The island of Bohol in the Philippines is best known for its unique natural attractions. Aside from its Chocolate Hills and the tarsier, however, Bohol also boasts of pristine white sand beaches, diving sites, waterfalls, old churches, and caves.
Chocolate Hills and Panglao Island in Bohol
One of the famous tourist attractions in mainland Bohol is the Chocolate Hills. It is actually a group of grass-covered limestone hills that turn chocolate brown during summer, hence its name. The conical-shaped hills are dispersed in high concentration in the towns of Batuan, Carmen, and Sagbayan, and the viewing decks in Carmen and the Sagbayan Peak offer an unobstructed view of these natural wonders.
Southwest of the island of Bohol lies Panglao Island, a haven for divers and beach bums alike. Getting accommodation in the island is not a problem since its coastline is lined with resorts, restaurants, and diving establishments. However, tourists are advised to get reservations when visiting during the peak season.
Caves and Waterfalls in Bohol
Caves are also abundant in Bohol. The Hinagdanan Cave in Panglao which is adorned with glistening stalactites and stalagmites is among the thousands of caves in the province. Deeper into the cave is a natural chamber and a pool.
Another famous cave can be found in the town of Danao. The cave was named after Francisco Dagohoy, a Boholano patriot during the Spanish colonization period who used the cave as a hideaway. The cave has an underwater passageway that leads to dry land where Dagohoy used to hide from the Spaniards.
Tourists who want to experience a different kind of adventure in Bohol can also visit the numerous waterfalls scattered throughout the province. Locals are more than willing to assist tourists in getting to the falls. Some of the most popular ones are Dimiao Twin Falls, Busay Falls, and the Mag-Aso Falls.
The Philippine Tarsier
Seeing one of the world’s smallest primate, the Philippine tarsier, is on the top list of must-dos when visiting Bohol. The tarsier is almost the same size as a human fist, averaging from 3.35 to 6.3 inches in height.
Besides Dunn’s River Waterfalls and Dolphin Cove, Ocho Rios has other fabulous must see attractions, here are but a few.
The tarsier’s big eyes that allow them to see at night are fixed in the skull and cannot turn in their sockets. To make up for this, the tarsier’s head can be rotated 180 degrees. Sadly, these tiny nocturnal primates are considered endangered in the Philippines.
Loboc River and Ancient Churches in Bohol
Another popular thing to do in Bohol is to have lunch in the floating restaurants that cruise the Loboc River. Tourists are served with local delicacies while being entertained by cultural dancers and local musicians.
Century-old churches can also be found in the province, one of which is the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon, the oldest in Bohol. The biggest is the Church of Our Lady of Light in Loon. It was designed by a government engineer and is made of finely-cut coral.
The Punta Cruz watch tower in Maribojoc is another site worth visiting. Built in 1796, the triangular watch tower facing the seas south of Bohol served as a lookout post against pirates at that time.
Best Time to Visit Bohol
The best time to visit Bohol Island is from March to June when the Chocolate Hills are all brown from the summer heat. Bohol is easily accessible by air and sea from the cities of Manila and Cebu.
It is especially recommended to visit in March, when the Sandugo Festival is celebrated. The annual event commemorates the blood compact between Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi and the two chiefs of Bohol through colorful street parades, beauty pageants, sports events, and even cockfighting tournaments.
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