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.
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.
- Tagbilaran — Capital of Bohol and the main point of entry to the island, including nearby Panglao Island.
- Loboc — Rivertown with historic church and idyllic falls. Home of the famous Loboc Children's Choir. Also famous for its River Cruise including serenade and buffet lunch.
- Carmen — Launching point for tours of the Chocolate Hills
- Corella — The best place in Bohol to spot a tarsier.
- Baclayon — Port with tours to Pamilacan Island and the town where the old Baclayon Church (established in 1727) is located. Elegant heritage houses line the main road.
- Bilar — Gateway to Bilar & Rajah Sikatuna National Park.
- Dauis — Historic Church with lovely seaside setting, pilgrimage site, and venue for heritage-themed dinners, exhibits, tours, cafe, craft shop featuring local jewelry.
At the moment, Bohol's domestic airport in Tagbilaran services daily Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airline, 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 its island neighbor, Cebu. 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.
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 City, 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.
Bohol Island is easily accessible by jeepney, private car, taxi and rental cars. Many of the towns in Bohol have a bus terminal where one can get a ride to other towns. Tagbilaran City, the capital city of Bohol has an integrated bus terminal located in Dao, where you can get a bus ride to get 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 around from place to place with a tricycle or multicab. Taxis are available sparingly, they usually standby waiting for fares at the two major malls, Bohol Quality and Island City Mall.
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 1960's. 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 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 a impermeable layer of clay.
- Danao Adventure Park (E.A.T. Danao), Barangay Magtangtang, Danao, Bohol. 8am-4pm. Extreme/Eco/Educational Adventure Park that offers various activities for all ages. It boasts of a sky-ride, zip-line, river tubing, caving and trekking activities that will surely make a visit to Bohol memorable. It promises to be a whole new experience far superior to the common offer of Chocolate Hills’ tour, tarsier and dolphin/whale watching. Rates vary depending on choice of package or activity.
- Island Hopping. There are several uninhabited islands to explore just ten-minute boat ride from Panglao Island. One can escape from the resort crowd and head for quiet towards the clean white sands of Virgin Island. Technically speaking, Virgin Island is a only sandbar. Even during low tide, the center part of this crescent moon shaped islet is submerged under 6 inches of water. This flooding divides the Virgin Island into two islets. The submerged part of the islet is a good spot to take photographs because it gives an illusion of walking over the water.
There are no accommodations or infrastructures in this small unspoiled island but this only adds its peaceful charm.
- Diving: Bohol boasts many fine diving sites, and there are many diving centers to provide training courses for OW, AOW and so on.
Bohol is known for its bee farm. The honey they get produce has become a popular treat. It is also believed that honey from the Bohol Bee Farm has medicinal uses. Honey from Bohol has added uses in certain delicacies and recipes.
- Pyramid Bar and Restaurant is an al fresco restaurant along Alona Beach. Aside from fresh seafood catch, the restaurant serves other varieties like sandwiches, pasta, noodles, chili chicken, beef teriyaki and pork cordon bleu. The bar serves fresh fruit juices, carbonated drinks, beer, wine and cocktails. At night, torches complete the tropical dining atmosphere.
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. As such, whatever your budget, you could easily 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.
- Metro Centre Hotel, CPG Ave., Tagbilaran City, Bohol Philippines, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. At the heart of the financial and commercial district stands the imposing 8-story Metro Centre Hotel and Convention Center. The property is equipped with the finest amenities for business travel and leisure. The health club features exercise facilities that include sauna, jacuzzi and massage.
- Soledad Suites, J.C. Borja St. cor M. Parras St., Tagbilaran City, Bohol Philippines, ☎ .
- Vest Pension House, Tamblot Ext., Tagbilaran City, Bohol Philippines, ☎ .
- Darunday Manor, 22 J. A. Clarin St, Tagbilaran City, ☎ . Check-in: 2pm, check-out: noon. Located at the heart of Tagbilaran City, Darunday Manor is a walking distance to the City's main attractions. It has nine air-conditioned rooms, each room with solar-heated showers and baths. from USD28.
