|See those hills? Those are the famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol.|
We were informed it was okay to go there. Booking the tour was easy. A man at the Isola Bella Beach Resort asked us if we wanted to take a tour. One of Jackie's friends had recommended going there, so we said we would like to check it out. By the early afternoon, a car showed up to take us. The driver gave us a list of places we could go to and what would be the best chance to see everything. He took into account the weather and crowds. He seemed to know what he was doing, so we chose a few places we really wanted to see and headed out.
Tarsiers: The Cutest Little Things!
|Look at those cute tarsier eyes!|
|Don't be scared...|
Sadly, while I was researching for this article, I learned that there are two tarsier conservation areas. One is the official one run by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation. The Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Corella. The other one is called the Tarsier Conservation Area and is located in Loboc. It is more popular because of the location, but they do not treat the tarsiers as well. It seems that, while it is getting better, at one time all the tarsiers were kept in cages, now they are not chained up. The tarsiers will actually bash their heads against a cage until they die. Sad.
I am disappointed I did not go to the good one. We had no idea that this issue existed. It is obvious why they are so sought after; these little guys are ridiculously cute.
As for the conservation area, you are given a briefing about the rules and then allowed to walk down a path that is slippery. Five tarsiers are along the path (I guess I should have known that these nocturnal animals wouldn't simply set up shop where they could most be seen). An employee stands at each station that is marked with a ribbon. They will point out the tarsier for you. Currently, you are not allowed to touch or hold the tarsiers. You are also not allowed to use a flash from a camera, but I still saw one man do it anyway. The tarsiers are supposed to be sleeping during the day, so this is quite rude and destructive to their natural being.
|Ay... Go to sleep. It's your nighttime...|
Time to Be Happy Again: Butterflies!
We were in a good mood by the time we got to the Simply Butterflies Conservation Center. Once again, the price for admission was very cheap. We were put in a tour group with a few other people and sent on our way.
The tour guide gave us a great amount of information about the butterflies while also telling jokes along the way. He was actually very funny! We were all allowed to hold a couple of caterpillars. A little while later, we had the chance to see a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis. They had a whole cage of different types of caterpillars changing into butterflies in various stages.
|Welcome to the world, butterfly!|
|Nice hat, kid.|
|Some of the butterflies were very colorful.|
|There were many more butterflies flying everywhere.|
The Chocolate Hills
Now came the main attraction: the Chocolate Hills. We drove up, down, and around all sorts of beautiful places. We passed through the Man-Made Forest, between small towns, and through big green fields. The driver drove much faster than the posted speed limits, but I never felt like he was out of control.
Once at the entrance, we walked up many stairs to the top viewing area. From there, you have an expansive 360 degree view of Bohol. Other than the church earlier, this was also the first major evidence of the massive earthquake which ravaged the island. The area at the top was basically demolished. A bell sat on rubble. Signs directing tourists laid strewn on the ground. A fence hung off the edge of the cliff. A hole allowed me to peek down into what looked like an administrative area one level below. Pens and papers still remained stuck there.
|It says not to go beyond the line, but we did anyway.|
|More destruction. And you can see it raining in the background.|
|The fallen observation deck bell at the Chocolate Hills.|
|The wishing well is no more.|
|"May Peace Be in Our Homes and Communities"|
|A lot of the observation deck has not been repaired yet.|
|It started to rain.|
|Rainy day at the Chocolate Hills|
|The stairs to the observation deck|
|Our spider friend in Bohol|
We declined to go to any of the other places, so the driver took us back. From the resort, we went out to hitch a ride with one of the tricycle motorbikes back to Alona Beach. It began raining on us as it had threatened to do all day. Luckily, we were able to take shelter until an available ride passed.
While there, we grabbed some more pizzas at Hayahay Pizza like on the second day of the vacation. It had been really tasty then! Unfortunately, just like last time, they had run out of grapefruit and were unable to fulfill Jackie's drink order. The pizzas were still good though.
We suddenly noticed we were running low on cash. I had brought my credit card, but no place in Alona Beach took any cards. It was incredibly frustrating. The only place we had been that accepted credit cards was the Alona Tropical. So we went to the nearby bank and ATM. I was asked to give a pin number for my credit card. Now, I've taken cash out before with my credit card and have never been asked to give a pin number.
Jackie went into the bank and I followed soon after. She wanted to call the 1-800 number on her card, but the tell said their phones did not dial out of the country at all. Incredibly frustrating.
We went next door to a tourism shop. I was weary of the place because I figured it was there as a last resort and would take advantage of that. Luckily, they were able to give us the money with no real problem. It didn't seem to be too much of a rip off either. And now, armed with extra cash, we could get back to relaxing.
Ending the Night
Jackie went to get a massage on the beach. I hit up a bar and had a gin and tonic while I caught up on reading the blogs I follow. When she was done, we saw that the sun was setting. We had to get there in time!
|Alona Beach at dusk|
|Even when it is cloudy, the beach is nice|
|It's like Baywatch or something...|
|"This gate all can pass except the goat."|
|The sunset near Alona Beach. Not too shabby.|
|Looking back toward Alona Beach|
|Goats and their kids!|
Finally, we putzed around a bit before heading back to our room for the night. It would be our final night on Panglao Island. We had a five-star hotel waiting for us for our last night in the Philippines!