Tricycle Journey in Bohol
Luna and I went on a tricycle ride adventure to uncover Bohol’s landmarks in a day.
In our spacious Bohol-style tricycle, we comfortably journeyed through lush hilly terrains and sleepy small towns to arrive at our chosen destinations. My goal for the day was to see the Tarsiers and the Chocolate Hills.
The Endangered Tarsiers
There are two areas where the Tarsiers could be viewed, one is the Philippines Tarsier Sanctuary in a town called Corella and the other one is the Tarsier Conservatory in Loboc.
The Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella was inviting to me, but due to logistics and time, I was left to consider the Tarsier Conservatory in Loboc.
Before arriving at the Tarsier Conservatory in Loboc, I had already gathered some facts about the Philippine Tarsier; that these big-eyed primates are awake only in the night and asleep during the day; and they are very territorial on keeping a whole kilometer for one alone, that to encounter another tarsier would be lead to a fatal incident.
So when I saw the cramped façade of the Tarsier Conservatory in Loboc, which turns out to be a few hectares only, it intrigued me how these endangered specious could survive in a space that can essentially sustain two tarsiers.
Inside, a designated guide led me and a few others to a trail where the tarsiers were kept temporarily for tourism viewing. I found three tarsiers along the trail. Each was of palm-sized holding on to a tree next to a small wooden cage. I felt happy about seeing the Philippine Tarsier live, however I felt sad for their discomfort in having to stay awake during the day to please people.
The short Tarsier trail ended at a wide platform filled with tourists, which I had thought only attracted people who needed to rest for awhile. But as I noticed people taking a pose by the railing, I realized that there were other a couple more tarsiers on display still.
Somehow, that did not feel like a healthy ambience to preserve tarsiers. When I was done, I went back to the tricycle that was waiting for me at the souvenir stalls.
Much later did I only learn that the Tarsier Conservatory is not an official sanctuary under the Philippine Tarsier Foundation Inc., and that the tarsiers are kept in an environment that may even be harmful to their health,
Chocolate Hills to Infinity
With my daughter still deeply asleep inside the tricycle, we headed straight to Chocolate Hills.
For an hour’s worth of smooth tricycle ride, we sauntered along a sloping valley in between a very expansive land filled with an infinite number of Chocolate Hills.
There are two tourism areas in Chocolate Hills. One is the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park where you can camp and do outdoor adventures; and the government-run Chocolate Hills viewing site. We went to the latter instead.
At the viewing site, we took the long staircase up to the high viewing deck to catch the magnanimity of the place. On our walk up, I have observed that there was a reenergizing quality about the Chocolate Hills that guided people up over a hundred steps without falling into exhaustion.
And so, right on top, was an impressive view of at least 1,260 Chocolate Hills sprawled over 5000 hectares of land. This UNESCO tentative site is believed to have been borne from what scientists call geomorphological causes, such as ‘the combination of dissolution of limestone by rainfall, surface water, and groundwater, and their subaerial erosion by rivers and streams after they had been uplifted above sea level and fractured by tectonic processes.’
Afterward, we went back to the ground and ate at the cafeteria nearby. We stayed a bit more out in the open to watch a group of children performing traditional Filipino dances.
We then headed back bound for Loboc and chanced upon some more tourist sites. We stopped at the Simply Butterflies Conservation Center in Bilar and went inside its floral surrounding to admire over 150 colorful butterfly species.
Our last destination for the day was the ruins of St, Peter, the Apostle Church in Loboc. Luna and I scouted around the rubbles of the town’s heritage church, which was caused by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Central Visayas in 2013. What remained of this 17th century Baroque church are its rear-end portions, grandly owed to the strong and durable materials of the past.
For 750 pesos of down-to-the-core fresh-air local ride for a day, Bohol’s spacious tricycles are worth the journey within. It has certain filled my senses to the brim, yet the curiosity to explore this province deeper ensues with greater heights of adventure.