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Behold Bohol: Things you need to see and do in this wonderful Island!

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Behold Bohol: Not your ordinary island

Being one of the more popular destinations in Central Visayas, Bohol is one of the Philippines’ premier destinations. To boast, they are widely known for the Chocolate Hills and the smallest primate – the Tarsier. Not only just that, Bohol also have a fair share of some of the country’s pristine beaches. The island province is also known to be the home of Alona Beach in Panglao, the Balicasag, Virgin, and Pamilacan Islands to name a few.


Being the 6th province I have been to in my quest for #Project81, Bohol is a package full of surprises. Little do people know that in this province, too, you will get to see some rice terraces, indigenous peoples, and endemic products alongside its vibrant culture.

When I first visited the province in 2011, I was just in 3rd-year college and it was my first time to tour outside Luzon. Now that I came back 7 years later, I have rediscovered this island anew. Here is a quick rundown of where you can go and what you can do on this not-so-ordinary island!

See also: Things to do in Cebu (during a layover!)

Bohol Chocolate Hills (2018 vs. 2011) | Turista Boy

Chocolate Hills (2018 vs. 2011)

Adventure on its own (Travel Guide)

By Sea

Oceanjet liners to and from Bohol | Turista Boy

Bohol can be reached in many different ways. Here I have collated some of the province’s ports from which you can go to and depart from. For more details, you can click on this link and this link. It will give you details on departures and arrivals to and from these places.

FROM TO
Tagbilaran City Cebu City, CEBU (vice versa)
Dumaguete City, NEGROS ORIENTAL (vice versa)
Larena, SIQUIJOR (vice versa)
Siquijor, SIQUIJOR (vice versa)
Cagayan de Oro City, MISAMIS ORIENTAL (vice versa)
Plaridel, MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL (vice versa)
Dapitan City, ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE (vice versa)
Tubigon Cebu City, CEBU (vice versa)
Mandaue City, CEBU (vice versa)
Jetafe Cebu City, CEBU (vice versa)
Jagna Nasipit, AGUSAN DEL NORTE (vice versa)
Cagayan de Oro City, MISAMIS ORIENTAL (vice versa)
Balbagon, CAMIGUIN (vice versa)
Loon Argao, CEBU (vice versa)
Talibon Cebu City, CEBU (vice versa)
Ubay Cebu City, CEBU (vice versa)

By Air

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The three major airlines in the Philippines (Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and Air Asia) are flying to and from Tagbilaran Airport on certain schedules. Flight schedules highly vary per airline so might as well check their websites for your most convenient date and time of travel.

By Land

Tricycles parked outside Tagbilaran Airport | Bohol Turista Boy

When exploring Bohol, it is best to experience the island by a tricycle. Fare ranges from PhP 10 – 100, depending on how far your destination is (regardless to say if your haggling powers are on fleek.) Though metered taxi cabs, jeepneys, multicabs, and buses are also some of the main modes of public transportation in the island.

The temperature in the island is generally warm and if you opt to walk the streets of downtown Tagbilaran or in nearby towns, much better. You can also bring your own vehicles and transport them via the Roll On-Roll Off ferries – the best I can suggest is via Cebu.

What you can see and do in Bohol!

Bohol Capitol Building

Bohol Capitol Building | Turista Boy

This is the seat of the island’s government and what’s interesting here is its architecture. The façade of the capitol is not as grandiose but the mestiza-like design makes it more Filipino.

National Museum – Tagbilaran City Branch

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This branch of the National Museum is unique as it is housed inside the old City Library of Tagbilaran. Artifacts found in this museum are archaeological findings in the municipality of Anda. The artifacts here give insights about Prehistoric Bohol.

Plaza Rizal

Just adjacent to the National Museum and Provincial Capitol is Plaza Rizal. A tribute to the National Hero – Dr. Jose P. Rizal, this place is a simple promenade of flora where you can just give a time off and take a photo at Rizal’s monument. Little do people know that Jose Rizal once set foot in Bohol (particularly in Bilar) when he was exiled to Dapitan in search of an agricultural colony.

Blood Compact Shrine

Bohol Blood Compact Shrine (by Napoleon Abueva) | Turista Boy

This shrine depicts the sandugo (meaning “one blood” in Visayan) between then chieftain, Rajah Sikatuna and Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi. This symbolizes the very first treaty of friendship between the Filipinos and the Spaniards dated 16 March 1565. The sculpture-monument was made by National Artist for Sculpture, Napoleon Abueva, who is also a native Boholano. The shrine also has a generous share of the Bohol Sea as its background.

