Bohol (Philippines) is fast becoming one of the top travel destinations in Asia. The island offers a wide range of attractions such as natural fine white sand beaches, great diving sites, scenic natural sights, old houses, ancient churches, historical sites and wonderful ecotourism highlights.
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or centuries, the friendly but independently minded people of
from an otherwise flat landscape of paddy fields and coconut trees.
Bohol have lived a simple live as farmers or fishermen. One one
Only recently, the island has been discovered as a tourist’s heaven.
hand, they where the first to welcome the Spanish explorer Legaspi,
Scuba diving enthusiast paved the way, attracted to the many
on his travels to the Philippines, but on the other, they did not tolerate
wonderful coral reefs that surround the island. Panglao, and the small
abuse and oppression during the Spanish colonial era, and under
island of Balicasag boast some of the riches reefs in the country, and
Dagohoy where able to remain virtually independent for eighty years.
recently, the reefs near Cabilao island and Anda have also appeared
The Boholano’s love their island as they love their freedom. Surrounded
on the divers map. The triangle of sea between Panglao, Balicasag,
by white beaches, overhanging coral-stone cliffs, and mangrove
and Pamilacan island, is a true biodiversity hot-spot, in which a recent
forests, is a lushly green island of hills and valleys. Meandering through
French expedition found hundreds of species, so-far unknown to
its landscape are its rivers, such as the Inabanga and Loboc, fed by
countless streams that originate in its hills, and have created numerous
Bohol has a something to offer of everything. You can relax on one
narrow gorges and friendly valleys in the soft limestone foundations
of its many secluded white beaches. The nature lover can have a day
of the island. Every now and then, a stream simply disappears in one
trip to the forests near Corella, to discover the tiny tarsier, one of the
of the many caves, only to emerge above ground many kilometers
world’s smallest primates, or opt for a whale or g watching tour on
further. This system of tunnels has certainly baffled foreign invaders
the Mindanao sea. The sports enthusiast can find spots for trekking,
of the island, with local fighters disappearing and reappearing from
mountain biking, and wild-water rafting. The cultural lovers will enjoy
Bohol’s historical churches, Spanish era wooden houses, and watch-
In more peaceful times, the people turned to constructing churches.
towers, and, for a shoppers delight, the recently constructed malls in
Originally build of bamboo and nipa, as the houses, later, they were
Tagbilaran have plenty to offer.
replaced by lovely buildings of coral rock..
We all welcome you to Bohol, the friendly heart of the Visayas, or, as
And then there are the Chocolate hills. The interior hills are hills as only
the Boholano’s would say, Maayong pag-abot sa Bohol!
a child can imagine them. Over a thousand regularly shaped hills raise
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formed the hills into what it is now.
he famed Chocolate Hills of Bohol are not only two but more than
around the almost bare cone-shaped hills resulting in its awesome
1,268 cone-shaped hills – a very strange geological formation
that has baffled a lot of geologists. The hills are spread over an area of
Likewise, the flatlands surrounding the hills are given to rice and corn
50 square kilometers or more and vary in size from 30 meters to 120
farming and results in a beautiful green backdrop for the hills.
meters in height.
The most acceptable geological theory of the hills is that the hills were
The Chocolate Hills are spread over an area covering the towns of
the result of thousands of years of weathering of marine limestone.
Sagbayan, Batuan, Carmen, Bilar, Sierra Bullones and Valencia. Most of
Others say that the hills were formed ages ago by the uplift of coral
the hills though are found in Sagbayan, Batuan and Carmen, the later
deposits or that they erupted from the sea in a massive geologic shift,
having the most uniform cone-shaped hills.
and the action of rain water and erosion for the past thousand years
The hills appear to be seemingly endless when viewed atop the hill in
put in the finishing touches.
Carmen town. The viewing deck there gives you a 360° view of the hills
Boholanos are fond of legends and it is not surprising that a tale or two
“as far as the eyes can see”. It is more impressive when viewed from a
has been crafted about the hills. This has nothing to do with geology
plane – them appearing to be thousands of mole hills dotting out from
and science, whatsoever.
One legend relates of two quarreling giants who threw mud, rocks,
In his sorrow, he cried and cried, and every time his tears fell on the
extremely powerful and youthful giant falling in love with a mortal
ground it dries up and form into mounds, thus the Chocolate Hills.
maiden named Aloya. They lived together and were happy for a time
What’s unique with these limestone hills is that they are only covered
boulders and sand to each other. Nobody knows what the reason
in grass and the cone shape is more or less common to all although
behind their feud was only that it lasted for a few days leaving them
differing in size. The hills look brown “chocolate” color only during dry
weak and exhausted in the end. Without their knowing it, some of
season when the grass turns into brown.
the boulders, stones, sand and mud stuck to each other and formed
Trees grow on the base of the hills and are lush and verdant rings
mounds. Thousands of years of wind and rain erosion eventually
until Aloya got sick and died causing much pain and misery to Arogo.
