The journey from Dumaguete to Tagbilaran in Bohol was about 1 hour and 45 minutes. It was the nicest ferry we have taken so far, big and comfortable!
When we arrived in the pier in Tagbilaran we grabbed our backpacks from the storage and walked outside – boom – all the taxi and tricycle drivers jumped us, and followed us all the way up to the street! They are really a pain in the ass sometimes. One van driver said he could take us to Loboc, where we were going to stay,for ”only 800php” but when we kept walking and saying ”no thanks” he ended up offering it at 300 php, haha.
Up from the road we took a tricycle for 60php – We bargained it down from 100 php, thinking the bus terminal was just around the corner, but it was actually quite far away! Philipinos always say ”just 1 or 2 kilometers away” but it felt much longer.
Tagbilaran is the capital of Bohol, and it’s only city. There was quite much traffic and many university students everywhere! Once at the Island City Mall, we took a jeepney to loboc, about 1,5 hour, which costed us 27php per person (0,50 euro or usd). Quite cheap :)
We arrived in Loboc, 24 kms inland from Tagbilaran and one of Bohol oldest towns. We crossed the bridge over the loboc river to get to our accomodation – Stefanie Grace Paradise Inn. It was not where it was pointed out on google maps, as nothing never is here in the Philippines, but we found it in the end.
On our way there we passed by a lady singing karaoke in her yard, you can hear it kilometers away. Philipinos LOVE karaoke, it’s everywhere, and they are not ashamed at all, sometimes they are good singers, but mostly not, and literally the whole neighborhood and more can hear it too. But it’s funny.
The staff at Stefanies was suuuper friendly, showed us our room – which was very basic, the bed was really uncomfortable and squeaked all the time, but the place it self was nice – it had a pool, a restaurant, a small shop, and a view over the loboc river.
We were hungry and had dinner there, I had some vegetables for 100php and Duilio had some fish, and then they asked us if we wanted to do a firefly boat tour along the loboc river, because there was another couple doing it that night. The price was 350php per person. We said sure, and the boat came to pick up right there at Stefanies by the river! :)
We went out for a small tour down the river for about 1,5 hours – I really enjoyed it, we were only 4 people plus the captain. He himself had started this firefly river tours a long time ago, but now it has become quite big. I saw fireflies for the first time in my life, there where hundred or thousands of them, and they all hanged out around the same tree, so it looked like a christmas tree! Super cool.
Next day we started with a nice breakfast there at Stefanies. We had arranged to rent a scooter for 500php for a full day, and the scooter with keys was there at Stefanies in the morning, super comfortable that they can offer everything from here, we didn’t have to move anywhere haha. They are truly friendly and helpful at this accommodation. The owner spoke portuñol, he had been living in Brazil for 9 years and then 30 years in the states, before retiring back to his hometown here in Loboc. Well, he couldn’t just ”retire and do nothing”, so he started this instead :) He helped us with what we should visit and gave us a map over bohol.
We went up to Carmen to see the Chocolate hills, and on our way we passed by beautiful green grass fields and the stunning Mahogny man-made forest in Bilar. It’s about 2 kilometers densely planted mahogny treets, shady and chilly but really beautiful.
We kept driving up to Carmen, passing by many locals, always smiling and waving to you when you pass by, and it’s not only kids – also the construction workers! So cute. It still amazes me how friendly people are here.
After around one hour on the scooter we finally arrived to the famous Chocolate hills, we paid the entrance fee of 50php and climbed up some steps to the top of a hill, where we had a 360 degree view over the hills – there are over 1200 hills spread over an area around 50 square kilometers. It’s called the chocolate hills because of the color they get during dry season, which makes them look like chocolate, but when we were there there were mostly green hills :)
On our way back we stopped at Bilar looking for the butterfly sanctuary, which we couldn’t find on our way there, and barely on our way back either – once again said it should be on one site on google maps but was at another place, haha. They are not so good with signs here either!!
