If you are looking for a short weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city of Cebu which is the 2nd Largest Metropolitan area in the country next to Metro Manila, then I bet BOHOL is your number one choice. Bohol is one of my favorite places to visit in the Philippine archipelago. It is the 10th largest island in the Philippines that is home to the famous country’s National Geological Monument, the Chocolate Hills. Aside from that chocolate colored hills, Bohol is also the habitat of the world’s smallest living primates, the Tarsier. And, if you fancy white-sand beaches and underwater wonders, Bohol will not disappoint you.
How to get there:
Sailing to Bohol Island from Cebu city is just a few hour ferry ride from Pier 1, Cebu City depending on which port you are docking onto the island.
Tagbilaran, Bohol (Most Travelled Route)
Cebu to Tagbilaran is the most traversed route to this paradise. This is because of the faster and shorter ferry ride. OceanJet and SuperCat are the two main ferry companies that will bring you onto the island in 2 hours with several trips daily. Click on the links to see the ferry’s schedule and book your trip. Compared to SuperCat, OceanJet has newer vessels and offers more comfortable services thus their price is higher. OceanJet also has promos online so better check to avail. It is advisable to get your ticket online and ahead of time because they sold out pretty quick. Though you can also get your ticket on the day at the port of Cebu, chances are scarce. Take a cab or grab (uber style) and tell your driver to drop you off at Pier 1. Right at the gate entrance, you will find the ferries ticketing shops.
Tubigon, Bohol (via Lite Ferry)
Cebu to Tubigon travel time is lesser compared to the Tagbilaran route. For people traveling to Carmen and Sagbayan, this route is much advisable. After spending time in the town of Carmen and Sagbayan, you can then take the bus to Tagbilaran City to explore the southern end of Bohol. There are numerous ferries traversing Cebu to Tubigon daily such as FastCat, MV Starcraft Fastcraft, Weesam Express, and Alison Shipping lines. These ships cross the water of Cebu-Bohol in one and a half hours and fare ranges from 200 for economy class and 500 for business class seat.
Flights to Bohol
If you are not coming from Cebu, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have flights to Bohol. You can check their website to book your flight.
Things to See and Do in Bohol
To make the most of your time in Bohol, I advise you book your tours in advance. However, if you have not book any tour ahead, you do not need to worry as there are many tour companies`staff waiting for you on the island. They offer private and joined tour packages on the island that starts at 2000 pesos for a sedan car.
Below are some of the things you can enjoy in Bohol with your family and friends.
1. Loboc River Cruise with lunch buffet
This tour will let you experience traversing the famous Loboc river of Bohol aboard a floating restaurant. You can enjoy an hour of breathtaking view of a lush greenery of the flowing river while having your sumptuous lunch aboard. The captivating green surrounding against the clear blue sky is a perfect picture backdrop for you and your friends. Also, the music and the singers`s serenade add some romantic mood while you are traversing the flowing Loboc River.
Address: Población Sawang, Loboc Bohol
Admission: 550 Php (includes Lunch Buffet)
2. Python and Butterfly Sanctuary
For those people who are looking for an extraordinary experience in Bohol, then you should not miss this spot. Here, you will have a chance to hold and pet some of their friendly pythons and learn the short life of the colorful butterflies. This animal sanctuary also houses Philippine crocodile, monkeys, iguanas, and animals that can be seen on the island. However, it is sad to see these wildlife being kept in a tiny and dirty cages. I hope that the local community do something about it and give these animals proper treatment.
Address: Tagbilaran East Road, Laya, Baclayon, Bohol
3. Bilar Man-made Forest
On your tour heading to the Tarsier spot, you will surely drive through this two-kilometer dense man-made forest of Mahogany tree in Bilar. Most of the cars stop here for some photo shoots. When taking your best shot, please be mindful of the passing cars, after all this is a public road where most of the private and public transportation transits.
