Travel date: May 12-14, 2012
CHOCOLATE HILLS at Bohol
Can you see the small mounds behind me near the horizon? Can you guess what those are? I’m on top of one of Bohol’s famous Chocolate Hills. These small hills scattered throughout a specific area at Carmen, Bohol are the weathered formations of a kind of marine limestone on top of a impermeable layer of clay, or so it says on the plaque I read on the top of the Observation deck on one of the hills where the above photo was taken.
How come its called Chocolate Hills when all you see are green hills? The grass that grows on these hills dry up at the end of the dry season here in the Philippines making the hills look like gigantic Hershey Kisses chocolates.
When visiting these hills, you need good footwear with the 200+ steps climb up to the look-out deck, a bottle of cool water to refresh, and sun protection. Best also to visit at daybreak or sundown so you get nice photos and not at searing noontime.
The Bohol Forest is a man-made mahogany forest stretching in a two-kilometer stretch of densely planted Mahogany trees located in the border of Loboc and Bilar towns. The moment you enter this forest, you immediately feel the drop in temperature, the coolness of the air, the smell of clean crisp air. The mahogany trees shoot straight up high and forms an arc meeting with other trees as if they’re conversing with each other on some ethereal level.
You will pass this forest on the way to Chocolate Hills from Tagbilaran City and when you do, ask the driver to stop somewhere safe and step out of your vehicle. The forest should be felt not just seen from the window of your car.
PANGLAO ISLAND NATURE RESORT AND SPA
I highly recommend staying here. I can say its a 5-star resort where service, accommodations and amenities are superb. The food is divine but take the buffet option, the ala carte is not as great. Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet spread is always delectable. Local cuisine rendition is spot on with some international cuisine for the foreign guests who may not be as adventurous with Filipino dishes. Rooms are housed in cabanas with very clean interiors and linens. No odd smell from the last occupant. It feels like it was just scrubbed squeaky clean for your use.
The 2-level cabanas are divided into 4 separate living quarters. Opt for the upper rooms for more privacy and better view of the sea. There are a lot of small details I like to mention that made my stay much homier:
– going up to your second floor room, there’s a water faucet near the stairs to wash off sand from your feet
– the outdoor veranda has a big ceiling fan to keep the breeze going during humid stuffy times of the day
– the welcome fruit basket has seasonal tropical fruits that are sweet and succulent
– the room air-conditioner was already turned on before you arrived making the room outright cool when you stpped in
– there are 2 cloth bags sturdy enough to carry your swimwear to the beach or some shopping items on your market strolls; yes, you may bring them home
– if you forgot your bathroom essentials, well there’s generous sachets of shampoo, conditioners, toothpaste and a very nice toothbrush; I like that the shampoos are the commercial types that you know is great and not the surprise in a bottle
– there’s a clothes rack just outside your veranda door to neatly hang your wet swimwear
All these little well-thought details makes this resort great in my opinion. And when you get tired walking the vast resort lot, then you can easily get a ride on one of their golf carts which are a call away. Love this resort and love their spa!
PRONY, the beloved pet python of Bohol
Prony does look beloved with her humongous girth for her age. When we visited her, she was inside her cage and always accompanied by her owner. The owners never let anybody inside the cage with her without them. They say their scent calms her which is why I was able to get inside and pat her while my wise and self-preserving hubby took this photo from outside the cage