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Bohol Tourist Spots Destination
Bohol island is a wonderful place to visit because of the various tourist destinations it can offer. Three of the spots worth seeing in Bohol are the Chocolate Hills, Philippine tarsier, and the Loboc River Cruise.
One of the most popular Philippines tourist destinations in Bohol is the Chocolate Hills. It is made up of no less than 1,268 hills, uniform in shape and approximately 30 – 50 meters high. They are called as such because the green grass turn chocolate brown at the end of summer. However, there are times when the hills show a mixture of green and brown.
The Chocolate Hills is among the tourist spots listed in the Philippine Tourism Authority and has been declared as the third largest National Geological Monument and was recommended for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Philippine Tarsier
The Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta or Carlito syrichta) goes by the local name Maumag in Cebuano or Visayan and Mamag in Luzon. It is a protected species and although the practice of catching and selling them has already stopped, they remain threatened because their natural habitat is being destroyed. It is called as such because of its elongated “tarsus” or ankle bone just like the other members of the 45 million year old family Tarsiidae.
In 1986, 1988, and 1990, the tarsier was declared Endangered by the IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre. On September 13, 1991, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued Administrative Order 48 declaring it as an endangered species and is likely to become extinct if the causal factors remain operational. In 1996, Baillie and Groombridge assessed it as a Lower Risk/Conservation Dependent.
Loboc River Cruise
One of the activities that a Bohol tourist should indulge in when visiting the island is a Loboc River Cruise. Situated in the Municipality of Loboc, 24 kilometers from the provincial capital of Tagbilaran City, the Loboc River boasts of its wide array of cruisers on board small bancas or floating restaurants. Tourists will be treated to a view of tropical vegetation such as nipa palms, coconut trees, banana groves, and bushes.
The Loboc River Cruise commences from the neighboring Loay Bridge or Poblacion. The bridge is 20 kilometers from Tagbilaran City while the Poblacion is 25 kilometers away. If you want to eat while on the cruise, there are floating restaurants serving buffet meals of Filipino cuisines worth P400 or more per head. Small motorized bancas can be rented for a minimal fee.
To get to the Loboc River, the cheapest modes of transportation are the buses, jeepneys, and multicabs plying the interior route to and from Tagbilaran City. There are vans and taxis but they will usually cost 50% more especially if you come are coming from outside Tagbilaran. It is easy to locate Loboc since it lies along the river banks. Look for the old and massive stone church right beside the road, the river is at the opposite side.
These are just some of the attractions the island paradise of Bohol has to offer its tourists. It would be worthwhile including the province in your vacation itinerary.
On March 16, 1565, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol performed the Blood Compact (Spanish: Pacto de Sangre Filipino: Sandugo). Initially, Legazpi’s expedition was met with hostility because the natives thought they were Portuguese. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the natives had a sad experience with Portuguese raiders who lambasted their island.
Today, the Blood Compact Site stands as a memorial to that historic sign of friendship between the Spaniards and the natives. Built by National Artist Napoleon Abueva, a Boholano resident, the site features five life-sized images of men making a toast located on an open and elevated dais. It provides tourists a glimpse of the Bohol Sea, believed to be the spot where Legazpi’s expedition anchored, as well as a view of the whole landscape.
Located in the town of Bool, this tourist destination is very much accessible as it is located along the C.P. Garcia circumferential road where many modes of transportations are available. Guests from nearby hotels or tourists can ask to be dropped at the site although most hotels have included it in their itinerary.
Originally held in March, the local government of Bohol decided to move it to July to allow Boholanos working abroad to come back and celebrate the event. The local government of Bohol island implemented a program called “Tigum Bol-anon Tibouk Kalibutan” (TBTK) whose literal trasnslation means “gather Boholanos from all over the world”. The program provides huge discounts on airline fares, hotel accommodations,to name just a few. The celebration is culminated by a re-enactment of the Blood Compact.
