Postcards from Abroad

Whether your dream is to stay in a colonial-era bungalow in the middle of a tea plantation, an Indian princely palace, or to cruise in luxury the Irrawaddy to Mandalay, we never tire of searching for your next great travel destination. This is the place to share with us your most recent adventures.

A Postcard from the Visayas by Mike Tunstill

Mike Tunstill at Chocolate Hills, Bohol

 

When we travel, as a guiding principle we think in terms of quality, rather than quantity of experience. The Philippines is an archipelago of over 7000 islands. It would take a lifetime to see them all. For this short adventure therefore we have kept it to a mere handful, looking out over the glittering blue waters of the Bohol Sea.

 

Manila, the capital, is our gateway to the Visayas, the islands of the central region. We spend a day here, which is enough. A horse and carriage draws us through what remains of Manila’s built heritage, Intramuros, meaning between the walls, to the city’s historic centre Fort Santiago. Daily life is challenging here for the majority, but the resilience and optimism of the people is unconquerable. The fabled Filipino smile is already in evidence.

 smiling dancers Intramuros

A short flight brings us to Bohol’s airport, Tagbilaran, where we are greeted at the carousel by young people playing trombones and clarinets. From infancy, a Filipino child is given a recorder, or a ukulele, or anything that can be made to make music. A short transfer across the bridge to Panglao Island brings us to the stunning white sand Alona Beach, and our hotel, the Hennan.

 Boys in a brass band Bohol

The historic convent school of Baclayon, of timber construction, escaped largely untouched by the 2013 earthquake centred on Bohol. The same cannot be said for its splendid stone church, rendered tragically beautiful by the devastation still being cleared.

 historic convent school of Baclayon

 

The world’s smallest primate, the tarsier, feeds on small birds and lizards, and is the size of a man’s fist. The guide at the Bohol Tarsier Sanctuary brings us to within feet of this shy creature.

Tasier in Bohol

 

Over 90% of Filipinos are devout Roman Catholic. This is reflected not just in the profusion of churches throughout the islands, but in everyday life. When using public transport, I was occasionally moved to prayer.

Motorbike taxi

 

 Cruising the Loboc River, entertainment Bohol-style was provided on board…

cruising the Loboc River

 

Nothing quite prepares you for the most extraordinary natural phenomenon, found nowhere else on earth. The Chocolate Hills of Bohol.

 

Chocolate Hills Bohol

 

The origins of more than 1200 uniform limestone mounds, that turn the colour of cocoa in the dry season, is unclear. What is beyond question is the stunning, other-worldly spectacle they present, for the delightful people of Bohol, one more reason to celebrate.

Children in Bohol

 

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Include a visit to Bohol on your tailor made holiday to The Philippines.

Location (Map)

Bohol, Philippines
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