In September 2015, we spent 3 days in Bohol. These three days were magical. We spent a day exploring the countryside and on a second day exploring the island and hanging around the white beaches.
Apart from its many white sand beaches and world-class dive sites, Bohol is known for unique attractions that you can’t find anywhere else in the Philippines.
Bohol, for me, is one of the Philippines’ most interesting and diverse destinations. If I had friends visiting from other countries and could take them to just one place, then Bohol would be on my short list.
12 Things To Do In Bohol
1. Savor life’s sweet moments at the unique land form known as the Chocolate Hills.
The Chocolate Hills are actually grass covered limestone, but during the dry season the grass dries up turning brown which is where the name is derived from. It’s a famous tourist attraction of Bohol. They have been declared the country’s third National Geological Monument and proposed for inclusion in the UNESCOWorld Heritage List. And was included in the list of 7 Stunning Natural Wonders in Asia of National Geographic.
Get ready to have an up close photo with chocolate hills and have an exhilarating experience through an ATV ride. Enjoy the spectacular view. Grab your cameras and take some selfie with the hills as your background.
2. Take an Instagram worthy picture at the man-made forest.
While on the way to the Butterfly Sanctuary, we stopped by for a look at the man-made forest in Loboc, which was a very simple and pleasing experience. It was so gorgeous that it was hard for me to imagine that this was not a forest made exclusively by nature. We didn’t really stay for long, but it was still worth my time seeing it.
3. Close encounter with cute Tarsiers
The Philippine Tarsier, (Tarsius syrichta or Carlito syrichta) is very peculiar small animal. In fact it is one of the smallest known primates, no larger than a adult men’s hand. Mostly active at night, it lives on a diet of insects.
The Loboc Tarsier Conservation Area is a popular destination among tourists mainly because of its close proximity to Bohol’s famed spots like the Loboc man-made forest and the Chocolate Hills. It is also often a part of the packaged tours in the island, hence the reason why this became one of our experiences during our grand tour in Bohol.
My tour there was somehow interesting though (at first) since it was my first time to see a tarsier after all; but moments after we finished our tour, I had the gnawing realization that they were housing tarsiers in such poor conditions.
If you still want to see the endangered Philippine tarsiers, I suggest that you rather visit the official place run by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation: the Tarsier Research and Development Center in Corella, Bohol (also called as the The Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary, in case you want to see their reviews on TripAdvisor).
4. Enjoy a unique dining experience while cruising at the Loboc River.
Visiting Bohol is never complete without touring around Loboc River while having a Filipino buffet-style lunch. The floating restaurant will not only fill your tummy, but the lush trees along the serene river in the cruise will surely make you feel relaxed.
The cruise will last for an hour and will make a few stops along the way. First stop is at the river choir station where the locals will give you a warm welcome and heart-melting serenade. They will also perform a “Tinikling” dance, which the guests are also welcome to try. There is no fee from all of it but, it’s very much appreciated to give a tip.
5. Be mesmerized with Butterflies.
We really had fun visiting the Bohol Habitat Conservation Center because of our tour guide. He was so funny and has a sense of humor in explaining the different kinds of butterfly in their habitat. Though the place is not superb but because of him, he made our visit beautiful. And don’t forget to buy their special ice candy. It’s 35 pesos (then) and it is worth it.
6. Visit the blood compact shrine in Tagbilaran City.
The Sandugo was a blood compact, performed in the island of Bohol in the Philippines, between the Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna the chieftain of Bohol on March 16, 1565, to seal their friendship as part of the tribal tradition. This is considered as the first treaty of friendship between the Spaniards and Filipinos. “Sandugo” is a Visayan word which means “one blood”. [Wikipedia]
This iconic bronze sculpture was created in 1999 by a world-renowned Boholano National Artist, Napoleon Abueva.
7. Feel the 15th century era in Baclayon Church.
When a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Bohol and other parts of Central Visayas in 2013, the church building sustained major damage. It was reconstructed in 2013 and completed in 2017. Though reconstruction was happening during our tour yet it’s worth visiting.
The church was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines and a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Together with the churches of Maragondon, Loboc and Guiuan, the Baclayon Church was formerly included for the UNESCOWorld HeritageTentative List of the Philippines since 1993 under the collective group of Jesuit Churches of the Philippines. [Wikipedia]
8. Play hide and seek with the Dolphins at early morning.
One of the must-do activities in Bohol is watching the dolphins swim in their natural habitat near Pamilacan Island.
It takes about an hour to reach the viewing spot. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see all the boats gathered in one area. And if you’re alert you’ll definitely see those Dolphins as they seem to play hide and seek.
9. Swim with the sea turtles and Nemo at Balicasag Island Sanctuary.
One of the Philippines’ most popular diving spots, Balicasag Island Sanctuary, is a small island off the coast of Panglao, is ringed by a reef that has been declared a marine sanctuary. It drops away to impressive submarine cliffs as deep as 50m. Large numbers of day trippers have lead to coral damage, but it’s still an impressive site with turtles, trevally, barracuda and wrasse regularly spotted. I can still vividly recall how they look like under the sea, the beautiful colors, the fishes as if they were dancing — it was really magical!
10. Experience the holiness of the Virgin Island.
Virgin Island (also known as Pungtud or Pontod Island) is probably the most iconic island destinations in Bohol. Its main draw: a lengthy sandbar that curls and fades into the sea like the tail of a mischievous tadpole. The sandy runway makes for a postcard perfect backdrop!
I couldn’t help but find myself mesmerized by the crystal clear water and the seaweed below. It almost looked as if we were floating on thin air. But this sandbar is quite unique than other sandbars since it has St. Pio Shrine.
11. Hangout at Alona Beach.
Alona Beach is a stunning 1.5 km stretch of white sand beach. Walking by the beach, sunbathing, swimming and relaxing are very popular activities here! Be sure to stop at one of the many beach-side restaurants for a cold drink and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. And remember to get a massage while you are here. They are very economical and you can have them right on the beach!
12. Dine at Bohol Bee Farm Restaurant.
This is top 1 in my shortlist among the restaurants we’ve been to in Bohol. I like the rustic style, perfect view and the best part is – delicious local home-made style dishes like organic Native Tinolang Manok!
What a lovely holiday, huh?
Our experience with this trip was amazing. What about yours? Feel free to share your stories here.
This trip wouldn’t be possible and happier if not for the well-organized itinerary. We commend the excellent service of JRC Travel & Tours. You may wish to check their FB Acct.