The other legend is much more romantic. It relates of Arogo, an
Chocolate Hills (aerial view)
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Chocolate Hills (view from Carmern)
t is said that with its huge eyes, long tail and hands and feet, the
particular head movement..
tarsier surely must have been what inspired Steven Spielberg when
The animal can also leap even up to 10 feet and agilely maneuver itself
he created E.T.!
from tree to tree. This ability may be due to the fact that they have
The tarsier measures 4 to 5 inches and is considered as the world’s
extra-long tarsal bones which form their ankles and enable them to
smallest primate. Its size is no longer than an adult man’s hand and
leap so high.
weigh only about 113 to 142 grams.
Tarsiers are nocturnal creatures, like the owls – sleeping during daytime
With its tail longer than its body, it has large brown eyes, hairless ears
yet very active at night. They hide in hollows close to the ground; hunts
and long finger-like claws. It has gray fur and a nearly naked tail that is
and feeds mainly on fruits and insects such as cockroaches, crickets, and
more often than not about 232 mm in length. The tails arc over their
sometimes small lizards.
back when they hop on the ground apparently to balance themselves.
They are only found on few Southeast Asian islands including Bohol,
The underside of the tail has dermal ridges such as those found on
Sulawesi, Borneo, and Sumatra.
human hands and feet.
In Bohol you can see the Tarsier at the “Tarsier Sanctuary” in the town
Much like the owl, the tarsier can rotate its head 180 degrees in each
direction. It has a joint between its skull base and spine to allow this
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Waterfalls & Caves
he Bohol landscape is dotted with a large number of romantic,
important role in Bohol’s history. The Francisco Dagohoy Cave in the
refreshing waterfalls. Most of them are hidden away, only known
town of Danao is probably the most famous of these. This cave was
to the local people. They will patiently wait for you to discover them.
the headquarters of the Boholano patriot Dagohoy, who, in the year
Some of the undeveloped waterfalls can only be reached after difficult
1744 started a rebellion against Spain that was to last until 1829. One
climb down a muddy slope, which may be impossible after heavy rains.
of the many crystal-studded passages within Dagohoy’s cave has an
The most known are the Mag-Aso Falls located at walking distance from
underwater route leading to dry land, and it is said that every time
Spaniards would search the cave, Dagohoy would swim underwater
Other waterfalls to mention are: Inambacan Falls (near Antequera),
through this passage to hide in the breathing space.
Kawasan Falls (Balilihan), Dimiao Twin Falls (Dimiao), and Busay Falls
Well known, and easy to reach is Hinagdanan (“laddered” in Cebuano)
cave on the island of Panglao, just 2.5 kilometers from Dauis. This cave
The island province of Bohol may aptly be called “Cave Country.”
has a large number of stalactites hanging from the sealing, and matching
Some 1400 caves have been counted, and probably many more have
stalagmites sticking out of the earth below them. The cave leads to a
escaped notice. The island is made of extensive karst (limestone)
large underground cavern, that contains a pond. Both ends of the cave
formations, such as sinkholes, ravines, the curious Chocolate Hills, and a
are open but swimming in the pool is not advisable as the waters there
large number of caves, many of them still unexplored.
are not clean.
All these caves of course are an ideal hideout, and have played an
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Diving in Loboc River
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Loboc River (aerial view)
ohol is blessed with mangrove forests around its river systems,
matter produced by the mangroves themselves and also from the
estuaries and off shore islands. The island has one of the highest
sediment that is trapped around the roots.
biologically diverse mangrove ecosystems with 26 mangrove species
In addition, mangroves are also habitats to shore birds, some species of
found on its shores.
mammals (monkeys, rats, etc.) reptiles and insects. These animals utilize
Mangroves are salt-tolerant trees that have adapted to living in salt
the mangroves as places to roost, breed or take shelter from strong
and brackish water conditions. They vary in size from shrubs to tall
winds or heat of the sun. They also serve as shoreline sentinels and
trees and are found along sheltered tropical mudflats or wetlands or
pollution sink aside from being a source of firewood, poles, charcoal,
in association with estuaries and lagoons and may extend inland along
rivers, streams and their tributaries. They require slow currents and
Mangroves are essential to fish production. They are extraordinary
plenty of fine sediment in which to set their roots.
rich habitats that serve as life support systems to about 75 percent of
Mangroves are critical spawning, nursery, feeding and transient shelter
fish species caught in the area as well as to indeterminate number of
areas to hundreds of fish species, crustaceans and invertebrates and
crustaceans and wildlife.
support an abundant and productive marine life.
