Bohol Island Attractions
What to See in Bohol Island
Definitely one of the best destinations in Southeast Asia, few places on earth combine natural beauty with interesting man-made structures so well. One day can be spent trekking through the jungle, observing some of the world's oldest primates while the next can be spent admiring the island's colonial and religiously affiliated architecture.
Steeped in history, Bohol has a strong sense of identity and culture that is none better reflected than in the architecture and the natural beauty that make up the island's interior. The Chocolate Hills are perhaps the most sought-out attraction followed a close second by the island's surreally shaped caves and rock formations. Whatever your preference in attractions, Bohol's charm will not fail to seduce you.Read More
This unusual geographical formation consists of 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometers, their name comes from the grass that covers them turning brown during the dry season. The Philippines Tourism Authority believes the hills to be the third National Geographical monument of the Archipelago.
Unlike any other natural formation in the world, from a distance they’re reminiscent of half a ball shape grown from upwards from the ground. Just two of the hills have been developed into a resort and complex – Sagbayan Peak and The Chocolate Hills Complex. Indeed, these are the pride and joy of the Philippines, a symbol of their copious and Read More...
- Location: Chocolate Hills complex, about four kilometres before the town of Carmen.
- Remarks: If not on an organised tour catch a bus from Tagbilaran from the integrated bus terminal in Dao to Carmen. From here it is a ten-minute walk when following the relevant signage
A listed world UNESCO Heritage Site, Panglao Island has incredible richness in marine biodiversity and a varying terrain that consists of hills and plains. Politically, it is divided into two municipalities Dauis and Pangalo, part of the Bohol Province.
Situated southwest of Bohol and east of Cebu it is easily accessed via a short boat trip from either island. Most visitors come to explore the extensive marine and coral reefs. Sun worshippers should seize the opportunity to bask on the sensational islets of Gak-ang and Pontod.
- Location: Southwest of Bohol
- Remarks: The Bridge between Pangalo and Tagbilaran means it can be accessed via car or, alternatively, a 30-minute boat trip.
The Philippine Tarsier Foundation
After the Chocolate Hills the tarsiers inhabiting the island of Bohol, are probably its second biggest attraction. One of the smallest primates on Earth, no bigger than an adult man's hand, they face danger from the deforestation of their natural habitat. Take the opportunity to go and visit the tarsiers in its natural habitat and observe the way they live.
- Location: 14 Canapnapan Corella, Bohol 6300 Philippines
- Tel: (0912) 5163375
Sandugo Blood Compact Site
The Sandugo Blood Compact Site was built to commemorate the blood compact peace treaty between de Legazpi and Sikatuna on March 16, 1565. Performed between the Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna of Bohol, to signify the bond shared between the Filipinos and Spaniards, it is considered the first treaty to represent their international relations – 'sandugo' meaning 'one blood'.
This is now a hallmark of the Bohol Province and as a symbol for peace, illustrated on the flag. Set in the context of the Philippines' history this is considered a key moment in their history. The international treaty of friendship can be visited at the location of where the ship anchored and the treaty was performed.
- Location: Tagbilaran City
- Remarks: Taxi or tricycle.
Religiously Affiliated Architecture
Bohol is home to over 30 churches – testament to the role religion plays in everyday life in the Philippines. Set against a tropical backdrop, Catholicism has never looked so appealing! The historical and social context in which the buildings sit, signifies the country’s social and political history dating back to their colonisation by the Spanish in the 16th century. The only Catholic country in Southeast Asia, the religiously affiliated architecture of Bohol tells the story of day-to-day life and the role faith plays in it. Here are five of the best.
Bohol is home to over 30 churches – testament to the role religion plays in everyday life in the Philippines. Set against a tropical backdrop, Catholicism has never looked so appealing!
The historical and social context in which the buildings sit, signifies the country’s social and political history dating back to their colonisation by the Spanish in the 16th century.
The only Catholic country in Southeast Asia, the religiously affiliated architecture of Bohol tells the story of day-to-day life and the role faith plays in it. Here are five of the best.
Baclayon – Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
One of the oldest churches in the Philippines, dating back to the 16th century, it has been remodeled and rebuilt, finally sticking with its current form which was completed in 1717.
Baclayon became a parish, and construction of a new church commenced, built by some 200 indentured native laborers. One of the best preserved Jesuit churches in the region.
- Location: Baclayon is some six kilommetres east of Tagbilaran.