Baclayon Church

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Considered to be the oldest Christian settlement in Bohol, this coral stone church is one of the more popular sites on the island. Established in 1596, La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Maria Parish Church is a unique structure. Believed to be made from coral stone and egg white, Baclayon Church is was declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines.

To date, this majestic structure is a popular site in the Municipality of Baclayon. On a clear day, you can also see Pamilacan Island on the distant shore.

Xzootic Animal Park and Butterfly Farm

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Being the house of the then largest albino python in Bohol, this animal park is also home to numerous butterfly species and some unique animals. The short tour around the park introduced us to cute little butterflies, their life cycles, and their different colors and sizes. Not only that, we also saw an eagle, some lizards, and crocodiles! There is also a souvenir shop where you can buy your novelties.

Loboc River

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If you want to have a unique setup for lunch and dinner, why not go and experience the Loboc River Cruise? Located right at the heart of Loboc, this famed river is home to many motor bancas that drive ‘floating restaurants’ throughout a length of the river for an hour or so.

During the trip, you will also be entertained by local dancers and folklorists that will showcase their talents to all tourists. I recommend that you also drop by the bamboo hanging bridge in Sevilla for an added experience. When I would come back, I would like to experience the Loboc River Dinner Cruise. You can try it, too, on your visit!

Bilar man-made forest

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This 2-kilometer stretch of mahogany trees is one of the booming attractions in Bohol. Though an unconventional tourist attraction, the Bilar man-made forest just got me in awe. The canopy envelops almost all of the sky, covering the area with greens. The thin, tall trunks of the trees make it more attractive as the sound of the leaves is what you will only hear when you are there.

The challenging and funny part in this area is that you get to chase running cars as the forest is between the main road. It really is a challenge because, in a matter of minutes (or even seconds), you have to snap a good photo of yourself in the middle of the highway and run immediately after when there are cars passing by. I just can’t picture myself when I was running in panic whenever there are cars passing through the area.

Tarsier conservation area

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Bohol will never be Bohol if you have not seen the main star of the show. Considered to be the smallest primate, the Tarsier is Bohol’s greatest attraction (aside from the Chocolate Hills). In this conservation area, though there are many tarsier sanctuaries in the province, they would first orient the visitors on what Tarsiers are, what they do, and what visitors should do and must not do whenever they see one.

As Tarsiers are nocturnal, most of them were asleep when we visited. But who would resist to see the cuteness of these little creatures, right?

Chocolate Hills

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One of the most popular attractions on the island, this National Geological Monument is one of its kind probably in the world. The Chocolate Hills also changes colors according to the weather. It turns green when it is gloomy or rainy, and brown when it is sunny. Before seeing the majestic view, one must make his/her way to a flight of some 100 + steps before reaching the view deck where the famous thousand-hills can be evidently seen.

Bohol Bee Farm

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Other than the Tarsier and the Chocolate Hills, what’s more to visit in Bohol is its bee-autiful Bee farm in Panglao Island. Known to produce the freshest honey on the island, the Bohol Bee Farm is not just your typical bee farm. Aside from the guided Bee Farm tour around the complex, you can also savor their fresh and out-of-common ice cream flavors on a crusted cassava cone. Other than that, they also have a livelihood complex inside, a chic boutique hotel, the famous Buzzz Ice Cream, Kape Bee and Bar, and a bakery to name a few. The Bohol Bee Farm complex is your one-stop-shop in Panglao! Click on the link above to know more!

Alona Beach

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Named after an actress, Alona Alegre, the Alona Beach is synonymous with paradise. Its delicate white sand beach is one to look out for whenever you are in Panglao Island. It is also the jump-off point to the other major attractions in and around Panglao. This is where you get to see Balicasag and Pamilacan Islands on a clear day and see dolphins play around during sunrise. It is also where you will get to experience world-class diving experience as divers from different parts of the world see its underwater beauty.

Dolphin-watching at Bohol Sea

If you love the outdoors and love to see the clear waters of Bohol, I recommend that you see the dolphins swim and play around during sunrise. Much better if you could go there earlier as many boats race just to see them. These friendly creatures love to tease tourists as they would appear very seldom and on a very short span of time. (So why not just scuba dive? Maybe you’ll get a chance to see them better.)

