Bohol Philippines – Bohol is an island located in the Central Visayas region in the Philippines. It’s a pretty large island with a land area of almost 5000 km² so there’s a lot to see in Bohol. One of the most popular attractions of the island is of course the Chocolate Hills but Bohol is also one of the very few places in the world where you can see tarsiers, those cute and tiny little primates with enormous eyes.
Three to four days should be enough to enjoy everything there is to enjoy in Bohol but before listing the island’s best attractions, here are a few tips on how you can get there and where you can stay. Have a fantastic trip!
How to Go There?
The most convenient way to get to Bohol would be to take a ferry from Cebu. At Cebu’s ferry terminal, head to Pier 1 and take a ferry to the city of Tagbilaran. It’s a two-hour trip and a one-way ticket costs around 800 pesos ($13). Regular departures are scheduled throughout the day starting 5AM to 7PM. You can book your tickets online. Try to be there at least 20 minutes before boarding to have enough time to get your ticket and get ready to board.
For the transportation on the island, you can sort everything out by yourself or book a tour.
Where to Stay?
If you’re looking for a cheap hotel to stay in Bohol, you’ll need to book one in Tagbilaran. The Oasis Balili Heritage Lodge is a hostel near the Tagbilaran Seaport that offers cheap accommodation. To give you an idea, you can get a comfortable dorm room bed there for $6 per night.
But if you’re willing to spend more money on more cozy hotels, I recommend you go to Panglao Island. It’s a nearby island you can visit by crossing a large bridge from Bohol. It has beautiful beaches and I’ll tell you more about it later. Nora’s Place is a hotel near Alona Beach, it has a really nice swimming pool and offers scooters rental for free!
If you’re in the mood for more luxurious accommodation, book a room at the Amarela Resort. I honestly think it’s not that expensive considering the comfort it offers.
You’re all set for your next trip to Bohol! Let’s review some of its best attractions.
Bohol Philippines – The Chocolate Hills
Location : https://goo.gl/maps/pe1rv6KLaVv
Entrance fee : 50 pesos (a little less than a dollar)
Bohol’s chocolate hills is a formation of at least 1700 conical hills that may or may not remind you of Hershey’s chocolate Kisses. That’s how the famous attraction got its name by the way. If you happen to ignore the chocolate hills I’m talking about, here’s a picture of what you’re missing out on.
The hills can be as high as 350 feet but have the same shape overall. They’re not exceptionally high as you can imagine but thousands of them spread over a large area so the landscape is one of a kind. You can visit the Chocolate Hills by going to the Chocolate Hills Complex, a viewpoint near the city of Carmen, 55 Km away from Tagbilaran. You’ll need to pay 50 pesos to have access to the gorgeous view.
Bohol Philippines – The Tarsiers
Location of the tarsier sanctuary : https://goo.gl/maps/TqUUngi1Ho82
There are very special primates living in Bohol’s forests, they’re called tarsiers and they’re known for their small shape (4 to 6 inches) and their huge eyes. They could easily fit in your hand, that’s how small they are!
And of course, like any attraction involving animals, there’s always some sort of abuse or cruelty, and safety standards are not always met to enable the natural development of the species in the wild, especially for creatures like tarsiers who tend to be very shy and apprehensive. Apparently, they can even commit suicide if they’re under an unbearable amount of stress. That’s why I don’t recommend you visit the tarsier conservation area actually, because it’s a tourist attraction that is totally profit-oriented.
The alternative would be to visit the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary, a natural reserve where the species are really being protected and actively conserved.
We should all act as responsible tourists and avoid attractions that exploit animals for money. It could be elephants, tigers, whale sharks, or tarsiers for that matter. Exploitation cannot be humane to animals.
Bohol Philippines – The Mahogany Forest
Location : https://goo.gl/maps/AdLen7tEwK52
The Mahogany Forest, also known as the Bilar Man-Made Forest, is, as its name suggest, a man-made mahogany forest. The story goes that during the second World War, many inhabitants of the city of Loboc took refuge in the region’s forests. To survive, they resorted to the Kaingin system that consists of cutting and burning trees to convert forests into arable land.
You can imagine how this archaic agricultural system led to the island’s deforestation. A reforestation project was implemented by local authorities to restore the island’s ecosystem and the Mahogany Forest was part of it.
Today, the Bilar Man-Made Forest is a very nice place to visit. If you’re on your way to the Chocolate Hills from Tagbilaran, you can stop by the Mahogany Forest and enjoy the landscape!
Bohol Philippines – The Loboc River
Location : https://goo.gl/maps/KnPpEV13bQ12
If you’re still in the Loboc region, you can visit the magnificent Loboc River. You can go on a boat trip in one of the boats you see in the picture below and even enjoy a lunch there, as you’re cruising down the river. The whole thing will cost you around 350 to 500 pesos so around $6 to $8.
Bohol Philippines – Anda’s Rice Fields
Location : https://goo.gl/maps/caFXuLqrx4t
There are beautiful rice fields and rice terraces in Bohol. You can see many of them in the Anda region, southeast of the island. If it’s too far from where you’re staying, there are other rice terraces in Cambuyo, near the Chocolate Hills: https://goo.gl/maps/Qq9fJtRaKvK2
Bohol Philippines – The San Jose Cathedral in Tagbilaran
Location : https://goo.gl/maps/RRCPDWGLtkH2
The city of Tagbilaran doesn’t have many interesting attractions apart from the San Jose Cathedral, also known as the Saint Joseph the Worker Cathedral. It was built by Jesuit missionaries who came to Bohol around 1595. It was destroyed and rebuilt many times after that. Today, it’s an interesting cathedral to visit and has beautiful ceiling frescoes.
Like I said, the best Bohol beaches are in Panglao, south of the island. Alona Beach (picture above) and Dumaluan Beach (picture below) are the best in my opinion.
By the way, for more beaches options in the Philippines, feel free to read this article: Best Beaches in Philippines.
This is where I stop telling you about Bohol and where you get there and tell me about it! Bohol is definitely worth visiting and you can do a lot of different activities there. Next, I recommend you drop by my favorite island in the Philippines, I’m talking about Siquijor of course! You know, the witch-infested island southwest Bohol. 😉
See you around,