Part 2: Chocolate Hills

Bohol Travel Blog

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Chocolate Hills

We continue our trip, straight to the heart of Bohol. The landscape flattens, and here and there bald hills suddenly erupt from the jungle. We are getting close to the Chocolate Hills!

 

In the middle of Bohol there are about 1,200 near-identical small hills, bald except for grasses. It makes for a unique and bizarre landscape and still baffles the scientists. The most recent theory holds that millons of years ago big coral reefs where pushed up and became the Hills. The local population, however, has another suggestion: they are the solidified tears of a giant, who could not reach his beloved. (It must be the same giant who built the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. See my Ireland blog.) Our driver made a third suggestion: they are the droppings of a huge water buffalo.

how do you like my moustache
Also very plausible.

 

They are called the chocolate hills because the grasses turn a chocolate brown during the dry season. It makes them look like chocolate ice-cream. While we were there, however, the grasses were green, making them look like pistache ice-cream. But I like them better this way.

 

There is much more to be seen on Bohol, and our driver showed us basically everything. There is a very nice butterfly garden, a piece of manmade forest which is basically the oldest forest on the island, the old Spanish church at Baclayon, a big python in a cage and a monument of the blood pact made between the Spanish and the Boholeans. I would almost forget the hanging bridge, where a Filippino who called himself Buko King claimed to open coconuts with his teeth for 120 pesos. We bought some peanut kisses, a Bohol snack.

On Balicasag

 

Balicasag

 

The Philippines are one of a few countries in the world which are classified as megadiverse. Which means that half of Bohol’s treasures are to be found offshore. Bohol is a worldclass place for snorkling and diving.

 

We booked passage to Balicasag, a tiny island, nothing more than a piece of forest in the ocean, 45 mins away from Bohol. On our way we crossed a group of dolfins, who came within 10 meters of our boat. We also saw tiny flying fish that jump out of the water with the whole school together.

Leaving Balicasag
The island itself had beautiful white beaches of exotic seashells.

 

It was my first time snorkling and I only realized at the last moment that one cannot snorkle with glasses on! No problem though, the reefs are only 2 to 3 meters deep and the water is cristal clear. You can see up to 10 meters or so. The reefs of Balicasag encircle the island for about a 100 meters before dropping down 50 meters into the deep blue. The underwater cliffs and crevasses make a fascinating view.

 

I saw all sorts of things: corals of all shapes, sizes and colors, sponges, anemones, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, sea stars and even two fairly large sea turtles! And off course fishes. Sometimes I found myself within a school of tiny fishes, or I saw a school of bigger fish moving along like a huge mass deep down. There were lots of tiny, colorfull fish in the corals too and thick blue sea stars.

 

I never really expected to see a coral reef with my own eyes. It is so much more rewarding to see it in real instead of in an aquarium. I could stay in that world forever. But now it is time to finish my internship.

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Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills
how do you like my moustache
how do you like my moustache
On Balicasag
On Balicasag
Leaving Balicasag
Leaving Balicasag
Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills
Cant see the difference
Cant see the difference
Big butterfly
Big butterfly
the terribly exciting hanging brid…
the terribly exciting hanging bri…
Dolfins
Dolfins
Dolfins
Dolfins
Leaving Panglao
Leaving Panglao
On Balicasag
On Balicasag
On Balicasag
On Balicasag
Clear water
Clear water
Bohol
photo by: ted332