EXPLORING BOHOL, PHILIPPINES: OUR EXPERIENCE
Bohol is an island province in the Philippines which is known in the world for many things: the picturesque Chocolate Hills, the cute tarsiers which are known as the smallest primate in the world, pristine beaches, the dreamy Loboc river, historical sights, and centuries-old churches.
We travelled as a family before the pandemic and we visited those popular and touristy spots in a short period of time. We stayed overnight with an infant so we don’t really rush to the next destination or go farther to remote beaches. Even if you are short on time, you can see and experience the best places in Bohol if you plan your itinerary carefully.
GETTING THERE and CHECKING IN THE HOTEL
We arrived from Cebu to Tagbilaran, Bohol via fast craft (Supercat)in the evening. From the port, we rode a tricycle to our chosen accommodation which is about 10 minutes. We stayed at Tagbilaran Tropics Resort because of its great location near the port especially that I am traveling with an infant. The vibrant waterfront resort is 4-star and family-friendly. It offers a spectacular view of the port and sea. I love their pools and spacious lush gardens. The guest room that we have chosen is spacious for a family and clean as well. The resort has lots of facilities like a dance club, restaurants, and outdoor pools so you can enjoy your stay at night without going out-of-town.
We also booked in advance our whole day tour to Chocolate Hills-Loboc river-Sanduguan monument with an SUV serviced vehicle since we travel as a family.
EXPLORING THE FAMOUS SPOTS IN BOHOL
Bilar Man-made Forests
This is a man-made mahogany forest in a two-kilometer stretch of densely planted Mahogany trees located on the border of Loboc and Bilar towns. When we passed this place, it was so refreshing and there was an abrupt change in temperature upon entering the area. Strong sunlight is shielded by the lush leaves and branches of the trees. This is a must-see place when going to Chocolate Hills.
Checking out the Tarsiers
We visited the Tarsier Conservation Area and were amazed at the sight of this cute monkey-like animal. Tarsiers are tree-dwelling primates with round, large eyes. The guides carefully explained to us that they are mostly sleeping in the daytime because of their nocturnal characteristics. One should be very quiet when visiting this place.
This is the highlight of the trip because this geological formation it’s not only famous in the Philippines but it is world-famous. I’m lucky enough to see this natural wonder because you can’t find it in another place. We climb up the steps leading to the viewing deck and was rewarded with this spectacular sight of Chocolate hills. The hills looked like chocolate drops under the bright sunlight. Of course, travel will not be completed without buying souvenirs nearby. They sell the famous Bohol chocolate-kisses which are bite-size peanut cookies. This is a highly recommended delicacy in Bohol. There are lots of beautiful handicrafts as well.
Loboc river lunch buffet
We headed to Loboc river after visiting chocolate hills with a hungry stomach! As soon as we arrived at the place, I am amazed at the festive-style buffet restaurant by the river. It reminds me of a local barrio fiesta. Food was mouth-watering Filipino cuisine that is a must-try. It includes pork and chicken barbecue, fried rice, fruit salad, a vegetable side dish, and iced tea. The restaurant is made of sturdy bamboo materials floating on the river. It was an appetizing lunch for the family with great, refreshing views of the evergreen waters of the Loboc river!
Loboc riverboat ride
While we relaxed after a while we rode a 30-minute boat ride from the floating restaurant. It was really amazing to feel refreshed in nature and the countryside if you live in the city. We passed by stunning views of trees and village houses with children swimming on the banks of the river. It was a captivating scene from the locals!
After the boat ride, we headed to the historical Baclayon Church which is one of the oldest stone churches in the Philippines. It was built during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. The interior was breathtaking and spacious, it reminds me of old churches in Europe. The ceilings and altar designs are truly captivating. There is nothing much to do here except take pictures and rest time from our road trip.
Blood Compact Monument
The monument is a quick stop from our road trip and the last attraction that we visited. No trip to Bohol is complete without dropping by Blood Compact Monument. I learned about Sanduguan (blood compact) during our elementary years in Social Studies textbooks and visiting this place is surreal. It was indeed unforgettable.
Island City Mall
This mall is not included in the tour but we decided to have our dinner here. It’s a popular and lively shopping mall in Tagbilaran City with numerous shops, food court, and a movie theater.
GOING BACK HOME
It was a tiring day filled with excitement and memories for years to come. The next day, we headed back home to Cebu and I could say, Bohol definitely is a great travel destination in the Philippines especially if you love nature and history. There are so many things to do and explore here and as a friendly reminder, be a responsible tourist always.
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