Another site that should be visited by a Bohol Philippines tourist is the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon. It is the second oldest stone church building in the country after the San Agustin Church. Constructed in 1595 by the Jesuits and completed in 1727, a large bell was added in 1835. It is believed that the church had dungeons where violators of the Catholic Law were punished.
Baclayon Church was the original headquarters of the Jesuit missionaries, but they were afraid of the Moro marauders that they had to transfer to an inward headquarter in Loboc. In 1717, Baclayon became a parish and construction of a new church began. Around 200 natives worked on the construction of the church using coral stones they gathered from the sea and the white of one million eggs as cement.
Beside the church is an old convent housing a small museum. Inside are religious relics and artifacts that are as old as the 16th century. Among these include the statue of the Blessed Virgin, believed to have been gifted by Queen Catherine of Aragon, the relic of St. Ignatius of Loyola, gold embroidered church vestments, a collection of books and hymnals, and the 1859 paintings of the Filipino painter Liberato Gatchalian.
The Baclayon Church is located 6 kilometers from Tagbilaran City. To get there, ride a boat going to the Tubigon Port via the RORO (roll off roll out). The most recommended mode of transportation is an air-conditioned tour van because of the rough and dusty road along the way. The trip would cost P2,500.
Man made mahogany forest at Bilar
In the 1960s, the administration of then President Diosdado Macapagl launched a nationwide reforestation program. In Bohol, then Governor Lino Chatto spearheaded the planting of Mahogany seedlings on a 857.4 hectare parcel of land in the towns of Bilar and Loboc.
Located along the path going to Carmen where the Chocolate Hills is located, you cannot help but stop by at the Man-made Mahogany Forest At Bilar. According to accounts by the residents, these trees were planted by the Boholanos themselves as a way of preventing flash floods in the area. Initiated some 50 years ago, the mahogany trees have grown and became one of the most popular attractions tourism in Bohol can offer.
The Man-made Mahogany Forest at Bilar is approximately 20 kilometers from the capital. It provides a perfect spot for taking pictures as it can be viewed along the road. The forest has been used as a backdrop in some action films made by Metro Manila filmmakers. The asphalt road between the towns of Bilar and Loboc is a favorite among mountain bikers. Hiking towards the mountain is another popular activity indulged in by the more adventurous visitors.
Aside from the mahogany trees, there are also different varieties of ferns that add to the picturesque landscape. The forest is unique because of its uniformed-height trees, branch extension, thickness and design of leaves. There are other varieties of seedlings that surround the bigger trees.
Hanging Bridge at Sevilla
Located in the municipality of Sevilla in Bohol lies another popular tourist attraction, the Sipatan Hanging Bridge can provide excitement to your visit. Originally made from just bamboo and rope, the bridge today is reinforced by steel cables for safety and stability. The deck of the bridge retained the woven bamboo slats. Although they appear broken in some areas, they are strong enough to sustain the weight of visitors.
The 40 meter stretch of the Hanging Bridge at Sevilla provides a spectacular glimpse of the emerald waters of the Sipatan River. At present, the entry to the bridge is being renovated. Since February 2009, you will need to pay Php 10 for using the bridge. On the average, collections for crossing the bridge is estimated at P3,000, the proceeds of which will go to the development of the site. The local government of Sevilla is planning to construct an “exit” hanging bridge.
For safety reasons, only a certain number of people (about a hundred people) are allowed to simultaneously cross the Hanging Bridge at Sevilla. For first timers, crossing it resembles a Fear Factor experience because the bridge is constantly swaying. If you are adventurous enough, you can even run while crossing. It is advisable to have your pictures taken prior to crossing or after reaching the other end.
At the other side of the Hanging Bridge at Sevilla, there are various shops that sell souvenirs as welcome as cold drinks and snacks. Likewise, you will reach the area of the famous “Buko King” who can peel a coconut in just 10 seconds using his teeth.
