This was my first time in 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. It reminded me a little of the islands in Sierra Leone unspoilt.
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.
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 disabled people that I am aware of. However, I think that the view from where you can drive up to before the stairs are 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 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, a 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 of 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 it 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 to 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 very simple and not so straightforward to get a transfer.
There is an airport tax is required to be paid in cash before you are allowed to leave the island. I am unsure if this will change once the new airport is opened.
⇒ You can check for free if you require a visa for Brunei and if there are any special requirements.
⇒ You might be interested in reading: 10 Best Sierra Leone Beaches You Must Visit
Other places to visit in Asia
If you are interested in discovering other places in Asia, feel free to read the following articles. All are great options for travelling with a group of friends or family.
- Best Night Markets to Visit in Taiwan – Taiwan
- Hints and tips for tackling Everest Base Camp – Himalayas Nepal
- What to see and do on Green Island – Taiwan
Thank you for reading this article things to do in Bohol Philippines’. I hope it helped you to decide where to go when in Bohol Philippines. You might be interested in discovering Sierra Leone or Napel both countries full of history and adventure.
Have you been to Bohol Philippines before? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
If you liked this article on Asia, please, share!
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. All views are my own and based on my own experience in this interesting country.
36 thoughts on “Best things to do in Bohol Philippines”
I had no idea there was so much to do on this island! The Philippines are on the top of my list and this will definitely be a place I check out!
I loved Bohol and the only downside was that I didn’t have enough time there. I want to go back
Oh man! I love the Philippines, but have neber been to Bohol, this looks absolutely amazing. I MUST GO!
I really loved Bohol it was such a beautiful place to visit. I am hoping to go back this year.
Great article, I would love to go! My favourite parts would be the Tarsiers and the butterflies. 🙂
Those Tarsiers were the cutest looking things. I really wanted to take one home with me.
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.
Chocolate Hills was really cool to see from a plane also 🙂 I definitely want to go back and explore the island more.
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! 🙂
I would love to go back and explore more. I can’t believe that there is over 7000 islands.
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…
Oh you must get your self to the Philippines it is so pretty. I loved looking at all the islands from the plane.
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!
Don’t worry I really want to go back too, I never had a enough time there for sure.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
I really loved Bohol and I wished that I was there longer. Definitely going to go back and explore more. The islands looked amazing from above 🙂
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. 🙂
Yeah there was only one viewing area but to be honest you could see everything from the car park and thank you in regards to Asean 🙂
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!
Thank you it looked like paradise there and the water was just wow!!!! I loved everything about the place.
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.
Oh I would love to go to Latin America 🙂 Definitely add Bohol to your Phillippines bucketlist
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.
Don’t worry I also thought that chocolate hill had coco growing there too but its not the case. They are really cool to see
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 !
Glat to hear that you are going to the Philippines that is wonderful news and how exciting. Definitely, go up chocolate hills.
What a great s we ll written guide to a Bohol. I haven’t been but if I ever do, I will be sure to use you’re Guide.
Thank you very much
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 🙂
This was a wonderful location and I am already planning my return
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