When visiting Bohol one will see lots of construction sites. The island is still recuperating from the 2013 earthquake. The damage is still visible: broken houses, demolished public markets and ruined churches. Although roads have been repaired and replaced they still are not in the best condition, travelling the coastal road with a Ceres bus will have you bumping all over the place in an awkward squeaking rhythm. Bridges are still being reinstalled and houses rebuild.
Still the beauty of this island and the friendly and also positive happy attitude of the people living on Bohol make you forget all that.
I have been cruising the island using public transport, crossing mountains, driving through the famous Chocolate Hills to Carmen en following the coast and the island is just stunningly beautiful.
Mangrove forests, white beaches, jungle mountains, mahogany forest, waterfalls, rivers, this island has it all. It makes a great escape from the touristic Panglao with its white sandy beaches, numerous resorts and hotels and overprices restaurants.
Yet dining on the beach in Alona is a nice experience one must not miss out on when visiting Bohol. Burry your feet in the fine white and and enjoy a good BBQ meal with the sea on one side and the business of the shops and restaurants and tourist roaming around on the other side. It was enchanting to see the sky color bright orange, to indigo blue and see the full moon riging on the other side above Bohol Island itself.
There is still a lot of repairs to be done in Bohol and sometimes that gives an eerie feeling of desolation.
For example arriving in Tubigon by boat from Cebu Island, you will find empty buildings welcoming you and facing a brand new McDonalds restaurant, that looks a bit out of place.
Three weeks after the earthquake the island was hit by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) after those two disasters 40.000 Bohol people lived in temporary shelters. When visiting the Island you can still see the new build homes of bricks and plywood, build for the homeless people, homes and roads sometimes are financed with money donated from other countries like Australia, so the signs alongside the road tell me.
A total of 209 people were confirmed dead, 877 people were injured severely. Ans the damaged was estimated around PHP 2.2 billion. The towns of Loon, Tubigon, Carmen and Calape were hit the hardest with several death and massive destruction. But the province’s entire population was affected by the quake.
Nearly 71,900 residential houses were damaged, out of which 14,480 were totally destroyed. Even the famous Chocolate Hills got damaged and when driving through those mystical mountains you can see some of them split in half and had massive landslides.
Philippine Government, and specially the province of Bohol are spending an enormous amount of money to restore waterways, roads, bridges, infrastructure, public markets and houses.
More information about the earthquake you can read by clicking here to visit Wikipedia.
When visiting Bohol in 2016 and moving away from the tourist areas be aware of the fact that you still might be confronted with road repairs, damaged attractions and temporary housing of people all over the island.