We explored Bohol Island for four days after our fill of beach time on Panglao Island. Here’s a little photo essay to show off the beauty of the area.
Our days consisted of traipsing along the Loboc River to the little town of Loboc, zipping around the countryside on a motorbike, checking out the Chocolate Hills and Mag Aso Falls as well as a visit to the Tarsier Sanctuary.
We stayed at Fox and Firefly, a lovely little resort with groups of cottages and a second floor open-air restaurant and lounge. They also offer SUP tours of the island. Todd and I got our first ever SUP lesson from them and were thrilled to SUP down the Loboc River. It was one of the most peaceful nature activities I have ever done and we wish we had sprung for the longer tour. I would highly recommend them if you are on Bohol. The guides were great and this is ecotourism at it’s best.
Our first day we wandered around Loboc.
It’s a cute little town located right on the Loboc River. They are known for river cruises, which go up and down the river serving meals (lunch or dinner), with live bands to accompany all of your karaoke dreams. It was a little touristy for us so we chose to skip them and instead ate at some smaller local restaurants.
Renting a motorbike is definitely the way to see the island from a local’s viewpoint.
From Loboc to the Chocolate Hills you wind up, down and around hills, through a man-made forest with its cool shade and past a lot of rice paddy scenery.
After braving some treacherous downpours on our motorbike, we finally made it to the Chocolate Hills.
There are somewhere between 1250 and 1775 of these conical and symmetrical hills, which turn brown in the dry season hence the name. You pass them here and there on the roadside before winding up to a stellar viewpoint. As a reward for trekking through the crazy weather, a double rainbow popped out just as we arrived at the viewpoint. The viewpoint was up a long set of stairs, but totally worth it as you got complete 360 degree views of the hills.
A trip to Bohol wouldn’t be complete without visiting Baclayon church.
The town of Baclayon was founded by the Jesuits in 1596 and became a parish in 1717. The church itself was built in 1727 and is still standing, although it sustained a lot of damage in the earthquake of 2013. It was still under renovation while we were there. We could tour part of it including the main altar and a very interesting museum filled with old church vestments, prayer books and statues of saints.
Our last day we rented a motorbike again and drove across the island to see Mag Aso Falls.
It was off the tourist path a little and well worth the drive. We just loved seeing more of the countryside, waving to locals who always gave us a smile and an enthusiastic hello.
When we got to the falls, it was a short trek down some very slippery stairs, and what awaited us was magical. The color of the water was an incredible blue that I have seen in oceans before, but never in fresh water. We were in a jungle cavern and besides the main pool to swim in there were small pools created by rocks where you could relax and let the river wash away any stress.
There was only one other couple there when we arrived and they left shortly, allowing Todd and I to take it all in privately. It was definitely an afternoon I will not soon forget!
At the end of the day, we checked out the Philippine Tarsier Foundation’s Tarsier Sanctuary in the town of Corella.
Tarsiers are the smallest primates and sadly are endangered. They have been losing their natural habitat as the jungle is cut down and also are used as pets and to be viewed in small cages by tourists. The animals are the size of a man’s fist (approximately) and are very shy and nocturnal. They are sensitive to light and sounds and have been known to kill themselves in captivity.
We went to the conservation center that encompasses many acres and lets them roam in their natural habitat. We were very lucky the day we visited because we got to see a few that were visible along a path in the jungle behind the museum. You cannot talk or use flashes while in the viewing area. They are interesting looking, cute with huge eyes which appear open even though they are asleep during the day. There are only about 700 of these species left in the Philippines, although new efforts to conserve and repopulate are under way.
For an entertaining dinner, stop in Baclayon at Don’s Ocean View Restaurant and Bar.
The owner was a feisty German expat and super friendly and welcoming. He loved Americans and showered us with shots of rum (which under normal circumstances I never drink – but this guy was easily 6’5″ and an ex-Navy Seal). The food was delicious – he offers mostly German fare with a few other international dishes. And he hand-cut his own fries. They were wonderful! The views couldn’t be beat either, watching the fisherman ready their boats for some twilight fishing.
And that in a nutshell is how to spend four days on Bohol!
We really felt we got to see a lot of this island in such a little time since it was so easy to get around. Even though we did do activities every day, we also left plenty of time for relaxing on the couches up in the lounge at Fox and Firefly where we met a lot of other travelers and swapped stories. We also had some good hammock time overlooking the river. Bohol is a wonderful place to visit in the Philippines if you want a little beach, a little jungle and a little relaxation.