Category Archives: Bohol

Zentraveler explores Bohols chocolate hills, eco park and more!

Zentraveler stretching exercise to climb Chocolate Hills Viewing Area

We elected to arrange a full day tour with one of the tour operators at the Bohol sea port. The tour guide drivers are very courteous, good drivers, and provide lots of information about the different tourist spots. The tour vans are relatively new with aircon which makes the trip more enjoyable as you cruise through the countryside.

We left early in morning at six am as the famous chocolate hills were first on the list. Not only were we the first group there it was almost heavenly as we were surrounded by fog and clouds till the sun came bursting through… giving us an incredible view of the chocolate hills.

chocolate Hills

We took the 214 steps to the top of the observation hill providing many photo opportunities. They have safety rails, however if you are afraid of heights and not in good physical condition you may elect to stay at the base where they have a restaurant, bathroom facilities and many great views of the chocolate hills..

At the very top is a liberty type bell which I guess they use to call in the gods or to announce important events and holidays throughout Bohol.

chocolate Hills Bell

Exiting the chocolate hills we headed to the Loboc Eco Adventure Park which has a large reception center, clean restrooms and a magnificent zip line crossing the Loboc river. This is an excellent well-developed tourist destination for the adventurous.

Loboc Eco Adventure Park

Driving through the scenic mahogany forest and curvy roads we arrived at the Tarsier Conservation Area where we trekked on primitive trails with helpful guides to point out the mostly sleeping Tarsiers. As part of the parks guidelines management requests: if you have a flash camera digital or otherwise to please turn the flash off as this would disturb their sleep sequence. The guides are helpful and will assist with your camera if necessary. Tip! Wear good shoes… if the trails are wet they tend to be quite slippery.


The Philippine tarsier, (Tarsius syrichta) is very peculiar small animal. In fact it is one of the smallest known primates, no larger than a adult men’s hand. Mostly active at night, it lives on a diet of insects. Folk traditions sometimes has it that tarsiers eat charcoal, but actually they retrieve the insects from (sometimes burned) wood. It can be found in the islands of Samar, Leyte, Bohol, and Mindanao in the Philippines.

Tarsier Native Gift Store

From there we purchased some native carvings had a snack of the local fruits and drank fresh Buko “coconut water” and headed off to the Simply Butterflies Center which is highly educational as our tour guide told us about many types and styles of butterflies including their reproductive cycle molting stages. As you walk through the screened in outdoor room you are amongst a colorful tropical garden with hundreds of butterflies resting or flying… just waiting to be on Facebook.

Simply Butterflies Center

We headed to the Bohol Python and Wildlife Park to complete our tour for the day. The wildlife park is a fun place to visit and see some of their different animals, birds, and reptiles and photo the largest snake in captivity in its own cage. You can also purchase homemade cakes, snacks, and souvenirs and take interesting photographs.

Bohol Python & Wildlife Park

We ended our evening by going to the newer shopping mall where we just hung out and took a leisurely dinner.

So there you have it. If you enjoy travel adventure, like to see some of the wonders of the world and enjoy taking photographs… Bohol should definitely be high on your list as a tourist destination.

Perla Learning to Fly

QUOTE: “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:The Chocolate Hills are probably Bohol’s most famous tourist attraction. They look like giant mole hills, or as some say, women’s breasts, and remind us of the hills in a small child’s drawing. Most people who first see pictures of this landscape can hardly believe that these hills are not a man-made artifact. However, this idea is quickly abandoned, as the effort would surely surpass the construction of the pyramids in Egypt. The chocolate hills consist of are no less than 1268 hills (some claim this to be the exact number). They are very uniform in shape and mostly between 30 and 50 meters high. They are covered with grass, which, at the end of the dry season, turns chocolate-brown. From this color, the hills derive their name. At other times, the hills are green, and the association may be a bit difficult to make.

Legend has it that the hills came into existence when two giants threw stones and sand at each other in a fight that lasted for days. When they were finally exhausted, they made friends and left the island, but left behind the mess they made. For the more romantically inclined is the tale of Arogo, a young and very strong giant who 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 were formed. The most commonly accept theory is that they are the weathered formations of a kind of marine limestone on top of an 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.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Old black and white photo postcards…nostalgia.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:It’s all in zee travel…get off the couch grasshopper and keep moving…you never know whats around the next curve or corner.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under adventure travel, Blogging, Bohol, Bohol Island, Bohol Python & Wildlife Park, Bohols Chocolate Hills, Loboc Eco Adventure Park, Simply Butterflies Center, Tarsier Conservation Area, Uncategorized

Zentraveler explores Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines.

