Welcome to Bohol Island!
Our Mini Guide with Insidertips will help you to make most out of your trip to Bohol Island!
Tagbilaran - the island’s capital and only city
Derived from two Visayan words meaning ‘hidden shelter’ (tago bilaan), the name Tagbilaran is a reference either to its position on a calm, protected strait or its historical role as a sanctuary from Moro invaders. Today the town is overrun by legions of noisy tricycle taxis and there’s nothing calming or protected about it. There are no big-ticket sights here, but as the city is surrounded by water it’s not unpleasant. That said, there’s no real reason to hang around either, and most travellers make a quick getaway to Bohol’s beaches or jungle-rich interior.
Mandatory Verses has City Driving for Jesus
Bohol is famous for its thousands of noisy, but fast three-wheeled motorized taxis known as tricycles that serve as the island’s main mode of public transportation.
“It can get you to any part of the island. It’s cheap and you can fit between four and seven people at one time,” said Dennis Cantina, who has built these tricycles for 10 years.
But he and many others who live in Bohol will tell you these are no ordinary tricycles.
Blood Compact Monument
This great monument 1km east of Tagbilaran celebrates the March 1565 blood compact, where Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi and Boholano chieftain Rajah Sikatuna shared a cup of each other’s blood as a peace treaty.
Facing the Bohol Sea, this huge coral stone church (1727) was severely damaged in the 2013 earthquake. It’s connected to an imposing watchtower. The church is being rebuilt but progress has been slow and will take years to complete.
The Most Beautiful Places for Nature Lovers in Bohol Island
Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary
In Canapnapan, a barangay of Corella, you can see saucer-eyed tarsiers in the wild at the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary. Over 100 of these territorial primates hang out in the immediate vicinity of the centre, though only eight are in the viewing area. The guides will bring you right to them via a short jungle trail; no flash photography is permitted. The visitors centre includes good information boards and the whole forested sanctuary is well managed and a pleasure to visit.
The simultaneously crazy and cuddly looking tarsier can fit in the palm of your hand yet leap 5m, rotate its head almost 360 degrees and move its ears in the direction of sound. It has huge imploring eyes, 150 times bigger than a human’s in relation to its body size.
The tarsier is not only one of the world’s smallest primates and the oldest surviving member of the primate group at 45 million years old, it is also an endangered species. The main threats to its survival are habitat destruction, introduced species, hunting and the pet trade. While also found in Samar, Leyte and parts of Mindanao, Bohol is the province that is doing the most to promote awareness of the tarsier and attempting to ensure its survival.
Keen hikers can arrange longer guided walks in the surrounding wildlife sanctuary, although you are unlikely to spot tarsiers outside the immediate vicinity of the visitors centre.
Drive through Bilar Man-Made Forest
Drive under the lush foliage of mahogany trees in a man-made forest prized for its timber, and pass green farmland and villages surrounded by local nipa palms.
Visit the Habitat Butterflies Conservation Center in Bilar
When you reach Bilar, make a stop at the Butterflies Conservation Center that showcases a variety of Philippine butterflies, including about half of the 300 species found on Bohol. Marvel at these colorful creatures as they roam freely over 7 acres (3 hectares) of butterfly habitat and feast on nectar-rich flowers. From a viewing deck above, take note of the cone-shaped Chocolate Hills in the distance.
Chocolate Hills Viewpoint
You’ll get up close to the thousand or so limestone mounds after a scenic driving tour through the island’s interior to Carmen. Then enjoy more fabulous views over Bohol from the Chocolate Hills viewpoint. To remember this magnificent panorama, get creative and take an off-the-wall snapshot of yourself with the hills as a backdrop.
However this place is highly commercialised, with kiosks selling kitschy souvenirs and an overdose of selfie-seekers. From the base of the viewpoint, motorcycles can whisk you up the hill (P40 one-way for two passengers) to a car park. From here it’s a steep five-minute walk up to the viewpoint.
Loboc River Cruise
Continue to Loboc and board a catamaran for a 50-minute cruise on the Loboc River, and enjoy an authentic lunch of Filipino specialties served on board the boat, buffet-style. Relax as you view nature’s splendor, including graceful rolling hills, coconut trees and green nipa palms lining the riverbanks. Your guide can help you spot tiny Philippine tarsiers playing on the riverbank — with a gentle demeanor and large, bulbous eyes, the world’s second-smallest primate isn’t easy to find.
Bohol Island for Beach Lovers
Bohol is one of the most popular island destinations in the Philippines after Cebu, Palawan and Boracay. Here are the 5 best beaches in Bohol for you to relax on and enjoy.
Dumaluan Beach is on Panglao Island, off the south west coast of Bohol. Dumaluan is one of the best beaches in Bohol as it’s known for its white sand and clear, calm water. It’s a clean beach with lots of palm trees providing shade and an excellent backdrop for travelling photos. It’s perfect for chilling all day, laying on a hammock or swing and taking occasional dips in the Bohol sea. There are a few restaurants dotted around for snacks or an evening meal. The beach is accessible to everyone and is popular with locals and tourists alike. For a more private experience of the beach, you can pay a small fee to access a resort or rent a beach apartment. Dumaluan is also a perfect place to sit and enjoy a cold beer or cocktail while the sun sets.
Just north of Dumaluan is White Beach, appropriately named for its perfect white sands. This, and the beautiful bright green and blue water make it a paradise. The water is shallow so this beach is perfect for paddling, volleyball, sunbathing and enjoying a beer rather than swimming. Rent a scooter for the day and drive up and down the coast seeing all the pristine white beaches on Panglao!
Located on the south of Bohol, Can-uba is a paradise. The locals are friendly and welcoming and the landscape is unique because the beach is shingle. This makes the water look crystal clear, even more than nearby beaches. It’s a perfect spot for swimming and there are caves to explore. The beach is free to enter and worth the drive from anywhere on Bohol if you’re not nearby. Grab your inflatables and get in the water!
This is arguably the most popular beach on Bohol. It is renowned for its reefs which make for a perfect snorkelling spot. Other water sports are offered including kayaking, kitesurfing and scuba diving. It has iconic white sands and rocky cliffs and there are an abundance of bars, shops and restaurants, even massage parlours and spas! It’s a hub of activity from sunrise to sunset and a trip to Bohol wouldn’t be complete without experiencing Alona.
Libaong White Beach
Libaong is off the beaten track. Its clean and the water is clear, so it’s a dream spot for relaxing. The usually calm waters attract a variety of fish and creatures like turtles and tuna. The area is undeveloped compared to Alona, giving it a secluded, serene atmosphere. There are palm trees to find shade under and small local restaurants where you can find fresh fruit and easy going food. Libaong White Beach is just north of White Beach and Dumaluan on Panglao. Rent a scooter or travel on foot and create a dreamy day out visiting all 3 pristine white sandy spots and gazing out over the bright blue water of the Bohol sea.
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