Balicasag Island (snorkeling and turtle-watching)

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When I had the news of having a work-related activity in Panglao, the first thing that got into my mind is that I would come and see Balicasag Island. I got giddy immediately because I would set foot on this Marine Sanctuary. Located just a few miles off the Coast of Panglao Island, Balicasag is a sanctuary to many of Bohol Sea’s sea life. It is also where you get to experience world-class scuba diving sites and get closer to different kinds of sea creatures.

It is also home to some of the endangered pawikans (sea turtles) where you can get the chance to swim with them. (You can coordinate with local guides strolling around Alona Beach to get the best tour package to Balicasag Island.)

Virgin Island

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Just about 30 minutes from Balicasag, the Virgin Island of Bohol is, I think, the most famous sandbar in the province. This sandbar is also known as the “Hidden Oasis” because this uninhabited island is just extraordinary.

The turquoise waters surrounding the sandbar makes the place more interesting to explore and there are several food stalls where you can have some refreshments (I have tasted the sweetest pineapple yet, I recommend that you try it!) This one hectare-wide sandbar is visited best during low tide as more of the sandbar can be seen. You can also opt to visit nearby Pamilacan Island. (Again, you can coordinate this with local guides on the beach front.)

Hinagdanan Cave

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One of the popular tourist spots in Panglao, the Hinagdanan Cave is a ‘short but sweet ride.’ This tour in the miniature cave will give you a glimpse of prehistoric Bohol. Before entering, you will just take small steps going down to the main attraction. You will get to see old paintings on cave walls (not to mention, being accompanied by some of Bohol’s very entertaining tour guides). The main highlight of Hinagdanan is its 10-foot freshwater lake. You can opt to swim in the lake for a minimal fee (refer to the detailed itinerary below) and take pictures of the cave itself. Several stalactites, stalagmites, and columns would welcome you, that would be perfect for your Instagram-worthy posts.

Sample Itinerary and expenses:

Here is my sample itinerary for a one to two days tour in Bohol. You can add or research more places according to your preference.

Tourist Spots**:

Location: Travel time: ETA: ETD: Business Hours:

Projected expenses*:

Tagbilaran Airport (arrival)

Tagbilaran 0600 – 0730 H 0730 H 0800 H (depends on airline)

Bohol Capitol Building

Tagbilaran 0800 – 0810 H 0810 H 0815 H 0800 – 1700

(Monday – Friday)

Free

National Museum (Tagbilaran Branch)

Tagbilaran 0815 – 0820 H (walking distance) 0820 H 0900 H 0930 – 1630

(Tuesday – Sunday)

Free

Plaza Rizal

Tagbilaran 0900 – 0905 H

(walking distance)

0905 H 0930 H

Free

Blood Compact Shrine

Tagbilaran 0930 – 0945 H 0945 H 1000 H

Free

Baclayon Church

Baclayon 1000 – 1005 H 1005 H 1030 H 1000 – 1600 H

P 50

(Museo de Loboc Church)

Xzootic Animal Park and Butterfly Farm

Loay 1030 – 1045 H 1045 H 1100 H Text 0918 384 4631 for more inquiries

P 90

Loboc River (lunch cruise)

Loboc 1100 – 1130 H 1130 H 1230 H Best to go during lunch time

P 550

(regular adult fee)

Bilar man-made forest

Bilar 1230 – 1250 H 1250 H 1305 H

Free

Tarsier Conservation Area

Loboc 1305 – 1315 H 1315 H 1400 H 0800 – 1700 H

P 60

(regular adult fee)

Chocolate Hills (observation deck)

Carmen 1400 – 1420 H 1420 H 1515 H 0800 – 1800 H

P 50

(pay at the complex entrance)

Bohol Bee Farm

Dauis

(Panglao Island)

1515 – 1600 H 1600 H 1700 H 0500 – 2200 H

(0800 – 1630 H – Bee Farm Tour)

(Free entrance)

P 30 – Bee Farm Tour

Alona Beach Panglao 1700 – 1715 H 1715 H 1800 H

Free

(best for sunset shots)

Tourist spots that can be visited on another day:

Tourist Spots**:

