Saturday, September 3, 2011

Of hills, houses and butterflies

The next day, we were scheduled to go on a city tour. We had hired a local van to bring us around (whole day hire with driver is about 2800 pesos  $65-) the van comfortably fitted 9-10 people.

First stop was the famous CHOCOLATE HILLS. these are about 1000 or more hills that dot the landscape. They call them chocolate hills because in the summer, the grass goes dry and brown and then they resemble chocolate. It was monsoon season when we went and the hills were VERY green.

On one hill, they made a structure on top like view deck. You have to CLIMB about 80 steps up the side of the hill to reach the top. (woe to those elderly... they don't have elevators nor escalators). You can take pictures and pose doing a "jumpshot". One of our companions did a jumpshot holding a broom and the picture turned out looking like she was flying over the hills on a broom-- sooo cool!


Not very far from chocolate hills is the newly opened SHIP HAUS (yes, spelled that way). It is a house that is made to look like a ship. the story goes that the owner of the house is a captain of a ship and he built this house a a vacation home. It was so interesting that a lot of people stop by to take pictures of the house. The local government noticed and asked him to open the house to the public.

allll ... aboard!!!!
For a minimal fee, (10 pesos, $.25 cents) you can tour the house. They really went into the concept and dressed the staff in ship uniforms. Inside, you find a living room and a "mess hall" or dining room. When  you go up, they set up "cabins" or rooms. I was told they are open for overnight stays. The cost per room is 500 pesos (about $12-) a night. They have single bed and bunk beds. The decor of each room was very sparse (like a nice hostel) and no private bathroom. All rooms have to use a common bathroom (for the 500 pesos, what did you expect?) the rooms looked clean though.

On the third floor is the "sun deck" where they it up to look like a ship's deck (I guess you can take a picture on the mast doing a "I am king of the world" pose. They have a small "snack bar" where you can buy local delicacies and a souvenier shop.

There's not much to see here actually other than the novelty of the house built like a ship. We had a nicer time in the....


Travelling with kids means you have to keep them entertained. The visit to the Butterfly conservatory was really very educational and fun. The moment you step into the place, (a minimal fee is paid) and a guide will take you on a tour. It was pretty interesting to see the difference between a MOTH and a BUTTERFLY. Moths being dull and wolly than butterflies.

can you imagine that moth in your house???

They have a nice collection of sample  butterflies native to the area. The guide will show you the development of the butterfly from larva stage - pupa stage to finally becoming a butterfly.

They have this box where they exhibit LIVE butterfly cocoons... some are gold colored! They say the ones with the most colorful and beautiful cocoons come out ugly while the more plain ones are the  more beautiful ones.... (aint it so? beauty is only skin deep.... hahahaha)

gold cocoons!!!  cute caterpillar!!!
The guide took one of the cocoons and it was alive!!!--- you can see the small pupa moving while it was in our hands. The kids really loved this part.

The next part was when they took as to the butterfly garden and you can see all the butterflies flying around you...
The conservation center also has a cafe. We didn't take our lunch there (although I wished we had). I saw some nice rice toppings and some sizzling pork (we had to take our lunch somewhere else.... a canteen by the side of the road... ughhh....) So, if you ever reach the conservatory by lunch, I suggest you eat before leaving.

In the next blog, I'll tell  about the man with the iron teeth.

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