We couldn’t find it either because it only said ”Habitat”, nothing wit butterflies. It was interesting, they give you a small tour explaining about all the phases of a butterfly and how they help them grow and survive there. It was ok, I love butterflies and I had heard good about this place so I had high expectations, but it was very small and they only had 2 different kinds of butterfly now (changes depending on season). But still, I learned a lot. I didn’t know a butterfly only lived for 21 days! :(
After a coffee break we went to Corella, another small inland town closer to Tagbilaran. There we visited the Tarsier Sanctuary, where tarsiers are observed and protected. They are freely living there in a natural habitat. There is another Tarsier place in Loboc but there the tarsiers are not free and feels very bad about being in captivity, so we didn’t want to go to that place.
Here it was really nice, it’s a big forest/park and there where only 5 tarsiers living there in different areas of the park. You are not allowed to touch them or to speak highly there, which is good.
Tarsiers are the smallest primates in the world, a fully grown tarsier weights maximum 150 grams! They have bigger eyes than their brain, and long tails – they look like a mix between a monkey, a bat and a rat haha. But they are super cute!
They are nocturnal animals, thats when they move and hunt their food (they eat mostly insects and butterflies) – but during the day they sleep and don’t move, I was very surprised in the beginning how the guide could find them in the forest since they are so tiny and hidden! But the guide told us that they are very territorial so they always hang out at the same spot during the day.They go out hunting at night, and then they come back to the exact same tree for the day.
Now, before saying ”aaaww, bring me one home!!” – As me and all my friends say when looking at a tarsier, you should now that they are very shy and scared animals. They live completely alone except for the first 6 months of their life when they live with their mother, after that they go separate ways and never in groups with other tarsiers, the only time they ”hang out” with another tarsier is when they are mating, it only happens once a year and for about 10-15 seconds. So yes, they are very lonely and like to be lonely.
When they are scared or held in captivity, they commit suicide, banging their soft skull head against some hard object.. So sad! So please no, don’t touch them or hold them or captivate them, they will literally kill themselves then.
After the Tarsier sanctuary we started to move to Sevilla to go to Sipatan twin hanging bridge, said to be one of the most dangerous bridges around here. From Corella we followed a sign to Sevilla to get there, and got in to our first bumpy and not cemented road here in Bohol. We were all covered in dust and our asses were soar when we finally arrived at the bamboo bridge, which was in the end of the road. It’s just a couple of kilometers in if you take the road from the other side – from Loboc, which I guess everyone else does, since we didn’t meet a single vehicle on our 9 kms on the road from the other side. Haha.
You pay 20 php to cross the 40 m long bridge. They have 2 bridges, one to cross to the other side, and the other for the way back. And on the other side they also have some handicraft store and refreshment booths (I bought a coconut, very much needed) before taking the bridge back. The bridge was build after the second world war to help local residents transport their farm products across the Sevilla river. What was before rope has been reinforced with steel wire cables for the security and stability. Sure it’s a little different to cross this kind of bridge than a concrete one, since it’s swaying and bouncing, but it didn’t really feel dangerous :)
We took the scooter back to Bohol and passed by the Loboc Adventure Park, so we stopped there to do the famous zipline over the Loboc river. It costs 350 pesos and you do it twice, one to cross to one side and the other to return. It was Duilios first Zipline, I thought maybe he would be afraid since he really hates rollercoasters, bu the enjoyed the zipline and was all euphorios about it! Haha. Nice experience, I felt like superman!
After that we were tired and had done everything we wanted to do in Bohol, so went back home, filled up the scooter with gasoline (about 80php – 1,5 euro/usd – after driving over 100km!).
We were completely covered in dirt and dust, so we took a bath in the pool (with a shower prior to it) – aaah, so good to feel completely weightless! Haha. Then we bought a wine and some chips at the shop and had it outside overlooking the sunset on the river, delightful! Then we finally had dinner :) I tried the Chop suey, which was the only other vegetarian plate they had, but it looked exaclty the same as the vegetables the day before, haha.
I was so tired so I fell asleep like 8pm or something, and slept until next morning!
After breakfast and some internet time (internet is fast at Stefanies!), we checked out. The owner drove us to the jeepney station in his car – once again – so sweet!! We where very thankful since walking a couple of kilometers in over 30 degrees with backpacks wasn’t something we were looking forward to, haha.
He also explained for the driver where to drop us of so we could go to Panglao, and it wasn’t the same place as where we took the jeepney to Loboc from. We just stopped somewhere and switched jeepney to another going over to Panglao.
More info about that in the next entry from Panglao!