabebe” girls of Loboc

Because we went there during the holiday season and we didn’t want to plan an itinerary and worry about commuting, we hired Kuya Michael for PhP 2,500 for the day. He took most of our pictures, found convenient spots, and drove us safely in the comfort of his kin’s Montero sport.

The rates for bigger groups are as follows:

4-5 pax: PhP 3,000, 6-7 pax: PhP 3,500

You can reach Michael at: 0920-860-6757. Don’t forget to say hi for us!

On our next Bohol visit, we will definitely get wet, so watch our for that.

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Day-Touring Bohol: Chocolate Hills, Tarsier, Loboc and More! Panglao afternoon

 

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