Chocolate Hills and Tarsiers

The Chocolate Hills is a famous tourist destination here in Bohol, Philippines. They are round-shaped hills, which, without the grass, resemble “chocolate” mountains.

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Throwback – me together with Allyson, first time seeing The Chocolate Hills  (October 2011)

The first time I saw them was when I was already 27 years old, together with a good friend Allyson. And I was in awe… I was in utter awe and amazement at the beautiful creations of the one who made everything else around us.

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I knew I had to go back.

And I did, with Lars my love.

Like my 1st time, I did not opt-in an arranged tour with all those typical Bohol city tours (blood compact, butterfly sanctuary, etc) inside a van/car…

I chose to go to the Chocolate Hills only riding a tricycle, thinking that it will give us a more scenic tour of the place- seeing more mountains, rice fields, trees, and a better feel of Bohol, not to mention, the savings we will get.

The first time I went to see the Chocolate Hills back 2011, I think it took us almost 2 hours to get there via Bus (with the sign Carmen), and our fare was cheap- something less than 150 Php/pax.  SDC10285 SDC10291

This time around (last month) Lars and I hired a tricycle driver to take us to Chocolate Hills and to the Tarsier viewing park, then back to our resort (Veraneante Resort) for 1,200 pesos (after much haggling)…Actually, the resort where we stayed offers city tours in a comfortable van/car.. We just did not go for it, thinking about our budget.

I believe this was the first time I regretted a travel-related decision. If you have the budget, just go for the tours inside vans/car so that at least you are comfortable, and the travel time will be cut in half. 😉

From Panglao to the Chocolate Hills, it takes around 3 hours to get there via tricycle! The ride inside a tricycle is not comfy if it is that long…  1 or 2 hours travel by tricycle is okay, but 3 hours was a pain (and another 3 hours back to resort).

Since it was too late when we realized our mistake, we just enjoyed the sights while we were on our way up to the hills, and adjusted our sitting position every now and then.

Inside our ride towards Chocolate Hills
Inside our ride towards Chocolate Hills
Nice view as we travel back-packer style
Nice view as we travel back-packer style
Rice fields
Rice fields

We drove past the “Man-made Forest” of Bohol, and the weather there was cool. Natural Aircon. The tricycle driver did not stop so we can take pictures or “selfies”, but we were able to get some pictures from inside the tricycle, and enjoy the cool breeze for about 2 minutes. SAM_3550

Man-made Forest
Man-made Forest

SAM_3554Then after the long ride, Finally……….

Good Mood and Happy to Arrive. It's Beautiful here...
Good Mood and Happy to Arrive. It’s Beautiful here…
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a 4 minute walk up to the viewing deck… but it’s worth it

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It really is beautiful up there. If there is only 1 tourist place you will travel to in Bohol, its got to be The Chocolate Hills.  [By the way, there is a small entrance fee per person, around 80 php if I can remember correctly.]

After 25 minutes, tons of pictures, and a video, we decided to go down back and head to the Tarsiers… This time I was already getting hungry, but decided that we eat after we see the Tarsiers- that maybe we will find a restaurant where we can eat (This did not happen, and our driver was not very helpful about places to eat)

So the ride towards the Tarsiers from Chocolate Hills, was around 40 minutes. There was also an entrance fee, about 70 php per person.

By the way, Tarsiers are the smallest mammals found in the Philippines. They can be found in the islands of Samar, Leyte, Bohol, and Mindanao, but hard to find/scarce. They are the size of an adult’s palm, and they look like cuter monkeys-minus the long tails and restless natures. If you are familiar with the stuff toy “Furby” they have similar features of that adorable character.

It was my first time to see them live, so I was quite excited.SAM_3590

My hunger pangs disappeared, and I was trying to locate for the 1st Tarsier after stepping in the small forest.

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Easy to miss the Tarsier, under the brown leaf…

Actually, in this small viewing area (you can finish this tour site in 8 minutes), we were only able to view about 5 of them, with the help of tour guides, pointing at a location up in the tree.

Since they are nocturnal creatures, the ones that we saw did not move, and one was asleep. Lars felt bad for them, saying that they should be asleep and away from the noise and stress from us tourists…He has a point. Hope the ones we saw are already used to people like us.

Some trivia- they can jump through trees and when they get traumatized during captivity, they can commit suicide.

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One can not touch or interact with the Tarsiers, or speak loudly in this area.

Cute, elusive, shy, and nocturnal. ^ ^

This trip here was short/”bitin” and it made me wonder if it was worth it. I sort of wanted to do the Loboc River Cruise tour as well with the buffet lunch, but many were saying that the buffet lunch was not good/worth it. So we just skipped that for now (and also because we were on a tight budget)

After a short side trip to see the cute Tarsiers, we decided to head back to the resort. ^ ^ There seems to be no good restaurant on the way back to the city, so for those planning to go on city tour, either eat your Lunch in Chocolate Hills restaurant to survive the long day-tour, Or, go for the Loboc River Cruise buffet. Hunger and Vacation don’t match well ^ ^

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