Known for their adorable tarsiers and Chocolate Hills, Bohol is one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines. As the 10th largest island in the country, there is lots to do here and lots of ground to cover! The center of the island offers lots of fun in nature like waterfall hunting, cave exploring, and river cruising. In the south you’ll get your fix of white sand beaches as well as the capital city for shopping malls, restaurants and bars. You can also venture up north and meet locals who aren’t used to seeing foreigners in their hometown! In short, you’ll be hard pressed to run out of things to do in Bohol Island. Here are some of our favourites!
1. Visit Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills is probably the most famous attraction in Bohol. Don’t be mistaken – they’re not made of chocolate! Over thousands of hill mounds are covered in green grass and they turn brown during the dry season, hence its name. You can see the Chocolate Hills from various parts of Bohol. They are spread over the towns of Sagbayan, Batuan, Carmen, Bilar, Sierra Bullones, and Valencia. However, the most popular spots to see them are from Chocolate Hills Complex and Sagbayan Peak.
2. See the endangered Philippine Tarsier
Bohol is home to the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary, which dedicates itself to protecting the endangered tarsier. As the world’s smallest primate, they are also very delicate and emotionally sensitive. Stressed tarsiers are known to commit suicide by banging their heads against tree trunks. Therefore, visitors to the sanctuary are expected to adhere to a few rules. Such as not using flash photography, and keeping noise level down to a minimum. The tarsiers are absolutely adorable and you’ll see many of them hanging out in the trees, either sleeping or staring at you with their big round eyes.
3. Go firefly kayaking
Going kayaking and seeing fireflies at night is one of the most popular things to do in Bohol Island. These kayak tours are usually done on Abatan River, which is home to a mangrove forest. They usually start in the late afternoon and you’ll paddle off into the sunset, while learning about the flora and fauna in the region. Come nightfall, the fireflies reveal themselves and you’ll see thousands of them gathering in the trees, like the prettiest Christmas trees you’ve ever seen. It’s a truly magical experience seeing them blink in synchronization and make it seem like the whole mangrove forest is alive.
4. Check out Hinagdanan Cave
Hinagdanan Cave is not to be missed in your Bohol adventures. An enormous underground cave, inside the cavern you’ll find a large freshwater pool in a beautiful shade of turquoise and large stalagmite pinnacles hanging from the ceiling. You won’t need a flashlight here, as the cave is lit by sunlight filtering through the holes in the ceiling. Although the underground lake is a popular swimming spot, do note that it has been known to test for high levels of pollutants, as the water here is fed by ground runoff. Swim at your own risk!
5. Unleash your inner child at Ingkumhan Falls
Perhaps a safer spot to swim would be Ingkumhan Falls, a hidden gem and up and coming spot in Bohol. The waters here are crystal clear and there is also a rope swing hanging from the tallest branch. At 3.5 metres deep, the pool is perfect for cliff jumping, and the adventurous ones can also climb up the waterfall. You’ll spend hours here exploring, jumping, swinging, swimming and living out your inner child! Definitely one of our favourite spot and things to do in Bohol Island.
6. Conquer your fears at adventure parks
Looking for an extra dose of adrenaline and thrilling things to do in Bohol Island? Make sure to check out the different adventure parks in the area! Bike on air at the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park or go ziplining, bungee jumping, rappelling, paramotoring, and other fun activities at Danao Adventure Park.
7. Be a beach bum
After all the adventure, maybe you need some relaxing. Philippines is home to some of the most pristine white sand beaches and Bohol is no exception. If Alona Beach is too busy for you, try the strip that connects Dumaluan Beach, White Beach and Libaong Beach. That’s about three kilometers of powder sand and crystal clear blue waters for you to enjoy!
8. Check out the oldest church in Bohol
Also known as ‘The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary Parish Church’, Baclayon Church is the oldest Christian settlement in Bohol. Founded in 1596, this Roman Catholic Church is a National Cultural Treasure that attracts thousands of tourists year round. Although it suffered some damage during an earthquake in 2013, the building was restored and the museum took no damage. Fun fact: egg whites mixed with plaster were used as binders while building a church!