Bohol, Philippines

Other-wordly Philippines

chocolate hills
Bohol's famous chocolate mountains, at this height verdant with plentiful rain.
Keeping an eye on everything
A specimen of Tarsius, a tiny, eccentric and endangered primate that survives on Bohol.
blessed driving
Driver in your jeepney, the Philippine transport vehicle, created from jeeps left behind by the Americans in World War II.
Boholina beach
The tropical peninsula that houses Libaong Beach, one of the most photogenic in Bohol.
Inheritance in Bad Condition
Ruined corner of a traditional Bohol house lost in a banana forest
by candlelight
An old Bohol homeowner watches island visitors examining the weathered exterior of her home.
Faith in the Penumbra
Catholic altar in one of Bohol's many stilt houses, homes that caught the attention of a group of influential island characters.
Old Fashioned
Old glasses in a traditional Bohol house.
Commercial Legacy
Old billboard of an old shop in Bohol once belonged to two sisters with a very familiar name.
"May Peace Prevail"
Couple photographed with the Chocolate Hills in the background.
Faced with the wind
Passengers ride in the cabin of an airy jeepney on their way to the town of Loboc.
historic glass
Set of bottles of products once on sale at Hermanas Rocha store, residents and businesswomen of Bohol
Blood Compact
The Blood Compact monument, which celebrates the first peace between Spanish settlers and the Indians.
A Kind of Underworld
A visitor to an old Bohol house ventures to a lower floor.
Enlightened Investigation
A woman examines the corner of one of the traditional Boholine houses abandoned by former owners.
Three ride
Bathers walk along the white sand of Libaong beach, on the extension of the coast where Casa Amarela is located.
A Dismal Conviviality
Friends chat in the dreary interior of an old house in Bohol.
Historic house
Bohol's secular colonial house, object of concern to a group of Bohol conservationists.
jeepney caravan
Lush jeepney on a Bohol country road.
The Philippine archipelago spans 300.000 km² of the Pacific Ocean. Part of the Visayas sub-archipelago, Bohol is home to small alien-looking primates and the extraterrestrial hills of the Chocolate Hills.

The probability of visiting the Philippines without realizing Bohol is almost nil. This was done by the national tourism authority.

Upon arrival at Manila airport, the country's promotional brochures feature a bug-eyed animal clinging to a tree, on a background made up of hills too round and verdant to look real.

Although Bohol has impressive old Hispanic churches, built largely from coral, they were the government's chosen trump cards to attract visitors.

signboard, old store, bohol, philippines, out of this world

Old billboard of an old shop in Bohol once belonged to two sisters with a very familiar name.

And also by countless companies and brands that associate their products and services with them and exhibit them on TV and in the press.

This strange combination aroused our curiosity. To the point of choosing the island as one of our stops in the archipelago.

The flight from Manila only takes two hours but we've been traveling since Vigan (in the far north of the country) and the night before. We landed in Tagbilaran at 7:30 am exhausted, with no idea where we were going to stay.

We wait for the local Tourism desk to open and we pick up a tricycle folkloric. Fifteen minutes later, we are talking to Mrs. Onôncia D. Balco, a short-sighted director in her fifties who takes care of the matter in three stages: “I know perfectly well who will love to welcome you. It's just a minute and I'll deal with it."

The phone you use is still a disk. We wait half a minute for dialing the number to complete. Much more towards the end of the conversation, which oscillates between Tagalog and English, as is customary among Filipinos with education and possessions.

O Salvador welcome by Lucas Nunag at Casa Amarela

Putting down the receiver, the lady gives us the news: “Everything is arranged. We'll take you to Amarela, then the owner will take care of you.” We assume this is a hotel. In any case, by that time, we were more concerned with getting back to sleep than with enlightenment.

jeepney, passengers, bohol, philippines, out of this world

Passengers ride in the cabin of an airy jeepney on their way to the town of Loboc.

The jeep arrives at Libaong Beach. Park at the entrance to a large villa. Given its color, it could only be the final destination.

A man with the look and posture of Clark Gable Visayas come to meet us. He introduces himself, says goodbye to the driver and immediately puts us at ease with a refreshing and fun breakfast.

