BOHOL TRAVEL: Exciting Countryside and Island Hopping Tours Await on the Island
The Philippines, like a treasure box, conceals a collection of gems yet to be fully discovered. From Batanes, which serves as Luzon’s glittering crown, to Siargao, a tear-shaped pearl at the tip of Mindanao, the Philippines does not lack for riches known to man.
Among these islands is one patiently waiting to be rediscovered– a gold buckle at the heart of Visayas which has retained its glorious peace amid aftershocks of storms and earthquakes.
This is the island of Bohol, the 10th largest island in the Philippines with islets and municipalities carrying their own mysteries.
IMAGE Bohol Beach Club
Join Philippine Primer as we take you on a journey to divulge the great wonders of Bohol– a balm to the soul.
Tour to the Countryside
1. Chocolate Hills
The Chocolate Hills quietly transition from green to brown in time for summer.
One thing that will always serve as an identity of Bohol in Cebu is the undying, glorious Chocolate Hills in Carmen.
To know more about it, you need to go to Carmen which is approximately an hour and 30 minutes away from Bohol-Panglao International Airport and approximately an hour away from Bohol’s capital city of Tagbilaran.
Drive your way to the Chocolate Hills surrounded by all these wonders!
Reaching the natural monument, you need to go up a flight of stairs consisting of exactly 214 steps to reach the viewing deck. Upon your last step up, a panoramic view of Chocolate Hills that stretch towards the towns of Sagbayan and Batuan can be seen.
People gather on the view deck to witness nature’s masterpiece.
Upon estimate, the cone-shaped hills, which resemble literal chunks of chocolate, are over 1,200 in number!
The hills are actually covered by grass, which gives it a green color in the wet season. During the dry season, especially from late November to May, the grass dries up and gives the hills their trademark chocolate color.
Just six minutes from the Chocolate Hills viewing deck is Chocolate Hills Adventure Park (CHAP) for adrenaline junkies.
Also Read: The Chocolate Hills in Carmen Remains a Picturesque Landmark of Bohol
The Rush Bike Zipline (Php 450)
Chocolate Hills Information
Address: Chocolate Hills Complex, Loay Interior Road (Chocolate Hills Adventure Park), Camanayon, Brgy. Buenos Aires, Carmen, Bohol
Operating Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m (CHAP); 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Chocolate Hills Complex)
Website: chocolatehillsadventurepark.com (CHAP)
Entrance Fee: CHAP- Php 60; Chocolate Hills Complex- Php 60 (Adult); Php 10 (children ages 10 & below); Senior Citizen discounts apply. Please bring ID.
2. Bohol Tarsier (Tarsier Conservation Area)
Visit Bohol Tarsier to fill your knowledge of the wide-eyed tarsiers.
Bohol Tarsier in Villa Aurora, Bilar, Bohol is one of the only few tarsier conservation areas certified by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to take care of the rare Philippine Tarsiers since July 2016.
Expect some sleepy tarsiers when you visit during the day.
A total of 8 tarsiers can be seen at Bohol Tarsier, with others being bred in captivity.
The trees where you can find them are marked with signs that say, “Silence Please,” so make sure that you’ll keep your voices toned down throughout the short tour, as tarsiers are usually asleep during the day.
Also Read: Bohol Tarsier Conservation Area: Peculiar Creatures and Where to Find Them
Please bear in mind that taking photos extremely close to the tarsiers are prohibited; camera flashes are also a no-no, so it is better to keep a safe distance or have your photos taken by the tour guides inside the conservation area so as to not distract the tarsiers.
Bohol Tarsier Information:
Address: Villa Aurora, Bilar, Bohol
Operating Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Entrance Fee: Php 60 (Adult); Php 50 (Student)
3. Loboc River Cruise
Cruise and dine together for a leisurely afternoon.
It might not be as grand as Venice’s grand canal cruise in Italy, but this long river cruise in Poblacion Ondol, Loboc, is one relaxing activity ideal for families who want to have a great time dining and sightseeing in Bohol.
Known as a floating diner which will tour you along the turquoise waters of one of the country’s cleanest rivers, this cruise resembles that of a grand barrio fiesta with a buffet served for all to feast upon while onboard.
Enjoy the buffet table!
What’s more is that while on tour along the river, local musicians play novelty music, amplified by the tour’s climax- a cultural celebration at the far end of the river.
