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Bohol, Philippines

Chocolate hills?! Now that's my kind of hill

Typhoon Ruby meant that we had to cut short our time on Palawan and so got the first available flight to Cebu island. Cebu is a relatively large central island and many people use it as a base to ferry to the other islands of the Philippines.

Cebu City is busy, polluted and noisy and I was a bit wingey (OK, I moaned a lot) about being out in the hot, humid and dusty streets trying to fill our day before taking a ferry the next morning to Bohol Island. Jason agreed to let us spend the afternoon in the huge airconed shopping mall, complete with restaurants, cinema and bowling alley. In fact, it turned out to be a bit of an afternoon treat...

First we went shopping. Thank you to our family for the Christmas money you sent us... we spent it on a GoPro (underwater camera) and hope to make use of it when we do our PADI openwater scuba course next week. Then we had a delicious greasy fast food burger at Jollibees. Jollibees are everywhere in the Philippines, more popular than McDonalds and have a cute bumblebee icon...and so much more tasty than any other fast food burger I've had (although I did go for the deluxe Hawaiian burger). Yummy! The next afternoon treat was a trip to the cinema to see Hunger Games, Mocking Jay, complete with a huge tub of popcorn. I didn't realise how much I've missed doing these normal activities we'd do at home; shopping, fast food and the cinema was an amazing treat to us while we're backpacking.


We left Cebu City early the next day and got a ferry to Bohol; it was one of the first ferries running to the island since the typhoon and we'd heard many other travellers had been stranded for a few days. This turned out to be a brilliant few days exploring on a motorbike.

As soon as we got off the ferry we hired a motorbike and headed to our accommodation. A lot of backpackers stay in the beach area called Alona Beach, fortunately we opted to stay in the middle of the island at a cute eco-complex called Nuts Huts. It was an interesting ride getting there, with backpacks on too, down a long and bumpy path (you couldn't call it a road) and then a very steep descend down loads of steps to Nuts Huts reception.


It was so worth the effort; beautiful, peaceful, perched right on the edge of the river. Jason was happy and made the hammock his home for the afternoon. Our hut was basic, but clean, complete with mosquito net and resident ghecko (that insisted on making a lot of noise at nighttime).


We based ourselves at Nuts Huts for three nights and used our motorbike to explore the area. I didn't dare to drive the bike on the bumpy roads but jason did a good job, only toppling once from a stationery position (both fine, with only a mild burn from the exhaust on my ankle). The scenery is stunning, the villages really pretty and local people were extremely friendly as we drove past them (usually wishing us 'Merry Christmas' with a high five from the kids).


We passed away hours getting lost on the village roads, exploring, until we reached our first destination...the Tarsier Sanctuary. You have to be careful which place you visit the tarsiers at because some are kept in cages. Nuts Huts recommended visiting the sanctuary where they are basically wild, but at nighttime are encouraged to go into an enclosed woodland away from predators to feed on bugs under uv-lights. In the morning somebody goes and finds where the primates are resting after their nighttime feasting so that tourists can come and get a glimpse of these rare animals. They're really cute...as big as my fist, huge eyes and sit curled in a ball on low branches. I've included a photograph below with facts about them.


The Chocolate Hills on Bohol are on every tourist information leaflet about the Philippines. People generally told us they'd been underwhelmed when they'd visited them...us, on the otherhand, really enjoyed our trip out to them and the views were a new landscape view for us. Our motorbike ride out to them took us through the man made forest and rice paddy fields of the island, then as you get nearer to the Chocolate Hills odd lumps of grass start to appear in the landscape. You have to pay a small fee to go up to a viewing area for the hills and it can get a little busy with tourists, but overall we liked sitting at the top and looking out over these mounds of grass formed from old coral formations (it reminded me of something you'd see on a Super Mario game).


Our evenings were quiet and relaxing at Nuts Huts, with only a few other guests to talk to and our evening meal on the terrace there wasn't a lot else to do. The food was quite good (luckily so as its your only food option while you're staying there); we sampled Filipino ginger soup, various curries and even spicy homemade burger. All enjoyed under the night sky with a beer and a fire fly show above...what more could you want?!

After a good sleep, with only the odd interruption from Mr Ghecko, we thought we'd chill out on Alona Beach. It was about a 45 minute motorbike ride away, again very scenic and part of our days entertainment anyway. Alona Beach was pleasant, white sand and turquoise water with the odd bangka (wooden boat) taking tourists on boat trips. There's a busier side to the beach with lots of restaurants (where we enjoyed breakfast on the beach front) and then a nice quiet area at the far end of the beach where we spent a couple of hours topping up our tans and snorkeling (an excuse to try out the GoPro as there were no fish).


As a refreshing afternoon break on the beach we thought we'd give the Filipino delicacy 'halo halo' a try (sorry the picture doesn't do it the colours justice as it was taken from our phone). It's a drink/desert consisting of sugared fruits, sweetened milk, ube (purple vegetable) ice-cream and cream...very sickly... Filipinos love them.


On our final morning at Nuts Huts Jason had time for a quick swim in the river (I chickened out of it because I couldn't see far enough in the water to see if there were crocodiles (although apparently there has never been a croc siting before...but still, just in case, I gave it a miss). We could have stayed a good few days longer on Bohol, filling our days with treks, caving and kayaking, but unfortunately we were short on time and had to move on. We made the long and bumpy motorbike ride back to the harbour in one piece and boarded a ferry back to Cebu City.


Posted by bloorsontour 02:51 Archived in Philippines

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Stunning photographs of the landscape,little animals,Nuts Huts and of course the two of you xxx for kiss a ginger day!

by the wrinklies

Sounds idyllic! Xxx

by mutsi

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