Then he directs us to a room and politely frees us for a long sleep. We woke up in the middle of the afternoon. We stroll along the coast, with refreshing dips every 100 meters.

libaong beach, bohol, philippines, out of this world

The tropical peninsula that houses Libaong Beach, one of the most photogenic in Bohol.

Libaong's Tropical Coastline and the Unexpected Origin of Yellow Baptism

We moved a few kilometers away from the starting point and ended up in a bar where we devoured halo-halos, divine Filipino desserts of fruit, sweet potatoes, beans, condensed milk and more.

When we got back, the sun had gone down long ago. Only a tiny lantern saves us from more tripping over the countless fallen coconut leaves.

The owner dines with friends. Towards the end of the night, we rejoined. We exchange stories, adventures and preferences. Lucas explains to us that the South Koreans are his most undisciplined guests.

He confesses his passion for Porto and Mateus Rosé. In return, we tell him about the bad reputation of Israeli backpackers and confirm that Portuguese wine is much more than those unavoidable examples.

Lucas Nunag has been a lawyer in the offices of multinationals based in Manila most of his life. At 55, he got tired of life in the capital and retired.

He had accumulated savings and decided to build a seaside resort on his beloved home island. He found himself in trouble to choose the name for the new business. Until the daughter remembered the visit they had made to Lisbon, in 2004, and an especially sexy Portuguese word: yellow.

They decided to recover the past. And they baptized and painted the hotel according to that inspiration.

Around Bohol's History

The next morning wakes up gray. The panorama changes little as the hours go by.

We don't have big plans. Lucas seems to lack company. The host makes a point of showing us the island. We accept without resistance.

blood compact, monument, bohol, philippines, out of this world

The Blood Compact monument, which celebrates the first peace between Spanish settlers and the Indians.

In Dauis, he introduces us to his brother, a priest who speaks Spanish and Portuguese and shows us the ceiling of the Baclayan church, all painted with scenes of local life and the historic monument “Blood Compact".

"Blood Compact" celebrates the first friendship treaty between Filipinos and Spaniards, a few miles from the place where Chief Lapu Lapu's men pierced Fernão Magalhães of death with bamboo spears, in what is now called the Battle of Mactan.

visitor, old house, bohol, philippines, out of this world

A visitor to an old Bohol house ventures to a lower floor.

Still in Dauis, we found out that Lucas was part of a nucleus for the protection of the local culture. In the afternoon we join a group tour led by a Mr. Gardini who disagrees with our presence.

He fears that, as reporters, we would draw too much attention to a wooden mansion they were planning to acquire.

fe, illuminated, traditional house, bohol, philippines, out of this world

A woman examines the corner of one of the traditional Boholine houses abandoned by former owners.

Lucas settles the matter with his usual courtesy. We spent a full day admiring Boholian buildingss secular, with emphasis on the Castilian colonial stilts with thick and long plank floors: “The older the richer were their lords” the former lawyer tells us.

We also enter ghostly wooden villas with shell windows lost in time.

historic house, bohol, philippines, out of this world

Bohol's secular colonial house, object of concern to a group of Bohol conservationists.

And in unlikely tropical settings that, according to another indigenous member of the delegation, the nucleus manages to get their hands on for 30 pesos (500 euros). In this way, they prevent the conflicting heirs from destroying them just to share the materials.

Discovering the Eccentric Side of Bohol

At the end of the afternoon, we return to Amarela.

We arrived on Saturday. Lucas has to fly to Manila. We took the ride to the Tagbilaran bus terminal. There, we caught a jeepney eccentric and overcrowded. It was time to look for the famous Tarsians and the Chocolate Hills.

jeepney, lush, bohol, philippines, out of this world

Lush jeepney on a Bohol country road.

We come face to face with the first specimens of the primate in Loboc, in a garden by the river of the same name and on the way to the hills. The meeting is marked by admiration and indifference.

We were surprised by its diminutive size, not at all befitting the fearsome monster that filled so many posters. The specimens, in turn, confront us with an apparent pride.

The eyes of tarsiers are around 16 mm in diameter and may be larger than their brain. Well, those tarsiers just blinked at them, in slow motion, as if sleepy by our banal presence.

tarsio, primate, bohol, philippines, out of this world

A specimen of Tarsius, a tiny, eccentric and endangered primate that survives on Bohol.

