Bohol is the 10th largest island in the Philippines and one of the most popular for tourists, with slew of amazing attractions.
It’s a popular day-trip for travelers as it’s just a two-hour ferry ride away from Cebu, but if you’ve got the time, it’s definitely worth spending a few days on Bohol for the white-sandy beaches and the peace and quiet.
Here’s what you should see and do:
Your typical day tour will include a visit to a Tarsier sanctuary, the Chocolate Hills, a butterfly sanctuary, and a river-boat which will also serve lunch. If you arrange this tour through your hotel, you’ll pay the driver a fee – we paid 2500 pesos for an all-day tour with a private driver that was arranged through Bohol Beach Club – and you’ll pay admission to these attractions as well.
Tarsiers are reason enough to come to Bohol. They are the world’s smallest primate and the inspiration for ET, with cute little bug eyes and tiny fingers.
However, they are endangered and are incredibly sensitive animals. DO NOT HOLD THEM.
Men on the beach will sometimes have tarsiers with them—these animals are captured from their natural environment, the forest, and held captive on the beach as a way to make money.
The stress from this causes them to bang their head against the bars of their cage and commit suicide.
Do not support this practice and leave these animals to their natural environment. They’re nocturnal animals, so they should be sleeping during the day. You can view them at a sanctuary, but do not ever try to hold.
The sanctuary we went to was called the Philippine Tarsier Foundation. Entrance was 60 pesos per person and the visit took roughly 20 minutes all together.
It was really the chocolate hills that brought me to Bohol—I just thought they were so different from anything else I’d ever seen before. The chocolate hills are coral deposits that get their name from the surrounding foliage that changes colors so that the hills look like chocolate. They’re unique, and gorgeous, and to get there you’ll pay a 50 pesos per-person entrance fee and then climb 200 steps. Worth it!
It doesn’t take long to view the hills, but if you’re hiking in the middle of the day like we were, make sure to wear sunscreen as there’s little to no shade.
Any day tour is likely to stop by the Bohol Habitat Conservation Center, which is essentially a garden turned into a butterfly museum. You’ll be led through with a guide who will explain the different types of butterflies present in the garden and in the Philippines, which includes several species you’ll only find here.
Then you’ll be led through an enclosure where butterflies abound, and you’ll take cute pictures like this one. It’s a quick, fun stop. 45 pesos.
River Boat on the Loboc River and Lunch Experience
We had heard great things about the lunchtime river cruise down the Loboc River, a very popular excursion amongst Filipino tourists.
But, we didn’t really enjoy the experience at all. It felt like we were being herded like cattle onto a barge with a buffet and a singer doing covers of 80s pop songs and there was no way out.
We also had to stop along the way to watch kids singing and dancing and performing on the bank of the river, which was strange and just so touristy.
The cost was 450 pesos, which included the food. It took about an hour from start to finish. It was a weird experience with my friend by my side, so I can only imagine that it would be extra weird if I were doing it solo.
It’s not included in your standard tour, but ziplining across the Loboc River at the Loboc Eco Adventure Park was one of the highlights of our time in Bohol.
It’s a quick two-way zipline, across the river and back, but it’s fun to fly high in the sky and the cost is only 400 pesos.
Have you ever been to Bohol? What else would you put on this list?