A GUIDE TO BOHOL PHILIPPINES
The Basics of Bohol
Airport: When traveling to Bohol, you have to fly into Manila first, then take a second hour-long flight to Bohol. The airport is in Tagbilaran City. This is easily the smallest airport I have ever flown into. Only one plane can land or take off at a time. Mental note, when leaving Bohol, you have to pay a terminal fee of 100 pesos, in cash.
Cash Only: Tagbilaran is the only place where foreigners can withdraw money from an ATM. The ATMs in the smaller municipals of Bohol only accept Filipino bank cards. Most places only take cash, the Filipino peso, so don’t rely on using your card.
Language: Bohol is in the Visayan region of the Philippines; this means everyone speaks Visaya or some English.
Sunscreen: Sunscreen is an absolute must. I recommend bringing your own because sometimes Filipinos put bleach in their sunscreen to whiten their skin.
Best Time to Visit: Bohol’s high season is November to May; meaning more tourists and more expensive. During the low season, June-October, you’ll find that the weather is still perfect and prices are phenomenal. Weather-wise, it was just more overcast and usually rained at some point throughout the day.
The Chocolate Hills Adventure Park: This is a great park for family fun that has a spectacular view of Bohol’s Chocolate Hills. I recommend the bicycle zip line that overlooks the Chocolate Hills. I’ve done several zip lines but never one when I’m on a bicycle with such a stunning view. For some reason, that little added feature of being on a bicycle made everything that much more terrifying. Everyone should give it a try. Horseback riding, mountain biking, surfing zip line, tree top rope challenges, and camping are some of the other attractions this park has to offer.
Snorkeling/Diving: There are countless opportunities to snorkel and dive in Bohol. I went snorkeling on Pamilacan island and saw sea turtles for the first time! We just rented some snorkeling gear from the restaurant we had breakfast at for like 2 pesos. Cheap prices and beautiful waters make Bohol a go-to snorkeling destination.
Tarsier Conservation Area: A tarsier is a tiny primate, aka monkey, that is only found in Bohol. I imagine the first thing you’ll notice is their gigantic eyeballs that are as big as their brains! Fact. I’m creeped out by all things that look like a rodent or bat. That being said this wasn’t my idea of fun. I saw them purely because everyone else wanted to and they are a big attraction in Bohol.
Pangas Falls: Pangas falls is not well-known by tourists and is difficult to find. I only found out about it because I was with local boys. There is basically no one there, especially tourists, and costs 10 pesos for a non-local. Jumping off the falls into the pool below is one of the best experiences I had in Bohol. A stunning, hidden gem of Bohol!
Pamilacan Island: Is island hopping your idea of fun? Private boats can be rented for $120-$150 to nearby islands just for that. Spectacular views of dolphins in the morning makes Pamilacan island one of the most common destinations. Not only is island hopping fun but Filipino boats are unique. Riding one of these boats is a must simply for the experience.
Alona Beach: Looking for beautiful, white sand beaches with restaurants and bars lining the water? Then look no further than Alona Beach. A beautiful beach but littered with tourists. There are many low-key places scattered all over Bohol that had practically no tourists. I would rather explore those hidden gems.
Firefly Viewing: Firefly viewing tours are offered all over the island. Since there are spots where you can view fireflies free; I’d recommend that option to save money. Loay is one town that has a good view, for free, of the fireflies.
Balut: Balut is the Filipino delicacy that is an egg with an 18 day old chick inside it. This Filipino delight is only sold at night by street vendors because it is considered inappropriate for day time. To tell you exactly what it’s like: it’s a hard-boiled egg at first sight. Cracking it open, hot juices start spilling out. I didn’t expect those oozing hot juices. Then, locals add salt and vinegar before digging in. They love balut and can eat several at a time. Close your eyes and don’t focus on what you are eating rather focus on just the taste. You’ll notice it tastes just like a mixture of egg and chicken. If you’re able to put mind over matter with your stomach, try this interesting delicacy.
Karaoke: Filipinos are all about karaoke. Singing karaoke is the number one pick for things to do for fun. Embrace the culture by having a few drinks and experiencing a karaoke bar with the locals.
Loboc River: Loboc river is often called the verde river by locals because of its stunning emerald color. You can go for a riverboat cruise or simply take a swim and cool off! Locals from the villages swim here all the time. Visiting the Canlasaid village, I was able to meet my friend’s family that all live here along the river. His family brought us on a boat and took us to a local spring and waterfalls. Engaging and connecting with people is one of my favorite parts of traveling. Coming to this village, I was able to connect with people and see how this river plays a massive role in their lives.