Also Read: Loboc River Cruise Lets You In On A Secret: Bohol Is Simply Romantic
Dance with some talented local artists as a welcome treat to Bohol!
So if you’re up for one memorable festivity to sample the hospitality of Boholanos, be sure to ride the long cruise in Loboc, Bohol with your friends and family!
Loboc River Cruise Information
Address: Poblacion, Ondol, Loboc, Bohol
Operating Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Cruise Rate: Php 550 per person (inclusive of entrance fee, buffet, and maintenance & security charges)
4. Blood Compact Shrine
Tagbilaran City, Bohol
Learn about the historic blood compact by visiting this shrine.
The Filipino characteristic of being hospitable should never be mistaken for weakness, for while Filipinos welcome all and sundry, their trust is still earned the hard way.
This is proven when Datu Sikatuna, a native chief of the Island of Bohol, preferred the act of Blood Compact or Sandugo instead of signing an agreement with General Miguel Lopez de Legaspi upon the general’s expedition in 1565.
The Sandugo or blood compact is the traditional equivalent of what we know now as “diplomatic relations”. It is done by drawing a small cut in the arm of two opposing entities.
The blood is then placed in cups with wine. This mixture is equally divided between the two and drank to a finish in front of their subordinates.
Also Read: The Blood Compact Shrine in Bohol: An Immortal Piece of Philippine History
Raise your glasses up for years of diplomatic relations.
This historical moment is immortalized in bronze sculpture by Boholano National Artist, the late Napoleon V. Abueva.
Blood Compact Shrine Information
Address: Tagbilaran East Rd., Bool District, Tagbilaran City
Landmark: Ocean Suites Boutique Hotel
5. Baclayon Church & Museum
Baclayon Church is at its pure glory, looking like a white pearl washed from the sea.
Immaculate Concepcion Church of Baclayon, prominently known simply as Baclayon Church, is one of Bohol’s greatest sacred treasures of all time.
The church’s roots can be traced back to 1596, established by Father Gabriel Sanchez and Father Juan de Torres, the first Spanish Jesuit priests to set foot in Cebu.
Inside, the altar and the traditional pulpit where the priest conveys his preaching stands out with designs resembling royalty.
With these in mind, it is, therefore, a necessity to tour Baclayon Church which often starts with a roundabout in its museum. The church also holds masses for the public every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Looking up, the ceiling, although unpreserved, was made new with a huge painting made by Filipino artists from Manila, Zamboanga, and Cebu.
For those who would want to attend the mass, do not forget to wear modest clothing and to have your voices toned down to a whisper as a sign of respect. For those wearing shorts, shawls are available inside the church.
Baclayon Church & Museum Information
Address: Bohol Circumferential Rd., Baclayon, Bohol
Visiting Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Museum)
Entrance Fee: Php 50 (Museum tour)
Tour Around Panglao Island
1. Dauis Church
Dauis Church showcases neo-gothic and neo-classical architecture.
Dauis Church, also known as the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, was named a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission.
It was built in 1697 by priests of the Jesuit Order and in 1753, Fr. Joseph Nepomuceno, S.J., built a convent in the church complex which became the official residence of the Jesuits from Loboc.
Visitors who come to the church will find it relaxing to stroll around the church complex as it provides that much-needed boost of energy. It is also noteworthy that you can view the sea from the garden at the back of the church.
Try attending the daily morning masses at Dauis Church every 6:30 a.m. to revel at the beauty of this centuries-old masterpiece.
Also Read: Dauis Church in Bohol: A National Historical Landmark of the Philippines
Dauis Church Information
Address: Circulado St., Poblacion, Dauis, Bohol
Visiting Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
2. Hinagdanan Cave
Panglao Island, Bohol
Entrance to Hinagdanan Cave
Hinagdanan Cave takes its name from the Cebuano word “hinagdanan” which translates to “laddered”. A farmer was said to have found the cave by accident.
Glorious rock formations gather inside the cave.
Inside the cave, you will find stalagmites, one of the features the cave is prominent for. You will also find a small lagoon filled with saltwater since the cave is located near the sea.
The lagoon inside the cave reflects the rock formations inside.
While the lagoon also has its high tide and low tide, visitors are still allowed to swim in the lagoon provided that the water is not too high during the day. Your guide, who will help you during the tour, will also inform you of the best time to visit the cave.
