While Bohol may not have a fast-paced environment like Metro Manila, it takes pride in its laid-back ambiance that puts one closer to nature. With so many activities to do and tourist spots to visit in the province of Bohol, travelers may want to prioritise these top 10 things when visiting the home of the Chocolate Hills.
First on the to-do list is a visit the Chocolate Hills Complex in Carmen, Bohol to witness a seemingly endless view of the famous Chocolate Hills. With more than a thousand hills spread over an area of 50 square kilometers in the towns of Carmen, Batuan, and Sagbayan in Bohol, the hills form a majestic landscape that might make you think it’s a man-made creation. It’s best to visit this wondrous landscape during the dry season as the hills turn chocolatey-brown in color when the grass withers. Thus, these hills definitely look like giant chocolate kisses.
Next to the Chocolate Hills, the second most-visited attraction is the home of the world’s smallest primate, the Philippine Tarsiers, found in Bohol’s Tarsier Conservation Area. Here, you’ll have the chance to see the natural habitat of the Tarsius syrichta species which are endemic to the Southeast Asian country. You’ll find them sleeping (as they usually sleep during daytime), clinging on the branches, or see their big round eyes looking back at you. Due to habitat destruction, hunting, and other forms of human disturbance, tarsiers have become endangered in the country. So, if you have a chance to visit Bohol, don’t forget to visit the Philippine tarsiers!
Every first-time Bohol traveler should experience the Loboc River Cruise. Through the town of Loboc, there runs the Loboc River (one of the cleanest rivers in the country) where you can take an hour-long river cruise through a long, winding waterway while having a taste of Filipino delicacies such as BBQ pork on stick, pancit (noodle dish), rice, vegetables, and more during the lunch or dinner buffet. During the cruise, you may even see some locals swinging from a vine into the cool water or swimming at the bottom of the small waterfall at the river’s end. After the cruise, you’ll then head to a sheltered pavilion and watch local children perform a number of traditional Filipino songs and dances.
Bohol plays an important role in Philippine history as it witnessed a very important event during the Spanish era – the Blood Compact between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol, which served as the First Treaty of Friendship between the two leaders with different beliefs and races. In honor of the Sandugo (blood compact in English), Bohol Native and National Artist Napoleon Abueva made the sculpture which was placed in Barangay Bool in Tagbilaran City. Apart from visiting The Blood Compact Site in Bohol, you can also visit a number of historic colonial churches such as Baclayon Church which has frescoes, carvings, and details from the 15th century.
Located on Panglao Island, there lies a small yet serene stretch of tropical paradise called Alona Beach. This famed tourist attraction quickly became a crowd favorite because of its white sand beauty, crystal clear waters, stunning reefs, and numerous tourist-friendly activities such as diving, snorkeling, island hopping, and dolphin-watching. If you’re looking for a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s definitely a must to head over to Alona Beach! Being home to a number of hotels and restaurants, it’s no wonder it has become one of the most visited spots in the Philippines.
There’s more to Bohol than seeing the famous Chocolate Hills, Philippine Tarsiers, pristine white sand beaches and picturesque nature spots. It’s not only about the sights and destination spots but immersing oneself in unique activities and extreme adventures such as those in Danao Adventure Park. Feel the adrenaline rush and test your nerves with outdoor recreational activities such as zip-lining, rappelling, and sky rides in Bohol’s wild side. Within the area, you can also catch three waterfalls scattered around the area, namely Laguna Falls, Hangtud Twin Falls and Laman Falls.
Bohol Bee Farm is a cosy and relaxing place you wouldn’t want to miss during your trip. Apart from being home to the buzzing bees, it gained popularity for the delicious organic food being served at its very own restaurant. Owner and Chef Vicky Wallace rents her chalet-styled place to those who’d like to experience peace and serenity on the island while enjoying organically-grown food such as the Flower Salad where everything’s edible! They value organic farming and agricultural development so they don’t use harmful pesticides nor conventional fertilizers.
There are so many reasons why you should visit this quaint garden located 30-minutes from the south of the Chocolate Hills. Here, you’ll be able to observe hundreds of species of butterflies. Visitors are given a chance to hold a live butterfly or let it sit on their shoulders. There is a butterfly enclosure with a lovely waterfall and a variety of beautiful plants and flowers. Just beyond this, you’ll find an open garden where visitors can sit in a wooden Chinese pagoda-type structure, relax, and take pictures. This conservation center is also the first butterfly livelihood breeding and conservation program in the province.
When translated into English, hinagdanan means “laddered.” You may wonder why it was so named, as it doesn’t really look like a laddered cave. Rather, the term was coined after a farmer discovered the cave by accident – while he was cleaning his land and discovered that there were two holes. He dropped a stone and heard a splash afterward so he used a ladder to see what’s beneath – hence, the Hinagdanan Cave. Today, the cave’s several stalactite and stalagmite formations, and fresh water lagoon continue to lure hundreds of tourists. Visit the cave and see for yourself its awe-inspiring beauty!
After exploring the Hinagdanan Cave, your itinerary in Bohol isn’t complete without seeing the man-made Mahogany Forest located in the border of Loboc and Bilar towns. The densely-planted Mahogany trees run along a two-kilometer stretch, but what makes this attraction worth-visiting is its simplicity—you’ll only see the formation of tall Mahogany trees—tall brown trunks, green canopy, and blue skies. It’s as if they’re guarding the road!