As you might follow my Philippines itinerary, you probably know that I’ve been to Cebu and had such a great time with lots of adventures (if you haven’t checked it out yet, check it out now). But after three days in Cebu and many tours later, my boyfriend and I moved on to the neighbor island called Bohol.
Second stop: Bohol
Bohol is located in the east of Cebu in the center of the Visayas region. The capital is Tagbilaran which is also the main hub for getting from island to island by boat or airplane. Bohol is especially famous for its picturesque landscape and holiday resorts with high leisure facilities and attractions.
So in the last couple of years more and more tourists have come to Bohol for vacation that by now is a popular island for holidays. You can see it by the many hotels and beach resorts. I would also say it’s more modern and touristic than Cebu, but that’s just my personal impression.
How to get from Cebu to Bohol?
Like most of the travelers and due to the close distance, my boyfriend and I also came from Cebu to Bohol. From Cebu City you can either take the airplane or the ferry (operator: Ocean Jet) to Tagbilaran, Bohol. But we stayed in the South of Cebu and didn’t want to drive all the way back north to Cebu City.
When we did the whale shark watching at Anton’s Beach Resort we used the chance to ask if they also had boats going to Bohol since this was our next destination after Cebu. Luckily, they do trips from Bohol to Cebu (early in the morning) and the other way around, because of the whale shark watching tours.
So we asked for a time (I believe it was around 11am) and we met at the resort again on the day we left Cebu. A driver took us to a place that was called “harbor”, but it was actually a gathering of some boats. You needed to get in the water with your feet and then have a short ride with a kayak to the boat. Doesn’t sound like a harbor, right? But I can assure it’s all secure and legal!
After departing from Oslob, we arrived on Bohol’s peninsula Panglao at Alona Beach after a 2-hour-ride. From there we took a tricycle to our resort which was not on the peninsula, but in Baclayon.
Where to stay in Bohol
We only stayed two nights in Bohol and only had one full day for activities. Therefore we decided to take a hotel that is not situated at the beach like the one in Cebu. Instead we had a beautiful resort uphill with a breathtaking view over the ocean. The hotel is called Marqis Sunrise Sunset Resort and comes with cute natural bamboo cottages, a beautiful garden with wonderful flowers and an infinity pool with a view!
Due to the bad condition of the road and the location on a hill, I can recommend driving with a car to the hill. We didn’t know about the conditions and used a tricycle to get up there. It is possible, but it’s not just a torture for the driver, but also for you.
Once there, it was like a little paradise. Around the resort you find nothing but a hill, so it’s quite a long way to the city center, but we loved it! The owner was very pleasant, funny and caring. She organized a driver for our day tour and helped us out whenever we had a question. The food was also very delicious and I got a little obsessed with the mango shakes!
Although it’s a little far away, it’s absolutely worth it to spend some nights at this beautiful resort. I would even say it was the most beautiful hotel on our whole Philippines itinerary!
What to see & do in Bohol
While we rested the first day and spent the afternoon at the pool, we booked a driver for the next day for some sightseeing. We had a van for ourselves which was quite expensive and cost us 2.500 PHP (39€/48$). Anyway we had a great time and explored so many cool and wonderful things! Here I summed up the best spots and activities you should visit when you are in Bohol.
If Bohol is famous for something, then it’s the Chocolate Hills. The over 1.700 hills are a geological formation spread over an area of more than 50 km² (20 mi²). They got their name, because during dry season the green grass turns brown and reminds of chocolate. But the Chocolate Hills are not just the most famous tourist attraction of Bohol, but also part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
I recommend starting your tour there first like we did it so you avoid the mass of people. We arrived at the hills around 9am and it was not as crowded as we left at 10am.
On our way to the next stop, the Tarsier Farm, we drove by wonderful rice fields and didn’t want to miss the chance to take some photos. We asked the driver to pull over for a couple of minutes and took lots of pictures. I even talked to one of the rice field workers who was so friendly and modest. And I absolutely fell in love with the green scenery – isn’t it beautiful?!
Tarsier Conservation Area
Tarsiers are the smallest primates in the world and remind of little monkeys. They measure only 85 to 160 mm (3.35 to 6.30 inches) in height and are mostly found in Bohol. And their cute big eyes are fixed in their skull. Therefore they can turn their head about 180 degrees to compensate the limitation of the eyes. When we visited the Tarsier Conversation Area in the morning, most of them were asleep, because they are nocturnal and also very shy and stress-susceptible.
Unfortunately, those Tasiers who live in cages have a lower lifetime than those that live in the nature. Some of them kill themselves by refusing food or smash their head against a wall. So if you want to visit the cute animals, you should be calm and never use a flash light or touch them.
Sipatan Twin Hanging Bridge
A really cool and fun experience was the Twin Hanging Bridge that crosses the Sipatan river in Sevilla, Bohol. The two bridges were once just made out of bamboo and rope. Due to the popularity today, the rope was replaced by steel cables. Still I can say it was quite shaky, but it’s safe. People even jumped on them. So if you’re not afraid of heights, it can be a fun adventure!
Loboc River Cruise
After some hours of touring around, we got really hungry. But Bohol offers a perfect solution: a Loboc River Cruise that includes a floating restaurant. So we couldn’t resist and since it was lunch time, we decided to do this. Although we were a little skeptical regarding the food, everything was fine and we had fun. They played live-music and I had the chance to take lots of photos of the riverside.
If you love butterflies you should visit the Butterfly Garden. It’s run by the Simply Butterflies Conservation Center and offers a wonderful range of butterfly species. We watched the cocoons developing and I had the chance to hold a big caterpillar. In the butterfly garden you can even find some butterflies that are touchable without destroying their powdered wings. I was so amazed and fascinated that I literally grew some butterfly wings, too, haha!
The Alona Beach is probably the most famous beach in Bohol. You find there a lot of hotels, restaurants and boats coming and leaving. So if you’re looking for a quiet place to rest, this beach is not recommendable. But if you want to spend your days in one of the cute little restaurants while watching the busy tourist hustle and bustle, it can be quite nice. Especially in the evening it’s very romantic, because you can eat right at the beach.
This island was on my list before we traveled to Bohol. But due to the lack of time, unfortunately we didn’t make it. Still I want to list it here, because I only heard good things about it and the photos I’ve seen were amazing! The Virgin Island is a small and uninhabited island with a sandbank which makes this piece of heaven to a little paradise. So unlike us, you should definitely have a boat trip there!
You would love to read more about the Philippines? Then check out my Cebu guide and wait until next week, because I will publish my Palawan itinerary!
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