The highlight of the trip is going to the Chocolate Hills, Bohol’ s most famous attraction. This geological phenomenon consists of no less than 1268 hills, uniform in shape and mostly between 30 to 50 meters high. These hills are covered with grass and trees, which turn chocolate brown at the end of the dry season, hence, its name (Hellingman, “ The Chocolate Hills” ). Tourists climb 214 steps to reach the peak of the observation station to be awed by the majesty of this divine masterpiece. By this time, all of us in the tour group are famished and our hunger comes just in time for lunch at the Loboc River Cruise. We embark on a small riverboat, furnished with a buffet table at the center, so it is like a floating restaurant with a singer on board to entertain all the diners.
As the boat moves around the river, stretches of the green trees and river embrace us making everyone feel relaxed. The food served is Filipino, and I sample the tasty delicacies which are all foreign to me, but pleasantly surprised that my palate agrees with it.
I love the crispy fried fish, sauté ed vegetables, steamed rice, saucy meats marinated in tomato sauce and soy sauce and other sweet and salty viands which were typically Filipino. The dessert table had a variety of rice cakes and tropical fruits, all of which make my mouth water with its delectable tastes. A few stops of the cruise had children and ladies singing and dancing for the tourists. Some even went down the boat to dance with the performers. Tinikling, a native dance with bamboo sticks opening and closing while daring and graceful dancers try to go over them without their feet getting caught, was an exciting dance to watch. Despite the risk of being hurt by the bamboo sticks closing on their feet, the dancers were able to keep to the beat, flashing beautiful smiles all around (Hellingman, “ A Cruise on Loboc River” ).
Having enjoyed the Loboc River Cruise, we now board the tour bus to go to the Sandugo Shrine or the Blood Compact Shrine. It is the spot overlooking the Bohol Sea where the Spaniard Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and the Filipino native leader, Rajah Sikatuna shed drops of their blood in their drink as a symbolic ritual of friendship and to end the hostilities between the Spaniards and the Filipinos. The bronze statues of the key players in the Blood compact ritual was created by Filipino national artist Napoleon Abueva (Bohol-beach-resorts. com, “ A must see tourist spot” ).
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