Let's travel to: Bohol, Philippines
The tenth largest island in the Philippines is a testament of beauty and splendour waiting to be experienced by peoples all around the world. From its white sand beaches to the rich marine and wildlife sanctuaries down to its magnificent and unique limestone formations – it remains to be one of the most visited destinations in the country.
- The natives in Bohol are usually referred to as: Boholanos or Bol-anons.
- The local dialect is Bisaya, however, Boholanos replace their “L” with “W” and “Y” with “J.”
- (e.gBisaya: Wala (means No), Bol-anons say: Wa)
- (e.gBisaya: Ayaw (means Don’t), Bol-anons say: Ajaw)
- Each town and city has preserved their heritage churches made of limestone that dates back from the Spanish colonial period. Unfortunately, most of them had to be rebuilt and restructured after Bohol and neighboring islands suffered a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake in October 2013.
- Bohol is home to the smallest living primate in South East Asia, the tarsier. It has distinctively large round bulging eyes and a head that can do a 360° turn. Its long tail helps it move easily from tree to tree. This nocturnal animal is territorial and has sensitive hearing thus tourists are briefed to avoid making loud noises and to turn off flashes on cameras when visiting their habitat. A sanctuary in Corella, Bohol has been established to help maintain and protect their natural habitat.
- The Chocolate Hills is the most famous attraction in the island. It is a natural geologic formation of around 1,700 hills of green grass that turn brown during the hot dry season, hence, coining the name.
- May is a gastronomic month for Boholanos as there is/are town(s) celebrating their fiesta (patron feast celebration) on each day of the entire month.
- Time to Travel: March to the middle of June records the highest influx of people and tourist spots tend to get crowded. September towards January is usually a wet season.
- Transportation: When you get to the sea or airports, there are various agencies offering different kinds of tours. The most common is the Day Tour where they take you to the common tourist spots. Then there is the Island Tour which is scheduled the following day after the Day Tour. It comprises of dolphin watching, coral reef snorkelling in Balicasag Island, and capping the day is a plunge on the pristine Virgin Island.
- Accommodation: It is recommended to book a hotel ahead of time if you are traveling on the peak months. You may spend a night or two in the city of Tagbilaran or you may want to stay in backpackers’ lodges or in a luxury hotel, and indulge on the vibrant beach on Alona Kew Panglao Island.
- Haggling: The drivers and tourist agencies are easy to negotiate. Learn to diplomatically haggle to avoid irregularly high tourist rates.
- Essentials: Sunscreen, Sun Hats, Waterproof cases, Dry bags, Loperamide (just in case your stomach acts up)
WHAT TO DO
- Enjoy the buffet on the Loboc Floating Restaurant
- Visit the Blood Compact site
- Visit the Baclayon Church and discover the image on the limestone wall on one side of the church
- Take a photo in the middle of the road surrounded by the man-made forest in Bilar
- Climb up the steps to the viewing deck and see a panoramic view of The Chocolate Hills
- Try the zipline or the bike zipline in Carmen or Danao
- Flutter your way to the Butterfly Garden and take home photos of you and your travelmates in butterfly wings
- Marvel at the tarsiers clinging on their trees
- Lie down and take a snap with Prony, the reputed biggest and longest python in Albur
- Snorkelling in Balicasag Island
- Enjoy the dolphins as they put on a show
- Try their traditional delicacies – the kalamay, peanut kisses, and ubekinampay
- Take a stroll in Tagbilaran City
- Taste the organic dishes, flower salads, and organic ice cream in cassava cones of D’Buzz Café
- Dance with the fire dancers on the beach of Panglao
- Sample fresh produce and decide how you want it done on the local restaurants in Alona Kew
- Spas are present in the city or you may want to avail of the roving masseurs’ services (home service or on the beach) if you are in Alona Kew
- Peanut Kisses – Chocolate Hills-shaped cookies made up of peanut, sugar, and egg whites
- Kalamay–A sticky sweet delicacy composed of coconut milk, glutinous rice, and brown sugar
- Ube Kinampay– Purple yam
- Broa – Lady fingers
- Maruya – Banana fritters
WHERE TO SHOP
- BQ Mall, Alturas, ICM in Tagbilaran City
- Local shops in each municipality
- Alona Kew Beach – local stores, giftshops, restaurants
WHERE TO EAT
- Tagbilaran City has numerous restaurants and upscale food placesthat serve signature Boholano dishes. If you prefer to have a sizzling and satisfying dinner, try Just Sizzling.
- There are also several cafés lined up in the city.
- Balut and other street foods are found along the port area
WHERE TO GO OUT / DRINKS
- Atmosphere Bar & Club is at the center of Tagbilaran City and occasionally hires international DJs and Emcees to rave during weekends
- Alona Kew has high-rated bars and party clubs like the Alona Vida Coco Vida and Helmut’s Place
List by: Bahja L. Roasol
Magically-insane with the intricacies of life, I am constantly intrigued by the history and traditions of every place I get to visit. I am passionate about music, traveling, photography, writing, and food-hunting. I love the smell of old churches, petrichor, barbecue, dogs, and newly-u French fries. I have traveled across the major regions in the Philippines and to Germany and a side trip to China. The highlights of that two-week trip include eating various dishes ranging from German, Italian, Lebanese, Mongolian, Indian, and American; visiting the Schloss Heidelberg, getting lost and almost mugged in Frankfurt, and losing my breath climbing the Frankfurt Cathedral (I have short legs!) Lastly and ironically, I ordered non-spicy noodles on a Chinese Spicy Noodle Shop.