Bohol aside from being home to tarsiers and Chocolate Hills, is one of the most ecologically rich places in the Philippines. Travellers flock here to experience its natural wonders. Most avail of group package tours when travelling, but for those seeking something different can look into “backpacking” for an alternative experience.
Backpacking and independent travelling usually doesn’t involve arranged tours, airport pick-ups, and tight itineraries. Free yourself from these and you’ll be in for a unique experience, a less-stressful vacation, and a way to travel cheap and sustainably.
For those who are clueless on how to begin, here are some suggested backpacking experiences to make your trip to Bohol more enjoyable:
* Photo from spamangr used under Creative Commons license
Visit Tarsier Sanctuary at Corella
At all cost, avoid the tarsiers along the town of Loboc. Many, if not all of them, are kept out of their natural habitat and instead made to fit onto small cages. Tarsiers easily suffers stress from continuous exposure to humans and are known to commit suicide in captivity.
If you want to view them in a more sustainable manner, head on to the Tarsier Foundation in the town of Corella. The sanctuary allows you to view the creatures in their natural habitat. Paying a visit helps in their conservation efforts too. The sanctuary can easily be reached via a Sikatuna-bound jeepney from Loboc.
Back to basics at Nuts Huts
Tuck within the jungles of Loboc, Nuts Huts offers accommodation alongside the Loboc river. This no-frills (no airconditioning, hot water, TV and wifi) backpackers place are for those who are ready to leave the comforts of a hotel, and are ready to roughen it up in the jungle. It’s not for everyone but it’s a definite experience for those seeking something unique.
Getting there can be thrill on itself. From Tagbilaran, take a Loboc bound jeepney and ask to be dropped you to Sarimanok for a 15-minute ride to their place. For those looking for a cheaper alternative, take a minibus to Carmen and ask them to drop you at Nuts Huts (around an hour from Tagbilaran). From there, it’s a 750 meters walk and another 100 steps down to the reception and another 150 to get to the huts (getting to paradise isn’t easy).
But once there, you’ll be rewarded with great views of the jungle and the river. Plus, the Belgian owners can help you fix some activities to do around the area (hike, zipline or mountain bike). Standard room for two costs 700 pesos a night.
Take public transport to the Chocolate Hills
In Bohol, a visit to the Chocolate Hills is a must. To get there, ditch the private vans and take public transport instead.
Public transport are cheap ways of going around. It also gives you a chance to interact with the locals. And for those adventurous enough, you can ride on top of the bus for a majestic view and a thrill from dodging powerlines and tree branches.
Buses to Carmen run every hour from Tagbilaran and takes 2 hours. From the bus stop, it’s another motorcycle ride away to the viewpoint. From there, you can also opt for a habal-habal tour around the hills itself.
About Filipino Friday: Every Friday, I’m going to showcase something unique about my home country , the Philippines. It can be a place, food, experience, custom or tradition that highlights what we our 7,107 islands can offer. I remember that on my travels, there are some people who are still unaware of where the Philippines is or what the country has to offer. So I hope that through these posts – I can help bring awareness about the Philippines, it’s beauty, hidden sites, quirkiness and diversity.
Are you a travel blogger? I’m inviting you to take part of Filipino Friday with me. All you need to do is post something about the Philippines every Friday. Contact me if you’re interested.