Have you been planning on visiting the Philippines for a while now and have finally come around to researching your trip? Then you will know the internet is saturated with information on this topic.
That’s why my husband Phil and I have created this up to date Blog Post Extravaganza to help make planning your trip to the Philippines super easy. This comprehensive guide will breakdown the Must See’s in Bohol but also link to our other Must See’s in the Philippines. These include Moalboal, Coron, Siquijor, Nacpan and Port Barton (notice El Nido is not on that list – clickhere to find out why). The posts are packed to the brim with everything we learnt on our month long trip and include some super helpful time and money saving tips.
Our main reason for visiting Bohol was to see the Tarsiers. I adore David Attenborough documentaries and one day i saw an episode that showcased these tiny marsupials. They huge eyes and 360 degree rotating heads which is so cute. I was hooked and had to take the chance to see them in the wild. Bohol is also known for the Chocolate Hills and it is quite a spectacular sight. You will also find far more to offer in Bohol including white sandy beaches with turquoise ocean, lush jungles with rivers flowing through them.
A short ferry ride from Cebu City, Siqujior or Dumeguete and you will arrive at Tagbilaran City on Bohol. Most people will jump aboard a Tricycle or Bus at the port and head straight out to neighbouring Panglao Island to begin their adventure.
Alona Beach is the popular tourist town here with its hotels and beach clubs, but we opted to stay a short distance away near White Beach for a quieter experience. Bohol is a great place to explore by scooter, many people take their scooters from Panglao Island to the famous sites of Bohol. These include the Chocolate Hills and to see our new favourite creatures, the Tarsiers.
The ride on your scooter is a journey in itself and very easy to enjoy aboard 2 wheels. Expect day trips to take several hours, but the views along the way make the journey even more enjoyable.
What to do in Bohol
The main sights are easily located along the way to the The Chocolate Hills, many tourists reasons for coming to Bohol.
If you want super clear turquoise water and a white sandy beach that isn’t too crowded then aim to stay near White Beach on Panglao Island. It’s far enough away from the busy Alona beach, but close enough if you want to hop on your moped and grab some dinner. There is a vast array of restaurants near Alona.
Our first stop on our Bohol Island day trip was the PhilippineTarsier Sanctuary located in Corella. Tarsiers are these tiny nocturnal primates, like sit in the palm of your hand tiny. With cute bug eyes and the ability to turn their heads over 180 degrees. They are an endangered species and a MUST SEE when in Bohol, if only because they are so darn cute!
After a lot of research, as we do when visiting any animals abroad, we learnt that the only official not for profit Sanctuary is the one located in Corella. (Tarsier Sanctuary Rd, Corella, Bohol, Philippines). There are several “Sanctuaries” located in Bohol who run profitable businesses aimed at tourists who are unaware of their unethical practices. Ones where they do not have the Tarsiers welfare at the heart of the business. Be it nets keeping them from roaming freely, making noise and using camera flashes or keeping these nocturnal animals awake. Tarsiers are temperamental creatures and can get easily stressed and when they do so they resort to suicide. They require several hectares of space PER Tarsier, quiet surroundings, like to live alone and reproduce poorly in captivity.
At the sanctuary in Corella the Tarsiers are free to roam in the protected area which consists of dense forest. The guides are extremely knowledgeable and only talk in whispers and no camera flashes are allowed. We recommend visiting first thing in the morning – we actually arrived 30 minutes before opening and they allowed us inside. This is perfect timing as the Tarsiers are still awake before the go to sleep for the day. The entrance fee is only 60 Pesos ( that’s under £1).
Carrying on from Corella you will pass Loboc, known for the floating restaurants that blast music as you float down the river. Our host in Siquijor advised us against these floating tourist traps due to the effect they are having on the riverbed. The large boats are causing damage to the river banks and are becoming an environmental problem for the area. It is a good place to stop for some quick photos and a bite to eat being half way to the Chocolate Hills from Panglao Island.
You then travel on to the Bilar Man Made Forest. An amazing stretch of road to travel on your scooter. The shade provided by the 2km long stretch of Mahogany Trees is a welcome addition. Be careful of careless tourists standing in the middle of the road trying to get photos, there are plenty of bends here and it can be a dangerous place.
Your next stop will be Bohol’s famous Chocolate Hills – named because of the colour they turn during the hot season and their contrast to the thick jungle around them. This is a hotspot for bus tours and very busy but there is plenty of room to snap some photos of the geological phenomenons. Although we only spent about 10 minutes admiring the hills at the top after such a long journey, we do think it was worth seeing as they are so unique.
On our return journey, our guest-house host recommended Pangas Falls, a short hop off the main road back from the Chocolate Hills. This was the perfect way to cool off…..well, I forgot my bikini but Phil took advantage of the cool waters and jumped from the top of the falls into the water below. There is a small entrance fee payable to the locals where they also rent buoyancy aids.
As you are leaving Pangas falls you will drive past a beautiful wooden bridge that overlooks rice paddies. It is worth stopping if only to take in the nature and capture a couple of photographs.
The route that we took has a driving time of 4 hours and is over 160km. It is a long day and some like to split the trip up by stopping in Loboc overnight. We wanted to stay by the beach so opted for the longer day.
Where to stay in Bohol
Bohol Garden Homes– based on Panglao Island this budget accommodation was simply fantastic. Set in expansive lush tropical gardens near White Beach, Angel the host showed us true hospitality. We took the Bamboo Hut option which was set at the back of the gardens. They have new scooters on site which you can rent for the duration of your stay and offer great sightseeing advice.
Where to eat in Bohol
Shaka Bohol – a Vegetarian restaurant serving hip and tasty food in the busy Alona Beach area. It’s more on the expensive side for the Philippines, but it’s a nice place to eat and offers tasty grub.
Villagios Pizza – If you stop in Loboc for a break on your way to the Chocolate Hills then visit this cute street side pizzeria for some tasty and affordable Pizza.
How to get to Bohol
We caught the ferry from Larena in Siquijor to Tagbilaran in Bohol. You can easily catch a tricycle to the ferry terminal in Larena and pick up your pre bought online tickets from the ticket booth there. We chose Ocean Jet and the ticket cost 728php per person.
How long to spend in Bohol
We spent 3 nights in Bohol and thought this was the ideal amount of time to spend there.
Looking to visit more places in the Philippines? Check out our other favourite destination blog posts here: