Traveling to extraordinary sites is the focal point of any bucket list. Has the Philippine island of Bohol made it to your list?
Acclaimed as the world’s eighth wonder is Bohol’s Chocolate Hills. Feast your eyes on more than a thousand unusual geological formations that spread over a fifty square kilometer land area. They look like unwrapped chocolate kisses under the sun. Locals tell of their existence through legends and myths. Geology on the other hand, explains it as the erosion of limestones carried beyond sea level and fractured by divergent tectonic processes thousands of years ago.
The hills turn chocolatey during the dry season in late November until end of May. The coco-brown hills contrast with the island’s lush green jungle. Position yourself on the viewing deck in the town of Carmen or at the Sagbayan peak for a prized observation and photography.
The Philippine Tarsier is indigenous to the island. Be mesmerized by the world’s smallest primate in its natural habitat. It measures about 3.5 to 6 inches or 9 to16 cm excluding the tail which is twice its body. It is nocturnal, so mostly asleep on tree branches at daytime but with big round eyes that remain wide open. Don’t be deceived by those eyes; they are extremely sensitive to camera flash. Guides at the site encourage observers to stay quiet, keep a distance and no flash photography! The tarsier shows suicidal tendencies by banging its head on branches when under extreme stress or discomfort.
Exotic caves, cascading waterfalls, white sand beaches, exquisite diving spots and turquoise rivers abound in this island. After moving from site to site, a relaxing Loboc River Cruise with lunch on board is the next appealing attraction. It gently cruises through the town of Loboc via a winding waterway, claimed to be one of the cleanest in the country. Filipino delicacies of lechon, pata, pansit, seafoods, fruits and fresh coconut juice are served on board, depending on your choice of menu. The river cruise’s native comfort, friendly service and romantic Kundiman serenades truly entertain. It makes short stops to take on nature’s unspoilt river scenery and applaud local costumed children performing popular folk dances and songs on a makeshift riverbank stage.
Bohol is also well known for its heritage sites and stone churches like the Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Maria Church in Baclayon. A new efficient airport in Panglao, home to the island’s luxury resorts with ready guest transport await visitors upon landing. Welcome to Bohol.