Aaron’s Blog

Tarsier Conservation Area in Bohol

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Im watching you

One of the highlights of Bohol, with a spot on the 20 Peso note, is the noble tarsier.  These little guys are impossibly cute and are a must see stop on Bohol.  I mean, who can look at those eyes without feeling a little pang of love in their heart?  Let me tell you that they’re even cuter in person.

Naoko and I at the Tarsier Conservation AreaBeyond the tarsiers themselves, what really impressed me was the care that the new Tarsier Conservation Area takes in regard to the animals.  There are many places at which you can see the tarsiers on Bohol, but most are basically a few tarsiers trapped in a small box so that you can see them.  Sure, you get to see the animals, but it leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth. The Tarsier Conservation Area does things much better.  It is a large swath of land in which about 80 tarsiers live, each in their own location.  Tarsiers are generally solitary animals, so it’s a much more natural living condition for them, which means less stressed and healthier animals.  It also let’s you see them in a more natural habitat.

They staff at the Tarsier Conservation Area really do a great job not only of giving the guided tours that come with your admission, but making sure that the area is well maintained and that the animals are healthy.  This makes for happy tarsiers and happy tourists, so I applaud their efforts.  If you’re on Bohol, make sure you don’t miss it!

Pregnant Tarsier

You might just love it so much that you decide to stay!

Naoko the Tarsier

Baclayon Church in Bohol, Philippines

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Colors of Church

Baclayon Church is the oldest church on Bohol and the second oldest church in all of the Philippines. I won’t claim that it looks new, but the old girl has been kept up remarkably well given that she’s going on 300 years old right now. Not only that, but she’s still the star of the show as the church is one of the stops on the standard (but worthwhile) one day tour of Bohol. There is a museum of the church at an additional charge, but exploring the church itself is free and is really enough.

Tower of the second oldest ChurchCandles in front of the Church

The structure itself is massive and it really is impressive that they could build such large open areas out of stone almost 300 years ago. It really does speak to the ability of the Spanish to build no matter where they went. Of course, slave labor helps, but I’ll take that up with the next conquistador I find. Either way, whoever did the work did an impressive job.

My favorite part of the church is the amazing use of color, both in the stained glass windows as well as in the sanctuary area. When light is streaming in, it really bathes the interior of the church with such amazing color and warmth. It does feel almost otherwordly even now, and I can only imagine the impression it would have had on people who had never seen something similar.

Inside the church

The church itself is still very much active and you will see both parishioners as well as school children attending mass and in prayer. It’s great that such a phenomenal building can still be used in the way it was intended. Also, as a super cute bonus, there is an elementary school next door to remind you that no matter where you go, kids will be kids, playing and smiling.

Come in to Play

The Universality of Kids at Play

Beauty and Deceit: Snorkeling at Balicasag

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Boats on the Ocean

Alona Beach and the waters near it are world famous for diving and snorkeling and it’s not hard to see why.  The water is beautifully clear and there are copious reefs scattered about the area which offer places for fish to see and be seen.  This is why the beach itself is absolutely littered with dive shops offering anything from multiple day scuba excursions to mask and fin rentals so you can just wade out into the water on your own.  Whatever you want to do under the water, you can find it.

Looking out from the prowAs neither of us are divers, we had to “settle” for snorkeling and the spot to snorkel in the area is at Balicasag island.  It is a 1.5 acre island that can be reached from the beach via a 45 minute boat ride.  This is where the treachery comes in and where you can be taken for a ride other than the one in the boat.  The bottom line is to make sure you know what you agree to pay and that it includes everything.

In our case, we had worked with the staff of our hotel in order to negotiate a price of 1500 pesos for “the boat and snorkeling” and an additional 200 pesos for “gear” rental for the two of us.  So we left the hotel in the morning with smiles on our faces as this was about 700 pesos cheaper than some other tours we had seen advertised.  One of the guys on the boat, let’s call him Junior, even came to pick us up.  So we hopped on the boat with Junior and what we assume was his uncle – let’s call him Grumps McGee. Read more

Photo of the Week: Sunset at Alona Beach

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Sky on fire above Alona Beach_1280_for_Web

Though sunset over the beach is often nice, the scene we found on Alona beach when we arrived was nothing short of spectacular.  The sky was ablaze in beautiful shades of orange, yellow, and pink where the coulds moved in front of a fragile blue sky.  I have seen many sunsets in my life, but few I will remember more than this one.

Found in Bohol: Husband Day Care

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For all of the troubled wives that feel they have no time for themselves, an enterprizing bar near Alona Beach offers the answer: Husband Day Care.  It leaves you free to pursue all of the shopping, manicuring, and scented-candling that you desire without having to worry about someone hurrying you out of the store because the game is about to start.  Sounds like a win-win to me.

IMG_2250

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