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discoveries after the wedding bells

long awaited vacation PART 1

we had planned a 1 week leave to celebrate our first year anniversary but a few months ago we didnt quite know how we were going to spend it. a week before june 22, my loving husband gave me a PAL envelope and as i thought it was our ticket to singapore for the F1, i placed it in my bag and didnt really take notice. the next day (him probably wondering why i had still not reacted) asked if i had seen the e-ticket. so i took the ticket from my bag and read…..tagbilaran…… “where is tagbilaran?!” i was so dopey! hehehe! i eventually found out it was in bohol and that we had 3 whole days with an itinerary! ooooohhhh! hehehe!

as the day fast approached, the weather started to cloud and we heard that there was a storm down south. the day before the 22nd, with dim skies, im sure we individually hoped that the storm would evaporate and give us clear skies on our anniversary.

when we got up for our early (530am) flight we were greeted by howling winds and rain. i kept thinking, be positive, this is a blessing, but the sight outside was not very encouraging as trees were bent on ends and tricycles were being blown while they tried to keep still at the stop light. and as we approached the ramp at the departure area of the airport, the lights went out. but my spirits were not blown away by strong winds (i dont think i could say the same with my hair which was all over the place by the time i entered the airport). we were 3rd in line at the PAL counter as we realized the check in came to a stop. was it the motorized belt that carried baggage? but all our baggage were to be hand carried so eager me approached the airport personnel and asked if we could be checked in since we didnt have any baggage to surrender. thats when i found out the computers were down because of the brown out. so we waited for almost an hour and finally got our boarding passes. the skies were still dark and the winds still stirred as i sat in my window seat. the captain said the weather was not so good but reports from tagbilaran say that the skies there are looking good. with our hopes up, we took off into the stormy skies where i was praying half of the time because there was so much turbulence. but captain ramos was right as we hit the 30min flight time the sky cleared and we happily landed under a white clouded sky in tagbilaran.

the airport was like that of kalibo, where you get off on the tarmac and in less than a minute you’re out of the makeshift building (the size of a decent house). outside we met with our driver/tour guide mang jr AKA master honker (as he beeped his horn during our ride to signify to those on the road that we were coming through). he told us that the main street CPG, which my hubby intelligently followed to be a short cut of carlos p garcia, was what we were traveling on. he pointed out the town mall (which looked smaller than podium), the tagbilaran cathedral and munisipyo. we then headed to chocolate hills, stopping by some tourist spots on the way. first stop was the blood compact monument.

Tagbilaran City is the provincial capital of Bohol and in the Barangay Bool is the site of the first Blood Compact between the Filipinos and the Spanish in 1565. This treaty was a sign of friendship between the two nations and was to assist in building a common future.

we then took a long drive going up a mountain through streets like that going up to baguio.














we passed by the man made forest.















The man made forest of Bilar is the largest man made forest in the country. It was planted by the people of bohol to sustain ecological balance and restore the wildlife habitat in the area which was threatened by forest depletion. It covers an area of 8.574 sq kilometers. The national reforestation program was launched in the early 1960s when thousands of mahogany seeds were planted in bilar and loboc.

after maybe another hour drive i caught sight of the first of the chocolate hills! i bet in the olden times when there were no houses (hmmmm parang matagal na yun) it would have been wondrous to chance upon this hill then continue through to find that it was just one of the many.

mang jr drove us to the foot of the observation deck where hubby and i climbed the 214 steps



huffy and puffy until we reached the top. it was all worth the climb……















The Chocolate Hills is an unusual geological formation in Bohol, Philippines. It is composed of around 1,268 perfectly cone-shaped hills of about the same size, spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres. They are covered in green grass that turns brown during the dry season, hence the name.

it has been declared the country’s 3rd National Geological Monument and proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.mitzi-at-chocohills.jpg


Legend has it that the hills came into existence when Arogo, a young and very strong giant fell in love with an ordinary mortal girl called Aloya. After she died, the giant Arogo cried bitterly. His tears then turned into hills, as a lasting proof of his grief.

However, up to this day, even geologists have not reached consensus on how they where formed. The most commonly accept theory is that they are the weathered formations of a kind of marine limestone on top of a impermeable layer of clay. If you climb the 214 steps to the top of the observation hill near the complex, you can read this explanation on a bronze plaque.

after the breathtaking view we proceeded to the hanging bridge of sevilla



























this hangs over the loboc river.

next stop was the famous tarsier



thats me staying well back as i was afraid the little critter would pounce on me. but i should have known better as these are nocturnal animals and were probably too drowsy to know i was there!


This cute little Philippine Tarsier Monkey will fit very comfortably in your hand. Being nocturnal hunters, the Tarsier has huge eyes which are just perfect for night vision and has oversized ears, any movement will be heard. (this one was startled by some leaves blown by the wind, look at the humongous eyes! hehehe!) Another unique characteristic the Tarsier has, is the ability to swivel it’s head 180 degrees and an enormous capacity to jump, in some instances up to three metres, they are able to do this because they have special tarsal bones which are elongated. This is how the Tarsier got its name. This ability to jump large distances helps the Philippine Tarsier to move from tree to tree without having to leave the tree and cross the ground, where danger may lurk. cool!

next stop was our river cruise….














we boarded a huge raft equip with buffet lunch and life vests of course














we ate as we cruised…..actually for hubby and i we ate before the cruise even started! hahaha!



i think we were supposed to get off on foot to look around here but the storm the previous day had left it flooded ankle deep. i was not about to ruin my nikes! hehehe!

























it was a calm cruise but the city girl i am found it too calm….i was ready to go back on land.

our next destination was the baclayon church.














The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon is considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. it is the second oldest stone church in the Philippines (the oldest is San Agustin Church, in Real Street, Intramuros, Manila, built in 1571). It is one of the best presevered Jesuit build churches in the region, although in the 19th century, the Augustinian Recollects added a modern facade and a number of stone buildings that now surround the church.

The first Spanish missionaries or doctrineros in the region, Fr. Juan de Torres and Fr. Gabriel Sanchez, first settled in Baclayon in 1595. Shortly after their arrival, a visita was erected on the spot.














in 1717, Baclayon became a parish, and construction of a new church commenced. Some 200 native forced laborers constructed the church from coral stones, which they took from the sea, cut into square blocks, and piled on to each other. They used bamboo to move and lift the stones in position, and used the white of a million eggs as to cement them together. The current building was completed in 1727.




















The church obtained a large bell in 1835.


notice that the church is a few step from the shore across the street. this would be a great place to get married all over again!














the interior of the church is just as stunning with murals on the ceilings which were truly beautiful. i hope that the church gathers enough funds to take care of this jewel.


Next to the church is the old convent, which also houses a small museum with centuries-old religious relics, artifacts and other antiquities, dating back to the 16th century. here we saw the tribuna which is that portion of the church where important people can pray with full view of the altar without being seen by other people in church. this was done during the spanish times. i remember seeing such a thing in tagaytay in the pink sisters church and in the sta clara church where nuns could participate in the mass without mingling with the people. as i stepped into the tribuna i wondered how many nuns would look down at their loved ones longing to be with them….im so dramatic! in the picture of the altar you can glimpse the tribuna at the very top of the arch.

mang jr then took us to a delicacy and souvenir shop before we headed to our resort.


June 27, 2008 - Posted by | Meandering

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