Along with its growing reputation as a tourist destination in the Philippines comes the vast improvement of its tourist facilities. Whatever the size of your budget for that dream vacation, there would be no difficulty finding a place to rest at the end of the day: from simple low-budget rooms to the top tier hotels, you have the option of vacationing without breaking your bank, or indulge in luxury living if you so choose.
- Bohol Beach Club
- Isla Hayahay
- The Peacock Garden Luxury Resort and Spa
- Vest Pension House
- Soledad Suites
- Panglao Island Nature Resort and Spa
- Amorita Resort
- Bohol Bee Farm
- Isis Bungalows
- Bituon Beach Resort
- La Estrella Beach Resort
- Eskaya Beach Resort and Spa
- Nuts Huts Resort
Visit Bohol to engage in the many water activities offered by its vast underwater panorama, go trekking and come face to face with a 45-million year old and one of the world’s tiniest mammal species, get a taste of the island culture and steep yourself in its rich history.
Other not-to-miss sights and activities include:
- Hanging Bridge – found in the upper area of the Loboc River
- Baclayon Church – the best preserved Jesuit-built church in the region
- Blood Compact Shrine
- The Manmade Forest – border of Loboc and Bilar towns
- Ancestral Houses/Museums
- Bohol Bee Farm – well-known for their delicious cuisine made from organically grown vegetables. Don’t forget to try the ice cream!
Bohol is an island province located in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. Separated by a narrow strait from the island of Cebu, Bohol is the tenth largest island in the Philippines, with a land area spanning 4,117.26 kilometers and a coastline of 261 kilometers long. Although lesser known than nearby Boracay in Aklan, it is fast gaining a reputation for its diving and snorkeling spots, as well as dolphin and whale watching tours. Numerous mounds of limestone formation, known as the Chocolate Hills are also a crowd-drawer, not to mention the white sand beaches.
If walking along white sand beaches and dipping your toes in crystal clear waters sounds like paradise to you, then you are sure to enjoy a holiday in Bohol. You can lie in the sunshine on soft sand beaches, then during the strong heat of the day, retreat to a shady beach hut with a cool drink while you surf the web on your laptop, playing PartyPoker or sending your family photos and e-postcards. More adventurous people can explore the sea by snorkelling or taking a scuba diving class, where you might have the chance to see colorful and exotic fish.
Bohol experiences two distinct seasons. Dry season, known as Amihan (from November to April), is characterized by daytime temperatures of 28°C and nighttime temperatures of 25°C. The summer season (from May to July) tends to bring higher temperatures and humidity and consequently, more tourists, to the island. The wet season, known as Habagat (from August to October), is characterized by unpredictable conditions, with sporadic rainy days breaking the calm weather. A higher chance of rain occurs from November to January.
The Tagbilaran Airport serves daily Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines flights coming in from Manila. It is the fastest way to get to Bohol Island from the nation’s capital.
Currently, a bigger airport is waiting to start construction on Panglao Island called the Panglao Island International Airport, which is said to be better able to accommodate bigger aircraft and handle larger volumes of passengers, not to mention, welcome direct international flights.
The Tagbilaran City Tourist Pier sees more than 4,000 travelers daily. Aside from the ships arriving from nearby Cebu Island, ships from Manila, Cagayan de Oro City, Dumaguete, Dipolog, Iligan City, Larena, Plaridel and Ozamiz City are also serviced by the pier carrying passengers and cargo regularly. Separate terminals are also available and cater to ships traveling to and from Cebu and northern Mindanao specifically.
The whole of the island is easily reached by land transportation – buses, taxi cabs, and jeepneys can be found navigating the busy streets of Tagbilaran, the capital, and even the smaller towns and barangays. Transportation companies also abound in the province; it is usual for tourists to rent cars and vans in order to shuttle them around for a day trip to see all the tourist spots in Bohol.
Things to See and Do
The Chocolate Hills
The Chocolate Hills are Bohol’s most famous tourist attraction. The hills are actually made of grass-covered limestone that dries up during the dry season and turns to a chocolate brown color; hence the name. There are more than 1,200 individual cone-shaped hills scattered throughout the towns of Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan. The Chocolate Hills complex is located in Carmen, Bohol, with a restaurant, hostel and observation deck. There are 214 steps leading up to the viewing deck offering visitors a 360 degree view of the surrounding vista. There are many speculations and legends about the formation of the chocolate hills, but no one is certain how they came to be over thousands of years. Though the origin of the Chocolate Hills remains a mystery, one thing is for sure – from above the viewing deck, it is a sight to behold.
Bohol has attained the reputation as being one of the finest diving destinations in Asia. Dive sites such as Balicasag Island, Pamicalan Island and Pantudlan in Cabilao Island are well-known for the colorful marine life found there, the reason why they are frequented by divers from the world over.
Loboc River Cruise
Loboc River is famous for its river cruises where tourists can partake of a buffet meal on board a floating restaurant while enjoying the lush green scenery, and as singers serenade in the background.
Danao Adventure Park with E.A.T. Danao or Extreme/Eco/Educational Adventure Tour offers various activities for people of all ages, including zip-line, sky-ride, river tubing, caving and trekking. It is located in Barangay Magtangtang in Danao, Bohol and offers dining and accommodations, including tent rentals. It is the perfect getaway for the adventurous and nature enthusiasts.
Bohol is also known as “Cave Country”, with an average of 30 caves found in each of its 47 towns. Most of these caves are unexplored. Most notable is the Francisco Dagohoy Cave in Danao, where the Bohol native Dagohoy led the extended rebellion against Spain in the 1700s from.
Island Hopping and Dolphin and Whale Watching
Tourists can often arrange for island hopping and dolphin and whale watching expeditions with their resort/hotel accommodations. Boat rides are regularly taken by tourists to Balicasag Island for diving and swimming or the more uninhabited islands such as Virgin Island (which is technically a sandbar) where they can bask in its unspoiled beauty. Although the best season for dolphin and whale watching is from March to June, they can generally be seen year-round.
Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary
The Philippine Tarsier, perhaps the smallest primate in the world and indigenous to Bohol, was commonly found in the island until the 1960s and is now under the protective care of the Philippine Tarsier Foundation. Visitors are advised to visit the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella, Bohol to observe the Philippine Tarsier in their natural habitat, instead of the caged Tarsiers elsewhere on the island. Within the sanctuary, the Tarsiers are free to roam about, within a seven-foot fence protecting them from predators. Other endemic creatures are also found as you go deeper into the trail, such as the serpent eagle, brahmini kite, woodpecker, as well as jungle animals including pythons, cobras, and many more.
Eat, Drink and Shop
Restaurants and bars are found in abundance along Alona Beach offering fresh seafood from the day’s catch as well as a variety of other cuisines. You can find anything from the mid-priced to the very expensive; there’s Filipino, French, Italian, among others – with a slew of dining and drinking options, you will never go hungry or thirsty.
Shops dot the coastline as well, with wares including souvenir items, clothes, art pieces, household items and jewelry.