Also Read: Hinagdanan Cave in Dauis, Bohol is an Underground Wonder of Nature
Hinagdanan Cave Information
Address: Bingag, Dauis, Panglao Island, Bohol
Operating Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cave Tour Rates: Entrance Fee – Php 50 (adult); Swimming – Php 75
3. Nova Shell Museum
Panglao Island, Bohol
If you love shells, you’ll love Mr. Hora’s collection.
Nova Shell Museum boasts an amazing collection of seashells that come from different parts of the world, not just in the seas of the Philippines.
The collection was founded by Mr. Quirino Hora who, in the pursuit of his passion for collecting shells, has two shells named after him. The shells in his collection are worth decades of exploration.
The three big clams on display, for example, are thousands of years old as you can count the age of clams in denominations of centuries.
These huge clams are eye-catching to say the least.
The museum offers guided tours where the guides will give guests a run through of the collection before taking them to the souvenir shop.
Also Read: Nova Shell Museum in Panglao, Bohol: One of the Biggest Shell Collections in the World
Don’t forget to stop by their souvenir shop, in case you want to do some shell shopping!
Nova Shell Museum Information
Address: Poblacion Proper, Poblacion, Panglao Island, Bohol
Operating Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Entrance Fee: Php 50 (Adult)
4. Alona Beach
Panglao Island, Bohol
Alona Beach has a dual personality of being a relaxing place by day and a party popper at night.
On the creamy white sand of Alona Beach, you will find dive shops, restaurants, and hotels with superb beach views. Diving and snorkeling are popular activities in this area.
Also Read: LIST: Must-Try Restaurants in Bohol
If going underwater isn’t your thing, you can also sunbathe, get a massage, or simply take a stroll as you admire the beach.
Alona Beach at night
Nightlife at Alona Beach is also something to experience, as fire dancing can also be found here.
Alona Beach Information
Address: Alona Beach, Brgy. Tawala, Panglao Island, Bohol
Island Hopping Tour
Balicasag, Panglao, and Virgin Island
1. Panglao Island
IMAGE Bohol Beach Club
One of the highlights of any island tour in Bohol is Panglao Island itself, where you can have the chance to meet friendly and energetic dolphins. This activity is usually the first in the tour as it is easiest to spot the dolphins early in the morning when the water is cool. Be sure to get up early as there is a greater chance of seeing the dolphins between 5 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.
Also Read: Bohol Island Hopping: A Guide to Diving Sites and Must-See Spots
2. Balicasag Island
IMAGE Bohol Beach Club
After your encounter with the dolphins, take a 40-minute boat ride from Alona Beach to Balicasag Island. Divers and snorkelers are a common sight in the waters of this island as the marine life is extraordinary,
You may choose to have lunch on the island; bring or buy your own ingredients and have them cooked on the island through a local custom called “paluto”, which costs around Php 300.
Also Read: Barwoo in Panglao, Bohol: A Tropical Asian Bistro Serving Korean-Inspired Dishes
3. Virgin Island
This long stretch of white sand is Instragrammable!
On Virgin Island, you will find one hectare of sandbar that will make you feel like you are in paradise. It is the perfect spot for your Instagram beach photos. You can also walk in the shallow beach and admire the crystal clear waters where you may find colorful starfish.
You may also find Isola di Francisco here, where you can relax and have a little bit of quiet time after the tour. On the island, you’ll find a small museum that displays natural objects that depict the beauty of God’s creations.
How to get here
If you want to check all your bucket list of things to do in Bohol, then better approach a tour provider who will take you to these beautiful spots on the island!
The spots featured here are included in the tours provided by Bohol Tours and Nature’s Wonder Travel & Tours, Inc.
Bohol Tours and Nature’s Wonder Travel & Tours is a tour agency in Tagbilaran City, Bohol which champions tourist satisfaction by offering services such as countryside and island hopping tours, hotel reservations, accommodation transfers, and application for tourist visas among others.
For a complete list of their itinerary, you may visit their website at Bohol Tourism Philippines or check out their details below:
Address: 0573 N.A.J. Bldg., CPG North Ave., Tagbilaran City, Bohol
Operating Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Contact Information: 038-422-8321 / 0926-750-4755
E-mail Address: email@example.com
A version of this appeared in Philippine Primer Japanese (Vol. 133) and English (Vol. 38) magazines.