March 23, 2010

Rolling the Hills in Bohol (Sagbayan Peak and Chocolate Hills)

Whenever Gin and I stumble upon blogs, magazines, or newspapers that feature the island of Bohol, we notice that they are always replete with superlatives as to how beautiful it is. It would not be surprising, then, if many are beguiled by those words and lure them to this part of the world where many consider as God’s little hideaway in the Pacific.

Although we are easy to please when it comes to nature’s sensory treats, we were quite apprehensive if Bohol is really like paradise as many are claiming to be. Indeed, our first step to the island did not impress us that much since the sea portal (Tubigon) of the province is not that grand compared to its neighboring islands, especially Cebu. But while the harbor may have curled our eyebrows a bit, the first locals that we encountered plucked the bend from our brows and placed a curve on our lips instead.

The People

We were told that Boholanos are generally friendly and very accommodating. We noticed this when we were still in the ferry as some of the passengers gladly answered our queries regarding their place. That blew our worries away as it was our first time in the province. We didn’t let our guards down when we conversed with some locals in the harbor, though. But our weariness proved to be baseless as we observed that their sincerity is genuine. One local dispelled our worries of being swindled or shortchanged by aptly saying that, “hindi po ito Manila.” Indeed, Bohol is anything but Manila.

As expected, our driver cum tour guide was easy to be with. He had difficulties conversing with us in Tagalog, though, but we didn’t mind as we were more concerned with the driver’s trustworthiness than his aptitude in speaking to us in our language/dialect. We felt very comfortable with him from the start even though his car’s aircon conked out.

Sagbayan Peak

Our first stop was Sagbayan Peak. It is here where you’ll first get a glimpse of the famous hills. This recreation area is a good alternative to the observation hill in Carmen as the latter can get very crowded, especially in the mid mornings and afternoons. Some tourists tend to skip this site as they think that they’ll get a better view of the hills in the Chocolate Hills Complex. However, this is not exactly an accurate assessment. One would still have a spectacular view of the Chocolate Hills in Sagbayan even if it’s quite from a distance. The resort has a platform or gazebo that gives a 360-degree perspective of the area where the hills are scattered.

As can be seen from above, Sagbayan Peak gives the best viewpoint as far as the hills and the coastline is concerned. You could even see the Cebu skyline via a large telescope that you could operate for only P10.00. The recreation center is a wonder in itself and can stand alone even without the hills. It is highly recommended for nature-trekkers and for people who want a serene place for rest, reflection, or relaxation. The resort also keeps a tarsier.

Chocolate Hills Complex

Of course, many consider the observation hill in Carmen as providing the best vantage point when it comes to communing with the Chocolate Hills. Before you could see the hills up close, you would have to climb a dizzying 214-step staircase that leads to the deck. For fitness buffs, the climb can be a treat in itself. But for those who already categorize walking from the parking lot to the office building as “strenuous,” going up the hill can be a daunting task. Being associated with the latter class, I was already taxing my lungs to its full capacity halfway through the task. After several minutes of complaining, I finally made it up the hill.

Perseverance, as they say, is greatly rewarded. Such is the case with the climb in the Chocolate Hills Complex. Upon reaching the top, you can indulge yourself to a spectacular panoramic view of the perfectly-shaped mounds. Sagbayan Peak provides a similar view, but not as close and as (nearly) perfect as this one in Carmen. Almost all photos of the hills that you usually see in postcards are taken from this place.

Nobody knows how the hills came about. If the local folklore is to be believed, these unusual geological wonders were the mud that two giants from long ago threw at each other during a fight. Geologists offer a less colorful theory, though, saying that they are the result of the mixture of marine limestone and clay. I didn’t bother to count each and every hill in the vicinity as I would be risking a premature visit to my ophthalmologist (or maybe a psychiatrist) if I do so. Besides, I’m not keen on refuting the claim that there are exactly 1,268 hills in the area.
If you’re taking the tour from Tagbilaran, the Chocolate Hills Complex will probably be your last stop. But if you’ll be starting from Tubigon, it might be your second stop after Sagbayan Peak. It’s best to climb up the observation hill early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

5 comments:

Wong King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wong King said...

I am going to Cebu tonite. So excited and am studying hardly by your bolger. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

haloo you can contact starcraft by this no. 09223810116 and email add carelbanas_10@yahoo.com tel no 5205212

Anonymous said...

MV Starcraft Schedule (Cebu-Bohol via Tubigon and vice versa)
Pier 1

Cebu to Tubigon, Bohol

5:45 a.m. - 6:30 a.m.
8:00 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.
12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Tubigon to Cebu

7:00 a.m. - 7:45 p.m.
11:00 a.m. - 11:45 p.m.
2:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
5:45 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Rates (Plus P10 Terminal Fee):

Economy: P200
Tourist: P220

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