What to Buy in Bohol: A Comprehensive Guide to Bohol Delicacies and Souvenirs

Bohol, a picturesque island in the Philippines, is a combination of culture, nature, and gastronomy. While many are drawn to its natural wonders like the Chocolate Hills and the cute little tarsiers, the island’s culinary and artisanal offerings are equally captivating. Let’s embark on a flavorful journey to discover what to buy in Bohol.

Bohol – Treasure Trove of Delicacies and Souvenirs

Bohol is not just another island in the Philippines. It’s a narrative of history, nature, and flavors intertwined. From the bustling streets of Tagbilaran City to the serene beaches of Panglao, every corner has a story. And as you traverse this island, you’ll find a plethora of items that echo its essence.

Have you ever wondered about the tales behind the delicacies and souvenirs you bring back from your travels? In Bohol, every item has a backstory, steeped in tradition and local craftsmanship. Let’s uncover these tales.

Signature Delicacy: Calamay

calamay, puto, and other glutinous rice cakes in Bohol Philippines

Description and significance of Calamay

Calamay isn’t just a sweet treat, it’s a symbol of Bohol’s rich culinary heritage. Crafted from glutinous rice, coconut milk, and brown sugar, this sticky delicacy is a testament to the island’s love for flavors and traditions. Often packaged in coconut shells, Calamay represents the island’s penchant for sustainability and authenticity.

But what makes Calamay truly special? It’s the labor of love that goes into its making. The process, though time-consuming, ensures that every bite you take transports you to the heart of Bohol.

My aunt used to make this at home when I was a kid. She would spend hours and hours cooking the glutinous rice until most of the liquid has evaporated and all the flavors have infused. I have to say, it’s worth the wait. And the Calamay I tasted in Bohol brings back so many memories.

Shopping for Calamay in Jagna

Jagna, a quaint town in Bohol, is synonymous with Calamay. As you stroll through its streets, the aroma of cooking Calamay wafts through, beckoning you. Local vendors, with their makeshift stalls, showcase this delicacy with pride. And while you’re in Jagna, don’t just stop at Calamay. Explore the town’s other culinary offerings and immerse yourself in its gastronomic landscape.

Peanut Lovers’ Delight: Peanut Kisses

Peanut Kisses are more than just confections, they’re a bite-sized representation of Bohol. Inspired by the iconic Chocolate Hills, these treats are crafted from peanuts and egg whites. Their unique shape and delightful taste make them a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

The inception of Peanut Kisses dates back decades. They were Boholano’s answer to merging nature’s beauty with its flavors. Today, they stand as a testament to the island’s innovation and culinary prowess.

1 packet of bohol's local delicacy with the label peanut kisses

Tagbilaran City – The Hub for Peanut Kisses

The heart of Bohol, Tagbilaran City, pulsates with energy and flavors. It’s here that Peanut Kisses found their footing. Numerous shops dot the cityscape, each offering these delightful treats. But Tagbilaran’s charm doesn’t end with Peanut Kisses. The city is a perfect combination of history, culture, and culinary delights. Dive in, explore, and let the city surprise you.

Tableya – The Authentic Chocolate Drink

hot dark chocolate, also known as tablea, in a cup with a spoon on the side and other ball shaped sweets

Tableya, a traditional chocolate drink, is Bohol’s ode to its love for cacao. Crafted from roasted cacao beans, this drink is a morning ritual for many Boholanos. It’s not just about the rich, chocolatey flavor, it’s about the stories, the traditions, and the memories that come alive with every sip.

Until now, Tableya is a very popular drink not only in Bohol but the whole Philippines as well. I make these little tablets from time to time. It’s a great comfort food especially during the rainy season. Imagine drinking a cup of chocolate which was minimally processed. It’s like drinking the cacao fruit itself.

Carabao milk in Tableya

The secret to a creamy, rich Tableya? Carabao milk. This ingredient elevates the drink, adding a layer of creaminess and depth. I think it’s because carabao milk is naturally much more creamier than cow milk. And while you’re sipping on this delightful beverage, take a moment to appreciate the island’s natural beauty and rich history.

Broas from Baclayon: A Sweet Connection to History

Baclayon, known for its historic church, also offers a sweet treat, Broas. These light, spongey biscuits are a testament to Baclayon’s culinary heritage. Crafted with precision and care, Broas are a favorite among locals and tourists.

