Why You Should Visit Bohol Philippines

As someone who has traveled countless times and lived in another country for half a decade, I can say that traveling has enriched and broadened my understanding of the things around me. I attribute that to the three things that travelers do a lot: exploring new cultures, immersing in breathtaking landscapes, and indulging in new cuisine…or simply eating, we just like to eat really. Bohol is a popular travel destination that checks all these three things. In this article I will explore these things  and more. Basically exploring why you should travel Bohol. 

Awe Inspiring Landscape

The beaches here are just pristine, you can easily take a step back and take a portrait image of any beach and make it your social media banner, background or whatever it is called in your chosen platform. The point is, it’s flawless and there’s no reason for people not to get attracted to these beaches.

Bohol has natural and some nature inspired locations that are perfect for nature lovers. Unlike other travel destinations in the Philippines that only has beaches, or man-made attractions, this place has all those. Whether you like bathing in nature’s beauty, or you enjoy appreciating things that are man-made, this place got you covered.

bohol beach at the top, a cave with pool at the middle, chocolate hills at the bottom

Chocolate Hills

One of the main reasons for the booming tourism on the island is its stunning landscape. The province is known for its Chocolate Hills in the town of Carmen, a geological formation consisting of over a thousand hills that turn brown during the dry season, resembling chocolate drops…like chocolate kisses? Bohol is one of the top travel destinations in the Philippines because of this tourist spot alone.

When we first visited this place, I was surprised that we had to climb more than 200 steps of stairs to get to the peak of the Chocolate Hills Complex. It was great though, a kind of spiritual experience climbing the stairs while surrounded by those majestic hills. And there’s a place to rest mid way to the top so that’s a big help. I think the best time to see the chocolate hills is in the summer, Between March and April. In my experience this is when the hills turn chocolate brown color.

If you like seeing huge structures made by nature, you should definitely see the chocolate hills when you come to Bohol.

HInagdanan Cave

Honestly, Bohol has numerous caves but I thought I’d highlight this one because this is the first cave we visited in the province. This cave a has crystal-clear underground pool with hundreds of stalagmites and stalactites. If you like sitting inside a cave wondering how nature made this majestic palace, this is a place to visit.

White Sand Beaches of Bohol

Bohol is also home to white sand beaches that are worth visiting. Anda Beach, for example, is a secluded beach located in the eastern part of the island. It’s known for its fine white sand and crystal-clear waters. It’s a great spot for those who want to escape the crowds and enjoy some peace and quiet. Alona beach is also another option, although it’s more commercialized so it’s not as quiet as Anda beach. Alona beach is one of the more popular  beaches in the country and one of the most visited too.

One of the best things about the white sand beaches in Bohol is that they offer stunning sunrise and sunset views. Watching the sun rise or set over the ocean is a breathtaking experience that my family immensely enjoyed.

Diverse and Authentic Cultures

The culture in Bohol is a mix of Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino. But there are still many indigenous people in some places that are still celebrating their own culture of course.

Loboc River Cruise

If you are press for time but still want to get a glimpse of the local culture, you definitely need to experience the Loboc River Cruise also known as the floating restaurant. It was a fun experience for my family, I even had a good laugh at the end of the cruise.

In this cruise you’ll be dining with other travelers coming from different countries. You’ll be eating local dishes that are staple in Filipino cuisine. There’s steamed seafood, grilled meat, rice cakes and many other local dishes. It’s buffet style so you can try one of everything and then get more of whatever it is you liked.

Towards the end of the cruise, you’ll be taxiing at an area where indigenous people are doing a performance. They have these wooden spears and some bows and arrows. If you feel like it, you can easily learn their dance, I think it’s like the same 4 steps with a little twist. Once you’ve learned it you can dance along with them. Or you can do what we did, we had our picture taken with them, holding their spears. Warning, they will blow big fire while having your picture taken. This made my mother yelp a little.

Unique Local Wildlife

The island also boasts a diverse and unique range of local wildlife. If you are someone who enjoys seeing animals in their natural habitat, or just love to taking pictures of them, you will surely enjoy this place.

tarsier hanging on a branch on the left, fishes underwater on the right

Tarsier

The Philippine tarsier is native to the island of Bohol. Tarsiers are one of the smallest primates in the world. If you want to see them you just need to go to the tarsier sanctuary where they live protected in their natural habitat.

