Tiny Monkeys, Poo and Big Green Lumps

Trip Start Oct 02, 2012
Trip End Mar 31, 2014

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Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Thursday, November 15, 2012

The large island of Bohol lies just north of Panglao and is connected by a couple of bridges. There is some cool stuff dotted about Bohol that we want to see, so we have figured the best way to get about is to hire a guide for the day. After breakfast we make our way towards the beach and stop at a tour shack to have a look at whats on offer. We pick a six-stop tour that includes the two main things we want to see (the chocolate hills and tarsier monkeys) and set off with our new guide friend in his motor. This is much comfier than travelling by tricycle and we admire the lush scenery as we go.

First stop is a monument celebrating the Blood Compact (peace treaty) between the Philippines and the Spanish invaders in 1565. It depicts a scene showing the two sides drinking wine, into which both parties have spilt their own blood. It is called a Sandugo and is a traditional way of declaring friendship and peace. It also has a lovely view.

Next we stop at a The Baclayon Church. Its a beautiful crumbling church which dates back to 17th century and is one of the best preserved Jesuit built churches in the Philippines. It has a wonderful ancient feel to it and the Spanish influence is very much evident in its style and architecture. Anna has to don some lovely curtains to cover her shoulders and knees as we look about inside. It has some cool statues too, we snap a few pictures and make a dash for it before Mass begins.

It turns out that Anna has quite a fear of butterflies. So as we walk up the path towards a butterfly farm she is not a happy girl. Thankfully, there are no butterflies fluttering around inside. A butterfly guide walks us around the exhibits, showing the various stages of a butterfly's 21 day life cycle and answering our questions. As we stop by the catterpillar stage he picks up a massive caterpillar and asks Anna is she wants to hold it. Anna politely declines, so Ian holds out his trembling hand as the huge (hopefully not poisonous) caterpillar is lowered on to it. It actualy feels quite nice, soft and tickely, and then it does a whopping poo in the palm of his hand. Typical.

After looking at the different species local to the region (all dead and framed to Anna's relief), we head towards a curtained area. Ahh so this is where the live ones are...! Anna fights the urge to run. She's ridden a King Elephant and swam with Sharks the size of fishing boats, she can handle a few butterflies.....even if they are the size of a human hand. She is very brave and even attemps to hold one, but the butterfly won't grab on, we suspect its the thick coating of insect repellant that's putting it off! One of them manages to sit on Ian's hand and he watches it warily, waiting for it to poo on him.

Back in the car and it's off to the Chocolate Hills! On the way we drive through a man made forrest which the government planted 50 years ago to stop landslides. Most of the trees are tall mahogony and the sky is darkened by the canopy high above. It feels strange suddenly being in a forrest like this as the rest of the countryside is tropical jungle and rice fields. The Chocolate Hills are bizarre round hills (1268 of them) dotting the landscape, geologists suspect they are coral formations but there is still some mystery surrounding them. In the summer the grass on them turns brown so they resemble chocolate drops, hense the name. Its winter now though (30 plus degrees and they call it winter!!!) and the hills are a green colour. Our guide refers to them as the mint-chocolate hills. As we climb out of the car upon reaching the chocolate hills viewpoint we are struck by the absurdity of them. If it was just one mound, you would think its just a roundish hill. If it was a couple of them you'd think it was a bit odd, but when the whole landscape is full of these round green lumps popping out of the jungle it's really otherwordly. After climbing a million steps to the veiwpoint summit we are set upon by a dozen local Filipino teens who want to have their pictures taken with us. We stand and smile with them for an eternity whilst everyone of them gets pictures on their phone/camera. It is equally as freaky as the landscape surrounding us!

Our penultimate destination is a Tarsier Visitors Centre. They are the second smallest monkeys in the world and are supercute (although they do look a bit like wingless bats with eyes that are much too large for their dinky heads). They're about the size of a tennis ball, but much much cuter! The little monkeys live in the area naturally and are not caged, instead the guides 'spot' them in the morning and tie red ribbons around the trees they are sleeping on. As the cute little buggers are nocturnal they stay clinging to the same branch thoughout the day, although they do open their huge eyes now and then as nosey tourists like ourselves stop to stare at them! We walk about looking for red ribbons and do alot of 'ahhhh-ing' and 'ooooh-ing' when we spot one. Noooo! The camera battery is dying but thankfully we manage to get a few snaps before it gives out. Next time we will make sure to feed the camera some electricity the night before an adventure!

Finally, on the drive home, our guide stops at 'The Hanging Bridges' for us to have a walk on and hopefully not die when the ricketty looking thing breaks... They are a pair of long bamboo foot bridges that span the river Loboc, we cling on for dear life and Ian starts to get that Indiana Jones feeling again. Having survived another death defying ordeal we get back in the car just as the heavens open and it starts to pour with rain. It's been an awesome day touring Bohol and we look forward to a well deserved nap once we get back to the guesthouse :)

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Claire on

Laughing at Anna not liking butterlies- Marge didn't like them when we went to Chester Zoo!! x

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