Tagbilaran City Port

Approaching Bohol Island from the water your eyes take in the seascape with Tagbilaran City situated along the waterfront in the distant. You can use the city as a jumping off point while visiting the island of Bohol or exit point for your return trip. Depending on your schedule… often times it is good to check into your hotel, get oriented, do some last-minute shopping, and seek out some of the city sites.

Newport Oak Pension Inn

We found a brand new pension house named Newport Oak Pension Inn centrally located with privacy gate and located next to a large public swimming pool. The staff was friendly, rooms priced in the 1000 pesos range, were clean and we would definitely recommend The Newport Oak Pension Inn for your accommodations while staying in Tagbilaran City.

We headed out to a local shopping center, where we had dinner at the Bohol Bee Farm Restaurant, purchased some herbal teas to bring home, and just hung out people watching… which is not yet an Olympic Sport, but it should be. People of all sizes and descriptions were cruising along the mall as if they were on a mission. Later on I learned many of them were on a mission… after we tasted their homemade ice-cream I was definitely on a mission. I devoured a double-decker homemade cone of banana, mango ice-cream. Yum Yum!

Oasis Resort

The following day our hotel manager flagged down a motorized tricycle and we negotiated a trip to tour Panglao Island. We ate lunch at the Oasis Resort centrally located close to Alona Beach, photographed a vintage church named San Augustin, and took a stroll on the beachfront where we witnessed many dive shops, restaurants and businesses… many owned by foreigners. Alona Beach is very picturesque with white sand beaches as long as the eye can see with palm trees swaying in the breeze and local fishing boats anchored just off shore.

San Augustin Vintage Church

We returned the scenic route back to our hotel, freshened up and headed to the towns capital park surrounded by churches, historic city buildings, and many colorful tropical plants within the park.You can purchase tropical plants from local vendor stalls located at both ends of the park. The park is an excellent place to hangout and has many benches for sitting. While observing the different Filipino families and tourists moving around and about you could witness the small children running and screaming… trying to catch one of the many pigeons wandering around seeking your attention and looking for a handout.

Garden Cafe Restaurant

Just beyond the church we discovered a vintage western motif restaurant named Garden Cafe… complete with authentic western saddles, photos and relics of yesteryear. We sat in our booth and noticed a phone with a small sign: the waiters and waitresses are deaf, so after they bring you your menus simply pick up the phone call in your order and it will be delivered to your table asap. What a great asset to be able to help these special people to be gainfully employed in a high-end restaurant. Kudos to the owners and management…we need to see more examples of this in our travels.

The upstairs houses the restaurant /museum portion. Not only does it have a true Old West atmosphere but it even has mounted horse saddles that customers can climb on and take a ride. Country music fills the air and a customer truly feels like they are a part of the wild, wild west.

The food at the Garden Cafe is wonderful with the most extensive menu in the province. European, American, Chinese, and Filipino dishes blend together to meet the likes of all customers. A great dining experience highly recommended and should be on your to do list while visiting Tagbilaran City.

Alona Beach

So there you have it! Tagbilaran City has its own modern port and airport many points of interest, good restaurants close proximity to Panglao Island and Alona Beach and makes a great jumping off point for touring the rest of Bohol Island. What are you waiting for grasshopper book your Bohol Island trip today.

Alona Beach Restaurant Scene

QUOTE:”Camp out among the grass and gentians of glacier meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of Nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” — John Muir, Yosemite Valley, 1898

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: “What is adventure? If a lone wolf lifts his plaintive call into the moonlight near your campsite, you might call that adventure. While you’re sweating like a horse on a climb over a 12,000 foot pass, that could be adventure. When howling head winds press your lips against your teeth, you face a mighty struggle. When your pack grows heavy on your shoulders as your climb a 14,000 foot peak, you feel the adventure. When you suffer freezing temperatures and 20 inches of fresh powder on a hut to hut trip in the Rockies, that could be called adventure. But that’s not what makes an adventure. It’s your willingness to conquer it, and to present yourself at the doorstep of nature. That creates the experience. No more greater joy can come from life than to live inside a moment of adventure. It is the uncommon wilderness experience that gives your life expectation.”
– Frosty Wooldridge, Golden, Colorado

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Purchase an external drive and copy all of your photo images onto external drive so you have a backup system…your computer could crash and lose all of your photo images. Ugh!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:It’s all in Zee travel, travel via the internet, travel with your imagination and like the Nike ad says: “JUST DO IT”. Get off the couch grasshopper and travel. It’s later than you think…. or is it?