- Remarks: Catch a bus or jeepney in Tagbilaran, going into the direction of Baclayon. You may also find a tricycle willing to bring you there.
Situated on the island of Panglao, not far from the bridge that connects Panglao with Bohol, The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Dauis is extremely beautiful. Comprising a mixture of styles to unique effect, it draws influence from both Byzantine and Romanesque architecture. Founded by the Jesuits Fr. Diego de Ayala and Joseph Gregorio, inside, on the ceiling, are some impressive frescoes painted Ray Francia in 1916. Its most recent renovation was by Lito Arraya in 1970.
- Location: The church is three kilometres from Tagbilaran City.
The biggest church in Bohol, The Church of Our Lady of Light in Loon, includes a chapel that was constructed during the term of Fray Manuel de Elizalde in 1753 and two octagonal bell towers, and is also fully symmetric. The Augustine Recollects were later replaced by the current church in Ionic and Corinthian style.
- Remarks: Loon is some 25 kilometres northwest of Tagbilaran City, on the route to Tubigon. Catch a bus to Tubigon from the Integrated Bus Terminal
Santo Nino Church in Cortes
Established as an independent parish in 1793, it was renamed Paminguitan and is currently known by the ancient name, Malabago. The interior is dominated by the painted ceiling done by Ray Francia. The main room has twisted Solomonic columns and profusely carved flanges in the Baroque idiom, a contrast to the otherwise revivalist line of the church.
Built from coral, the church complex sits on a plateau facing the sea and near the mouth of the Loboc River. A flight of stairs connects the church complex to the rest of the town located at the foot of the hill.
- Remarks: Take the north road heading to Ubay for 10 kilometres from Tagbilaran City.
Caves in Bohol Island
As of yet, 1400, caves have been counted on the island and it's likely that some have escaped the head count. Some claim that Bohol even got its name from the word 'buho', meaning 'hole.' The mysterious caves add to the island's overriding beauty.
Made up of extensive karst (limestone) formations, such as sinkholes and ravines, many of them are still unexplored. Enter this mysterious underground world and you will encounter the many unusual and even bizarre invertebrates, the albino crabs that inhabit the caves have adapted to life in the darkness.
Some time ago, no one dared enter this cave for fear they would not remerge, but there's no need to worry about that now although the entrance is so narrow only one person can enter at any one time.
- Location: Pangloa
A limestone hill serves as the entrance to this cave that was used as a refuge during WW II when the Japanese invaded the Philippines. The entrance, measuring five metres long, leads to a 100-metre long cavern that is home to a number of different bird and bat species.
- Location: One-and-a-half kilometres from the town centre of Antequera, Bohol
Situated in the town of Jagna, this is the deepest cave in Central Visayas, with a depth of 140 metres! We recommend that for exploration of this particular cave you stay in town overnight.
- Location: Jagna town which lies halfway up the southeastern coast of Bohol
Francisco Dagohoy Cave
The most visited cave due to its historical significance, this cave is situated in the town of Danao. During the Francisco Dagohoy rebellion against the Spanish regime that lasted from 1744-1829, the cave served as headquarters during the uprising. A specific passage within the cave, leads to a dry route where it is thought the rebels would hide during raids by the Spanish forces.
- Location: A five-kilometre walk from Barangay Magtanghoy. Approximately a two-hour drive from Tagbilaran City.
Located on the island of Panglao this cave has a number of stalactites which hang from the ceiling and stalagmites sticking out from the earth. One of the most accessible and popular caves, it features a cavern with an underground pond that is used for swimming, although it's advised to steer clear as the water is not clean.
- Location: Dauis in Panglao Island
Waterfalls in Bohol
For many the Camogan Falls reign supreme as Bohol's superior falls. The soaring height of the falls give the impression that they consist of one straight drop when they are in fact made up of three tiers some 45 metres high. The green backdrop to the fall consisting of trees and shrubs helps the scenery to be truly breathtaking but reaching the top should be left to experienced rock climbers.
Situated in the heart of Antequera (the basket-making capital) visitors can reach the falls simply by hiring a tricycle or motorcycle. It is incredibly tourist friendly around these parts; steps have been built so there is less of a risk factor involved in reaching and leaving the waterfall. The name ‘mag-aso’ derives from the Visayan term ‘aso’ meaning smoke, in reference to the 'smoke' or water vapour that emerges from the cascading waters, which is simply spectacular.