At times spread over a vast area of ​​the world, the Tarsians subsist only on a few islands in Southeast Asia.

Despite the stuffed look of key chains, they are the only primate on Earth that is exclusively carnivorous. They jump from tree to tree, attacking insects and small vertebrates: snakes, lizards, bats and birds that they catch in mid-flight. It has nocturnal habits and the morphological combination between its thalamus and eyes is unique among primates. It has led some neuroscientists to suggest that the species comes from a distinct and older line of evolution.

We leave the tarsians in their lethargy. We proceed to the interior of the island and the Rajah Sikatuna National Park.

The Strange Hovered View of the Chocolate Hills

The bus ends its journey at the top of a long ramp. There, a well-placed viewpoint reveals the bizarre backdrop of the Chocolate Hills. Thousands of small conical hills covered with vegetation, with shades of green and yellow, repeat themselves until they are out of sight.

chocolate hills, bohol, philippines, out of this world

Bohol's famous chocolate mountains, at this height verdant with plentiful rain.

They extend over 50 km² and are between 35 and 120 meters high. They are made of limestone and are named after the appearance they gain when the grass that covers them turns brown during the dry season, when it makes them similar to Hershey's chocolate kisses (Kisses).

The Legendary Explanations of the Chocolate Hills

As might be expected, several legends explain the geological formation with a clear inclination towards greatness.

There is the romantic that speaks of Arogo, an immortal and powerful giant who fell in love with Aloya, a simple mortal who, when she died, left her suitor in pain and disgust. According to this version, the hills would have arisen when their endless tears dried up.

It is also said that two local giants got into a dispute for territory and threw rocks and sand at each other. The confrontation lasted several days. It so tired them that they forgot what had happened and became friends. The Chocolate Hills would be the damage they caused to the ground and never remembered to fix it.

chocolate hills, couple, bohol, philippines, out of this world

Couple photographed with the Chocolate Hills in the background.

And the Scientific Theories

Even if less fanciful, the scientific community is far from reaching an agreement. The most consensual theory of scientists is that the limestone of the hills contains abundant fossils of marine life.

It has suffered a long and intense erosion generated by rain, water flows and tectonic activity. Other theories add the hypothesis of the lifting of huge coral deposits.

Still others attribute its existence to strong underwater volcanic activity or massive water movements caused by extreme tides, somewhere in the early days of the Planet.

Our story in Bohol, this one, was drawing to a close.

libaong beach, coastline, sunbathers, bohol, philippines, out of this world

Bathers walk along the white sand of Libaong beach, on the extension of the coast where Casa Amarela is located.

We return to Libaong Beach and the Yellow House. We remake the backpacks. The next morning Lucas Nunag was back and driving us to the airport. We say goodbye to the kind host in gratitude. We got on a Cebu Airlines plane.

We head to the island of Panay and its Boracay for 3 or 4 days of bathing expiation on the grand dame of the Philippine beaches.

Bacolod, Philippines

A Festival to Laugh at Tragedy

Around 1980, the value of sugar, an important source of wealth on the Philippine island of Negros, plummeted and the ferry “Don Juan” that served it sank and took the lives of more than 176 passengers, most of them from Negrès. The local community decided to react to the depression generated by these dramas. That's how MassKara arose, a party committed to recovering the smiles of the population.
Camiguin, Philippines

An Island of Fire Surrended to Water

With more than twenty cones above 100 meters, the abrupt and lush, Camiguin has the highest concentration of volcanoes of any other of the 7641 islands in the Philippines or on the planet. But, in recent times, not even the fact that one of these volcanoes is active has disturbed the peace of its rural, fishing and, to the delight of outsiders, heavily bathed life.
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
Boracay, Philippines

The Philippine Beach of All Dreams

It was revealed by Western backpackers and the film crew of “Thus Heroes are Born”. Hundreds of resorts and thousands of eastern vacationers followed, whiter than the chalky sand.
El Nido, Philippines

El Nido, Palawan: The Last Philippine Frontier

One of the most fascinating seascapes in the world, the vastness of the rugged islets of Bacuit hides gaudy coral reefs, small beaches and idyllic lagoons. To discover it, just one fart.
Hungduan, Philippines

Country Style Philippines

The GI's left with the end of World War II, but the music from the interior of the USA that they heard still enlivens the Cordillera de Luzon. It's by tricycle and at your own pace that we visit the Hungduan rice terraces.