Butterfly Garden at Bilar
The Simply Butterflies Conservation Center is the pioneering butterfly livelihood breeding and conservation program in Bohol island. It is designed to provide protection and reinforcement to the natural habitat of butterflies using plant research, breeding, and releasing.
Likewise, it aims to boost the number of butterflies in the province by injecting income-generating methods into the local economy utilizing butterflies and its by-products. The residents have already been taught how the basics of butterfly breeding and currently, a community of paid breeders are already in place.
The Butterfly Garden at Bilar houses more than 60 species that visit the garden naturally while more than 20 species are maintained in a netted area where they live, play, and breed. It is located in the municipality of Bilar, 41 kilometers from Tagbilaran City. The site is a kilometer away from market and five minutes from the Man-Made Forest. From the Mahogany Forest, you will see colored flags on the right-hand side with an “Open” sign.
If you are using public utility vehicles, you can take the Saint Jude buses from the Dao Integrated Terminal in Tagbilaran City. These buses traverse the Bilar to Talibon road. Take this route and inform the driver to drop you off at the Butterfly Garden. Rental vans are likewise available at the Terminal which offers a guided tour.
Loay Local Industry
Long ago, the people of Loay got their source of income from hunting various marine animals such as dolphins, whale sharks, and manta rays that thrive in the Loayan Sea. But with some help from the local government, most of the residents have now ventured into backyard industries.
Goat raising has emerged as a major Loay local industry. It was introduced by the government as an additional source of income for farmers. The government sponsored seminars for the purpose. Unlike other domesticated animals, goats can be easily raised and even women or children can be involved in goat raising.
Bolo or hatchet making have also given Loay residents a means of livelihood. They are used as implements in farming and wood cutting. Today, many Loayans have mastered the art of being blacksmiths (“panday”) using manual as well as improvised equipments. The town has emerged as a popular venue for finding fine crafted bolos in the island.
Another top Loay local industry in Bohol island is nipa palm plantation. With the proliferation and continuous growth in the number of sites that contribute to Bohol tourism, the need for roofing materials from nipa leaves is never more evident. The manual fabrication of nipa leaves has become a lucrative industry in the island province.
The fabrication of nipa palm leaves into a roofing material is thriving along the shores of the Loboc-Loay River due largely to the huge area of nipa palm plantation which has contributed to the sustainability of this industry. The Loboc-Loay River has also provided a source of livelihood for the local crew in the River Cruise.
The Clarin Ancestral House
Tracing its roots to 1840, the Clarin Central House is the residence of Don Aniceto Velez Clarin, a former governor of Bohol island. His son, Jose Aniceto Butalid Clarin, was elected as first senator of the 11th district.
Declared by the National Historical Institute as a heritage site, this tourist destination in Philippines is the most toured ancestral house in the island. At 167 year olds, the Clarin Central House is now a museum containing family collections as old as the American Period.
Like most Filipino-Spanish houses, it has two floors. At the top level are the living quarters. This level has large and wide windows with capiz shell decorated shutters that allow the sunshine in when closed. The shutters are locked to the side of the windows protecting the window openings from obstruction. The house allows free circulation of fresh air so it remains cool even during the summer.
The Clarin Ancestral House is located at the town of Loay, 18 kilometers away from Tagbilaran City. From the provincial capital, the house is found on the left-hand side a few steps away from the circumferential road. It lies at the foot of the stairway going to the Loay Church, located on a hilltop. Like most of the provinces heritage homes, it is positioned at the right along the roadside with gardens at the back.
Now maintained by a descendant of the family, the Clarin Ancestral House has a coffee shop boasting of its torta loayan and hot chocolate. But do not be contented with just Café Olegario because there are more to see on the upper floor, such as intricately-designed wooden furnitures, Maria-Clara inspired gowns, Barong Tagalogs, to name just a few. Entrance to the house is very affordable.
