Located in the center of the Philippine archipelago is one of the most popular and practical island destinations in the Visayas. Bohol enjoys a good infrastructure and visitors are treated to an excellent beach resort on Panglao Island, along with some intriguing geological and nature attractions. Travel Authentic Philippines offers a variety of Bohol Tours.

As an all-round destination Bohol scores highly; the diving is reckoned to be some of the best in the world, the famous chocolate hills are noted for their unique and bizarre topography, and the plucky little tarsier primate is the island’s curious mascot.

Transportation links to and from Bohol are also excellent. It is about one hour by catamaran ferry from the terminal in downtown Cebu city, which is less than 20 minutes transfer from Mactan-Cebu International airport.

Regrettably, a powerful earthquake in October 2013 rattled the island and damaged many of the churches and other buildings of historical interest, but failed to significantly disrupt the tourist services offered on the island.

The weather is at its best from December to March when it’s dry and less hot, for the rest of the year it gets muggier with increasing rains leading up to potential typhoons later in the year, but these aren’t common in Bohol and visitors are seldom disappointed by climate.

What to see
Most visitors to the island stay on Panglao Island, south of Tagbilaran and connected to the ferry terminal by a bridge and 30-minute taxi transfer. At Alona beach there is a magnificent strip of white sand, shaded by coconut trees and dominated by dive resorts, although non-divers will feel equally at home. Anda, on the other side of the island, is a quieter and more picturesque coast of dazzling sand among limestone promontories.

Bohol’s most famous attraction is the peculiar Chocolate Hills, designated as a national monument in the center of the island and reached by an ascending road that passes through a dense reclaimed forest. There are more than 1,000 of these conical mounds, taking their name from the tawny color in the dry season. From a vantage point visitors get a fantastic photo view. The Chocolate Hills feature on most Bohol Tours.

Just outside Tagbilaran is a statue that commemorates a peace pact made between Miguel López de Legazpi, one of the earliest Spanish explorers, local chief Datu Sikatuna in 1565, by drinking a goblet of blood together.

The Tarsier visitor’s center is usually also part of an island tour, where you can seek out the world’s second smallest primate, noted for its enormous eyes. However, they are nocturnal and famously shy, and you’ll be lucky to spot one during a walk through the sanctuary.

Around the island there are several churches of historical interest, some with remnants dating back to the 16th Century, though few survive entirely. A fine example is the Baclayon Church. In the Dauis precinct (conveniently on Panglao Island) there is an historic church and the locals put on charming heritage evenings here. Most Bohol tours feature a visit to one or more historic churches.

What to do
Although noted predominantly for diving, Bohol packs in a great deal more for the tourist; including kayaking, biking, heritage tours, banca boat trips to other outlying islands, and tours of the hinterland’s remarkable scenery. There is a huge variety of Bohol Tours.

Alona Beach is where many of the dive operators depart from, and the offshore sites, including Pamilacan Island, are rated as some of the best diving anywhere in Asia. But snorkeling can be just as rewarding.

With such clear waters and arresting scenery in the calm waters, renting kayaks to explore the shoreline, especially if you are staying in Anda, is a good idea. There are also boat trips by Banca or glass-bottomed boat to outlying islands, where you can glide over shallow waters featuring coral teeming with colourful fish.

A popular lunchtime break during tours of the island is a cruise up the pretty Loboc river, during which local choirs come aboard the pontoons, dressed colorfully, to serenade visitors.

Families have the added bonus of taking their kids to the Danao Adventure Park. It’s a fun day out including trekking, caving, tubing and ziplining through the forest just beyond the Chocolate Hills. Another great family-friendly activity is whale or dolphin watching off Pamilacan Island by arranged boat trip.

Local culture
Bohol is a central Visayan island, where the predominant language is Cebuano. The Bohol people have some unique distinctions, aside from branding the island according to the Chocolate Hills and bright-eyed tarsier. In fact, arrive at the right time of year and you could experience one of the colourful festivals that are traditionally organised on the calendar.

During the month of July, the Sandugo festival commemorates the blood ties that were forged between the locals and Spanish colonizers towards a harmonious co-existence, and today it comprises of a month of festivities, which include a beauty pageant, agro fair, sporting events, cultural displays of music and dance, all culminating in the re-enactment of the drinking of shared blood.

Tagbilaran hosts a fiesta on May 1st every year, the Feast of St Joseph, and it continues for nine days of events. A festival rooted in religious folklore takes place along the Loboc River in the same month. The Sambat Mascara y Festival Regatta takes place on the first weekend in December.

During a lunch cruise down the Loboc River you get to experience local song and dance performed by a troupe, in colourful costume. The island also supports a busy handicraft industry, particularly woven raffia. Join us on one of our Bohol tours.

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