It was only during my elementary days that I get to see the famous Chocolate Hills in most of my “Hekasi” or “Sibika” books. But it was on May 2008 that I’ve finally set foot on this beautiful island.
Bohol, the tenth largest island of the Philippines, is situated at the Central Visayas region and is beside Cebu and Leyte. It is about 700 kilometers south of Manila and about 70 kilometers southeast of Mactan Island. Bohol has been considered to be one of the dream destinations in the Philippines because of its famous attractions and beautiful white sand beaches.
On our second day, I was very excited for our Bohol country side tour but unfortunately, our tour was cancelled because of the bad weather. It was on our third day that we pushed through with it and too bad, I had been suffering from a hangover that day. But despite these, we still went on with our tour.
We decided to visit these tourist attractions in the following order – from farthest to nearest:
The Chocolate Hills are probably the most famous tourist attraction in Bohol. These hills are covered with green grass that turns chocolate brown during the dry season, from which the hills derived their name.
Based on the latest survey, there are 1,268 perfectly cone-shaped hills which stand between 30 and 50 meters high that are distributed around the 50 square kilometers (20 sq mi) area in the town of Carmen, 55 kilometres from Tagbilaran City.
Bilar Man-made Mahogany Forest (Bohol Forest)
After leaving the Chocolate Hills, we passed by a 2-kilometer stretch of densely planted mahogany trees in the border of Loboc and Bilar towns. The area became one of the famous tourist attractions in Bohol because of its picturesque landscape and the beautiful formation of the thousands of mahogany trees planted in the area.
Another famous attraction in Bohol is the Hanging Bridge. It is a bridge made of bamboos that hangs approximately 20 meters above the Loboc River. Crossing the bridge can be very exciting as it sways back and forth as you walk across. You can also buy some cheap souvenirs in this area.
Loboc River Cruise
Another must-try activity in Bohol is the Loboc River Cruise. We decided to have our lunch on one of the floating restaurants along the emerald green water of Loboc River. This 1-hour cruise includes a buffet lunch with a local singer serenading you. While eating at the floating restaurant, one will surely enjoy the magnificent and breathtaking view of the river and its surroundings. The cruise starts from Loay Bridge and ends near the Busay Falls.
Bohol Tarsiers are estimated to be 45 million years old and are considered to be the world’s smallest primate. These endangered species measure about 4 to 5 inches and weigh about 113 to 142 grams. Tarsiers derived their name from their elongated tarsus or ankle bone.
Our next stop was a mini zoo in Alburquerque, Bohol where a 23-foot python named “Prony” is being housed. Prony has an estimated weight of about 300 kg. Aside from this, you can also see other animals such as birds and flying lemurs inside the mini zoo.
Fee in Baclayon Museum: P25.00
Baclayon Church which was built by the Jesuits in 1595 is one of the oldest stone churches in the Philippines located in the town of Baclayon. Centuries-old church relics, interesting artifacts and other antiquities dating back to the early 16th century are kept and can be viewed at the Baclayon Museum which can be found next to the church.
Blood Compact Site
Located in Barangay Bool, Tagbilaran City in Bohol, this site commemorates the blood compact that happened between Don Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol. The sculpture was made by the National Artist, Napoleon Abueva, who is a Boholano himself. This event depicts the historical promise of friendship which was sealed in Bohol last March 16, 1565.
Hinagdanan (“laddered” in Cebuano) cave is the most popular and easy to reach cave in Bohol which is located in the town of Dauis in Panglao Island. Inside the cave, you can see an underground pool and a large number of stalagmites and stalactites. Going down the cave can be comfortable because there are already cemented stairs, walk ways and metal handrails underneath.
By Air, the following airlines fly to Tagbilaran from Manila and vice versa:
Cebu Pacific (CEB)
Tel. No: (+63 2) 702-0888 (Manila Office) / (+63 32) 230-8888 (Cebu Office)
Philippine Airlines (PAL)
Tel. No: (+63 2) 855-8888
Zest Airways (formerly Asian Spirit)
Tel. No: (+63 2) 888-2003
By Sea, SuperFerry sails once a week from Manila to Tagbilaran and vice versa. The ferry leaves Manila around 7.45 p.m. every Monday and arrives in Tagbilaran early Wednesday morning around 2.30 a.m. For the return trip to Manila, the ferry usually leaves on Wednesday midnight around 11.59 p.m. and arrives in Manila Friday morning around 7.00 a.m.
Tel. No: (+63 2) 528-7000
The climate in Bohol is generally hot and dry but during the months of November to February, the weather is slightly cooler so this is the safest period to stay in Bohol. Expect the weather to be slightly hotter than normal during the summer months of March, April and May. In Bohol, it may rain any day of the year, but expect more rainshowers during the months of June until October.
For tours around Bohol, you may contact our very hospitable tour guide, Glecer “Dodong” Bongo at (+63 915) 201-1650. He uses a Toyota Innova for his tours and it cost us P2,000.00 for the whole day tour good for 2pax. (Entrance Fees not included.)
*Please note that the rate given to us was based on our May 2008 trip.