Of Churches, Chocolate Hills and Rivers…

We decided to have our tour on the day we checked out of the resort. Since our flight was at four in the afternoon, we have six hours to spare to see the sights around Bohol.

honey icecream 

First on our agenda was a visit to the Bohol Bee Farm to buy treats for family back home. An uncle of ours believes that aside from sightseeing and taking in all the good scenery a place has to offer, we tourists have the obligation to help the local community by purchasing their products. My cousin Mark went on a shopping binge upon learning that Bohol Bee Farm employs and supports the community, and loaded our basket with muffins, honey butter, two tubs of honey, shirts, and those cute peanut kisses in fancy red plastic sachets. Word of advice, if visiting the farm, trust me when I say that their honey ice cream is the best I have ever tasted bar none. Not cloyingly sweet yet creamy and delicious, this to me is the nectar of the gods indeed!

Bilar’s man-made forest 

Next stop is the famous Bilar man-made forest which is a dead ringer of the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Japan. Props to the community for developing this enclave both as a tourist destination and sanctuary that protects flora and fauna. On hindsight, Ms. Gina Lopez is right, there is money in responsible eco-tourism! and sadly, this reality is something alien to our elected officials on account that some of them are beholden to their benefactor. This kind of patronage should stop once and for all!

Baclayon Church 

The 2013 Earthquake in Bohol destroyed several places of historic value, in particular, the churches of Loon, Loboc, Maribojoc and Clarin were leveled to the ground along with the houses in Loon, Tubigon and parts of the Chocolate Hills national park. Thankfully the church in Baclayon is still standing despite the heavily damaged facade and belfry. Today, the church is undergoing renovation and retrofitting.

Holy Mary of Baclayon

Truth be told, I am really not sure how an edifice made of limestone can stand another strong earthquake? but I leave it to the experts who are trying to preserve not only places of faith but culture and heritage as well. Before leaving, I prayed to Holy Mary, asking her to protect not only this church of hers, but the Boholanos, kind and gentle people they are.

Chocolate Hills 

Much as I want to write about the Tarsier conservation reserves, I declined since we were just there for a good fifteen minutes as it started to drizzle. Besides, I really do not want to add another constraint on the lovely tarsiers whose I am sure is so pissed with all the commotion in their area.

Instead, I marveled at the beauty that is the chocolate hills whose entire surface is lush green at that time – and I prefer the hills teeming with grass and plants than brown and denuded, matter of fact.

Loboc River

In places like the Chocolate Hills or the Loboc River that are picturesque, a picture for posterity would be nice. But it will be more meaningful a visit if we live the present moment by absorbing all the good vibes these places has to give. So if anyone is reading this article and you find yourself in Bohol, I suggest that you put down that camera of yours and fold that annoying monopod.

For a moment enjoy this gift and let it replenish your tired body…

Breath in some fresh air and let it clean your lungs from all the accumulated carbon pollution from the city….

Clear your head of those deadlines and work related stuff that adds unnecessary pressure and stress and for a moment, feast your eyes on the tranquility before you and let your soul rest. 

For this is your “me time” and you need to enjoy it so as when you come back to the city, you are recharged. And when your overall wellness is renewed, you can hurdle anything that comes your way, and you can look forward to another furlough in the near future.

Live, people! live!