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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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MASSIMO CASAL


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MASSIMO CASAL

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CONTENTS INTRODUCTION

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NATURE

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BEACHES

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HISTORY

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Indroduction

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Puntod Island

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or centuries, the friendly but independently minded people of

from an otherwise flat landscape of paddy fields and coconut trees.

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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

science.

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,

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of the island, with local fighters disappearing and reappearing from

mountain biking, and wild-water rafting. The cultural lovers will enjoy

nothing.

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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Nature

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Loon

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Chocolate Hills

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formed the hills into what it is now.

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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

natural beauty.

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.

verdant surroundings.

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

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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

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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)

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Tarsier

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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

of Corella.

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direction. It has a joint between its skull base and spine to allow this

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Tarsier

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Tarsier

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Waterfalls & Caves

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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

Antequera.

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)

(Loboc).

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.

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All these caves of course are an ideal hideout, and have played an

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Mag-Aso Falls

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Busay Falls

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Hinagdanan Cave

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Loboc River

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Diving in Loboc River

Loboc River

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Loboc River (aerial view)

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Mangroves

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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

and tannin.

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.

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around them are rich in nutrients from decaying leaves and organic

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Banacon Island

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Banacon Island

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Dolphins & Whales

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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,

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seagrasses, crinoids, crown of thorns and cleaner wrasses.

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Dolphis nearby Pamilacan Island

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Pamilacan Island

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Beaches 42

Bohol Beach Club

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Panglao Island

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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

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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.

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Doljo Beach

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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,

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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

dive spots.

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

tropical climate.

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

acquaintances.

tropical foliage.

Danao Beach is located at Barangay Danao, Panglao, Panglao Island,

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Doljo Beach

Bolod Beach (Bohol Beach Club)

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Alona Beach

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Alona Beach

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Alona Beach

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Alona Beach

Danao Beach

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Bingag Beach

Bagobo Beach

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Bolod Beach

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Other Beaches

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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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Cabilao Island

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Anda

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Anda

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Puntod Island

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Puntod Island

Balicasag Island

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Balicasag Island

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History

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Bohol Photo Book  

First Draft

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