I’ll be honest with you: for 3.5 days we have not left our hotel and the heavenly beach on tiny Filipino Panglao! After a little tiring trip from Hong Kong (taxi-plane-taxi-ferry-Filipino ‘tuk-tuk’) we arrived here shortly before New Year’s Eve. We spent it barefoot on a beach with fireworks over the palms – a beautiful entry into 2016 with the following days being as lazy as it gets… breakfast, beach, pool, beach, folding bed, book, lunch, pool, folding bed, beach, walk, book, dinner, playroom, terrace, book. We enjoy the weather and the fact that we’re spending almost whole days walking barefoot, in shorts or bikinis because we’re living right at the beach! Amazing feeling! After more than 3 days of doing nothing we decided to visit nearby Bohol island which almost seems like part of Panglao (they’re connected with a bridge).
Filipino Bohol island is a part of Central Visayas region. The nearest locations from here are other islands – Cebu, Leyte and Mindanao. It’s Cebu we arrived in from Hong Kong (a direct flight with Cebu Pacific) and then we took a ferry from Cebu to Bohol. Bohol also has its own airport – in Tagbilaran – we’ll use it to fly towards Manila later on and then towards home eventually. But right now we’re sightseeing! 🙂
We knew that we wanted to see Chocolate Hills, and meet the little animals Bohol is known for – Philippine tarsiers. Heard about those? Tiny creatures with huge eyes! I was sure Maks will fall in love with them. WE have ourselves one day for Bohol so that we don’t waste the time we could spent in our own paradise 🙂
How to move around Bohol?
Renting a car was the best idea for us – in our case it was around PLN 200 for a day. We rented the car through our hotel’s reception which must have been a little more expensive but in return the car was waiting for us on the hotel parking right after the breakfast. A comfortable car, one of the best kept that we ever rented. We considered a scooter too but we came to a conclusion that the distance between our hotel and Chocolate Hills (more than 80-90 km depending on the route) is too big to travel with a kid on our side.
We planned the trip and went along! 🙂
What to see in Bohol in 1 day?
1) Chocolate Hills
A definite no.1!Chocolate Hills are a series of mountainous hills (there’s more than 1200 of them!) of varying height (from 30 to 100 metres) which cover the central part of Bohol near the city of Carmen. They look quite incredible, even know when they’re not Chocolate at all, rather grass-green. Real, brown chocolate hills can be seen in the dry period – from February to May.
The best way to get there is by taking the road to Carmen and then the signs will lead you to the Chocolate Hills Complex view terrace. These really look impressive! Another view terrace is called Sagbayan Peak.
What’s interesting is the fact that one of the flagship products that can be bought on Bohol – Peanut Kisses also reminds us of the Chocolate Hills. It’s a small crispy cookie made from peanuts, sugar and eggs shaped in – you guessed it – the famous hills :). You can see them HERE. Obviously I managed to devour the whole packet that was lying innocently in my hotel minibar;) Nice to chew on but not a thing I will dream about..
2) Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella
You’ve definitely seen it in a picture but I’m pretty sure you don’t know that much about them! Tarsiers can be found here in Bohol but also on Indonesian islands – Sumatra and Celebes. They are small and can easily fit into a man’s palm. At least if they thought about approaching a human. Tarsiers are members of prosimians and the slowest growing mammals when it comes to foetal development – they get only 23 g of weight in 6 months! The can also turn their heads by 180 degrees which makes up for their huge eyes that are constantly looking forward.
Don’t expect attractions similar to a visit to macaques when you go and visit tarsiers (check our report from Monkey Forest in Ubud on Bali). Tarsiers relax and nap during the day, they’re only active at night. In addition they don’t like being woken up. You cannot scream in their presence or take pictures with flash since they’re very sensitive and such experiences may even result in them having suicide thoughts. They also don’t like leaving in a group so in Philippine Tarsiers Sanctuary in Corella a guide shows them to you – they spend their time alone, far from each other, hidden somewhere in the trees or branches. However, they can easily make kids fall in love with them!!! 🙂
3) Bamboo Hanging Bridge in Sevilla
Sevilla on Bohol doesn’t have that much in common with the Spanish one – it’s a small village similar o dozens of other villages but it’s worth visiting due to a bamboo bridge suspended over the river. The bridge trembles and shakes when you walk it but it’s quite short and even the fainthearted should make it. On the other side you will mostly find souvenirs (pretty much all with tarsiers!), little toys and magnets. But be careful! Reportedly children get tantrums there and want you to buy all of the tarsiers, tarsier hats, tarsier bags and a bunch of monkeys too.
4) Floating restaurant and Loboc river cruise
In the city of Loboc which is considered one of the attractions too, there are boat restaurants leaving for cruises on which you can see the area and eat lunch on your little vessel. The views are amazing however similar to Thailand and Indonesia which we already know quite well – palms, wild nature, a boat here and there, some wooden or bamboo huts. Even though we’ve seen it so many times, such views never get boring for us! A nice thing! 🙂
The bad thing? A very touristic, fake atmosphere. Local food in this version is far from good. Same goes for local bands who wait for the next boat to come looking boring as hell.
If we were to choose again I guess we would have gone for a cruise without lunch.. But now.. we were hungry, we planned a further journey so it was convenient to eat on a boat, but what can I say – food on such attractions is usually poor. Add Filipino cuisine which is generally quite dull – no culinary delights here. We liked fruits the most and kalamay a local dessert made from sticky rice, brown sugar and coconut milk. It’s not chocolate but for me there’s something special about Asian desserts and I love trying them out!
We’re doing nothing today once again while tomorrow we’re taking a boat cruise around the paradise islands!:) Stay tuned:)