Bohol

Bohol is the main island of Bohol Province, which also includes 75 smaller islands. The island lies southeast from Cebu Island and southwest of Leyte Island in the Central Visayas region. This oval-shaped island is the tenth largest of the Philippine archipelago.

View from a resort

Bohol is a tropical haven of natural beauty. The coastline of the island is skimmed by gentle coves and white sand beaches. Bohol is not as internationally famous as Boracay, but is well-known locally as a paradise for divers and snorkelers. Dolphin watching and whale watching tours are popular with both residents and visiting tourists. The best season is from March to June, but dolphins can be seen year-round. In addition to white sand beaches and dive spots, Bohol is famous among other things, for its Chocolate Hills; the Tarsier – arguably the world’s smallest primate; heritage sites and old stone churches some of the most important of which were damaged in October 2013.

Understand

NOTE: On 15 October 2013, a Richter magnitude 7.2 earthquake 56km beneath Carmen has killed at least 144. Some buildings in tourist areas, including historic churches, have been damaged or rendered unusable.

Cities

Other destinations

Get in

By plane

A fast ferry that serves Cebu to Bohol and vice-versa

At the moment, Bohol's domestic airport in Tagbilaran services daily Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and Air Asia flights to and from Manila. It is undergoing renovation to accommodate the B-737s of Philippine Airlines. Ramp area improvement and the construction of a modernized airport building will soon ensure bigger aircraft will allow direct flight into Bohol. Most tourists visit the island either by land or sea via neighboring Cebu Island. There have been talks since the early 2000s about the construction of an international airport to be built on Panglao but so far nothing has happened.

By boat

The Tagbilaran City Tourist Pier handles more than 4,000 travelers on a daily basis. Nine daily trips from Cebu are processed efficiently, while other ships from Manila, Cagayan de Oro, Dumaguete, Dipolog, Iligan City, Larena, Plaridel and Ozamiz City are also accommodated on a regular basis. Four more port terminals cater specifically to Cebu and northern Mindanao routes. Additional berthing space for fastcraft ferries is currently under construction.

There are also other ports. Jagna has fast ferries to and from Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin, while Getafe has small boats to and from Lapu-Lapu.

Get around

Bohol Island is easily accessible by jeepney, private car, taxi and rental car. Many of the towns in Bohol have a bus terminal where you can get a ride to other towns. Tagbilaran City, the capital of Bohol, has an integrated bus terminal located in Dao, where you can get a bus ride to most towns in Bohol. Most bus lines follow daily schedules. A van service called "GT Express", which operates nationwide, often beats a bus ride, since people travelling in public vehicles are always cramped together like farm animals. Most resorts and hotels in Bohol offer day tours which include all the popular tourist spots.

In Tagbilaran City, commuters usually get from place to place with a tricycle or multicab. Taxis are available sparingly; they usually stand waiting for fares at the two major malls, Bohol Quality and Island City Mall.

See

Tarsier

A tarsier of Bohol

For the past 45 million years, tarsiers have inhabited rainforests around the world, but now they only exist on a few islands in the Philippines, Borneo and Indonesia. In Bohol, the Philippine Tarsier was a common sight in the southern part of the island until the 1960s. Once protected by the humid rainforests and mist-shrouded hills, these mysterious primates struggle to survive as their home is cleared for crop growing and poaching.

To date, the Philippine Tarsier Foundation has acquired 7.4 hectares of land in Corella for a tarsier sanctuary. With the Department of Environment and Natural Resources playing an oversight role, the foundation has asked other Bohol towns with tarsier populations to donate 20 hectares (49.4 acres) of forestland for conservation.

It also runs a Tarsier Research and Development Center, which serves as a visitor center and venue for research, as well as a habitat preserve. At the sanctuary, a spacious net enclosure keeps a number of Philippine Tarsiers for feeding, captive breeding and display. Here, visitors can observe the Philippine Tarsier in their natural habitat. Within the sanctuary, the Philippine Tarsiers roam freely and all of them have got used to a seven-foot high fence that circumscribes the territory and which serves mainly to protect them from predators like feral cats while maintaining a theoretical chance for tarsiers to leave the enclosure and return as their wish.

The Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills of Bohol

The Chocolate Hills are probably Bohol's most famous tourist attraction. The hills, which look like giant mole hills, are an unusual geological formation with at least 1,268 individual mounds scattered throughout the municipalities of Carmen, Batuan, and Sagbayan. The hills range from 30 to 50m high and are covered in green grass, which turns to brown during the dry season, making them look like chocolate mounds.

Legend has it that the hills came into existence when two giants threw stones and sand at each other in a fight that lasted for days. When they were finally exhausted, they made friends and left the island, but left behind the mess they made. For the more romantically inclined is the tale of Arogo, a young and very strong giant who fell in love with an ordinary mortal girl called Aloya. After she died, the giant Arogo cried bitterly. His tears then turned into hills, as a lasting proof of his grief.

However, up to this day, even geologists have not reached consensus on how they where formed. The most commonly accepted theory is that they are the weathered formations of a kind of marine limestone on top of an impermeable layer of clay.

Do

There are no accommodations or infrastructure in this small unspoiled island but this only adds its peaceful charm.

Buy

Craft items in a market

Bohol is known for its bee farm. The honey they produce has become a popular treat. It is also believed that honey from the Bohol Bee Farm has medicinal uses. Some honey-based local delicacies are available in markets and stores.

Sleep

Bohol's rapidly growing status as a developing tourist attraction in the Philippines has resulted in the improvement of its tourist facilities. From quality boutique hotels to delightfully quaint bed-and-breakfasts, lovely top of the line hotels and resorts to a simple bed rented from a resident. Hence, whatever your budget, you can probably find a suitable place to stay.

During peak periods such as Holy Week, Christmas and New Year, rooms may be a bit more difficult to find and more expensive so it would be advisable to reserve in advance.

Stay safe

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 25, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.