The Philippine Road Lords

With the end of World War II, the Filipinos transformed thousands of abandoned American jeeps and created the national transportation system. Today, the exuberant jeepneys are for the curves.
Vigan, Philippines

Vigan: the Most Hispanic of Asias

The Spanish settlers left but their mansions are intact and the Kalesas circulate. When Oliver Stone was looking for Mexican sets for "Born on the 4th of July" he found them in this ciudad fernandina

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
Okavango Delta, Not all rivers reach the sea, Mokoros
Okavango Delta, Botswana

Not all rivers reach the sea

Third longest river in southern Africa, the Okavango rises in the Angolan Bié plateau and runs 1600km to the southeast. It gets lost in the Kalahari Desert where it irrigates a dazzling wetland teeming with wildlife.
Herd in Manang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
Colonial Church of San Francisco de Assis, Taos, New Mexico, USA
Architecture & Design
Taos, USA

North America Ancestor of Taos

Traveling through New Mexico, we were dazzled by the two versions of Taos, that of the indigenous adobe hamlet of Taos Pueblo, one of the towns of the USA inhabited for longer and continuously. And that of Taos city that the Spanish conquerors bequeathed to the Mexico: Mexico gave in to United States and that a creative community of native descendants and migrated artists enhance and continue to praise.
Totems, Botko Village, Malekula, Vanuatu
Malekula, Vanuatu

Meat and Bone Cannibalism

Until the early XNUMXth century, man-eaters still feasted on the Vanuatu archipelago. In the village of Botko we find out why European settlers were so afraid of the island of Malekula.
portfolio, Got2Globe, Travel photography, images, best photographs, travel photos, world, Earth
Ceremonies and Festivities
Cape Coast, Ghana

The Divine Purification Festival

The story goes that, once, a plague devastated the population of Cape Coast of today Ghana. Only the prayers of the survivors and the cleansing of evil carried out by the gods will have put an end to the scourge. Since then, the natives have returned the blessing of the 77 deities of the traditional Oguaa region with the frenzied Fetu Afahye festival.
Street Bar, Fremont Street, Las Vegas, United States
Las Vegas, USA

The Sin City Cradle

The famous Strip has not always focused the attention of Las Vegas. Many of its hotels and casinos replicated the neon glamor of the street that once stood out, Fremont Street.
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

The Fish Market That Lost its Freshness

In a year, each Japanese eats more than their weight in fish and shellfish. Since 1935, a considerable part was processed and sold in the largest fish market in the world. Tsukiji was terminated in October 2018, and replaced by Toyosu's.
Efate, Vanuatu, transshipment to "Congoola/Lady of the Seas"
Efate, Vanuatu

The Island that Survived “Survivor”

Much of Vanuatu lives in a blessed post-savage state. Maybe for this, reality shows in which aspirants compete Robinson Crusoes they settled one after the other on their most accessible and notorious island. Already somewhat stunned by the phenomenon of conventional tourism, Efate also had to resist them.
Swimming, Western Australia, Aussie Style, Sun rising in the eyes
Busselton, Australia

2000 meters in Aussie Style

In 1853, Busselton was equipped with one of the longest pontoons in the world. World. When the structure collapsed, the residents decided to turn the problem around. Since 1996 they have been doing it every year. Swimming.
Chiang Khong to Luang Prabang, Laos, Through the Mekong Below
Chiang Khong - Luang Prabang, , Laos

Slow Boat, Down the Mekong River

Laos' beauty and lower cost are good reasons to sail between Chiang Khong and Luang Prabang. But this long descent of the Mekong River can be as exhausting as it is picturesque.
Tatooine on Earth
Matmata Tataouine:  Tunisia

Star Wars Earth Base

For security reasons, the planet Tatooine from "The Force Awakens" was filmed in Abu Dhabi. We step back into the cosmic calendar and revisit some of the Tunisian places with the most impact in the saga.  
sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
Santa Marta, Tayrona, Simón Bolivar, Ecohabs of Tayrona National Park
Santa Marta and PN Tayrona, Colombia

The Paradise from which Simon Bolivar departed

At the gates of PN Tayrona, Santa Marta is the oldest continuously inhabited Hispanic city in Colombia. In it, Simón Bolívar began to become the only figure on the continent almost as revered as Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
Saona Island, Dominican Republic, Playa Palmilla Pool
Saona Island, Dominican Republic

A Savona in the Antilles

During his second voyage to the Americas, Columbus landed on an enchanting exotic island. He named it Savona, in honor of Michele da Cuneo, a Savoyard sailor who saw it as an outstanding feature of the greater Hispaniola. Today called Saona, this island is one of the beloved tropical edens of the Dominican Republic.

