Bohol, Philippines  (21-24 July 2000)         Back to Valhalla's Adventures

(Sandugo Festival, Chocolate Hills, Tarsier, and Century Ride)



The Sandugo Festival The Sandugo Festival commemorates a blood compact between Spanish Conquistador Legaspi and a local native chieftain Sikatuna.  This bond of friendship was the first to be sealed in the Philippines.  Unlike the usual religious festivals the emphasis is on this significant event, though the pagentry that evolves during the festival almost always has some religious aspect and almost always includes a bit of black magic or witchcraft in the portrayals ... certainly a carryover from the legends of the area.  The monument shown here depicts the blood compact ceremony.  It is in Bool, near Tagbilaran, the major city in Bohol province.








On Friday, 21 July 00, we took our mountain bikes to Bohol via ferry from Dumaguete, Negros, (a 1 hr 15 minute ride).  The 40 km ride from VALHALLA  to Dumaguete the previous day was just a bit more training for the next few days.

We spent the afternoon riding around Tagbilaran and the nearby island of Panglao (home to the majority of the diving resorts on Bohol).  Saturday afternoon was the day for the Street Dancing Competition and a parade through the main street of Tagbilaran.  Here's a panorama of the nine groups awaiting the competition in the SCG Stadium.






A parade within the stadium kicked off the program, which was followed by each group (80 dancers and 15 musicians) performing a pagent-style program lasting about 15 minutes each.


Following the usual round of speeches, introductions and accolades, the entire stadium crowd exited through this narrow alleyway onto the main street of the town for the parade.  Did any thoughts of terrorist bombs come into mind at this point?  Guess.



Here are a few photos of the very colorful parade.





The world famous Chocolate Hills

The next day, Saturday, we set off early for a 55 km ride to the CHOCOLATE HILLS.  We followed the coast east to Loay then began climbing into the mountains ... one uphill stretch of grueling 20 kilometers until reaching the plateau and the chocolate hills (most of which are green at this time of year).  We stayed at the Chocolate Hills Resort (very basic, inexpensive and comfortable).  Here's another panorama  ... this one of the 'chocolate' hills captured just after sunrise the following morning.






The Tarsier

The day we arrived at the resort we discovered that we had passed, about 25 kms back down the mountain, a place where we could view the world's smallest monkey .. the tarsier.  So we hired a motorcycle (habal-habal) and rode for over an hour back on our track to see this amazing creature.  It's eyes cannot move in their sockets so, like an owl, it can rotate it's head 180 degrees in either direction.  It can also leap horizontally about three meters distance!



Our 'metric' CENTURY RIDE


For our return to Tagbilaran we chose a longer route to see more of the island.  Though tempting to ride back down that mountain we labored so hard to ride up, we continued on to Carmen then headed west to the coast at Clarin, where we then followed the coast south.  We thought at first that we would go part of the way and spend the night but we made such good time we pressed on.

Along the way we saw one of the most crowded jeepneys we've seen.  But at least you can still see some of the jeepney!

Here it is at the beginning of the best downhill run we've had ... smooth concrete for over 10 kms!





Just 3 kms prior to arriving at our hotel in Tagbilaran,  we recorded 100 km on the GPS.

Here's the proof of our first METRIC CENTURY RIDE.