- Amarela Resort, Barangay Libaong, Panglao Island, Bohol Philippines, ☎ +63 38 502-9497 to 99 (Bohol) / +63 2 911-5203 (Manila Office). Amarela Resort is a Mediterranean-style villa built on top of a gentle slope. The restaurant has a spectacular view of the mountains and the sea. It has a swimming pool and a well manicured flower garden with steps leading down towards the beach. Because there are no other resorts nearby, the beach is clean and exclusive. Starfish and other marine life can be easily spotted along the shallow waters. This resort is a quiet alternative to the usually busy Alona Beach.
- Bita-Ug Beach Resort, Daorong, Danao, Panglao, Bohol, Philippines, ☎ +63 38 502-8106, +63 919 225 9935, +63 922 865 0162,+63 927 435 6709, e-mail: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Bita-ug Beach Resort offers air-conditioned cottages in a unique native design. 1600.
- Bohol Vantage Resort, 1, Panorama St, Barangay Mayacabac, Dauis, Panglao Island, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. This resort is located at a calm place on Dayo Hill with a magnificent 210-degrees wide panoramic view overlooking Bohol and the islands of the Central Visayas. The newly built resort offers 6 apartments and 8 hotel rooms. The apartments are about 65-90m² large and include a very spacious roofed terrace, air-con, kitchen with refrigerator and cooking facilities, cable-TV, DVD-Player, free Internet-access and safety deposit box. The hotel rooms are about 44m² large and have refrigerator, cable-TV, DVD-Player, free Internet-access and safety deposit box.
- Hayahay Resort in Panglao Island, Bohol, Alona Beach, Panglao Island, Bohol Philippines, ☎ . Hayahay Resort is a tropical paradise for diving enthusiasts and holiday seekers. This Alona Beach resort has an open restaurant on the beach, 11 comfortable rooms with private bath and Wi-Fi access, and exciting water activities like snorkelling, dolphin watching, and scuba diving.
- Isola Bella Beach Resort, Lagitan, Poblacion, Panglao Island, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Isola Bella Beach Besort is a place to rest and relax. Luxury air-con rooms, cable TV, personal ref, hot and cold shower, spacious CR, all rooms facing swimming pool. Extra bed available, parking space, free coffee, free breakfast and free round trip to Virgin Island which is 15min boat drive far.
- Linaw Beach Resort (Linaw Beach Resort Panglao Island, Bohol), 9999 Daorong, Danao, Panglao, Bohol Philippines, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. One of the newest beach resorts situated directly on a very private section of Alona Beach. Wide range of amenities.
- Bohol Beach Club, Bolod, Panglao, Bohol Philippines, ☎ +63 38 411-5222 to 24, e-mail: email@example.com. The resort boasts of an exclusive 1.5km stretch of white sand, the largest shoreline in that area. Guests can also enjoy a relaxing swim in the kidney shaped pool set in lush greenery or simply laze at the outdoor jacuzzi. The club has aqua sports that include snorkeling, fun island dives, sailing, kayaking, and whale and dolphin watching
- Flushing Meadows Resort and Playground, Brgy. Dao, Dauis, Panglao Island,Bohol Philippines, ☎ , fax: +63 38 502-2122 loc. 102, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Flushing Meadows Resort & Playground is Bohol's most exclusive deluxe resort. Guests at this lovely Bohol resort may expect a truly pleasurable tropical paradise experience. Fishing and diving facilities, a private beach, a spectacular children's playground, and an international-standard tennis court are among the many attractions at this resort in Bohol. Accommodations here combine island decor with modern amenities; private balconies provide stunning seaviews. USD105 and up.
