Oh, Bohol, The Philippines. You sure caught me by surprise.
Dreamy, fun, a breath of fresh air – literally and metaphorically. Just a one-hour ferry ride from Cebu, Bohol is great for travellers searching for unique, rich nature and bio-diversity to be in awe and truly relax. It really is like no other South East Asian destination I’ve visited.
Having spent one week here (please take me back!), I’ve summed up 9 great reasons why you should travel to Bohol, The Philippines now.
1. They say Bohol is like all of The Philippines condensed into one large province. First time to The Philippines and want to become quickly acquainted with what it’s all about? Bohol’s a great introduction to everything the islands are famous for: lush greenery, beautiful beaches, the clean ocean and warm village communities.
2. Bohol has the perfect mix of on and off the beaten path adventures. If you’d like a break from lively Panglao Island, you can journey past rice fields into small local towns on the mainland. Spot friendly games on village basketball courts – Filipinos are obsessed with NBA.
3. The colourful tricycles and badass jeepneys are just way too fun to miss. While renting motorbikes only cost from 350 PHP/day (the best way to explore the island, also another great reason to visit Bohol), their public transport makes you feel like you’re at a fun fair.
4. The Bohol Tourism Board continues to promote ecotourism and sustainability. They’ve done this by pushing eco-friendly tours while trying to ease travel congestion in the more developed areas. This means you can take part in greener experiences.
5. You can relish the romantic hues of Alona Beach, Panglao Island over dusk. It’s hard to imagine this serene landscape had been hit with typhoons.
6. In some years, Panglao Island International Airport will be complete, which means Bohol is going to get packed. They’re catching on – travellers love Bohol! Three years ago, there were no paved roads, now they’re building an airport to support increasing tourism. Experience a lot of the untouched scenery while you still can.
7. Bohol boasts some of the best diving and snorkelling spots in the world. I was quite beached out arriving here, almost yawning when my travel partner wanted to go snorkelling again. But boy was I quick to feel grateful for proceeding as Balicasag Island holds the best snorkelling experience I’ve ever had. Period. Every time I recall these moments, my heart melts. The water’s unreal, coral is bright and colourful, diverse fish are dancing EVERYWHERE, and visibility is as good as watching a National Geographic documentary.
8. You can easily connect with locals. Bohol is still largely a ‘local joint’ (70% of the province population are locals). Just like the rest of The Philippines, the people are softly spoken and incredibly polite, ending all their sentences in “ma’am” or “sir”. As many of them speak English, it’s also easier for us to connect and gain a better understanding of their culture.
9. See the strangely beautiful Chocolate Hills. 1200 large grass-covered limestone domes – like mole hills or varying shapes of women’s breasts, whichever appeals to you more – make up the so, so strange but mesmerising landscape of Chocolate Hills in Carmen. They turn brown in the dry season, hence the name. It’s the #1 tourist attraction on the island and it’s totally worth visiting.
Read my travel tips on the best places to eat, stay and play in Bohol, The Philippines.
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Official Tourism Philippines website.