Address: Loay Interior Road, Bilar Bohol
4. Tarsier Sanctuary
No Bohol tour is complete without seeing the world’s smallest living primates, the Tarsier. This is one of the reasons why Bohol Island is famous for local and foreign tourists. Tarsier is a big eyed mammal and called “Mamag” by the local. Because of its extinction and for their protection, the local tourism organization does not allow anymore to touch these living primates. There are some rules to follow when you want to take photo with these little creature. Make sure you obey them so they will not commit suicide due to stress.
Address: Philippine Tarsier Foundation Inc, Corella Bohol
Admission: 75 Php
5. Chocolate Hills
This iconic chocolate-colored hills is situated in the heart of Bohol. Chocolate Hills is considered as the country’s National Geological Monument. This world famous landmark of Bohol is a geological formation of 1,776 conical-shaped hills with a 30-120 meter tall. This unique and mystical wonders of the Philippine has a lot of history and stories behind its formation. Some have scientific background and some are fairytale-like. Thus, it is better for you hear them first-hand and pick one to believe in.
Address: Chocolate Hills Observatory, Carmen, Bohol
Admission: 50 Php
6. Baclayon Church
The Immaculate Conception of The Virgin Mary Parish Church or the Baclayon Church is a Roman Catholic Church and one of the oldest churches in Bohol. Due to its historical attachments, Baclayon church is one of the official “National Cultural Treasures” of the Philippines. This coral stone church has been on the island for aged, weathered but never brought down completely. However, the 7.6 magnitude earthquake last 2013 majorly damaged some part of the church. Good thing that the National Museum of the Philippines funded the reconstruction of the church.
Address: Baclayon, Bohol
Admission: The church museum is 50 per head but entry to the church is free.
7. Sandugo Monument
Sandugo is the local term for “one blood”. In order to commemorate the first Spanish and Filipino friendship on March 16, 1565, Sandugo Monument was built. This is the bronze monument portraying the Blood Compact ritual between the Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez De Legazpi and the Bohol chieftain Datu Sikatuna. This tourist spot in Bohol is part of the comprehensive tour and can be done in five minutes or so.
Address: Barangay Bool, Tagbilaran, Bohol
Admission: No entrance fee.
8. Sevilla Bamboo Hanging Bridge
Another fun tourist attraction in Bohol is the Bamboo Hanging Bridge in the Municipality of Sevilla, Bohol. This 40 meter span bridge is made of intertwined ropes and woven bamboo slats that sways and bounces every step you gonna take. Some people feel uneasy at first but some enjoys the thrill and the view while they cross this hanging bridge above the deep green Sipatan River. Crossing the bridge is a bit scary somehow so better come prepared and conquer your fears. Above all, this experience is a must in Bohol.
Address: Sipatan River, Tagbilaran City, Bohol
9. Alona Beach, Panglao
One of the many spots in the Philippines where you can find the most pristine white sand beaches, clear blue ocean and stunning marine life. This place is the little Boracay in the province of Bohol. Local and foreign tourists mostly flock in this part of the island to enjoy and have their dream getaway. Aside from beach bumming in their powdery white sand, tourists can also enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, kitesurfing, jet skiing and one can rent a small boat and explore the neighboring islands. And one last thing, Alone Beach offers a magnificent sunset to cap your day romantically.
Address: Alone Beach, Panglao, Bohol
Admission: No entrance fee.
10. Balicasag Island
More or less an hour away from Panglao by a motorized wooden boat lies Balicasag Island. There you can find sea turtles, beautiful and colorful fishes and vast amazing corals underneath Balicasag water. Its crystal clear water allows you to see beautiful corals and fishes even when aboard a boat. This small island is very famous for snorkeling so it is part of almost all island hopping tour from Alona Beach in Panglao. If you were lucky enough, you can spot a couple of huge sea turtles swimming around. Thats why, I strongly suggest that you include this tour when you visit Bohol. You will never regret it.
Address: Balicasag Island, Bohol
Admission: Price depends on Island-Hopping Packages