** I don’t have enough disk space to upload all the pictures onto my laptop but here are the highlight pictures of my trip! Will post the rest soon!
Day 1: Sunday
We arrived at the Tagbilaran airport in Bohol at around 10:30. It was the smallest airport I have ever seen. Inside is just a single baggage carousel and nothing else. We stayed at my friend’s insanely beautiful home for the 4 days we were there (not pictures for privacy). We ate her mom’s home cooked meal for lunch, which consisted of a seaweed salad, grilled fish, garlic shrimp, and rice. We sat around my friend’s living room for a while and then took a quick nap before dinner time. For dinner we ate at a beach resort, where we went night swimming. It was so peaceful and relaxing because we had the pool to ourselves. You could also see the full moon and the stars in the sky clearly from the pool.
Day 2: Monday
Tarsier sanctuary ~ This was the place I was the most excited for. Tarsiers are known as the “smallest monkeys in the world” and they can only be found in the Philippines. When we went it was around 10, so it was their nap time so most of the tarsiers were sleeping. Thankfully, there were some that were awake because they’re known for their huge eyes and for being one of the few that are exclusively carnivorous. They’re no bigger than the size of a person’s hand and they look so fragile and adorable. Apparently, Prince Harry bought a tarsier from bohol but it died on the way due to stress. The tarsiers are actually prone to suicide by wrapping their tails around their neck, which is why the sanctuaries no longer let tourists hold the tarsiers like times before in order to keep them from going extinct.
ATV riding through the Chocolate Hills~ I was surprised at how easy it is to actually operate an ATV. Although getting sand in your eyes is inevitable, it was so much fun to be able to speed as fast as you wanted as there was no traffic whatsoever. We had the whole road to ourselves and with an amazing view of the hills.
Actual Climb to Chocolate Hills ~ The hills got this nickname because they used to look like Hershey’s kisses – not because they’re actually made of chocolate or are growing cocoa trees. Bohol experienced a 7.2 magnitude earthquake around 3 years ago and not only did it damage most of the buildings, it also affected the shape of the hills. Nonetheless, it’s still an amazing view and it can be seen after going through a 217 steps long climb.
Man-Made Forest ~ This man-made forest can be seen on the way back from the Chocolate Hills. It was made a reforestation project because of the kaingin aka “slash and burn” farming system during WW2. As a result, the Bilar man-made forest became a part of Loboc Watershed Reforestation Project. It was a fun place to take pictures because we had to keep dodging cars that were on the road in order to do so.
Loboc River & Lunch Cruise ~ There was basically a large bamboo boat/raft that took a tour around the Loboc River while also being able to eat lunch on it. The view was nice, the food was all you can eat, and the weather was perfect. We ended up having a late lunch (around 2pm) so not a lot of people were on the boat which was nice so we could have it all to ourselves.
Prony- The Largest captive Python in the Philippines ~ We went to a snake sanctuary afterwards, where it held the largest python in the Philippines. Apparently Prony, the largest, died but its skeleton is still displayed at the sanctuary. Its offspring known as Prony 2, which isn’t as big but the 2nd biggest. took her place and is shown as pictured. We were allowed to touch the snakes and be in the cage with them. *(More pictures to follow)
video link: Yasmin and the snakes
Baclayon Church ~ It was currently under renovation from the earthquake so there wasn’t much to picture but it was Bohol’s the second oldest stone church in the Philippines (the oldest is San Agustin Church in Manila).
Blood Compact Shrine ~ This was where the first treaties made by the Spanish, Legazpi, and Filipinos, Datu Sikatuna. It’s called a blood compact or Sandugo (“one blood”) because they would slit their arms with a dagger and pour their blood into a cup of wine and they would both drink it as a sign of friendship.
Day 3: Tuesday
Shell Museum: *no pictures yet
Alona Beach: *pictures to come
Bohol Bee Farm~We ate here for lunch. It is an actual bee farm but we didn’t take the tour and only ate lunch. They served a homegrown honey spread which was amazing. I had the honey glazed chicken which was also delicious (I also finished it before remembering to take a picture). Right below the restaurant was also a small waterfront area, as shown in the pictures. *more pictures to come
Dauis church, which was also under reconstruction so I couldn’t get a nice picture of the inside. Inside there’s a miraculous well but was covered to keep from getting the debris from the renovations from getting inside. According to the legend, the people of Dauis were being invaded by pirates and sough refuge in the church. They were running out of water supply and a well appeared miraculously at the foot of the altar and the water is said to have healing powers.
video: reconstruction work
* (the well photo below is not mine; just for visual aid)
Day 4: Wednesday
Balicasag Island ~ An insanely beautiful island just an hour boat ride to get there. Here, we went snorkeling for a good three hours. We saw the giant clams, the sea turtles, and fish sanctuary.
Virgin Islands: Another 30 minutes from Balicasag was the Virgin Islands. It has a new nickname now because a new politician owns the island but it’s still commonly known as the virgin islands. It’s known for it’s white sand bar, which felt like walking on flour. It was the softest sand in the world. You could swim in the water but it was pretty shallow and you could easily find starfish and other small fishes in the water.