Kiss the tarsier
Bohol Travel Blog› entry 20 of 31 › view all entries
Today I had the urge to throttle someone. I was at the Loboc Tarsier site, a DENR-approved site. The DENR probably decided to make one as a counter to all the illegal Tarsier cages that had proliferated before. I was jostling for pictures like everyone else, while one of the minders said, "No flash, please". I usually don't use flash anyway, and something about those eyes made me instinctively not use it. I was just about to take a photo, when next to me a woman suddenly clicked her picture. With flash! The poor tarsier closed its eyes, and I imagine, with pain. Her son said, "Mama, you'll blind the tarsier. Don't use flash!" The woman replied, "I'm sorry, I forgot! Ehehehehe".
I was at the Loboc, coming from the Chocolate Hills. That day I had decided to commute, instead of hiring transportation to take me everywhere. I thought I'd save money that way, and really, if you're traveling solo, then that was the only way. I took a V-Hire (air-conditioned public van) from the Dao terminal. Then from the junction to Chocolate Hills before the poblacion of Carmen, I took a habal-habal again and negotiated for a return-trip. The viewing site was full of tourists. One thing about Bohol that I noticed was that the tourist infrastructure was in place, hence the many visitors. The best time of the day to view the hills, according to guidebook, was at dawn or dusk.
After the Chocolate Hills, I took a bus to the town of Loboc. The bus was bursting with people, but there was always room for one more. I was wedged next to the opened bus doors, and on the step with me was the konduktor (bill collector). We stopped at a village and a woman got on, standing between us on the step. The guy had to hang on to the sides of the bus with his fingers and feet! We traveled that way for at least 2 kilometers, until enough people had gone down on the next stop for us to get further into the bus.
I asked to be dropped off at the road to the Tarsier Visitor Center, but I ended up at the Loboc site anyway, so I didn't go on to the center. Since it was noontime, I could still catch the Loboc River Cruise. The cruise really is very touristy, but I wanted to see the river anyway, and it had lunch. The tour costs around PhP 280. I spoke with a local tourism officer, and he said that they had to raise the price ever since they got a grant from the bank to make Loboc an eco-tourism venture. I didn't mind if it was helping the town.
The river that runs through Loboc was very pristine and very green.
When we got back at the Loboc church, I hung around looking for a bathroom. There was one near the church, but I ended up at a restaurant across the street. Before I took a jeep to Baclayon, I heard singing.
At Baclayon church I got my answer. The Flores de Mayo celebrations had arrived. In Visayas, it happened to be still strictly observed. Children would dress up in angel costumes and sing. At Baclayon church, I saw them running around in preparation. Also at Baclayon, the church-affiliated high school dance troop was performing a series of Philippine dances: Sayaw sa Bangko (Bench Dance) and Tinikling. I wasn't sure whether they were practicing for the Flores or just for the tourists, that began to arrive in vans. I even saw some that were with me on Loboc River. I decided to hang around for the children, but the mass had just begun and it was getting near dusk. Not knowing how far I still had to go, I left. But the commute was really worth it.