Our last full day in the Philippines was spent on an island nearby called Bohol. This island has the famous Chocolate Hills, which I was dying to see! We went ahead and made that happen as we got onto a ferry early morning. The ferry ride took a few hours and was mostly a smooth ride. Once we arrived, we met with our driver, a local to Bohol. He was really friendly and had a lot of information to share with us, so we learned a lot of history along the way! 🙂
Our first stop was at a very, very, old church from I think the 1600’s. It was under renovation so we couldn’t see its full beauty, but it was still nice to see. The structures were clearly aged. We were in awe of how beautiful and intricate it was. I had never seen buildings this old, so it was a nice treat along the trip. 🙂
Moving along, we stopped at the Blood Compact, which has significant history as well. We learned that the Spaniards came to the Philippines around this exact spot. Then, after some hardships, the Filipinos and Spaniards made a pact: after pouring some wine, cutting their hand, and pouring their blood into the goblets, they drank. This sealed their alliance and reminded me greatly of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. 😛 Inspiration much?
Next on our tour, we had some lunch. But not like usual dining–we boarded a cruise ship and had a buffet style meal. The cruise went along the Loboc River, which was mostly green / brown but filled with lush trees–beautiful.
The cruise lasted around an hour, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We especially liked the performance some local children did. They sang and danced to some ukulele music, which was so cute! Definitely a highlight of the cruise. 🙂
The next location was to visit the home of tarsiers. Tarsiers are one of the smallest primates and we got to see several cute ones! These animals are nocturnal so most of them were sleeping when we visited. So cute. 🙂 It was fun to see them as they are about the size of a fist, so getting them in photos required some zoom functions. 😉
We were then finally getting to the destination I was dying to see: The Chocolate Hills! Some stairs had to be climbed but no big deal. The views were amazing! The Hills were such a beautiful sight and exactly how I had pictured them to be like. The weather was fairly good with some clouds, but still bright. We spent a good half hour gazing at these interesting, natural hills and of course found ourselves taking as many photos as possible. Did you know that the Chocolate Hills were actually formed by corals underneath? The island used to be engorged with ocean, so hence the corals. Beautiful sight, aye?
It was really hard to imagine anything better than this highlight during our tour, so it was sad to have to leave this wonderful sight. 😦
To finish off our tour, we stopped at a hanging bridge and butterfly sanctuary which was a short stop and kiiiind of a tourist trap, but it was fine. The same happened with viewing some exotic animals but I think the driver was close friends with the owner. Interestingly enough, the owner was really keen to take photos with us and I’m pretty sure he wanted our faces on some banners at his shop, so I guess maybe we are on some banners about now. 😛
Whew, our busy, but wonderful day on Bohol. I feel that we saw a lot in one day so I don’t regret doing a tour. The Chocolate Hills were definitely a highlight of the trip. Maybe if I had more time, I would find myself on the beaches.
So after that day tour, we were back to the ferry and discovered that we were totally ripped off from our taxi driver earlier that day and paid almost double the fare. Ugh. Well, that is bound to happen when you’re a foreigner: you become an easy target sometimes. Overall, it was just a minor inconvenience and didn’t ruin our experience on Bohol! 🙂