Passengers on the frozen surface of the Gulf of Bothnia, at the base of the "Sampo" icebreaker, Finland
Winter White
Kemi, Finland

It's No "Love Boat". Breaks the Ice since 1961

Built to maintain waterways through the most extreme arctic winter, the icebreaker Sampo” fulfilled its mission between Finland and Sweden for 30 years. In 1988, he reformed and dedicated himself to shorter trips that allow passengers to float in a newly opened channel in the Gulf of Bothnia, in clothes that, more than special, seem spacey.
Visitors to Ernest Hemingway's Home, Key West, Florida, United States
Key West, United States

Hemingway's Caribbean Playground

Effusive as ever, Ernest Hemingway called Key West "the best place I've ever been...". In the tropical depths of the contiguous US, he found evasion and crazy, drunken fun. And the inspiration to write with intensity to match.
Peasant woman, Majuli, Assam, India
Majuli Island, India

An Island in Countdown

Majuli is the largest river island in India and would still be one of the largest on Earth were it not for the erosion of the river Bramaputra that has been making it diminish for centuries. If, as feared, it is submerged within twenty years, more than an island, a truly mystical cultural and landscape stronghold of the Subcontinent will disappear.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Seljalandsfoss Escape
Natural Parks

The Island of Fire, Ice and Waterfalls

Europe's supreme cascade rushes into Iceland. But it's not the only one. On this boreal island, with constant rain or snow and in the midst of battle between volcanoes and glaciers, endless torrents crash.
China's occupation of Tibet, Roof of the World, The occupying forces
UNESCO World Heritage
Lhasa, Tibet

The Sino-Demolition of the Roof of the World

Any debate about sovereignty is incidental and a waste of time. Anyone who wants to be dazzled by the purity, affability and exoticism of Tibetan culture should visit the territory as soon as possible. The Han civilizational greed that moves China will soon bury millenary Tibet.
Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Back to Danny Boyle's The Beach

It's been 15 years since the debut of the backpacker classic based on the novel by Alex Garland. The film popularized the places where it was shot. Shortly thereafter, the XNUMX tsunami literally washed some away off the map. Today, their controversial fame remains intact.
Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem, Christian churches, priest with insensate
Holy Sepulcher Basilica, Jerusalem, Israel

The Supreme Temple of the Old Christian Churches

It was built by Emperor Constantine, on the site of Jesus' Crucifixion and Resurrection and an ancient temple of Venus. In its genesis, a Byzantine work, the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher is, today, shared and disputed by various Christian denominations as the great unifying building of Christianity.
Train Fianarantsoa to Manakara, Malagasy TGV, locomotive
On Rails
Fianarantsoa-Manakara, Madagascar

On board the Malagasy TGV

We depart Fianarantsoa at 7a.m. It wasn't until 3am the following morning that we completed the 170km to Manakara. The natives call this almost secular train Train Great Vibrations. During the long journey, we felt, very strongly, those of the heart of Madagascar.
cozy Vegas
Las Vegas, USA

World Capital of Weddings vs Sin City

The greed of the game, the lust of prostitution and the widespread ostentation are all part of Las Vegas. Like the chapels that have neither eyes nor ears and promote eccentric, quick and cheap marriages.
the projectionist
Daily life
Sainte-Luce, Martinique

The Nostalgic Projectionist

From 1954 to 1983, Gérard Pierre screened many of the famous films arriving in Martinique. 30 years after the closing of the room in which he worked, it was still difficult for this nostalgic native to change his reel.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Valdez, Alaska

On the Black Gold Route

In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker caused a massive environmental disaster. The vessel stopped plying the seas, but the victim city that gave it its name continues on the path of crude oil from the Arctic Ocean.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.