- Panglao Island Nature Resort and Spa, Bingag, Dauis, Panglao Island, Bohol Philippines, ☎ +63 38 411-5878 / 411-5982, e-mail: email@example.com. Small cluster of accommodations have private spacious paties with comfortable chaise lounge, an ideal spot for room service for breakfast or leisure reading. Rooms are equipped with state of the art amenities. The management ensures that service is impeccable and the stuff are the friendliest one will ever meet.
- Paragayo Resort in Panglao Island, Bohol, Alona Beach, Panglao Island, Bohol Philippines, ☎ . Paragayo Resort is a Modern Native inspired resort designed and run by British national Mark Kilroy.
- Chiisai Natsu Resort, Panglao Island Circumferential Road, Panglaos, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14;00, check-out: 12:00. Chiisai Natsu Resort caters to single vacationers, families and corporate groups.
Baclayon has a great range of accommodation providers, from home-stays in the historic ancestral houses, to high-class luxury resorts and spas. Located only 7km from Tagbilaran City makes it an ideal location to be based for a holiday on Bohol without the hustle and bustle of "the big city".
- Bohol Narra Homestay, Pobalcion, Baclayon, ☎ . Nestled in a tranquil locality beside the sea and surrounded by luscious trees, Bohol Narra Homestay provides a great family option with one room comprising of four beds available. ₱1200 per night (for 2) including breakfast.
- Homestay de Bai, Poblacion, Baclayon, ☎ . Located very centrally beside the Baclayon Church, Homestay de Bai offers simple and clean air-con rooms with an ideal location. ₱1000–1200 incl breakfast..
- Mary's Pamilacan Cottages, Pamilacan Island, ☎ . Located right on the shore front of Pamilacan Island, these very basic but clean cottages offer a ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of mainland towns. Prices are; Cottage ₱500pppn including breakfast and dinner; Cottage including 3 meals ₱750pppn; Large cottage including meals ₱1,000pppn
- Bohol Coconut Palms Resort, Aba-a St. Laya, Baclayon, ☎ . Resort with function room for 200 people; leisure facilities include a semi-Olympic-size swimming pool with slides and kiddie pool with fountain. Best rates on official website start at ₱1,300.
- The Peacock Garden Luxury Resort and Spa, Upper Laya, Baclayon, ☎ . Peacok Garden is an elegant German-owned and managed resort perched on a hill with an extremely impressive infinity pool overlooking the seascape and Pamilacan Island. This was the first resort in Bohol to be granted 5-star accreditation. The resort features a fine-dining restaurant, a Roman-inspired spa, a wine cellar, music and dance club, fitness room and a members only cigar lounge. ₱8,000-18,000.
- Bohol generally doesn't have high crime rates.
- On the streets in Tagbilaran and while behind glass windows in fast food restaurants, you may be harassed by beggars (badjao). It is best to ignore them. It is illegal to give them money--if one of them sees a foreigner giving out money, more are sure to follow. Giving them food is allowed; however, be advised that most of them prefer money and don't really care for food (they mostly don't sleep out on the streets--they stay at their fisher's village on the shores of the island).
- When renting a motorcycle, make sure to wear a helmet and have an international license. There are occasional checkpoints by the police, especially on the two bridges to Panglao. They mostly check motorcycles, tricycles, and jeepneys. Police officers usually wear dark blue uniforms that say PNP or light blue t-shirts with a logo. Land Transportation Office (LTO) personnel, who wear orange shirts, may sometimes accompany the police at checkpoints.
- When traveling within Tagbilaran City in tricycles, be aware that these vehicles were built to accommodate a maximum of two average sized Filipinos. For example, a 6ft 5in tall or an overweight 300lb person will have a hard time fitting into these vehicles.
- Cebu is a one and a half hour trip by fast ferry. Bohol's Tagbilaran City seaport has eight daily fast craft services to Cebu City. Trips are available 06:00-19:00.
- Camiguin island off the coast of Mindanao is, perhaps, even more friendly than Bohol
- Negros Oriental; there is ferry service to Dumaguete if you wish to go whale watching from Bais City
- Siquijor is renowned for witchcraft and scuba diving sites