But why Baclayon? The town’s history with Broas dates back centuries. It’s believed that the Spanish friars introduced the recipe, and over time, it became a part of Baclayon’s identity. Today, these biscuits are not just a treat, they’re a journey through time.

Shopping in Bohol: Best Places to Buy Quality Souvenirs

souvenir shop right with straw hats and other accessories right on the white sand beach

Bohol Quality Mall and Island City Mall

Bohol’s shopping scene is as vibrant as its landscapes. The Bohol Quality Mall and Island City Mall stand as testaments to this. From local handicrafts to international brands, these malls offer a lot of options. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or gourmet treats, you’re in for a treat.

Souvenir Items to Look Out For

Bohol offers a diverse range of souvenirs that capture the essence of the island. Here are some must-buy items:

  • Tarsier-themed Souvenirs: Given that Bohol is home to the world’s smallest primate, tarsier-themed items are popular. From cute tarsier plush toys to t-shirts featuring this iconic creature. With all the choices we have, my daughter decided she wanted the tarsier ref magnet.
  • Bohol T-shirts: Speaking of t-shirts, there’s a unique one that caught the attention of many – a shirt that showcases Bohol’s attractions, from the Chocolate Hills to the pristine beaches. It’s a wearable memory of your trip.
     white t-shirt with the print I heart Bohol
  • Handicrafts: Bohol is known for its skilled artisans. Bamboo and rattan products, handwoven bags, and intricate wood carvings are some of the items you can find. Each piece tells a story of craftsmanship and tradition. I have the shell-shaped paper weight with sea creatures inside.
  • Local Delicacies: Apart from Calamay and Peanut Kisses, there are other treats like Ube Jam, Puto, and Kutsinta that you can take home. They make for perfect pasalubong(gifts) for friends and family. I think puto is the best one, but if you have a long trip going home, Ube jam has a longer shelf life.
  • Natural Products: With places like the Bohol Bee Farm promoting organic and sustainable products, you can find natural soaps, lotions, and balms. They’re not just souvenirs but a piece of Bohol’s commitment to nature.

Alona Beach: A Shopping Destination

Alona Beach, with its azure waters and golden sands, is also a shopper’s paradise. The beachside market, with its vibrant stalls, offers a range of souvenirs and treats. From shell crafts to local delicacies, there’s something for everyone.

Bohol Bee Farm: Natural Organic Food

Bohol Bee Farm’s Organic Offerings

The Bohol Bee Farm is a haven for nature and food lovers. The farm, with its commitment to sustainability, offers a range of organic products. From honey to spreads, every product is a reflection of the island’s rich biodiversity.

  • Honey: As the name suggests, the Bohol Bee Farm is renowned for its pure, unadulterated honey. Harvested from the farm’s own beehives, this honey is rich in flavor and nutrients. It’s a sweet reminder of Bohol’s natural bounty.
  • Organic Spreads: From mango to passion fruit, the farm produces a variety of spreads. Made without any artificial preservatives or sweeteners, these spreads capture the essence of Bohol’s tropical fruits.
  • Herbal Teas: The farm also offers a selection of herbal teas. Made from locally grown herbs, these teas are both flavorful and therapeutic. Whether it’s lemongrass tea to soothe your senses or moringa tea for its health benefits, there’s a brew for everyone.
  • Handmade Soaps: Infused with natural ingredients like honey, coconut, and papaya, the farm’s handmade soaps are a treat for the skin. They’re gentle, moisturizing, and carry the subtle fragrances of Bohol’s flora.
  • Bee Pollen and Propolis: Known for their health benefits, bee pollen and propolis are also available for purchase. They’re nature’s superfoods and are believed to boost immunity and vitality.
  • Organic Pastries: The farm’s bakery churns out a range of pastries made from organic ingredients. From honeyed muffins to cassava cakes, these treats are guilt-free indulgences.

Bohol Travel – More than Just Attractions

Bohol, with its natural wonders and culinary delights, is a mosaic of experiences. Every delicacy, every souvenir, tells a story. And as you traverse this island, these stories come alive, offering a glimpse into Bohol’s soul.

So, the next time you visit, take a moment to explore, to taste, and to shop. Dive deep into Bohol’s rich culture, savor its flavors, and bring back memories that last a lifetime.

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