Best things to do in Bohol Philippines

The chocolate hills of Bohol Philippines

Bohol Philippines

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 Asia 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.


Local boat winding its way down river through the jungle


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.

Evening on the beach in Bohol Philippines

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.

A Brief Encounter with the city of Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Tip Top

  • 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.

Farmers working in the fields

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’.

The famous chocolate hills of Bohol

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.

Top Tip

  • There are over  200 stairs to the viewing point and there is no lift access for disabled 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.

Steps to the viewing area at the chocolate hills

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).

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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.

A tarsier in a tree sleeping, sheltered by a large leaf

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.

Top Tip

  • 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.

Entrance to the Tarsier Conservation area building

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.

A Brief Encounter with the city of Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

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.

Two colourful butterflies in the Bohol Butterfly conservation area

Top Tip

  • 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.

Native pink flower in the Bohol Butterfly conservation area

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.

Stone church bell tower

Top Top

  • 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.

Colourful lounge chairs at he beach bar

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.

Mel with a glass of wine at the resort pool

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.

View of the Philippines from the plane

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 🙂

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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.

Top Tips

  • 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. 


I love Bohol sign

Thank you for reading this article ‘Best things to do in Bohol Philippines’, I hope it helped you to decide where to go when in Bohol Philippines.  Bohol is definitely an interesting and fascinating please to visit. If you are interested in discovering more of Asia you can check out my posts Brunei and Napel 

Sunset on the beach in Bohol, Philippines

Have you been to Bohol Philippines before? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.



Suggested Guidebooks for Bohol Philippines

Here are some other amazing activities you can book in Bohol Philippines

Disclaimer: Even though I was working with 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.

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  1. I’d read a good amount about the Philippines, but I’ve never heard of Bohol before. I love the Chocolate Mountains! The way they just jump out of the land looks really cool.

  2. I have been to the Philippines but did not get a chance to swing by Bohol. It looks like a gorgeous island with plenty to see and do. The beachfront property you stayed at looks so relaxing. And I agree that the Tarsier looks like Gizmo! 🙂

  3. Butterflies and tarsiers! I love both of these things. I passed up an opportunity to visit the Philippines a couple of years ago, and have regretted it ever since…

  4. This was a spot we didn’t manage to visit during our time in the Philippines but it is a country we really want to return to and Bohol is on our list for when we do. Amazing photos!

  5. I did wonder why the chocolate hills were called this way. The first thought that came into my mind was that cocoa was growing on them. Now I see that it’s because of the color they change to in the dry season. It’s also fantastic that as a nature lover, in Bohol you can experience both the seaside and the forests. I agree that the Tarsier is adorable! Would love to see one if I’ll go to Bohol one day.

    1. I wanted to put one of those Tasier in my pocket and take it home. I was informed when I was there a long time ago people would steal them and keep them as pets but Tarsier would get up set and kill themselves.

  6. I would love to visit Chocolate Hills one day! The views from the top must be amazing, and I’ll definitely take your advice and go earlier in the morning. I can imagine it’s less hot too. Those tarsiers are also so sweet, were you able to hold any, or is just to view them? A lovely part of the Philippines!

    1. They were really nice views from the top though I wouldn’t of minded taking a bike ride around the bottom as well. You are not allowed to touch the Tarsiers and you can’t take pictures of them with the flash on. I did want one though so very cute.

  7. I’ve never been to the Philippines before, but am now DYING to get to those Chocolate Hills! I can only imagine the brown mounds dotting the landscape, while I dream of actually eating chocolate haha. I’m a huge history buff, so I would also love to check out the Baclayon Colonial Church. So much history!

    1. The chocolate hills looked amazing from the plane and really cool from the viewing point. I like to see it when it is all brown too. I am also a history buff too and the church was interesting, you don’t need to be there long.

  8. I’ll admit I hear of the Phillippines all the time but never realized it was over 7,000 islands. And OMG, that Tarsier is something else. Sooo cute. It reminds me of a cross between a frog and a monkey :). Bohol will definitely be getting added to my list.

  9. Hey, Mel! This is quite a comprehensive guide to Bohol! Tell you what, I’m from the Philippines, and I have yet to go there (after South America, that is). I didn’t know that the viewing point could be that crowded. Is there only one hill that you can climb? Anyway, congrats for having been invited by the ASEAN. 🙂

  10. This looks absolutely heavenly! The views, the hills, the beaches. It all looks like something out of a postcard. It really shows you had a great time. It might well be that it will soon end up on my travel bucket list 😉 and the Chocolate Hills will be my first stop (yeap, I definitely thought of chocolate 😋) Safe travels!

  11. I feel like you’ve just read my mind! I’m actually thinking of going to the Phillippines this year. I’m currently in Latin America so not until May/June but this post is eye candy for me! Not to mention the first I’ve heard of Bohol! Thanks, I’ve bookmarked this for later reading.

  12. I thought the Chocolate Hill has chocolate too haha! And oh my, the Tarsier looks so so cute with big eyes. I would love to visit the Butterflies Conservation Centre as well. Those butterflies look really beautiful.

  13. I’ve come across this post at the perfect time because I’m planning a trip to Philippines this March and bohol is included in my list of places to visit. Unfortunately I’ll hardly have a day there and as per your post, even 48 hours were less which is disappointing because it means I’ll have to skip a lot of things. I’d love to do the river cruise and viewing point for the chocolate hills in the limited time that I have. Thanks for these tip! I didn’t know that there are 200 steps to climb to the viewing point, I’m glad I came across this information, at least I can be prepared now !

  14. That is a lot to be covered . I have been planning Philippines and everytime I kind of decide on the minimum days some new location comes up … this is really cool . Loved the chocolate hills and the tarsie 🙂

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