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Chocolate Hills, Tarsiers and Butterfly Bum Bum

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I woke up on the Alona beach to the sound of the gentle waves softly breaking on the pure white sand; as the wind lightly teased the leaves of the palms and umm, alright, I woke up to the alarm on my phone in an apartment some 30 meters from the beach. What? I am traveling on a budget and Alona ain’t cheap!

Anyhow, as I got out, I had a lingering look at the beautiful white sand beach, turned around and walked up the hill. It only took maybe 50 meters until someone was offering me a motorbike. He started at the standard 400 pesos for the day, but I managed to get it down to much more reasonable 300 pesos. I am not paying 10 dollars a day for a motorbike!

The motorbike maybe wasn’t quite as in good condition as the bikes had usually been in Thailand and even in Laos; the rear break especially was a bit sluggish, but it would do. The other surprising thing was that there was actually half a tank of gas in the bike. When you get a motorbike in Thailand, you’re usually just driving on fumes and praying for Buddha to make it to the closest gas station.

So I set off on my small road trip, cruising through the Panglao island where Alona beach is situated. It’s only about 15 km from one side to another, so I quickly reached the end of the island and crossed over to Bohol using one of the two bridges connecting the islands. Why they need two bridges is beyond me.

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Chocolate Hills are only about 100km away from Alona beach, so it was an easy two hour cruise to get there. Also the signs around Bohol are pretty good, so I had no trouble finding the lookout place for the Chocolate hills. And the locals are always very friendly if you get lost or just need some directions, and they usually even speak some English.

Unfortunately it is now the “wet season” here from November to February; wet season meaning that it is slightly “cooler” than normally; that slightly cooler still being damn hot. Anyway, the unfortunate part is that at this time the Chocolate Hills aren’t brown but green. Get it, Chocolate Hills, chocolate is brown, and umm, why I am even explaining this…

So I didn’t get to see the Chocolate hills quite like they are meant to be viewed, but they are still impressive. Apparently there are total of 1268 hills, which range from 30 to 50 meters of height. They are all very symmetrical and basically appear as if somebody had poured big sand piles into the jungle, a lot of big sand piles .

They look pretty bizarre when you look at them from the viewing point, one symmetrical hill after another. What a weird quirk of nature.

After I was sufficiently sure I had almost filled up my memory card I headed down the mountain, but the good thing is, there is more to see in Bohol than just those minty After Eight hills.

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I saw a sign to butterfly farm, so I decided to stop there. It only cost 50 pesos to get in and that included a tour of the place. I saw ladyboy butterflies, or Lady Gaga butterflies as my guide explained it. And I got to see my some butterfly bum bum (again my guides words, not mine), which isn’t really as exciting as it sounds.

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Next on my list of random stops, was  a Tarsier sanctuary I happened to spot; Bohol being the home of the Philippine Tarsier, that cute, if somewhat creepy little endangered animal. I didn’t realize how small those little creatures are, barely the size of a fist.

The staff at the sanctuary seemed very perplexed by the fact that I was traveling solo and this led to quite a lot of flirting not just from the female guides, but from one of the male ones also. Philippines never cease to amaze me!

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Next I made a stop in the capital of Bohol, Tagbilaran, to stock up on supplies, because it seems that anything that gets to Alona beach doubles or even triples in price. Or as happens with pastries, the prices just move on to a different level I like to call bat-shit-crazy. I could buy a whole bag of various delicious pastries for 20 pesos Pesos in Tagbilaran, when on Alona beach I can’t even get a single one for that money. I mean, yes I can understand slightly higher prices on Alona beach, but that’s just being ridiculous.

Alona definitely is a tourist place, a resort town kind of place, but it definitely is a nicer place to stay than Tagbilaran. However if you are after the Chocolate hills or some of the other inland activities, Loboc might be a good place to stay, sure there are no beaches, but you have the river and cheap accommodation, so it’s all about choices.

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Me, well, I headed back to Alona beach to enjoy the white sand and sun shine, besides, I was diving the next day.

10 Comments

  1. They are quite cool. I think they look really good green, but they do need a different name; perhaps “green hills” for lack of more imagination. I’ve added you to my Travel Blog Pearl Tree http://pear.ly/6DpP
    Sam recently posted..10 Essential Travel Items You Can’t Travel Without!My Profile

    • Thanks for adding me Sam. They are still pretty cool even when they aren’t green; definitely still worth the visit even if you are not there at the “right time”.

  2. Maybe mint chocolate hills? :)

    I love those wee little tarsiers. They are especially tasty deep-fried and on a stick… (kidding of course!)
    Raymond @ Man On The Lam recently posted..Travel from Point A to Point ZMy Profile

    • Mint Chocolate Hills, that actually sounds pretty good!

      haha 😀 I am picturing a deep-fried Tarsier on a stick right now .. mmm…. it does look yummy! :)

  3. I am always in Cebu, which is just an hour ferry ride from Bohol but i’ve never been there 😐 lucky you! 😀
    Micamyx|Senyorita recently posted..Banaue-Batad Trip: Commuting From Manila to BanaueMy Profile

    • You’ll have to then make the side trip to Bohol if you are already often in Cebu. Like you said, only an hour ferry ride away, and you can even see all those things in a day if you come from Cebu!

  4. I suddenly want to adopt a Tarsier! Soooo sooo cute. <3
    cheryl recently posted..Street Art in Amsterdam.My Profile

    • They are really cute!! :)

  5. Love this piece. I adored the Philippines. I got quite near Bohol (went to Siquijor, Cebu Apo and Dumaguete) but didn’t quite make it to Bohol. Next time…

    • Good to leave something for the next time always 😉