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under adventure travel, Alona Beach, Bohol, Bohol Bee Farm Restaurant, Bohol Island, Garden Cafe, Newport Oak Pension Inn, Oasis Resort, Panglao Island, San Augustin Church, Tagbilaran City, travel, Uncategorized, writing

Zentraveler takes superfast ferry to Bohol, Philippines.

Fastcraft ferry to Bohol

Arriving at Pier 1 in Cebu I was pleasantly surprised to board our super clean ferry to Bohol. As ferries go in the Philippines, I am used to the old type of ferry where you walk over the transport ropes, past the loading trucks, and then climb up to the next level and pick out you’re not to comfortable seat for the travel. This ferry not only looked like the state of the art design…. it was so smooth traveling over the water that you could barely detect you were seaborne.

Blood Compact Monument

Several hours later we arrived in the town of Tagbilaran City, where we made arrangements ahead of time to day tour part of the island, which included: The Blood Compact Site at Barangay Bool, Tagbilaran City is in memory of the historic agreement between native Filipinos and the Spaniards, several historical churches, and an all you can eat buffet river cruise at the Rio Verde Floating Restaurant. The food was excellent with many choices of fresh seafood, salads, fruits and local cuisine. To add to the ambiance they had a live one man guitarist singing out his favorite oldies but goodies songs as we headed up river. “I’m leaving on a jet plane” set the melody as we rounded a steep turn in the river and had an opportunity to meet some of the indigenous natives with their crafts and way of life living on the riverbank.

Floating Restaurant

Bohol has invested large sums of money developing the tourism industry and has many tour guides in new travel vans with fixed prices and tours for your stay in Bohol. In one-way this is much easier to negotiate then trying to piecemeal your trip with many different types of transport etc. The port in Tagbilaran City is upscale with its own police station, tourism bureau, and open market to purchase handicrafts and local eateries.

Port Police Station

Tourists have many choices which include: staying at Nuts Huts Resort on the Loboc River, going to the famous Chocolate Hills, having an all you can eat buffet on one of the riverboats, visiting Panglao Islands Alona Beach with its large x-pat community, world class diving, restaurants and hotel accommodations, visiting the Tarsiers outdoor nature park, taking the zipline from the Loboc Eco Adventure Park, seeing the butterfly exhibit, the snake farm and staying in the city, which has several shopping centers plus some excellent restaurants.

Local Singer Floating Restaurant

Our first night we stayed in a new resort on the opposites side of the Loboc River named: Stephanie Grace Paradise Inn and Restobar, which was very well-appointed with a swimming pool and terrace on the river. They also have one river raft cottage for overnight accommodations tethered to the resort …ideal for the backpackers or the adventurer tourist.

Stephanie Grace Resort

So there you have it. Why not see for yourself the many natural sites, churches, and white beaches on Bohol Island, or get lost in the Chocolate Hills and eat your way to Nirvana.

Chocolate Hills

QUOTE:”If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” ~ James A. Michener ~

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:. The Philippine Tarsier, considered the second-smallest primate in the world, is indigenous to the island. Tarsiers are small animals with enormous eyes; each eyeball is approximately 16 mm in diameter and is as large as its entire brain. Tarsiers also have very long hind limbs, due mostly to the extremely elongated tarsus bones of the feet, from which the animals get their name. The head and body range from 10 to 15 cm in length, but the hind limbs are about twice this long (including the feet), and they also have a slender tail from 20 to 25 cm long. Their fingers are also elongated, with the third finger being about the same length as the upper arm. Most of the digits have nails, but the second and third toes of the hind feet bear claws instead, which are used for grooming. Tarsiers have very soft, velvety fur, which is generally buff, beige, or ochre in color.

Philippine Tarsier

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Tarsiers. Tarsiers are way to cute to allow to go into extinction. Get busy grasshopper!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Travel light, travel often, and don’t complain… no one will listen anyway.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

Leave a comment

Filed under Alona Beach, Bohol, Loboc Eco Adventure Park, Nuts Huts Resort, Panglao Island, Philippine Tarsier, Rio Verde Floating Restaurant, Stephanie Grace Resort, The Blood Compact Site, travel, Uncategorized