Location: Travel time: ETA: ETD:

Projected expenses:

Dolphin-watching

Bohol Sea 0545 – 0600 H 0600 H 0700 H

P 2500

(boat rental – good for groups)

 

P 250

(snorkeling fee – optional)

P 250

(turtle-watching fee – optional)

Balicasag Island

Panglao 0700 – 0745 H 0745 H

0915 H

Virgin Island

Panglao 0915 – 0945 H 0945 H

1200 H

*lunch somewhere*

Hinagdanan Cave

Dauis

(Panglao Island)

1300 – 1330 H 1330 H 1445 H

P 50

(entrance fee)

P 75

(swimming fee; with life vest – optional)

P 15

(parking fee)

*Based on a per-person expenditure

**Places visited are mapped according to proximity

***Farther (other) tourist spots are not included but are on the table below

Verdict: 9/10

Bohol is one of Philippines’ assets when it comes to biodiversity, geologic importance, and culture. This island province has been the apple of the eye of many tourists, local and foreign, wanting to experience the fragile beauty of Bohol. Since it is my second time in this province, I can say that it had improved a lot. What I like about this province, too, are the warm smiles of the locals who welcome me whenever I come to visit. It is just unforgettable.

Though I haven’t explored much of the province just yet, I can say that this place is at par with our notion of paradise. Personally, I have rated this province 9 out of 10 because it is almost perfect, all I need to do is to relocate to this place. The place is conducive to living, the locals are kind and warm, and the overall vibe in the island is just almost perfect. Not to sugarcoat things but I really love visiting Bohol again and again (and I would like to eventually visit the uncommon tourist spots on the island.) It is where the sentence “It is more fun in the Philippines” is personified.

 

Other Places to visit***:

Tourist Spots:

Place:

*Pamilacan Island

Baclayon

Cathedral of San Jose

Tagbilaran City

Carlos P. Garcia Memorial Park

*Bamboo Hanging Bridge

Sevilla

Zoocolate Thrills Theme Park

Loboc

*Danao Adventure Park

Danao

Dagohoy Marker

Extreme Adventure Tour

Quinale Beach

Anda

Lamanoc Island and Caves

Kaligoon Cave Pool

ShipHaus

Batuan
*Cambuyo Rice Terraces

Cambuyo

*Cadapdapan Rice Terraces

Candijay

*Can-umantad Falls

Mag-aso Falls

Antequera
Punta Cruz Watchtower

Maribojoc

Canuba Beach

Jagna

Lonoy Cold Spring

Kinahugan Falls

Mount Carmel Hill

Balilihan

Camugao Falls

Jardin Necitas

Pilar

Jao Island

Talibon

Nocnocan Island

Mundong Sandbar

Tubigon

Possible Restaurants:

(I will try to have a gastronomic adventure in Bohol in the future to give a more detailed view of each restaurant)

Restaurant:

Business days and hours:
Giuseppe Pizzeria

Daily from 1130 – 2300 H

Tarsier Paprika

Daily from 0700 – 2200 H
Café Lawis

Daily from 1100 – 2100 H

Gavroche

Daily from 0600 – 2030 H
Pearl Restaurant

Daily from 0700 – 2200 H

*The Buzzz Café

Daily from 0730 – 2300 H
*Trudi’s Place

Daily from 0600 – 2300 H

*Barwoo

Daily from 1200 – 0000+1 H
*Nikita’s Coffee Shop and Café

Daily from 0730 – 2100 H

*Shaka Bohol

Daily from 0630 – 2230 H

Know your Bohol - Things you need to see and do in this Island (Pinterest) | Turista Boy

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6 thoughts on “Behold Bohol: Things you need to see and do in this wonderful Island!

  1. Yung 2011 Picture mo chiki epic! totoy! hahahaha cool! pogi ka na nung 2018.. hahaha 🙂

    1. HAHAHA! Grabehan, kuya Mike! Ang ganda ganda ko kaya! Hahaha! 😀 😀 😀

  2. Luis says:

    Thanks for featuring my home province!

    1. You’re welcome po, sir Luis! Will be glad to come back sooner!

  3. dan says:

    Hirap maging introvert, Lahat nasa isip lang kahit gustong gusto ko puntahan ang mga lugar na ito.

    1. Hahaha! Nako, puntahan mo na lahat ‘to, kuya! 😀

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