The Hinagdanan Cave is located at the Philippines’ most important karst region, Panglao Island. Located in Barangay Bingag, Dauis, Panglao Island, 5-10 minutes away from Tagbilaran City. From the Dao terminal, there are jeepneys as well as tricycles that will take you to Dauis.
Hinagdanan is a karst cave, that is it is made from limestone. It can be easily reached. Visitors would have to walk a one kilometer stretch of dense vegetation. The cave entrance has a diameter of 1 meter and can be seen from a limestone hill. There are cemented steps leading to its interiors. The cave is slippery but a rope railing has been put in place so visitors can hold on.
According to legends, the Hinagdanan Cave was accidentally discovered when the owner of the area was clearing it of decaying branches and found the hole. When the owner threw a stone into the hole, there was a splash. A ladder was constructed to get inside the cave. Thus, it derived its name from the man-made ladder constructed to enter it.
The Hinagdanan Cave is well-renowned for its stalactites and stalagmites. Inside the cave is an underground pond. Both of its ends are open, providing natural light inside. The more adventurous locals and tourists even take a bath in its cool waters. However, if you have sensitive skin, it is advisable to take the necessary precautions when taking a dip because karst water reacts to any kind of pollution and may cause skin irritations.
Sagbayan Peak is a mountain resort and recreation center in the town of Sagbayan, 45 miles northwest of Tagbilaran City. It provides tourist a 360-degree glimpse of the Chocolate Hills as well as the waters of the sea that separate Bohol island from Cebu. The entire facility is found on two hills joined together by a vast stretch of cemented steps.
Sagbayan Peak provides many facilities for its guests. Upon entry to the resort, you will see an open-sided chapel. Panoramic landscapes will captivate the guests on their way to the parking area and park entrance, where they will need to buy P10 tickets. Beside the booth, there is a screen-enclosed structure filled with plants housing tarsiers. Entrance to this facility is worth PhP10 but guests are advised to refrain from taking pictures with flashes and to keep quiet because the tarsiers may become stressed and die in the process.
At the entrance to the tourist spot, a life-sized T-Rex will greet guests. The resort lies on a five-hectare piece of land with a wide range of amenities such as a grotto, pavilion, viewing deck, butterfly dome, to name just a few. Sagbayan Peak is ideal for a family getaway since it has a children’s playground.
To get to this Bohol tourist spot, there are rental vans available at the Dao Terminal in Tagbilaran City as well as in front of the Tubigon municipal building. The van will ply the Tagbilaran-Tubigon-Clarin route. Upon arrival in Nahawan, there will be a junction road with arrows showing the way to Sagbayan.
Bohol beaches in Panglao Island have been the province’s deepest secrets. These destinations are accessible through the different public transportations such as taxis,multicabs, and rental vans. Here are some of the most spectacular beaches Bohol has to offer.
Panglao Island is composed of two municipalities namely Dauis and Panglao. The former is nearer Tagbilaran City and is the main entry point to the island while the latter is at the farther end facing the Mindanao Sea.
Alona Beach lies on a one and a half kilometer stretch of soft white sand and is considered as the best Panglao beach resort. Located at the southwest end of the island, the beach is shared by other resorts that cater to people with different budget. There is no problem satisfying your hunger with the various cuisines served in the different restaurants. For those who want to learn diving, there are some establishments that offer lessons as well as offer scuba/snorkeling equipment for rent.
At Alona Beach, you do not have to swim very far. Using the regular snorkeling equipment you can watch the nearby reef in clear water. Scuba diving enthusiasts can rent boats that will take them to the deeper part of the reef in the nearby Balicasag and Pamilacan islands.
At the east side of Alona Beach is Dumaluan which is the common resort visited by local residents. For those who are looking for some quiet time and privacy, the Bohol Beach Club is located in this area. Its shallow waters is perfect for family getaway but for snorkeling enthusiasts, they have to swim further away.
