Welcome to Bohol!
Welcome to Bohol, God's Little Paradise,
as it is sometimes called by the Boholanos themselves. This is
not fully unjustified, as the island is one of the most diverse
and attractive destinations in the Philippines. Within its area
of about 4200 square kilometers, it houses countless white sandy
beaches, numerous historic churches and watchtowers, enchanting
waterfalls and caves, and, unique in the world, its amazing and
stunning Chocolate Hills.
Scenic Bohol casts an enigmatic charm drawn
from the many archaic mementos spread throughout the oval-shaped
island - from unique rock formations to a 45-million-year-old
mammal species, from massive stone watchtowers built by the Spaniards
in the 18th century. Surrounding the mainland are 73 other smaller
offshore islands and islets whose palm-fringed coastlines are
rimmed by white sand and sheltering coves. Serpentine coastal
highways wind along unsullied beaches and rustic rivers where
the tourist can stop at any point and jump in for a dip.
Bohol is famous for whale watching, river cruising,
smallest primate-Tarsier, Sandugo Festival, beaches, scuba
diving, mountain climbing, caving, cambuhat oyster farm (ecotourism
activity), Bird watching
Town visits promise exciting cultural treats
that include scheduled performances by the Teatro Bolanon, Dimiao
Rondalla, Diwanag Dance Theater and the award-winning Loboc Children's
Bohol is an anchor tourist destination
and one of the 7,000 times more islands that make up the Philippine
Bohol Hotels and
More than 1000 hills in number - consisting
of thousands of cone-shaped mounds scattered over 50 sq kiliometers
around the towns of Sagbayan, Carmen and Sierra Bullones in central
Bohol. Each hill rises 30 to 120 metes above the surrounding plateau.
The hills look like chocolate drops when the grass turns brown,
hence the name. Two of the hills have been developed into a resort
with youth hostels, cottages, a swimming pool, and tennis court.
Also on top of one is an observation
deck 213 concrete steps. In the dry season when the grass is dry,
the grass become chocolate coloured, because of that, the name
"Chocolate Hills". The most lovely time to see the Chocolate
Hills is early in the morning, so you can see it in the sunrise!
Origin of the Chocolate Hills
The first legend
tells of a fight between two giants who threw stones and sand
at each other for days, until they were so tired and exhausted
they made friends and left the island. They didn´t however,
tidy up the battlefield, leaving the Chocolate Hills.
The second legend is a lot more romantic. Arogo,
a young and unusually strong giant, fell in love with an ordinary
mortal, Aloya. After Aloya´s death, Arogo cried bitterly.
The Chocolate Hills are proof of his grief, for his tears turned
Some geologist, means Bohol lay under water
in prehistoric times. Volcanic eruptions caused unevenness in
the bottom of the sea which was gradually smoothed and rounded
by the movement of the water.
Most serious geologist means the explanation
as nonsense. Even though the geological origin of the hills has
not yet been explained beyond doubt, the consensus is that they
are weathered formations of a kind of marine limestone laying
on the top of impermeable clay soil. Comparisons have been made
with hundred Islands of North Luzon.
The city of Tagbilaran
Settlement known to have dated back as early
as 15th century as the "Bool Kingdom". Early settlers
have established trade relations with China and Malaysia. Spanish
Captain Miguel Lopez de Legazpi landed on March 16, 1565 and included
a treaty of friendship with local chieftain Datu Sikatuna in the
famous blood compact which became the forerunner of the City's
traditional celebration of Sandugo.
Among the popular theories for the origin of the word "Tagbilaran"
are: "Tinabilan" (covered by curtain, referring to Panglao
Island as the covering or 'Tabil'); "Tagbilaran" ('Tago'
meaning hide, 'Bilaan' meaning Muslim tribe or hidden from marauding
Muslim; "Bilad" ( meaning let dry from the sun Tagbilaran
being a place for sun drying; "Bila" ( meaning friendship
made while drinking, eating and partaking of "buyo"
or area nut).
Tagbilaran City, the capital of Bohol is
hidden from the open sea by the island of Panglao.
Tagbilaran is bounded on its western and southwestern
sides by 12.2 km. of coastline, on its north by the town of Cortes,
on its northeast side by the town of Corella and to its eastern
side by the town of Baclayon.
Tagbilaran City sits on generally flat
Pliocene-Pleistocene limestone formation with thin soil cover.
The thin superficial unconsolidated soils are derived from the
residual weathering of the underlying coralline limestone. The
lack of rivers and other surface water channel ways around the
city could be explained by the existence of a normal fault which
obviously serves as the underground channel ways for the infiltrating
surface waters. As a consequence of a normal faulting, fissures
and joints were produced that ultimately widened enlarge (due
to the action of ground water) and finally formed into large underground
caverns and other subsurface cavities.
There are two main types of soil found in Tagbilaran City; Faraon
Clay and Bolinao Clay. Majority of the barangays are covered by
the Faraon Clay while the Bolinao Clay is dominant in Barangays
Tiptip, Cabawan and San Isidro. Both soil types are not suitable
for rice and corn, Consequently, the city imports all its requirements
for these staple foods.
- St. Joseph´s Cathedral was built
in 1595, destroyed by an earthquake in 1798,
and rebuilt in the 19th century.
