Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bohol's Bilar Man-made Forest

Whether you like it or not, everyone who is going on a countryside tour in Bohol would surely pass by the man-made forest found in the town of Bilar for this highway is your gateway to more of Bohol's attractions. On my end, I just didn't like it, I loved it! We got off the car and I was amazed how trees formed a canopy, blocking and screening the  hot rays of the sun from reaching the ground. I was pretty sure that temperature exceeded 32 degrees that very sunny day since the heat awaken my migraine causing me to have a terrible headache. It was different under the towering trees though, it gave me the illusion that it's already almost dusk and the place is just so revealingly relaxing. I wish I could have set-up my hammock and slept on the shade. :D

This forest is admirable knowing that it is a result of  successful reforestation efforts inspired by the National Government and was conducted with the help of the provincial government. During the war period in the 40's, several locals hid on the deep of the forests of the mountainous regions and burned some forested area to plant crops for food (kaingin). Eventually, the war ended and during the 60's, cutting down trees and kaingin were  strictly prohibited and reforestation had been a serious business in the province. It all started with the planting of tree seedlings in a barren area of about 857 square meters which now grew to an area of approximately 800 hectares. Trees are 80% mahogany and the remaining are mixture of other tree species. From what I have been informed, planting trees in the area is still on going, as this is one of the "requirements" for senior highschool students in Bohol before they graduate. They are given options on whether to plant a mahogany tree in the land or a mangrove in the river areas. I haven't validated that information though.

Whenever I think about this forest, I see it as a celebration of Boholano's cooperation and discipline. If only we, who live in different parts of the Philippines can plant at least a ratio of one tree to one person on where we live, and make sure the tree grows fully, then I could already imagine a more beautiful and healthy Philippines. I hope my dream doesn't end here.

Getting to Bilar's Man-made Forest

I won't be able to share how to go to this place via commute since this and all the other attractions I've visited in Bohol is a part of the itinerary for the whole day countryside tour I designed. We rented a vehicle with a driver that served as our tour guide as well. This is a a family get-away and not my typical backpacking trip so comfort is one of my top priorities arranging this trip. If you need information on who you can contact for renting vehicles, please check this link: Cars/Vans for Hire in Bohol.

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