Wales and Dolphins

If you like sea creatures more, you can go wale or dolphin watching. Dolphin watching is usually held near the Balicasag island which would probably be your destination after the activity. This is good because if you want to see more sea animals, you can do snorkeling in Balicasag.

Historical Buildings

Bohol island is home to several historical buildings that are worth visiting. One of the most popular is the Baclayon Church, which is considered as one of the oldest stone churches in the Philippines. This church was built in 1595 and is a fine example of Spanish Colonial architecture. The church has a museum that displays religious artifacts and antiques too.

Another historical building worth visiting is the Bohol Provincial Capitol Building in Tagbilaran City. This building was constructed in 1937. The building has a clock tower and a dome that are visible from afar.

These places are widely visited especially by locals during the holy week which happens between March and April.

Eat New Cuisine

Because tourist in Asian and Western countries are the main visitors of the island, Bohol’s cuisine have been influenced by them too. So there are many restaurants making fusion dishes to appeal to a wide range of audience.

The Mist

If you like fusion dishes which enables you to get a taste of different flavors at once, you should try out The Mist restaurant in Panglao island. They have a wide range of menu. They have Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, American and many other flavors to choose from. We ordered the seafood platter which had some crab, shrimp, squid and some other things, I was surprised it had some ribs too.

If you plan to eat here, you have to come early. There’s always a long line here. And if you’re coming just in time for lunch or dinner, you will have to wait a long time since this is a popular restaurant in the area. There’s no reservation either.  The last time we visited, we got lucky and only waited for around 30minutes. But it’s not uncommon to have to wait for an hour to get in.

Bee Farm

If you want to experience how organic farming is done in Bohol, you can visit the Bohol Bee Farm. All produce here are organic, including the food they serve in their restaurant. All the ingredients come from their farm too. So if you’re in to organic produce, this is a must visit. This is also a popular place in the province of Bohol, in fact you’ll see their organic ice cream sold in different parts of the island.

Peace and Quiet

I understand that not all of us travel to get in the action and ride with the waves of tourists to meet new people and share stories.  Some travelers just want peace and quiet. Sometimes I also just want to sit somewhere, eat and drink a little and appreciate the place. Somewhere other people won’t ask me to take their pictures, because I get asked a lot!

I can tell you that Bohol definitely has those places. There are hotels, beaches, beach resorts, restaurants and many other places that are not crowded yet. Not because they’re not good, it’s just the way it is in the province. Unlike other tourist destinations where all hotels are busy with a lot of foot traffic accompanied with a lot of noise, and even more so during peak season. Bohol is not like that. Try going to Anda beach. A gorgeous beach where you can just hear the waves and the the sound of the wind. I hope Anda beach stays this way, otherwise, better visit it soon!

Tip: If you want a quieter place to stay, try to find a place just near the beach but not along it. Those are mostly a few minutes away and are hidden gems for travelers looking for a quiet place to stay.

There’s something for everyone

I think one challenge a traveling family faces is when they have a small child. It’s because most travel destinations don’t cater to them. It’s really difficult to find a destination that has even one activity that can be truly fun for kids. Most travel guides don’t even touch on the kids department. This is another reason why I love going to Bohol, I can truly see that my daughter enjoys the place very much, my daughter’s just turned 4 by the way.

Sure the country side tour is fun, the white beaches of Panglao are mesmerizing, there are many great restaurants in Bohol. But when you’re a parent, I’m pretty sure you would like to see your kids having fun too.

Alona Square Playground

Yes, there’s a public playground in Alona square. Although very little, it doesn’t matter because kids love playing in new environment no matter how small the area is. And they get to interact with other kids. It’s not hard to find, it’s right behind the stage where the night performances are held. It’s very simple too, just a couple of slides some swings. There also a carousel near it which kids can ride for just Php 50($1). We usually come here at night after dinner to let my daughter play, I think it’s the perfect way to end a great day.

KidSavers

Right across the public playground is KidSavers, this one is a paid playground. My daughter like this better because there’s more toys here. They have a ball pit, a pair of slides, a playhouse, and various toys. It’s Php 150($3) per hour for the kids only, and Php 250($5) with a guardian.

There are other amazing reasons to visit Bohol, whatever your fancy is, I hope I was able to cover even one of them in this article.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop them in the comments section. I’ll be writing more articles about Bohol in the future too.

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