Situated in Barrio Mag-aso in the town of Antequerra, Bohol, the Mag-aso Falls got its name from the Visayan word “aso” meaning smoke which refers to the effect brought about by its cascading waters. The town of Antequerra is 20 kilometers away from Tagbilaran City, approximately half an hour ride. It is one of the town’s principal tourist destinations along with karst caves such as the Buhong Tiawan, Hagakgak, to name just a few.
Mag-aso Falls is one of Bohol’s natural resources. The twin falls stands 25 feet and lies amidst the backdrop of tall trees, wild plants such as giant ferns, and deep ravines. Bathing in the natural surroundings makes one feel immersed in the jungle with chirping birds and flowing waters the only music you will hear.
From Tagbilaran City, there are buses and jeepneys that will take you to the town of Antequera. From there, you can ride motorcycles and tricycles that will take tourist near the falls. Reaching the site can be a challenge because of the rough terrain. For the not so adventurous, however, they can go up the 197 concrete steps designed for people who do not have the capacity to climb the challenging path.
Upon reaching Mag-aso Falls, one can take a dip into its cool waters. On the other side, there are concrete tables and seats. This tourist spot is not included in most packages because it is out of the way of the others. You will need to set aside a separate day for the trip to the falls.
Puntacruz Watch Tower
Punta Cruz Watch Tower is a triangular structure that provides guests with a view of Cebu, Siquijor, and Mindanao. Located in Maribojoc, Bohol, it is one of the oldest and most beautiful architectural designs constructed by the Spaniards in the 18th century. It was strongly constructed that the structure still stands to this very day.
Legends has it that the Punta Cruz Watch Tower is endowed with a mysterious spell that has saved a lot of people from pirates. From the name itself, the structure serves as a lookout for pirates and is believed to extend its arms into the sea preventing marauders from reaching land.
There are other similar triangular towers spread out in other places along the shores of Bohol Island. Similar structures are found in Panglao, Dauis, Loay, and Pamilacan Island, but the Punta Cruz Watch Tower is the only one that has remained intact. Located 18 kilometers east of Tagbilaran City, the Tower of Loay has been eroded by the rampaging waves. The tower located in Pamilacan Island has been designed to a much different plan.
Today the Punta Cruz Watch Tower offers an excellent view of the sea. Today, there is a small stall where you can buy drinks and snacks and is also an excellent spot for going swimming and having a picnic. You need to be extra careful when climbing the very sharp rocks.
To reach the Punta Cruz Watch Tower, you need to ride a bus at the Tagbilaran Integrated Bus Terminal located in Dao. Buses enroute to Tubigon will pass along Punta Cruz. The watch tower is 500 meters from the dropoff point.
Nestled on a 1.5 acre piece of land, Balicasag Island is a popular marine sanctuary and a favorite destination of Bohol tourists. From the world-renowned Alona Beach, the island is 30-45 minutes away by boat. Panglao is acclaimed for its pristine white beaches, diving spots, and world class resorts.
Balicasag Island is relatively small that it can be explored in just 45 minutes. It is surrounded by bougainvilleas and palm trees and is popular for its white sand. In the middle of the island, there is a lighthouse tower. There is only about 100 families in the island and their main source of livelihood used to be fishing. The lone resort in the island, Balicasag Island Resort , has given the residents an alternative source of income as waiters or chefs or by picking shells to sell to tourists.
Balicasag Island Resort is considered as among the world’s best diving destinations. It has ten native-inspired aircon duplex cottages, each with a couple of rooms and is 19.64 square meters wide, complete with screen doors, a private toilet & bath with individual veranda for guests to enjoy the captivating view of the sun, sea, and surf.
To accommodate more guests, two air-conditioned dormitories that can be occupied by 8 persons. Balicasag Island Resort has its own motorized boat that can transport up to 12 persons, speed boat, and dive boat. Likewise, the resort has an outdoor bar and an open-air restaurant catering to local and international cuisine. The island is the perfect destination for diving enthusiasts as well as nature lovers.
From Tagbilaran Airport, you can ride a taxi, rental van, or taxi to Alona Beach. You will be charged P250 for the 30-minute trip.