The Banacon Island Mangrove Forest is now an eco-tourist destination
Like all other animals, fish, shrimp, crab and other marine life in the
with an approximate area of 425 hectares of Mangrove Forest and it
sea need a safe place to grow, away from many predators. With their
is now considered as the biggest mangrove plantation in the country.
tangled and intricate root systems, mangroves are excellent nurseries,
The Candijay mangrove forest is one of the most diverse in the country
providing safe hiding places for young animals. The muddy waters
and boasts of at least 36 species.
around them are rich in nutrients from decaying leaves and organic
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Dolphins & Whales
everal species of whales and dolphins have made the waters south of Bohol as their home.
The sea around Pamilacan Island is where these whales and dolphins
are often spotted. It is believed that the area is home to at least thirteen species of cetaceans.
Bryde’s whales and sperm whales have been sighted. The most commonly sighted dolphins are the playful spinner dolphin, the Risso’s dolphin, the bottlenose dolphin, the spotted dolphin and the Fraser’s dolphin. The waters at the southern coast of Pamilacan Island is where the current is the strongest and is the dolphins’ play area. The area around Pamilacan Island is now a Marine sanctuary. The island is surrounded by a “fringing reef” and main marine species are starfish,
seagrasses, crinoids, crown of thorns and cleaner wrasses.
Dolphis nearby Pamilacan Island
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Bohol Beach Club
anglao Island Beaches are now the favorite destination of tourists, local and foreign alike. Many are lured to the island because of
the white sand, the cool crystal blue waters, and the world-famous surrounding dive sites. Panglao is divided into two municipalities: Panglao and Dauis. There are beaches in Dauis as well as in Panglao town.
Alona Beach, an 800 meter stretch of white powdery sand, in the south of Panglao Island, is south west of Bohol and only 18 kilometers or 30 minutes away from Tagbilaran City, the one and only city of the province. There are many full-service beach and dive resorts reside in Alona Beach. Dive tours to Balicasag and Pamilacan Islands, famous dive spots, can be arranged. Bolod Beach is located at barangay Bolod and situated on the southside
of the island, about two and a half kilometers east of Alona Beach. The beach has a one and a half kilometer stretch of white sand, the largest shoreline in the area.
Doljo Beach is located at Barangay Doljo, Panglao Island. It lies on the northwest side of the island and at its very tip. The 3km beach is relatively unexplored and undeveloped, wide and with white sand that stretches so far out and the sea bed slopping gently towards the deep.
It is fringed with tall coconut palm trees which add much to its tropical
Bohol. Like Alona, its nearest neighbour, it boasts of fine white sand,
look. The place is noted for its beautiful and exquisite seashells.
cool azure waters, teeming aquatic life and is also home to some famous
Momo Beach is likewise blessed with white sand and cool crystal blue
waters. It is located in the northern part of Panglao Island, specifically
Bingag Beach is located in Barangay Bingag, Dauis, Panglao Island,
in the Barangay of Tangnan of Panglao town. The beach is relatively
Bohol. It lies on the southern part of the island where several resorts
unknown of and is patronized by the locals. Momo beach is nearer to
line up on the beach offering various water activities such as jet skiing,
Doljo beach than to Alona Beach which is 20km away.
kayaking, sailing, rowing and more. It is a perfect getaway from the
Bagobo Beach is located at Barangay Libaong, Panglao, Panglao Island.
hustle of city life with its fine white sand, crystal blue waters and a warm
It is a beach with very fine white sand and fringed by tall coconut
palm trees and other tropical varieties. The water is crystal clear and
Dao Beach is located in Barangay Dao in Dauis town at Panglao Island
reveals an underwater world of such beauty that made divers and
which is a 20-minute drive from Tagbilaran City. The beach boasts of
snorkelers come back from time to time bringing in their friends and
white sand, crystal blue water and rugged cliff-sides covered in verdant
Danao Beach is located at Barangay Danao, Panglao, Panglao Island,
Bolod Beach (Bohol Beach Club)
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nda Beach, with its long stretch of powdery white sand beach
sandbar. This islet is just majestic.
fringe with coconut palm trees, crystal clear blue waters, and a
Hop on to the neighboring Balicasag Island, a flat, circular island well
seabed of powdery white sand with no rock formations or marine flora
known among scuba divers, covered with palm trees and flowering
whatsoever for miles on end.
bougainvillea shrubs surrounded by a white beach.
Puntod Island (also known as Virgin Island)is a hidden oasis in Pan-
Cabilao island, located outside the town of Loon, offers white sand
glao, Bohol. It is an inhabited islet that feature beautiful long stretch of
beaches and crystalline waters.
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