First Timer's Guide to Bohol, Philippines

27 Jul 2018

Felicia Malolos

Klook Travel Curator

First Timer’s Guide to Bohol

The island of Bohol may not have received as much publicity as neighbouring Palawan, Cebu, and Boracay. However, this little island in Central Visayas surprises travellers in a way no other Philippine Island can.

More than just its unique animals, and the chocolate hills, Bohol is one Philippine island that will definitely charm its way to your heart.

Fortunately, there are quite a handful of flights to Bohol on a daily basis. However, if you’re traveling from abroad, you will need to fly into Manila first before jetting off to Bohol. From Manila, the flight will take roughly an hour and 30 minutes, but if you fly to Cebu, you will need to take a ferry for about two hours to get to Bohol.

Klook activities in Bohol

1. Bohol Countryside Tour

  • Start: 9:00 AM
  • End: 4:00 PM

Places of Interest Covered:

  • Blood Compact Site
  • Baclayon Church
  • Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary
  • Loboc River Cruise
  • Bilar Man Made Forest
  • Chocolate Hills
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2. Bohol Island Hopping

  • Start: 5:30 AM
  • End: 11:00 AM

Places of Interest Covered:

  • Balicasag Reef
  • Virgin Island
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Bohol Highlights

1. Chocolate Hills

Despite what its name suggest, Bohol’s Chocolate Hills aren’t actually made out of chocolate! As seen in nearly every Bohol postcard, the iconic attraction is seen to have a vivid green colour, which transforms into a light brown during the dry season - hence, the name Chocolate Hills.

With over 1,700 cone-shaped hills sprawled over 50 square kilometers, this geographical wonder is truly a sight to behold. However, if you can’t be bothered with the hundred of tourists seeking for a photo opportunity with the hills, there is also another Chocolate Hills park on the way to the city of Danao.

2. Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary

Measured at 3.5 to 6 inches, these wide-eyed creatures are considered to be the smallest primates in the world! Tarsiers can be found all over Southeast Asia, but have a dense population in the island of Bohol. If you’re fascinated by these littles creatures, you can get a glimpse of them at the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary! But sadly, tarsiers are slowly becoming endangered, so make sure to follow the rules and regulations set in the conservatory.

3. Loboc River

At the Loboc River, tourists will be treated to a pretty unique cruise experience. Not only will this cruise be a feast for the eyes, it will also be a feast for your stomach! The Loboc River cruise consists of a Filipino buffet, performances, pit-stops to a couple Loboc cities along the way, Tinikling dancing, and swimming - if you’d like. The cruise is quite an experience to have while in Bohol - especially if you just want a glimpse into the city’s culture!

You can participate in other activities at the Loboc River too! Currently, there are paddle boarding sessions and yoga classes available; so if that floats your boat - give it a try!

4. Bilar Manmade Forest

On the way to the Chocolate Hills in Carmen town, we urge you to stop and appreciate man-made nature at the Bilar’s Forest. The creation of this forest was part of a reforestation project initiated due to the deforestation in Loboc. Organizers then encouraged townsmen of all ages and ways of life to come together and plant these trees, in which a few years later, added to the beauty that has lured visitors to Bohol. If you can get your driver to make a pitstop on the side of the rode, make sure to snap a series of photos for the ‘gram!

5. Panglao Island

When you arrive at Panglao Island, you will immediately notice how similar it is to Boracay, which is probably why the two are often compared. Although it is also known for its powdery white beaches and buzzing nightlife, Panglao Island proves to be more than just a Boracay alternative with its exceptional underwater experience, limestone cave swimming and extensive island hopping options to name a few.

Additionally, while you’re in Panglao, make sure to drop by the Bee Farm for some of the best food in the city!

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6. Baclayon Church

With the country’s Catholic background, every province and city is dotted with churches and chapels. However, the Baclayon Church isn’t just any other Philippine church. It is said to be the oldest in the country, as it was established in 1717. Also known as The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the church is made out of coral stones and cemented using millions of egg whites! If you’re keen to learn more about the city’s history or architecture, this is a great place to start!

7. Chocolate Hills Adventure Park

For just $0.95, you can experience 30 thrilling rides and activities at the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park! If you think you can muster enough courage, try out tandem zip biking with your travel buddy, or opt to go solo at the Tarzan Wing! If the adventure bug hasn’t bit you yet, there are hiking, horseback riding, and camping activities that you and your travel buddies can enjoy, too!

Whatever activity you decide to go for will surely be an exciting one - especially with the Chocolate Hills in the background! So make sure to get your photos taken cause this definitely tops any other basic photo by the iconic cone-shaped hills!

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8. Blood Compact Site

Visit the Blood Compact Site or Sanduguan in Bohol - where one of the country’s most significant events transpired. Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna, the chieftain of Bohol, performed a blood compact, an ancient ritual, which at the time represented a sealed alliance or treaty.

Tourists can reimagine this historical event at Tagbilaran, the exact location where the blood compact was done. Here, an installation of the blood compact scene is immortalized to commemorate the events’ importance to Philippine history.

9. Anda Beach

Who knew paradise was just 45 minutes from the town proper? Head on over to Anda Beach, a secluded sanctuary that has adopted Palawan’s clear blue waters and Boracay’s white sand beaches! Since it isn’t as popular as the other islands like Panglao, you’re sure to have the beach all to yourself! In addition to that, costs in this area is incredibly low - so feel free to shop ‘til you drop at the souvenir stores and dine like a king at the local restaurants!

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10. Danao Adventure Park

Thrillseekers, unite! Here in Bohol, you can find the country’s ultimate daredevil attraction - the Danao Adventure Park! With activities such as ziplining, trekking, canyon swinging, and caving, tourists will surely get an adventure of a lifetime! To add to the experience, make some time for the famed Sea of Clouds! Check in at around sundown for impeccable sights of the Bohol spectacle.

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What to eat

1. Peanut Kisses

This delicacy is shaped exactly like the Chocolate Hills, but thankfully don’t taste anything like them! These delicious cookies only have a couple ingredients - eggs and peanuts - but anyone and everyone will be reaching for more in a matter of seconds!

2. Maruya

Made of boiled bananas and sugar, this famous fried desert is a favorite among children and adults! Although it seems fairly easy to replicate, no one does it well as the Boholanos do!

3. Broa

The Broa, or Lady Fingers, is a common desert in Bohol which is why it’s available in many small kiosks and major supermarkets in the area! This cookie is melt-in-your-mouth delicious and can be eaten on its own or stacked on top of a Mango Refrigerator Cake!