After Manila we flew to the awesome island of Bohol. We decided to stay near Alona Beach on the smaller island of Panglao which is attached to Bohol by two bridges. We had booked a cheap beach hut at a place called Chill Out resort which was a bit of a gamble as there were no photos of the resort online. We discovered that the Philippines is a lot more expensive for accomodation so we needed to book ahead to secure a cheap room. Anyway, when we arrived we found it was a lovely little place 5 minutes walk inland from the beach. Our room was modern and clean and we had a nice little balcony with a comfy longer – perfect!
Alona Beach looks like a postcard – long, white and fringed with palm trees. It’s pretty perfect. We didn’t actually have too long to spend on the beach as there were so many things we wanted to do in our 3 days on the island. We’re moving into wet season in the Philippines too so it is HUMID, one or two hours here and there on the beach is about all we could handle anyway!
Bohol is famous for its Chocolate Hills. These look like something out of a Disney film, strange brown/green mounds rolling as far as the eye can see. Legend says they were formed by the tears of a giant who used to live on the island. Whatever they are, they look amazing so we wanted to go and see them first hand. We decided to hire a motorbike to visit the Chocolate Hills along with another of Bohol’s attractions – the Tarsiers. Tarsiers are native to the Philippines and are an endangered species. They look like a cross between a tiny monkey and a gremlin. As babies they are as small as a human thumb and they only grow to be about 15cms in length, they hang out alone in trees and you can visit them in one of the specialist outdoor centres accompanied by a guide.
We left for our adventure just after lunch and arrived at the Tarsier centre early afternoon. We parked up and payed our entrance fee and were introduced to our guide, a girl who must have only been about 14 years old who lived with her family at the centre. She took us in to a small enclosed area of woodland and showed us 3 different Tarsiers, all nestled into the branches of different trees. Apparently they are loners and mark out their territory each morning, each staying there all day far away from the others.
We thought this little guy was pretty cute (note we didn’t use flash to take it!):
We then set straight off for the Chocolate Hills, we wanted to get there in time for sunset when the views are supposed to be the best. The roads on Bohol were pretty good, flat and tarmac with signs for any approaching blind bends. We drove through loads of villages, each with it’s own square and Catholic Church at the centre. We finally arrived at the Chocolate Hills around 5PM and dashed up to the viewpoint. With blue skies and puffy white clouds in the background, the Chocolate Hills looked incredible, I felt like I was in Shrek in Far Far Away! We admired the view from all angles and took loads of photos.
Here’s one of our favourite panoramic pics:
After this we sped off on our bike, eager to get home before dark on these unfamiliar roads. We were making decent progress, although the journey took longer than expected, until our old enemy came to get us again – a FLAT TYRE! Luckily Philippino people are super friendly so as soon as we started pushing the bike along the side of the road several people offered to help and we were directed to a Volcanising shop just a few minutes away. We immediately got special attention because we’re foreign and they started to patch up the inner tube right away.
Men at work:
15 minutes later we were on our way again, but we had to drive slowly as we know these patch ups often don’t last long otherwise. We crawled along in the dark and it took another hour and a half to get home. We went for a quick dinner and headed home to bed, we had a 4AM start the next day for our trip to Oslob to see the whale sharks – exciting!