Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bohol



Can't say enough good things about Bohol. It's hard to ignore its natural beauty, colonial history, lush tropical landscape, uncrowded beaches, all packaged in rustic simplicity. In short, this island will not remain below the radar screen for much longer.

It was wise to hire a guide who drove us to the places we wanted to see. The roads to touristic spots were well paved and traveling was comfortable in the airconditioned Combi. From Tagbilaran City we went inland to gape at the Chocolate Hills. On the way we stopped at the monument of the historic blood compact between the Spaniard, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and local leader, Datu Sikatuna. So much for pacts of friendship! History can attest to that.

The man made mahogany forest is the work of one leader, a former Governor of Bohol, who cared enough about his province and his people to initiate the planting of mahogany trees covering an area that spans 2 kilometers. It's taken 40 years for these trees to mature and the area is protected from logging.

Forging the hanging bamboo bridge is a little scary because it sways with the slightest movement. I tried to walk on the bridge but turned back after a few feet. Locals though are sure footed and have no qualms about the river below.

It's hard to resist the palm sized tarsiers who seem to have a smile on their faces even when they are taking a nap. It was a feat to take any photos at all with so many people surrounding the wide eyed tarsiers. Touching them is a no no. They are too delicate.

Just before sunset we walked along one of Panglao Island's empty stretch of white sand beaches. It was the perfect way to toast the quiet beauty of Bohol.

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