We are down on our last day in Bohol! Technically, we have another day but it’s all reserved for buying pasalubong and going to the airport to fly back home. From Vest Grand Suite, we went to the municipality of Antequera for our first destination. About 18.5 kilometers away from Tagbilaran city, it is home for the beautiful Mag-aso Falls.
Mag-aso Falls can be reached for 197 steps as the eight-meter-waterfall is situated deep in the forest, surrounded by various lush green trees, and plants. Early in the morning is the perfect time to visit the place as no to few people are around, and nothing other than the the roaring waters and the chirping of birds can be heard going to the falls.
It used to be a twin waterfall, but due to the earthquake in 2013, the right side of the waterfalls was blocked by humongous stones. The old stone staircase was destroyed leaving the local tourism no choice but to create another one. Some stones can also be seen around the waterfalls, and the water basin for people to swim has gone narrow. But nonetheless, the glory of Mag-aso Falls can be easily be recognized.
Our trip to Bohol would not be complete without a trip to the Chocolate Hills (more on that later), and to the tarsiers. The Tarsier Research and Development Center located in Corella is actually a forest, and is the official sanctuary run by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation.
The Tarsier Conservation Area in Loboc, on the other hand, is another place to see tarsiers; however, I highly suggest people NOT to visit the conservation area in Loboc as they held tarsiers in captivity rather than allow these primates to live on their own.
Tarsiers are endangered species. These tiny animals prefer to live in solitude, and require a big space to live. If held in captive, they become stressful and suicidal. They are territorial, and can leap distances up to 5 meters. Their head can rotate up to 360 degrees, and have the largest eyes (in case you missed it LOL) among mammals in relation with their head and body size. They are also nocturnal, and eats insects, and lizards.
The Loboc River has become another popular destination for the countryside tour since a TV show starring Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil featured it (forgot the name of the show!).
The river, also known as Loac River by the locals, starts all the way from the municipality of Carmen, and flows to Bohol Sea. The most popular attraction in Loboc River is the floating restaurant. People usually visit before or in the afternoon, and cruise the river from Loboc to the upstream of Busay Falls. For PHP 450.00, you can eat buffet lunch, watch the live dance performance of the locals, and enjoy the scenic view of the river for an hour.
BUTTERFLY GARDEN & PHYTON SANCTUARY
Despite the drizzle, the butterfly garden was amazing. The butterfly garden owned by the Simply Butterflies Conservation Center is located in Bilar. Although there were few butterflies around because of the rain, the guides greatly entertained us, taking pictures of us and sharing information about butterflies, to suffice the lack of butterflies around.
The phyton sanctuary, on the other hand, is depressing. Along with other animals, the snakes are caged and have completely become domestic. Since it was raining, the place was extremely sad to visit. I’m just not a fan of animals kept in cages, so if you’re like me, I suggest you skip it.
The rain didn’t stop when we arrived in Carmen to visit the Chocolate Hills, but that did not also stop us from exploring the place. The oddly-looking hills are covered in green grass and becomes brown during the dry season. These unique hills can also be found in the municipalities of Batuan and Sabgayan.
There are three legends that explains the formation of the Chocolate Hills. One of them is how two giants had a feud and threw stones and sand to each other. In the end, they became friends and forgot to clean the mess they made. The other one is about a giant carabao who ate a lot of crops, defecated, and left all these mounds of “feces”. Whether you believe these legends or not, it is estimated that there are at least 1,260 to 1,776 hills.
When we got to the top of the viewing deck, the wind and rain become stronger. I honestly thought that the view would be bad due to the weather, but it turned out different than what we expected. The hills didn’t seem like the ones we see in a travel magazine or website, but the view is stunning– the Chocolate Hills seemed to be oozing with smoke! It looked like cookies fresh from the oven.
One of my favorite stop-over in the countryside tour is the Man-made Forest in Bilar. The forest consist of red and white mahogany trees thanks to reforestation plan in 1947 by college students in Bohol. The forest is extremely beautiful and quiet aside from the cars that pass the road.
Taking pictures in the middle of the forest is no easy feat. While one person takes pictures, the other strikes a pose, and the rest are look out. Imagine all these happening, and you’d definitely get a good laugh. Although it’s fun, always remember that safety is a priority.
It was almost night time when we ended our countryside trip. We headed to Gerardas to eat dinner before going to the hotel. I am planning to return any time soon since I enjoyed Bohol so much!
- How To Get There: From Manila, fly to Tagbilaran. Pre-book a countryside tour to your trusted travel agency, or rent a car and avail the tour. In our case, we did everything from scratch.
- Best time to start the tour is at 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning.
- Mag-aso Falls is not part of the countryside tour. You can, however, ask to include this on your list prior your tour. Your guide may require you to pay additional fee for this.
FEES (PER PERSON)
- Mag-aso Falls: PHP 15.00 (car park), PHP 50.00 (entrance fee)
- Tarsier Sanctuary: PHP 60.00
- Loboc River Floating Restaurant: PHP 450.00 (inclusive of lunch)
- Butterfly Garden: PHP 35.00
- Phyton Sanctuary: PHP 30.00
- Chocolate Hills PHP 50.00
- Man-made Forest