Bohol is the kind of place to visit if you want to divide your time between exploring and total relaxation. Big draws of the island include the extensive marine life surrounding it. It's also a good place for trekking as the landscape is not too challenging. In many respects the Philippines are a wonderful place for natural wonders which in turn create activities on par with them, resulting in a great holiday destination. Whether it’s above water catching glimpses of the dolphins and whales or getting better acquainted with the colourful fish below the surface, there will be something to appease your adventurous side.
Scuba Diving in Bohol Island
Bohol has a large number of dive sites. The water temperature during the warmer months of April to November is between 25 C to 28 C – blissfully warm, and a perfect temperature for first-time divers. There are certified PADI courses to be followed here. The Philippines' incredible diving sites are a part of the countries colourful personality and beyond its shores, under the deep blue sea lies another paradisiacal world, where coral coexists with exotic fish. The surrounding islands (no further than a 45-minute boat trip) Panglao, Cabilao, Pamilacan and Balicasag; offer some of the best dive sites in the world.
With a surface area of about 25 hectares, you can walk all the way around it in about 45 minutes. The island itself is pretty much as you would imagine a deserted tropical island: a flat and circular, covered with palm trees and flowering bougainvillea, surrounded by white beaches. On the south side of the island is some 400 metres of successfully protected marine sanctuary.
Situated at the southwestern point of Panglao Island, Duljo is usually favored for its calm currents although it has been known to get a bit rough. Here, there is a drop off dive wall covered with large gorgonian sea fans, large elephant ear sponges and barrel sponges, basket sponges, hydroids, colorful crinoids and soft corals. Expect to see surgeon fish, fusiliers, razor fish, jacks, batfish, triggerfish, rabbit fish, catfish and squid. The prolific reef fish life includes angelfish, butterfly fish, triggerfish and puffer fish.
Northeast Slope or Black Forest
Situated near the center of the northwest face of Panglao Island this is the sort of dive-site that is only ventured into by the experienced. The dive starts as a shallow coral shelf from 10ft to 23ft then drops as a vertical wall to 65ft. The shallow shelf is a rich coral garden, great for snorkel and underwater photographers. Acropora table corals, pillar and leathery corals act as home to large shoals of anthias and smaller shoals of chromis, butterfly fish, razor fish, damselfish and anemones with clownfish.
This small coralline and limestone island is situated off the southwestern tip of Bohol, connected by two bridges and is divided between two municipalities, Panglao in the southwest, and Dauis in the northeast.
Southwest Wall or Ricos Wall
This deep wall drop off is famous for its small caverns, ledges and reef over-hangs. Rated 3/5 it is an easy dive site for PADI Open Water divers who are likely to encounter a prolific list of fish that includes Vlamming’s unicorn fish, silver jacks and big eye Trevally.
Kayaking in Bohol Island
This is one of the most fun and eye-opening ways to explore the warm, open waters surrounding Bohol. There is a sense of freedom in renting your own kayak and going off on a day of exploration around the surreal caves and pristine sandy beaches, without the proposed time schedule an arranged boat tour might bring. Most resorts offer kayaking equipment and though it is yet to really take off as a premier activity on the island it is definitely on its way.
Trekking in Bohol Island
Bohol combines forests, small villages and farmlands to offer world-class trekking opportunities. One of the island's main attractions is the ambiguous terrain that is unique to Bohol.
Trekking enthusiasts from around the world come here just to walk the land, cross-country trekking in particular as there is a noticeable lack of mountains.
The predominantly jungle interior adds to the excitement alongside the likelihood that you will be getting better acquainted with such exotic creatures as monitor lizards, rare birds and snakes!
The Bohol Tarsier Trail
This popular trail leads its way through the towns of Corella, Sikatuna and Loboc, home to the tarsier primate – one of the worlds smallest, oldest and most endangered species. The 15-kilometre trail was set up by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation and ensures that curious travellers can catch a glimpse of the tarsier in its natural habitat, while not disturbing or potentially endangering it. Other attractions of the tour include a profusion of exotic and rare wildlife and plant life.
Considered to be a good introduction to the landscape of Bohol, this trek is popular with new arrivals. The trek involves river crossings, rock hopping, uphill climbing and some scrambling across boulders. Activities to enjoy along the way are swimming, sunbathing and having a much-deserved picnic lunch. The trail is strenuous, especially for the inexperienced but it offers the spectacular reward of the Can-umantad Falls.
Dolphin and Whale Watching
Understandably this is a popular pursuit for many of Bohol's visitors. Witnessing these endearing mammals in their natural habitat is for many a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In a bizarre twist of events many of the whale and dolphin tour operators are former fishermen who have switched to the alternative livelihood program of taking tourists to the best sites in which to see these beautiful creatures, putting their whale and dolphin spotting skills to good use.