Saturday, February 17, 2018

Bohol



tarsier monkey bohol philippines
Tarsier monkey


              Bohol, an island located in south central Philippines, may not be as famous as some of the other islands in the Philippines, but it is well worth a visit.  Most famous for its Chocolate Hills and Tarsiers, Bohol also offers an array of other highlights for those wanting either an adventurous or beach vacation.  This tropical paradise has it all from white sandy beaches to tropical forest covered mountains. 


bohol philippines location


What to Do:

 

1. Chocolate Hills

             
              The Chocolate Hills is easily the most famous tourist site in Bohol.  Located 59 km east of Tagbilaran, in Carmen, it can easily be done as a day trip.  These grass covered hills, sticking out over the trees and rice fields, are a prominent feature of this landscape.  Green most of the year, they turn a chocolate brown during the dry season which is what gives them their name.
Once at the entrance for the Chocolate Hills you will be greeted by people wanting to take you up the hill to the observation area by van or moto (you can even rent an ATV or moto if you wish), but the walk is short and pretty easy.  Once at the top you will then have to climb the 200 steps to the top of the observation deck.  From here you will have a great view over the surrounding hills. 



2. Tarsiers

             
              Tarsier monkeys are the smallest monkey in the world standing at 4 – 6 inches tall.  These furry little guys are nocturnal so you will mostly catch them sleeping or looking at you grudgingly for breaking their slumber, but it is well worth the trip to see them anyways.  There are two places in Bohol that offer you a great opportunity of seeing them; the Tarsier Sanctuary and Tarsier Conservation Area. 
              The Tarsier Sanctuary is located in Corella, just northwest of Tagbilaran, and is the less visited of the two.  This sanctuary has created a natural habitat and tours are led by a guide who will point out the monkeys as you pass them.  On the other hand, the Tarsier Conservation Area, located in Loboc, is a small three-hectare area with a concrete path that leads tourist through the forested area to see tarsiers that are sitting close to the path under leafed roofs.

tarsier monkey bohol philippines
Tarsier monkey


3. Loboc


              Loboc might be one of my favorite cities in Bohol.  Located 40 km east of Tagbilaran, you can easily make a day trip out of going here or spend a few days and enjoy all of the things Loboc has to offer.  The most common tourist destination here is the floating restaurants.  These restaurants sit atop rafts that are pushed slowly down the river while you enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet of Filipino food and live music.  Along the way you will stop at a stage to watch some Filipino cultural dancing.  At the end of the trip you will return to where you started.  This excursion costs PHP 550/USD 11.  While in Loboc you can also visit the Tarsier Conservation Area to see those tiny monkeys or the Eco-Tourism Adventure Park.  Loboc is also a great jump off point for many other adventures in Bohol like hiking through caves or up to see the sea of clouds.



4. Panglao


              Panglao is an island just a quick jump southwest of Tagbilaran and is known as having the best beaches in Bohol.  There are many resorts in this area which bring in a lot of tourists, so the beaches and streets can seem very touristy.  You can also use this area as a jump off point for scuba diving/snorkeling and dolphin/whale watching excursions.

alona beach bohol philippines
Alona Beach in Pauglao, Philipiines


5. Anda


              Anda is located on the southeastern corner of Bohol, also with great beaches, and is a great place if you want to have that beach vacation but get away from all of the tourist.  Outside of Anda is also the Cabagnow Cave pool.  A pool of clear water in a sinkhole that you can jump down into and swim around. 

cabagnow cave pool anda bohol philippines
Cabagnow Cave Pool


How to Get There: 

By Air

 

International

You can book a flight to Cebu and then get a connecting flight to Tagbilaran, the capital of Bohol.

From Manila

There are daily flights from Manila to Tagbilaran on AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airways.  I have found that AirAsia has been the cheapest flights within most of Southeast Asia, but you are only allowed a personal item as part of your ticket price so you will have to pay a little more for a carry-on or checked bag (this extra price usually comes with a meal as well).

air asia plane philippines

By Ferry

 

From Manila

There are two companies, WG&A Superferry and Sulpicio Lines, that travel from Manila to Tagbilaran a few times a week and take about 30 hours to get there.  The price varies from PHP 1,808/USD 36.16 to PHP 7,876/USD 157.52 depending on the package that you want.

From Cebu

From Cebu you have the option of both regular and fast ferries.  A regular ferry leaves multiple times daily and will take about four hours.  A fast ferry, taking only two hours, leaves three times a day and costs PHP 470/USD 9.40.

From Dumaguete

From Dumaguete you can take the Ocean Jet liner which leaves twice a day at 9:50 am and 2:30 pm. This ferry will take two hours and cost PHP 715/USD 14.30 for tourist class.

ferry dumaguete tagbilaran philippines
Ferry to Tagbilaran


Where to Stay:

              Bohol has a large number of hostels, hotels and resorts (even hot family options) throughout Bohol, so it isn’t hard to find accommodation.  A large majority of the hotels are based in and around Tagbilaran, but you can easily find hotels in other parts of the island or make day trips out of Tagbilaran.
              
chocolate hills bohol philippines
Chocolate Hills

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