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March 22nd 2014
Published: March 22nd 2014
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Chocolate HillsChocolate HillsChocolate Hills

Yes, brown lumps of loam that were supposedly uplifted collections of corals, shaped by erosion and rainwater many, many years ago.
Moving on from Cebu, it was a 2h fastcraft to the neighbouring island of Bohol, where its capital Tagbilaran would be my staging area. Tagbilaran might as well be tricycle capital of all of Philippines, with its innumerous noisy critters scooting around what really isn't that big a town to begin with. I'm not quite sure why there seems to be a particularly high concentration of tricycles here, considering the population isn't that great, given the size of the island.

But anyway, pretty much everyone who comes to Bohol has two things in mind -- the Chocolate Hills and tarsiers. The Chocolate Hills are a scattering of some 1200 regularly-shaped and roughly even height mounds in central Bohol, which were supposedly formed by the uplift of coral deposits and the action of rainwater and erosion, though apparently even this isn't a definitive theory. Of course there are more romantic, and less scientific explanations, such as the Bohol giant who cried large tears over his dead lover, which solidified into the hills. Though named Chocolate, they were actually more greenish on my visit, but apparently they turn brown during the dry season.

Whichever the case, there are indeed an interesting
Tarsier Alert!Tarsier Alert!Tarsier Alert!

Another one of Bohol's famous sights - the tarsier, also one of the world's smallest primates. It's bulging eyes and immovable eyelids invoke delight amongst all viewers, and was apparently the inspiration for Steven Spielberg's movie ET.
quirk of nature, and make the journey to Bohol worthwhile, and were definitely one of the sights that I'd been looking forward too ever since I started thinking about this particular leg of my adventure.

And as for the tarsiers, well they're basically lovable-looking, bug-eyed miniature monkeys with feet that look too big for their bodies. They're also apparently only found in a few places in the world, including Bohol and Borneo (though I didn't read about them at all when I was there, perhaps they were overshadowed by their more famous cousins the orangutans). Sadly, the little critters are facing survival challenges of their own, with rampant illegal poaching and destruction of their natural habitat. Fortunately the locals have kick-started conservation efforts, and there now seems to be a conscience effort to preserve the creatures.

Apart from that, Bohol has started to show me the gentler side of Visayan island life compared to Cebu (tricycle madness notwithstanding), and I look forward to experiencing more of it as I continue to island-hop my way through Central Philippines.

Stayed at Nisa's Travellers' Inn.


Additional photos below
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Downtown TagbilaranDowntown Tagbilaran
Downtown Tagbilaran

It's tricycle hell here!
Chocolate HillsChocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills

Psyched to finally see them in person. This was one of the main sights I really wanted to see in the Visayas.
Chocolate HillsChocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills

There are apparently over 1200 of them spread over three neighbouring municipalities here in the island of Bohol. And they're called Chocolate cos they turn brown in the dry season.
Chocolate HillsChocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills

View from Complex.
Tarsier Alert!Tarsier Alert!
Tarsier Alert!

At the Loboc Conservation.


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