After 5 days of scuba diving, the Dive Seafari group were treated to a countryside tour before everyone heads back to Manila. I always say Bohol is a Visayan wonder because it has everything–rich culture, friendly people, and natural wonders.
The tour started with a visit to the Tarsier Sanctuary located in the towns of Sicatuna and Corella. The Philippine tarsier is the smallest primate in the world and is unique to our country. It’s a very delicate creature and the creation of this 130 hectare forested sanctuary saved them from being endangered. You’ll need a guide to be able to find these in the jungle and flash photography is strictly prohibited. I can see our guests getting a big kick out of the tiny tarsier.
The rain continued as we head over to Loboc River for our lunch cruise. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bohol that more than 90% of the tourists of Bohol have experienced. Obviously, I’ve done this before too. Highlight of this cruising is the folk singers that performs at the river banks, not the food. But it’s an interesting experience and very good way to contribute to the livelihood of the local.
The next stop is the world famous Chocolate Hills in Carmen province. The Chocolate Hills is a natural phenomenon unique to the Philippines. There are 1,268 haycock hills scattered across 50 square km of land. Scientists were brought in to study the landscape and were found that it’s made of 100% limestones and corals suggesting that some bajillion of years ago, this island was submerged underwater. We climbed the 214 steps up to the view deck. It was Sunday, holiday, and raining so it was crowded and the sky was too white to take a good picture. But still it’s an amazing sight. It was actually nominated to be one of the 7 wonders of nature in 2010.
Our final stop was at the landmark structure of Baclayon Church. This is the 2nd oldest church in the Philippines (oldest being the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila) built by the Spanish Jesuit in 1727. The attractions in the church include an old convent with a small museum that has a lot of artifacts that are religious in nature. Antiquities of note are an ivory statue of Jesus Christ dating back to the 16th century, a statue of the Virgin Mary, St. Ignatius of Loyola’s relics, gold embroidered church vestments, a host of books and hymnals, and 1859 paintings of Liberato Gatchalian (famous Filipino painter).
This is a much shorter version of the countryside tour I did in 2009 but a perfect itinerary if you’re not up for an amazing race. :)