7th Nature’s Wonder?

This is the second of the three tourist destinations in the Philippines that made it to the Top Ten List in the search for the 7th Wonder of the World. The Stock Market Punk has taken it upon himself to introduce those three places to you via his Orble travel posts.

This place is called the Chocolate hills.

chocolate hills

Picture taken from an observation post in Carmen town

It is in the town of Carmen in the Province of Bohol. Bohol is an island province located in Central Visayas. It is about an hour by plane from the Manila Domestic Airport and around ninety (90) minutes by boat from Cebu, Philippines (the country’s second largest city).

There are direct flights to Cebu City from a number of Asian countries, but if you are coming in via Manila, your connecting flight should bring you to Tagbilaran City, the capital town of Bohol.

Tagbilaran is the place where you should get your hotel accommodation for this particular trip. That is where the concentration of hotels is, and there aren’t that many of the really good ones at the moment.

You can rent you vehicles in this city, (usually air-conditioned van) and you better get all of your provisions from here too. There are at least two (2) known malls that sell almost practically everything that you’ll ever need for a short stay.

Chocolate Hills is our main destination for this trip. But if you are already in the island why forego of the opportunity to visit its pristine beaches and numerous dive sites (if you are into deep sea diving) most of which are less than an hour away from the city proper.

Or you can go ask your local guide to bring you to the town of Loboc some 24 kilometers from Tagbilaran City where these little darlings can be seen…

Tarsier of Bohol

Tarsier of Bohol

 

And have your lunch while sailing the mild waters of Loboc River in one of these little beauties…

After lunch, you can proceed to our final destination: The Chocolate Hills. This nature’s wonder once came into scrutiny by skeptics who must have thought that some nuts would pour dirt and limestone 30 to 50 meters high to create 1,268 (actually, there are about 1,800 if you count them all) dome shaped hills and cover them with grass. Until of course they realized that creating these hills would take a lot more time and effort than building those Egyptian Pyramids.

Carmen is the most well known town associated with the Chocolate Hills but they are actually scattered in three political town boundaries. The two other towns are Batuan and Sagbayan all in Bohol.

I cannot recommend much about Bohol delicacies since I tend to be very careful about food the moment I get out of the main island of Luzon due to some (probably unfounded) stories of deliberate food poisoning.

Don’t worry too much about this poisoning bit since it is not being done to kill people. Instead, it is supposed to be a craft used by some unscrupulous individuals to make money. The guy who will administer poison to your food is the same guy who has the antidote. You feel ill, you call for some kind of medication and the guy who made you sick comes running to the rescue – for a fee, of course.

Most of these stories are urban legends now. But see, I travel alone most of the time. So, I have to be careful. If I get sick, who would be calling the poison/antidote guy? It might be cheaper staying away from them. Besides, I doubt if I’d ever relish having that experience.

You’d be safer eating in popular restaurants since the owners of these restaurants make their profits from catering food not by stirring potions in dirty cauldrons or by making voodoo dolls.

If you can’t decide which restaurant to go to, there’s one in the middle of the city which is operated by a foundation for deaf and mute individuals. Food is good there and it is the only restaurant I’d recommend free of charge. It is being operated for a good cause. Here, check out the restaurant’s interior:

restaurant ionterior

Interior of a restaurant operated by a foundation for deaf and mute individuals

If you must taste a local delicacy from Bohol and you’ll cry buckets if you cannot, try the Bohol “Kalamay” for dessert. My taste buds say it’s to die for. But then I hope you are not yet borderline diabetic.

If you are, well, you must have already had your fill of the sights anyway.

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