This was my first time to Bohol Philippines and I was super excited because I had been wanting to visit this beautiful place for some time. I had heard so many good things about the island and the local people that I wanted to experience it for myself.
A visit to the Philippines is incomplete without a stopover at the mesmerising Island. It is the tenth largest island and makes up one of the 7000 islands in the Philippines. Green and serene, the Island is blessed with diverse landscapes, stunning white beaches (Alona Beach), and plenty of natural beauty.
There was so much to see and do in Bohol Phillippines and the surrounding islands that you could stay there for months exploring. The only disappointment was that I was only there for 48hrs on a press trip and it was way too short. Here are my ‘Best things to do in Bohol Philippines’ with some helpful tips to make the most of your trip.
Table of Contents
- 1 Bohol
- 2 Chocolate Hills Description
- 3 Tarsier Conservation Area Description
- 4 Habitat Butterflies Conservation Centre
- 5 Visit Baclayon Colonial Church and Museum
- 6 Where I stayed
- 7 How to get to Bohol Philippines
Located in central Philippines, Bohol is well-connected by air and sea and promises wonderful experiences to the discerning traveller. The Island is home to a wide range of Caves and Coral Reefs, National Parks, Hotels and Resorts, Churches, Monuments and popular landmarks.
Bohol’s capital city Tagbilaran is a great location for mall hopping. The famous Bohol Museum and the Sandugo Blood Compact Site are also situated here.
- Take a ride on one of the many colourful tuk-tuk’s (also known as a rickshaw), around the city. My hotel, also arranged for Tuk-tuk rides.
Chocolate Hills Description
How many of you thought of actual chocolate when you read the description? Ranking high on the list of must-sees in Bohol, Philippines is the world-famous Chocolate Hills. As many as 1268 conical/dome-shaped grass-covered hills, almost uniform in structure and shape, and about thirty to fifty meters in height together make up these fascinating hills.
During the dry season, the grass on the hills dries up and turns dark brown in colour, giving these hills their distinctive name of ‘Chocolate Hills’.
Known as the country’s third National Geological Monument, the Chocolate Hills is one of the first things you will notice when you are flying over the island. It is such an important area that it is also featured in the provincial flag and seal of Philippines. It will be interesting to witness the Chocolate Hills make it to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- There are over 200 stairs to the viewing point and there is no lift access for disable people that I am aware off. However, I think that the view from where you can drive up to before the stairs is just as good.
- It also gets really busy here and the viewing point is not big. If you want some great pictures go either early in the morning or in the afternoon when there should be less people.
Tarsier Conservation Area Description
The Tarsier is one of the cutest things that I have seen and reminds me of Gizmo the mogwai from the Gremlins movie, before it gets water on it. The Trasier is considered to be one of the unique primates in the world and will definitely make anyone’s heart melt. Especially with their tiny little body and its huge eyes (each eye is actually heavier than its brain).
Dating back forty million years, the Philippines Tarsier is Bohol’s tourism mascot. A nocturnal primate with big eyes, long tail, and distinctive hands and feet, the Tarsier is one of the world’s oldest land species.
To protect the Tarsier from being mistreated, a 25 hectare, Tarsier Conservation Area has been constructed in the Upper Bonbon, Loboc town. The wooded sanctuary is a safe haven for the Tarsiers and also makes it easy for visitors to view these little inhabitants.
- At the visitors waiting area, you can buy some interesting Tarsier souvenirs. Entry Fee: Php 50 (40 for senior citizens and students with ID). Free for children 12 years and under.
- You can take photos of the Tarsier but you must not use flash. Also be careful, not to disturb them, as you will be kicked out.
Habitat Butterflies Conservation Centre
Situated in the interior of Bohol, Bilar, the Butterflies Conservation Centre is a safe haven for more than 200 species of eye-catching butterflies. It promotes the breeding and conservation of butterflies through a number of initiatives.
If you would like to witness the life cycle of a butterfly, this is where you should be. The Butterfly enclosure is a net structure put together to protect the butterflies. The beautifully landscaped Butterfly Garden attracts over 60 species of local butterflies and is a great location to take a stroll. The Nature Trail is also a major attraction here.
- It is only 5-10 minutes drive away from the Tarsier Conservation area, so best to do these at the same time.
- If you want the Butterflies to land on you inside the Butterfly inclosure, stand very very still. Please though make sure that you don’t touch them.
Visit Baclayon Colonial Church and Museum
If you have the time go past the Baclayon Colonial church and visit the museum. Not because it is pretty, even though it is currently under some heavy construction, but because it plays an important part in the Philippines history and religion of the people.
It is considered to be the second oldest stone church in the Philippines and it firmly stands as proof to the locals devotion to their faith. Unfortunately, the church was closed when I was there because a service was being held, so I only visited the museum.
You can’t take any photos inside the museum, I personally think the best pictures were from outside.
Where I stayed
There are so many different types of accommodation available in Bohol, Philippines, from hostels, guest hotels to hotels and luxury resorts. With most of them being reasonably priced, I think anyone going here is spoilt for choice with how far their money goes.
I loved where I stayed in Bohol, it was a beachfront resort on one of the longest beaches in Panglao, called South Palms Resort Panglao. It was a great way to end a very intense, worldwide press trip through South East Asia.
As soon as I stepped out of the car and arrived in the resort, the staff and manager were there to give me a warm welcome and made me feel completely relaxed. Not to mention, I had a deluxe beach view room and I felt like I stepped from my bed right into paradise.
How to get to Bohol Philippines
The best way to get to Bohol and maybe the cheapest is by flying. It is only a 45 minute domestic flight from the capital Manila to Tagbilaran and then Bohol is a short drive from there. It is a very simple and outdated airport and there is not much available there.
However, to support the increasing traffic of tourism to Bohol a new international airport is currently being constructed and is scheduled to be completed in mid to late 2018, to replace Tagbilaran. It will be known as either Panglao Island International Airport or New Bohol International Airport. I suppose it will really depend on the person who you speak 🙂
If you already have accommodation, it is best that you organise a transfer for when you arrive, as stated before Tagbilaran it is a very simple and not so straightforward getting a transfer.
- There is an airport tax, which is required to be paid in cash before you are allowed to go through customs and leave the island. I am unsure if this will change once the new airport is opened.
Thank you for reading this article, I hope it helped you to decide where to go when in Bohol Philippines. Bohol is definitely an interesting and fascinating please to visit.
Have you been to Bohol Philippines before? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.
Suggested Guidebooks for Bohol Philippines
Disclaimer: Even though I was invited by the ASEAN to explore Bohol Island in the Philippines for the 50th anniversary celebrations, all views are my own and based on my own experience in this interesting country.