- Adjacent to to the Cathedral, in front of
the capitol, is Rizal Park which is a popular local meeting
- The Carlos P. Garcia Memorial Park,
two kilometers from downtown, is in honor of the Philippines
president from Bohol.
- Sikatuna-Legaspi blood: Three kilometers
from the city is a marker on the site of the Sikatuna-Legaspi
- On Panglao Island, who is ca. 4 kilometer
out of the city proper of Tagbilaran connected with a bridge
is the place where most dive sites and resorts are located with
a scenic view of the Mindanao Sea, Negros and Siquijor provinces.
- The Rice terrace in Lila: In
the place of Lila you will find a small rice terraces - it is
much smaller than the famous on in North Luzon. The location
of the place Lila is abouth 25 km east of Tagbilaran.
- Hinagdanan Cave, aslo in Dauis has
two natural holes that light the steps down to its underground
- Dauis Church is one of Bohols beautiful
Churches, its unusual feature is a natural well at the foot
of the altar that is the main supply of water in the area.
- Baclayon Church, 7 kilometer southeast
of Tagbilaran, is said to be the oldest stone church in the
Philippines, built by the Jesuits in 1595. It has a 21 meters
high bell tower, intricately carved altars, and an organ which
was installed in 1824.
- Loon Church, A few km north-west of
Maribojoc, and 25 km from Tagbilaran is the old Loon Church,
who is a beautiful old church dating back to 1753. The church
has a flight of 154 stone steps believed to be the longest such
stairway in the Philippines.
- Fatima Hill in Carmen is a pilgrimage
site every may 13th.
- Ilihan Hill in Jagna is another pilgrimage
- Mt. Carmel Hill in Balilihan has a
historical adobe and limestone tower.
- Corella: Of special interest in the
province is the Tarsier, who is the smallest monkey in the world
and is found only in Bohol. It is in the the woods around Corella
you find the tarsier monkey, which is an endangered species.
This tiny primates have extraordinary, immobile eyes and jump
from branch to branch with an almost frog-like motion. They
are nocturnal hunters and are seldom seen during he day. In
the Barrio Cancatac, about four km east of Cereal, a few "tarsier"
are being held in a generously proportioned cage, for study
purposes. Visitors are welcome at this project who is run by
the Dep. of Enviroment and Natural Resources (DENR)
- Antequera: Various kinds of basket
ware are for sale on Sundays in the market at Antequera, about
10 km north-east of Maribojoc. Little more than a km out of
the town and situated in a forest you find the beautiful "Mag-Aso
Falls" with a deep natural pool to swim in.
- Bool: Abouth 3 km east of Tagbilaran
is there a memorial at Bool, it is a reminder of the blood compact
between Legaspi and Sikatuna who sealed their bond of friendship
on March 16, 1565.
- Baclayon: 4 km east of Bool is Baclayon,
the oldest town in Bohol, it is the location of the oldest churches
in the Philippines also, the "Parish Church of the Immaculate
Conception", built in 1595.
- Loay: At Loay, where the Loboc river
flows into the Mindanao Sea, there is an old church worth seeing.
You can also take a exciting river trip in a charted outrigger
- Loboc: In Loboc you can see the old
and large"San Pedro Church" built in 1602. The church
have a remarkable paintings on the ceiling.
- JAGNA: is a busy and clean little
town abouth 60 km east of Tagbilaran. Cirka 3 ships a week sail
from here to various destinations in North Mindanao. They also
have an old church here also, with a ceiling frescoes. Place
to stay: They also have a lodge here in the port area
- ANDA: is a sleepy, but clean little
community in the south-east of Bohol. There is long and wide
beach with white sand. The picturesque scenery begins outside
Guindulman, where lonely bays with lonely white beaches and
crystal-clear water tempt the visitors to stay. The lonely planet
book: A Survival kit to the Philippines say that you should
explore the area by boat, instead on the road who is 500 m from
the ocean, and few paths offering access to the coast. One of
these idyllic bays is "Bugnao Beach" near "Candabong".
Place to stay: There are at least 2 places to stay in the area.
- In Punta Cruz, Maribojoc, 15 km north
of Tagbilaran, near Maribojoc stands the old "Punta Cruz
Watchtower", built in the time of Spaniards in 1796 to
look out for pirates, they say it gives a good view over other
islands of the visayas. A wooden cross stands beside the moss-covered
How To Get
You will most likely be approaching Bohol from
Cebu but there are direct flights to Tagbilaran from Manila that
probably depart at least once a day. Check with Philippine
Airlines and Asian Spirit for flights rates and schedules.
From Cebu, Bohol is easily visible from any
vantage point that provides view across the 20-mile wide Bohol
Strait. You can fly the short distance on Asian Spirit. If you
do fly, remember to confirm your return trip as soon as you arrive
at the Tagbilaran Airport.
If you choose to go by sea, there are many ferries
that ply the Cebu-Bohol route throughout the day. Besides saving
a few pesos, there's nothing like an inter-island ferry for catching
the beautiful vistas that the archipelago has to offer.
If you'd like to bypass Cebu City altogether
and go directly to Bohol saving some pesos along the way, take
a taxi from the airport to Lapu-Lapu City which is still on Mactan
Island. Ask the driver to drop you off at the pier. Here you can
catch a small ferry that goes directly to the Cebu pier about
every hour for 10 pesos more or less. This is also a scenic ride.
Since you arrive at the ferry pier you can go direct to the next
catamaran or ship to