Bohol Forest - 2km Mahogany Forest
The Bohol Forest is a man-made mahogany forest stretching in a two-kilometer stretch of densely planted Mahogany trees located in the border of Loboc and Bilar towns. Before and after this man-made forest are the naturally grown forests of Loboc and Bilar which are thick with a kaleidoscope of green foliage, different species of trees and giant ferns lining the road.
The man-made forest stands out because of the uniformity in height of the big trees, the spread of its branches, thickness and design of leaves. Seedlings abound around the older trees. Trunks, some thick and others just a few months old, grow resplendently straight up towards the sky which is obscured by the branches and the thick leaves.
The terrain from both side of the road goes up; to I don’t know how high. What you see are only the Mahogany trees that look like thousands of sentinels guarding the road, standing erect. No other vegetation is growing among the Mahogany trees. One only sees the brown trunks stretching forth from the earth and the green canopy above. And that’s what makes them look so attractive!
The roots of the trees are beautiful to look at as they protrude from the ground and crawl over boulders and contour of the land, even reaching the sides of the road. Looking at them gives you the creeps. Like tentacles of a giant octopus, the roots seem to reach out and grasp the unwary passersby, as what happened in the “Lord of the Rings” movie.
When you enter the forest, one will feel the abrupt change in temperature, especially during summer or hot season. It is hot outside the forested area, but once under the overhanging trees, one is refreshed by the cool breeze. This mountain area seldom sees the sun shine and most often than not, it rains here. Local folks attribute these to the presence of the dense forest.
The Loboc-Bilar man-made forest plays host to many visitors, locals and foreigners alike who take time to view it from the road and take pictures. The Metro Manila filmmakers often use the forest as a backdrop for some of their action films. Other groups go hiking thru the woods and up the mountain. Mountain bikers often use the wide asphalt road that traverse the forest aside from the day-to-day buses and public transport that ply between the towns.
This rainforest is about 20 kilometers from Tagbilaran City. Plying the interior road from the capital, one passes the town of Loboc and what the Boholanos call the “tina-i sa manok” (chicken’s intestines) which refers to the winding road up the mountain of Loboc going towards Bilar.
Leaving the populated barrios behind, the road up the mountain is steep and on one side, a deep ravine which are all densely forested. The steep and winding road plus the ravine does not hinder the local drivers. They maneuver the road with the agility and speed of experts; a feat acquired thru constant practice.
After the forest, one passes two towns, the town of Bilar and Batuan, and arrives at Carmen town where the famous chocolate hills are sighted. Carmen is where you find hundreds of chocolate hills which are uniform in shape and size. A complex has been put up by the local government on top of the two highest hills in the area.
The chocolate hills are the main Bohol tourist attraction. But before you get there, one passes the famous Baclayon church (the oldest church of Bohol), the Loboc church (the 2nd oldest church), the Loboc river, and then the man-made rainforest. One cannot help but be awed by such grandeurs!