Bohol Island ranks among the best destinations in Southeast Asia as few places on earth combine natural beauty with interesting man-made structures so well. One day can be spent trekking through the jungle, spotting some of the world’s oldest primates while the next can be spent admiring the island’s colonial architecture and the next lazing on a beautiful beach.
Steeped in history, Bohol has a strong sense of identity and culture that is nowhere better reflected than in the architecture and the natural beauty that make up the island’s interior. The Chocolate Hills are perhaps the most sought-out attraction, followed a close second by the island’s surreal caves and rock formations. Whatever your preference in attractions, Bohol’s charm will not fail to seduce you.
THINGS TO DO IN BOHOL
This unusual geographical formation consists of 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 sq km. Their name comes from the way the grass that covers them turns brown during the dry season.
From a distance, the hills look like half-buried balls. Each stands about 30 to 50 metres high, with the tallest reaching about 120 metres, making them very big balls indeed. These are the pride and joy of the Philippines, a symbol of their copious and somewhat quirky natural beauty.
has an incredible richness in marine biodiversity and a varying terrain that consists of hills and plains. It’s this natural beauty that put it on the list as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Situated southwest of Bohol and east of Cebu, it’s easily accessed via a short boat trip from either island, or you can drive there over the bridges from Tagbilaran City. Most visitors come to explore the extensive marine and coral reefs, but sun worshippers should seize the opportunity to bask on the sensational islets of Gak-ang and Pontod.
The Philippine Tarsier Foundation aims to protect one of the smallest primates on Earth. Tarsiers are no bigger than an adult man’s hand. Sadly, they face extinction due to the deforestation of their natural habitat. Take the opportunity to go and visit the tarsiers in its natural habitat and observe the way they live.
If you’re feeling adventurous, the Foundation established a 15-km trekking trail through the towns of Corella, Sikatuna, and Loboc. This gives you the best opportunity to see these adorable creatures, as well as plenty of other rare and exotic plants and animals.
The Camogan Falls are among the best and most popular of Bohol’s waterfalls. The soaring height of the falls gives the impression that they consist of one straight drop when they are in fact made up of 3 tiers some 45 metres high. The green backdrop to the fall consisting of trees and shrubs helps the scenery to be truly breathtaking, but reaching the top should be left to experienced rock climbers.
Location: Balilihan, Bohol, Philippines
It was as though the surrounding landscape morphed from farmlands to forests in an instant, as though our vehicle drove through a portal into a parallel universe. We pulled over and our driver-cum-tour guide dragged us back to reality. “This is the man-made forest,” he announced.
This tropical municipality located on the island of Bohol is known for its popular lunch cruises that take crews of eager travelers along the Loboc River. A highlight of this afternoon excursion is—in addition to buffet lunch—a liver performance by the famed Loboc Children’s Choir. This world-renowned group comprised of youthful voices has made a name for itself in competitions across the globe. Travelers who prefer land to water can explore the iconic Loboc Church, which was built in the early 1600s. Its stone façade and religious detailing is a clear example of Jesuit colonial influence on this tiny municipality. Visitors will find ornate stone carvings, colorful stucco paintings, and intriguing gargoyles, as well as other medieval creatures.
One of the must-do activities in Bohol is watching the dolphins swim in their natural habitat near Pamilacan Island. It’s recommended to get the Bohol Island hopping tour from the resort you’re staying at, but you can also book a boat elsewhere depending on how big your group is.
PLACES TO STAY
Located in Panglao Island in the Bohol, Henann Resort Alona Beach boasts of several outdoor pool and spa centre. Guests can enjoy meals at the restaurant or have drinks at the bar and free WiFi is available throughout the property.
Boasting a private beach area, Bluewater Panglao Resort features 2 lagoon-shaped outdoor pools, 2 dining options and a business centre. Free Wi-Fi access is available in its public areas, while parking is provided on site at no charge.
Fitted with tiled flooring, air-conditioned rooms are furnished with a wardrobe, a satellite/cable TV, an iPod dock and seating area. En suite bathrooms are equipped with bath or shower, a hairdryer and free toiletries. Rooms also have a balcony overlooking the pool.
Bluewater Panglao Resort operates a 24-hour front desk that can assist with laundry, massage and car rental services. Guests can enjoy diving at the beach or indulge in a pampering massage at its spa. Meeting/banqueting facilities are also available.