Travel to Bohol, tropical haven of natural beauty

  • Part of the Visayas archipelago, which includes 61 islands, Bohol is primarily known for its fauna and flora. Crossed by the Loboc river, the island is strewn with mangroves where a large network of small caves is to be found. The 'Chocolate Hills' remain the island's main attraction though. The vegetation on these 1,268 lush green hills is baked by the sunlight, making the mountains look chocolate-covered. ...
    Deddeda / age fotostock
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Philippines

Part of the Visayas archipelago, which includes 61 islands, Bohol is primarily known for its fauna and flora. Crossed by the Loboc river, the island is strewn with mangroves where a large network of small caves is to be found. The 'Chocolate Hills' remain the island's main attraction though. The vegetation on these 1,268 lush green hills is baked by the sunlight, making the mountains look chocolate-covered. The only city on the island is Tagbilaran, located on the south west coast. Two bridges connect it to Panglao Island, whose most popular beach is Alona Beach, which is about a mile long and covered with fine sand. In terms of fauna, this is where the small tarsier lives. A protected species, it is the smallest primate in the world, measuring barely 4 inches, and is a nocturnal animal with big eyes.

Bohol: what to do?

The One Blood Festival or Sandugo Festival, which takes place in March every year to commemorate the blood pact signed between the Spanish and the indigenous people in 1565.
A cruise on the Loboc river on board a floating restaurant or a 'banca', a motorised pirogue. The cruise allows you to go up the river right up to the Busay falls. If you go after dark, you will also see thousands of fireflies as you float along.
Try theatsuiti , a small and more or less round fruit used by women as a form of make-up. It is just like a lipstick!
Dining at the Bee Farm, a surprising organic farm set in natural surroundings and serving high quality cuisine, such as pumpkin muffins and salads made up of edible flowers. It is also possible to sleep there, as the establishment has 21 guest rooms.
Go scuba diving or even just snorkelling off the coast of Balicasag Island, one of the region's best-known diving spots.

You will find several churches here, like the Immaculate Conception, dating back to 1727, and Santa Monica, which was built at the end of the 19th century and has a magnificent bell tower. The Chocolate Hills In Carmen, you can climb 214 steps to get a bird's-eye view of the hills in Carmen. The Tarsier Sanctuary, a foundation set up in 1996 to protect the tarsiers.

  • The welcome from the locals.
  • The landscapes, especially the Chocolate Hills.
  • Not all roads are paved.

Reminders

Out of respect, you should cover your shoulders before entering a church, as Filipinos are extremely devout and might be offended if you don't. Even the police sometimes check that visitors to such places are suitably dressed.

To avoid

Avoid holidaying here during the rainy season, from June to December. The dry season lasts from March to May. Nevertheless, the two seasons are not very marked in Bohol.

Bohol: what to eat?

Here, the local dessert is called calamay. This treat is made from rice, brown sugar and coconut milk. You will also be able to try the national dish of the Philippines called adobo. It is a spicy mix of meat (chicken or pork) cooked in garlic, oil and vinegar, with a touch of soy sauce. Do not be surprised if you see rice served with every dish; Filipinos can eat up to five helpings of rice a day! Pork is also very popular and often served on a skewer. Not a morsel is wasted. Furthermore, as you're not far away from the sea here, the local cuisine includes many fish-based dishes: bangus, milkfish, lapu-lapu, tilapia, etc.

Bohol: what to buy?

As in most areas of the Philippines, you'll find many souvenirs to take home with you from the island of Bohol. Cuddly toys in the shape of tarsiers will catch the eye of the younger visitors. You will find lots of items and jewellery made from mother-of-pearl, wickerwork, coconut vinegar, etc.

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