Day 3: Postcards Come to Life - Updating.........
Bohol Travel Blog› entry 6 of 6 › view all entries
January 17th, 2008 – by: JeAr
Our drive back to Bohol Island was more memorable because we're about to leave the paradise that was ours for almost three days. Even the sights that we passed when we first got there were more beautiful, more scenic. I still couldn't believe we're leaving Panglao already, but we're not doing it without visiting the Bohol Beach Club.
We're supposed to stay in that resort for our last night in Panglao, but we decided to just stay in Lost Horizon for another night because BBC's rates are more expensive and we wanted to save money so we could do dolphin-watching etc.
So, we entered the resort proper (we had to lie to the guard that we had a booking hehehe) and parked right in front of the reception area. Without stopping by the reception desk, we passed by a bar/resto and one of the pools within the resort, then went straight to the beach. I was right - the beach was gorgeous! Way bigger and better than Alona Beach! The sands were smoother, finer, and whiter, and the water itself was more blue-ish and serene-looking. Moreover, there were less people and less boats, so it definitely spells relaxation. I made a resolution to stay in BBC next time I go to Bohol (although I've heard that you can spend a day there for a fee without checking in).
Since it was almost noon, Mang Tony suggested that we do the Loboc River cruise first so we could have our lunch there and make it on time (they only do the cruise up to 2PM). On our way to the town of Loboc, we passed by the Blood Compact Site, but we didn't stop because we're kinda in a hurry and Mang Tony said we'd come back after we're done with our tour outside of Tagbilaran. We also passed by several towns which gave me a glimpse of how life is like in Bohol. Not bad, I thought then. Not bad at all.
When we arrived in Loboc, we went directly to the place where we can buy our tickets for the cruise.
The whole boat, I've heard, can carry up to 50 people at a time. Well, it looked like we were more than 50 at that time, that's for sure! There were a group of Korean/Japanese/Chinese tourists (couldn't tell for sure because I couldn't understand any of the three languages, and they all look the same to me hehehe).
The scenery along the river banks were quite pleasant. Don't expect too much from this cruise: there's no majestic waterfalls, exotic animals, towering mountains, or even indigenous tribes to be encountered along the way. Instead, you'd get a nice view of rural life in Bohol. There were some cute "bahay-kubos", and the notorious kids (they were featured on a TV show) who showed their "acrobatic" skills of climbing on top of slim coconut trees along the river and then jumping on the water just when the boat was too close.
The end of the cruise was a small waterfalls (more like rapids). When the barge started turning around for the trip back, it started raining (oh no!). Half-way down the river, our barged was attached to a small shed-like platform where a local choir we passed by earlier sang some local songs, both folk and pop. Some of the Asian tourists sat with them for photo-op and even tried playing the small guitar-like thingy (don't know what they're called lol) along with the choir. Lots of singing, lots of dancing, lots of laughter. I must say I did enjoy the entertainment that they gave us, no matter how simple it was.
The whole cruise took about an hour (round-trip) but all people on board really enjoyed as was evident in the big smiles on their faces. Then, exactly when we were getting in our car, it stopped raining :)
Chocolates are Green
After Loboc, we went straight to the town of Carmen to see the Choclate Hills. This was one of the highlights of my trip. All my life, I've heard about this cute piece of natural wonder and read about it in school books and stuff. Now, we're about to see the hills for real! On our way to Carmen, we passed by the man-made forest which was also scenic in itself (will talk about the spooky experience we've had here later). As we got closer to our destination and had a glimpse of some of the hills, our anticipation started building up even more.
We went up to Carmen Peak where they built an observation deck. Before we drove up the hill, we paid the conservation fee of P30 each (drivers are exempted). There's an area dedicated to parking, and there's a store/resto and comfort rooms as well. After getting out of the car, we climbed up to the deck to see the view and take pics. It was amazing! From a 360 degree angle, we saw hundreds of hills scattered all around and covering several towns. Almost all of them have the same size and shape. The experience was indescribable, almost surreal, like I was looking at a painting instead of an actual scenery. I used to look at these giant 'ant-hills' through books and postcards, and now I'm seeing them with my own eyes! Some can't help wondering how in hell were these hills formed by mother nature to look the way they do, and what their actual significance is.
Now, why are they called Chocolate Hills? Well, during the 'dry' season (April/May), the grasses and shrubs dry up leaving the brown soil bare, so they appear like hundreds of chocolate mounds. In fact, during those times, they start to taste like chocolates too, and greedy, chocolate-hungry people started getting big chunks off the hills resulting in the deterioration of some of them, so the Department of Environment and Natural Resources had to step in and protect the hills from destruction. Now, no one can eat them anymore, and only Koko Krunch is allowed to get a few chunks and keep the legend alive =D
Before going down, we made a silly wish in the wishing well. Next came the probably 100 plus steps to our car and out of the peak.
The Spooky Forest
We were driving really fast because it was already past 4PM, and we still have to see the tarsiers before the center closes. Our drive went well and smoothly until we got to the part where the road leads into the man-made forest.
This forest of tall mahogany trees were made by members of the Boys Scouts of the Philippines decades ago. Part of the road passes through the forest itself, and I must say that it was quite a scenic drive. The trees on both sides of the road form a canopy, making you feel like you're entering a tunnel. It was considerably darker within the 'tunnel' except for a few patches of sunlight filtered through the trees, creating a somewhat magical atmosphere all around.
Since there were very few cars passing by, we decided to pull over and take a few pics (although a video would've been better to capture the beauty of the forest). While Ross and I were busy taking pics of the forest and each other (hehehe), Mang Tony took a cig and poured some water on the car to cool it down. A few cars passed us by, plus the ever-present full bus with passengers and luggages on the roof. After a few minutes, we decided that it's time to go. So we got in the car, Mang Tony started the engine, then... nothing happened.
Wait a minute. Only a few minutes ago, we were driving smoothly on the road, and now it doesn't want to start? Uh oh.
Somehow, we were able to 'slide' our way out of the forest and into the open. When we saw a few houses down the road (there were very few of them), Mang Tony decided to get help. So a man who 'knows' some things about cars came to the rescue. Since I didn't know anything about cars, I just sat inside and didn't have any idea what they're doing.
Then, miraculously, the car started! Wooopeee! Mang Tony and the other man therefore concluded that we were 'cursed' in the forest by some mysterious beings for 'disturbing the peace' in their 'territory'. Now, Pinoys are generally superstitious, and they believe that there are un-earthly creatures living in isolated places un-touched by man, and that wandering to their turf could result in curses and bad luck on the unwary humans.
We did make a few stops to prevent the car from overheating, but other than that, the rest of the trip was okay. We're supposed to go to a hanging bridge for some taste of 'adventure', but we decided to forego it since it's almost 6Pm already, and just go straight to the tarsier center to take our chances and hopefully get there before it closes.
When Yoda and Gizmo Got Together...
...they sired the tarsiers!!! Yes, people, their decendants are in the Philippines!!! :)
We arrived at one of the places along Loboc River where tarsiers are on display. It was already past 6PM, so the place was closed.
Of course, I didn't know about this during that time. I thought that place was where they take care of the critters and raise awareness among the people. Had I known... Oh well. Long story short, we tried to take some pics, hang out a bit, then went on our way. I would've wanted to stay longer, and wished we've gone there earlier that day before doing the river cruise, but unfortunately, we didn't, and the spooky forest slowed us down. Geez, can't believe I just said that. I think all the superstition going on has started rubbing on me.
So went out of the gate and voila! Our car doesn't want to start. Again. Oh boy. Another 15 minutes before we finally started rolling on our way...
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