Because we were flying to Philippines through Cebu I could not resist to see tarsiers and Chocolate Hills before heading to Coron. It was really short visit to Bohol but tarsiers and hills are really worth seeing.
Chocolate Hills owes its name to their color in the dry season – from February to May, when they resemble mounds of chocolate. I had the opportunity to see them in the green version ;) These are limestone hills that arose as a result of weathering of rocks for millions of years. On the Bohol Island there is about 1300 such hills with a height from thirty to one hundred meters.
Of course there are few legends that go with the Chocolate Hills. One speaks of giants, which together led the fight throwing rocks, sand and boulders. It took a few days and giants were so tired that… eventually became friends. When they left the Island forgotten to clean up after themselves. According to another legend, the giant Arogo endowed with extraordinary powers fell in love with an ordinary, mortal Aoya. Her death broke giants heart and grief-stricken he could not stop crying. And when his tears dried up it turned out that they formed Chocolate Hills.
And the funniest, which I think sheds new light on the name of the hills. It is again about the giant, this time it is a giant carabao – domestic water buffalo – occurring in the Philippines. Carabao has a good appetite and eats crops of the inhabitants of the Island. When they have had enough of his behavior they gathered all the spoiled food they found and toss it for buffalo, so it was easy to find. He, of course, consumed everything, but his stomach could not cope with the digestion of large quantities of spoiled food and begun to defecate uncontrollably everywhere, leaving behind a great laurels, which eventually dried up and became the Chocolate Hills :)
Tarsier is about twenty centemeters monkey living in the forests of Sulawesi and surrounding Islands, it is a cousin of Sunda tarsier, encountered in Borneo and Sumatra. The tail of this monkey is even forty centimeters long and this tiny creature is able to jump six meters – making it even more surprising when viewed lazy and slow in the middle of the day when they sleep. They are generally nocturnal animals. Tarsiers are very vigilant – how I explain it to myself – because they always sleep with one eye open!
Note – near the first Chocolate Hills there is a huge cage, where are held some tarsier – this is not the place you are looking for. I do not know who came up with such a cruel idea, but it is not worth to go this easy way to see those animals. Spend few more pennies and ride to Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary. I do not go to see the animals into the Zoo, I do not tolerate keeping them in cages. If I’m going so far to see them in natural environment I want it to actually be so. I wrote about this subject the article aboutwhale sharks (click).
We reached Bohol by the ferry from Cebu, in the port there is a lot of people, and it is not easy to get the ticket. Queues are huge, many carriers and most tickets already taken. We finally got tickets in the tiny window hidden behind some wooden boards. After entering the harbor area we get to a huge hall with air conditioning, TV and Internet, it remains to be vigilant and wait for your ferry. There’s a little chaos, but eventually we catch our boat on time. Ferryboat resembles a metal can and the trip is a bit strange, if any accident would happen I do not know how the evacuation would look like. The crew quickly seat passengers according to their tickets and we go to Bohol and arrive on time. There waited for us agreed driver, thanks to which we are able to visit the Chocolate Hills and Tarsier Sanctuary and get back on the last ferry. Driver got us a much better return tickets by his secret ways, not taking from us a penny more than regular ticket cost. Unfortunately we start our return trip to Cebu with – perhaps an hour – delay. Anyway, we do not know what it was due to, the other passengers were just as confused as we were.
I regret that I didn’t spend on Bohol more time, but I do not regret that we took this trip having only one day before the flight to Coron.