When I had the chance to visit Bohol, I realized that this island in the heart of the Philippines is a complete travel destination.
It has stunning islands and beaches which is the Philippines is famous for, but aside from that it has an awesome countryside to give a unique adventure and relaxation. Plus, it has an interesting history. No wonder, it was coined as the Jewel of the Philippines.
My visit to Bohol also changed the way I answer a question, like if a friend or a reader asks about a place that I recommend to explore in the Philippines. If they want stunning beaches and all, go to Palawan. If they want historical sites ,go to Ilocos. But if you want it all, go to SM just kidding! Haha I mean go to Bohol. Seriously!
To sum it up, I’m gonna use the tag line of a famous mall in the country. Bohol got it all for you!
How to get to Bohol?
Major airlines like Philippine Airlines, Air Asia and Cebu Pacific have daily flights to Tagbilaran, Bohol’s capital. You may get the service of a tour company to explore Bohol and its attractions. If you want to go straight to the beach, Panglao island is just an hour travel.
From Cebu to Bohol
From Cebu, ride a ferry from Cebu port to Tagbilaran. Super Cat and Ocean Jet are some of the companies that have daily trips, to and from Bohol.
Tourist Spots and Things to do in Bohol
1. Chocolate Hills
For Filipinos, you probably have seen Chocolate Hills in our textbooks since we were little kids. But it is a worthy experience to see it before your eyes.
It still felt surreal. More than 1,200 hills scattered in about 50 sq km of land. These hills turn into brown during summer, that’s why it’s called Chocolate Hills.To get a nice view, there’s a viewing deck that you can reach by enduring 214 steps! But don’t worry the view is worth it. Chocolate Hills is also an awesome spot to fly your drone.
2. Tarsier Sanctuary
Before heading to the Tarsier Sanctuary, Grace (our guide), shared some personal stories with these little creatures. Years ago, people would just capture tarsiers and make them as pet. It was the time when they weren’t yet informed of the nature of Tarsiers and how to take good care of them.
But now, Grace is happy to say that they’ve already taken steps to protect tarsiers, and learned from the past.
Tarsiers are the smallest primates in the world. They are definitely not the kind of animal you would want to take home and keep. They’re in a way a strange breed. They get easily stressed and when they do, they commit suicide. Yes! So please don’t touch them or cuddle with them no matter how cute they are. You don’t want them to kill themselves right?
They have a soft spot on top of their head, that when they get stressed, they bump it with the hard part of the wood, until they die. Poor tarsier.
So please be quiet and be cautious whenever you take pictures of them at the Sanctuary. No flash okay? Because they’re probably asleep during the day because they’re nocturnal.
Note: There are two famous Tarsier Sanctuaries in Bohol. One is in Corella, while the other is in Loboc.
3. Baclayon Church
It was already late afternoon when we arrived in Baclayon Church. I could still remember watching some videos of Baclayon church being destroyed, collapsed by an earthquake that hit Bohol in 2013.
This church was founded in 1596 and one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Sadly, it was destroyed by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. It’s just nice to see the restoration efforts being done. In time, Baclayon Church will once again rise through the people’s efforts.
There is also a museum there with old religious artifacts, entrance fee is 50 Php.
4. Loboc River Cruise
I know you’ve already seen a photo of Loboc River online or maybe on TV. It’s about time to finally experience it. Loboc River is one of the most picturesque work of nature in Bohol with its lush green forest to enjoy while cruising down the river.
I enjoyed the cruise mainly because of its relaxing view and the food. Filipino food in buffet was served complete with desserts, fruits and veggies while being serenaded by a singer and guitarist duo. What a perfect way to relax in calm river while eating good food and enjoying with friends and family. At Loboc, you can also try the Loboc Adventure Park for zipline and other activities.
5. Man-Made Mahogany Forest of Bohol
On our way to Carmen Bohol, we passed through this lush forest of mahogany trees.
This spot has become so popular as many tourist are willing to take pictures and selfies in the middle of the road. No, they don’t want to kill themselves haha the place was just too beautiful some are willing to take the risk.
6. Alona Beach in Panglao Bohol
Panglao Island is a prime destination in Bohol for tourists wanting some beach bumming and island hopping experience. Just an hour away from Tagbilaran, and you’ll experience the white sand and crystal clear water from this island. Panglao’s most popular beach is Alona Beach.
I’ve already shared to you the story of Alona Beach. Don’t worry I will not dwell on those trivias but focus on the beauty of this place. Haha! Alona beach is a 1.5 km long stretch of white sand surrounded by palm trees. There are resorts of course but not that crowded. Try walking on the long beach in the morning.
7. Island Hopping around Panglao
Panglao is popular snorkeling and diving spot. When I was in there, we explored and snorkeled at Balicasag Island. We spotted a turtle and lots of colorful fishes. Panglao can be easily accessed through a bridge from the mainland Bohol. You can experience lots of beautiful beaches there but the most popular is Alona beach.
Balicasag Island is a must when you’re in Panglao. It’s one of the best diving spots in the country. We did some snorkeling there. I had so much fun. Another spot to explore is the Virgin Island where you could find one of the most popular sandbars in Bohol.
Where to stay in Bohol?
I was fortunate enough to experience one of the most luxurious resort and hotels in Panglao Bohol, Amorita Resort, when I was invited for a fam tour by our Tourism Promotions Board.
What can I say? Amorita Resort is superb when it comes to amenities but mostly is their service. The staff are trained to give the best and comfortable service to its guest. If you have budget and all, choose Amorita, you’ll definitely get the best that you deserve.
There are a lot hotels and resorts at Panglao Island, for budget travelers, those that have great reviews and recommendations are Alexis Cliff Dive Resort and Dormitels PH Alona Beach (very affordable).
Bohol Sample Itinerary
Below is the sample itinerary for Bohol. This is originally 6 Days Bohol and Cebu. So here is the Bohol leg.
Day 1 – Country Side Tour
- Loboc River Cruise
- Chocolate Hills
- Pass through the Man Made Forest
- Tarsier Sanctuary
- Baclayon Church
- Arrival in Panglao Island (check in Resort)
Note: This country side tour can only be possible if you have your own or you rented car or motorcycle. Also, if you availed a tour. For doing this DIY, better alot at least 2 days for Bohol Country Side.
Day 2 – Panglao Island and Island Hopping
- Enjoy Resort
- Alona Beach
- Island Hopping in Balicasag and Virgin Island
You can extend your stay for more beach bumming in Panglao Island. if yes, extend to day 3 or more.
Day 3- Beach bumming in Panglao Island
How to get around Bohol
There are a lot of packaged tours and even tour guides to get you around Bohol. Some of the famous tours are Country Side Tour and Panglao Island Tour. But one of the other popular way is by renting a car or motorbike to explore the island.
I now have a different answer when someone asks me where to go to the Philippines.
No more asking, what do you prefer beach? or countryside or historical sites? because I already knew the answer. By far it’s Bohol!
Indeed, Bohol got it all for you. Hahaha!
Have you been to Bohol? It’s awesome right? Share your experiences in the comment section! 🙂
Disclosure: Our travel to Bohol was part of the TBEX tour sponsored by Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines! Thank you for this awesome opportunity. Jon to the World will always be your partner in promoting the beauty of our country, the Philippines.