E.A.T. Danao is a tourism concept designed for the benefit of the residents of the municipality of Danao. The aim of the program is to showcase its natural resources to local and foreign tourists and to preserve them for the good of its residents.
The program involves unique and exhilarating activities in a wide range of categories located in verdant valleys set in the picturesque mountain ranges. The program is divided into three to give visitors an opportunity to pick their activity of choice. E may involve activities falling under the Extreme, Economic, and Educational. A stands for Adventure and T for Tour.
All these activities are located in one place called the Danao Adventure Park in Barangay Magtangtang, 72 kilometers away and a couple of hours ride from Tagbilaran City. The site used to be the headquarters of Francisco Dagohoy, considered as the leader of the longest revolt in the Philippines.
One of the most popular attractions the site has to offer is the one-minute zip line, which as of December 2008 is the longest and tallest of its kind stretching half a kilometer from one mountain to another, prompting the Danao mayor to call it “sui-slide.” Aside from the zipline, it also involves a sky ride, a plunge, wall climbing, among others.
Eco Adventure Tour
The eco-tour program involves an ecological tour of Danao and includes activities such as river and mountain trekking, mountain biking, and other activities. The eco-trail has been reinforced with ropes at the two sides for convenience in going up to the viewing deck for observing and enjoying the breathtaking sunrise and sunset with the blue-green colored mountain ranges and rolling hills.
The viewing deck offers a glimpse of the Wahig River winding in and out of boulders and crevices. Guests can also view the rich natural resources the Wahig-Inabanga watershed and its river ecosystem.
Upon reaching the town villages, guests can take an optional tour of Danao’s farming and fishing lifestyle. The town’s land is designed for scientific yet organic farming of vegetables and fruits. The Danao Accommodation Center serves succulent and delicious meals featuring their local produce.
Educational Adventure Tour
For the Educational Tour, guests will get to visit the different historical sites of Danao such as the Francis Dagohoy Cave and its historical markers. Visitors will be informed about the different environmental, cultural heritage, and sustainable agriculture through education about watersheds and natural landscapes.
The trip will also have tourists crossing rivers, hopping boulders, and going up the hill where Francisco Dagohoy waged one final battle against the Spanish invaders. The town of Danao has several caves and forests but only three of them have been declared tourist friendly by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Coinciding with the implementation of the E.A.T. Danao program is the establishment of the Danao Tourist Accommodation Center. As a result, the town is now capable of offering complete tour facilities to local and foreign visitors. The Center alone can provide accommodations for a maximum of 16 people. The fee for each cottage is Php600. An additional bed can be requested for P200. The mayor’s farm house can take up to 50 guests.
There are three tour packages that are available for guests namely a Day Tour, One & a Half Day, and Two Days Package.
Aproniana Souvenir Shop
The Aproniana Souvenir Shop is regarded as ““Bohol’s ultimate souvenir destination.” It sells a wide range of products ranging from stuffed tarsiers, shirts, bags, replicas, jewelries, decorations, wood products, and Bohol delicacies.
The Aproniana Souvenir Shop offers a 10% discount coupon randomly to visitors. Usually, it is the son of the owner who awards the discount coupon. However, this is just part of their marketing strategy to entice visitors to purchase their products but any employee can give the discount coupon.
But even without the discount coupon, the prices offered by the souvenir shop is still affordable in contrast to the products being sold at the souvenir shops of the other tourist destinations like the Loboc River Floating Resto, Chocolate Hills, Butterfly Conservation Center, and other souvenir stores spread throughout the island.
The Apronia Souvenir Shop is an air-conditioned establishment and has clean tiled floors. With an area of 100 square meters, the shop has two levels and visitors will have a great time shopping as they will surely find what the item they are looking for. A visit to this tourist destination should be a part of your itinerary when visiting Bohol. For any inquiries regarding their products, visitors can call up +63 38 540-9411.