Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bohol Sightseeing

We hired a mini-van for a one day tour around the island. There is essentially a circuit the tour buses run, but it is a good one.

First - we drove up to the "Chocolate Hills." There are 1200 of these cone-shaped hills spread over one section of the island. They got their name because they turn brown in the summer. It is still spring here (summer is March-May), so the hills were green.

Next, we stopped at a suspension bridge that crossed over the Luboc river. The crossing was a little slippery, but we were rewarded with a little souvenir shop that sold young coconuts with a straw for 50 cents, grilled bananas and a crackpot local that tore the husk off a mature coconut with his TEETH!

Later, we went on a cruise down the Luboc river. The riverboats serve lunch and have some ridiculous semi-live music, but it was good food and great scenery. We stopped at a couple of points where groups of school kids played ukulele versions of Abba songs. There were also some kids along the way that would jump into the water off the banks and swim to the boats. They'd grab hold - and look woefully into passengers' eyes in hopes of a few coins - and then jump off and swim over to one of the other tourist boats cruising down the river.

After the cruise, we drove back across the island. We passed lots of rice fields and they were harvesting the rice at many of them. Along the sides of the road, the rice was laid out to dry on tarps. This rice was then sold to cooperatives on the island for milling (in fact, we saw 50 kilo bags of it being loaded at the port the next day).

We also made a stop to see the Tarsiers - little bug-eyed, nocturnal critters. They kind of reminded me of Gremlins. They moved slow and were pretty cute, but you probably don't want to feed them after midnight. Not so long ago, you could visit game farm places on Bohol and hold the Tarsiers. They are endangered now though, so you can only look at them.

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