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Bohol: An Island of Pure Hearts
Like any other tourist, one of the things we’d like to find first in a new place is the source of supplies, such as malls and groceries.
The main city of Bohol, which is Tagbilaran has several of these, and the biggest is called the ICM or the Island City Mall. There are buses, jeeps, vans, and taxis that are meant for long-distance sight-seeing travels, but the major mode of commuting within a city is the tricycle. And so, to reach ICM, you must ride a tricycle, the inside of which can hold two passengers, with a contraption at the back that could hold big bags. One early evening, with groceries in mind, we absently placed our knapsack at the back and forgot all about it.
Only two hours later did we realize that we lost it, and of course, all its expensive contents, such as the videocam and all the souvenirs t-shirts that we bought. We told our sorry tale to the tricycle drivers that we met and one even brought us to the police station, and to two radio stations so that we can air our plight. It wasn’t the vacation that we had in mind. But, miracle of miracles, the driver of that fateful tricycle came to the place where we were staying early the next day to return our knapsack.
He didn’t realize that we left it until he was already at home. If we had lost our knapsack at any other city, we may never have retrieved our videocam. Thus, we have proven that Bohol is a place where people are naturally honest and helpful. From that time on, we felt very welcome and we never feared that we’ll be robbed or tricked by Boholanos.
The Boholanos are the descendants of a large group of native inhabitants called “pintados” or tattooed ones. When Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived, Bohol’s chieftain, Datu Sikatuna, chose peace and friendship by performing a “Sandugo” or blood compact with the Spanish leader. However, Bohol is also known for two great revolts. One was the Tamblot Uprising in 1621, which was led by a Babaylan, and the other was the Dagohoy Rebellion which lasted about 85 years, the longest revolt ever in the country.
It was led by Francisco Sedrijas, who is also known as Francisco Dagohoy, the hero of the province. And so, even though Boholanos cherish peace, they can put up a good long fight when they have to.
Bohol is the tenth largest island in the Philippines and it is considered by many as a major eco-tourism destination. It is famous for its chocolate hills that geological forces could not create again. It is also the home of the Philippine tarsier, the smallest monkey in the world. In Bohol, you can have your lunch while sailing along the Loboc River. Or you can spend an early morning watching whales and dolphins rising playfully from the water. Bohol also has an Island Paradise Hills Resort where you can enjoy the cold spring water that fills swimming pools.
You will also find the oldest stone church in Bohol, the Baclayon Church, and a church where a well of water is found at the alter, the Dauis Church. The water is believed to have healing powers.
Everyday, in the month of May, a festival is celebrated in various places of the province. This is the best time to meet their beautiful people. But if you want serenity and quiet, visit Bohol on other months.
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