Bohol, a wonderful island in the Philippines and an addition to your bucket list!
Even though we stayed here for 6 days we didn’t manage to see it all.. It’s quite big and has so much to offer! It has magnificent beaches and a rich history. You can still find some churches that were built by the Spanish while they were ruling the Philippines. Unfortunately, some of those churches are falling apart due to a catastrophic earthquake in 2013 followed by a typhoon. The island is still recovering from those events…
The roads on Bohol are generally in good condition and perfectly suitable for having some trips on a motorbike/scooter. Hire one and drive towards the Chocolate Hills by yourself instead of taking an organized tour! If you stay in Panglao it takes you about 2 hours to get there. A bit more if you make some stops on the way. It might seem a bit much and the hotels will advice against it (probably because they want to sell organized trips) but it was hands down one of the nicest things we did in the Philippines.
We saw beautiful landscapes, villages, churches, roosters and some chickens. The people in Bohol are amongst the kindest in the world. We stopped at a square for just about a second and were immediately approached by a local, pointing us in the direction of the Chocolate Hills. While we continued our journey we were met by continuous honking. Kids were waving from the back of a pickup (honestly, I never saw so many people on the back of a pickup before).
On our way back from the Chocolate Hills the streets started to fill with smoke from the numerous bonfires and bbq’s. The island became majestic while we drove towards our hotel in Pangloa.
Things to see
The Chocolate Hills, you see them everywhere! On posters, pictures and other means of advertisement. It is something else when you actually see them yourself. Hills that turn brown during the summer for as far as you can see. More than a thousand in total. Go there!
Cute little primates that are threatened with extinction. Not bigger than a fist. Basically they are forced to sit at the same spot during the day because they can’t see in daylight. They are very sensitive and get stressed easily. If stressed too much they even commit suicide. After sunset they become predators that can jump over 5 meters.
Although we didn’t do it ourselves, Bohol is known to have some great ziplines close to the Man Made Forrest. While driving to the Chocolate Hills you pass by one of these ziplines.
Man Made Forrest
Also on the way to the Chocolate Hills is the Man Made Forrest. This small forrest surrounds a winding road. Tourists stop along the road to snap some pictures while posing on the middle of the road. I couldn’t resist 😉
There are a couple of islands that surround Bohol. They are great for diving and while staying in Pangloa it is impossible to miss the advertisement. Trips are easily booked and the tours typically start quite early in the morning. Islands in close proximity: Pamilacan Island, Balicasag Island and Siquijor Island.
I absolutely love massages! There is nothing better than to relax under a palm tree while smelling the aromatic massage oils. There are plenty of women offering massages along the beach and it’s very cheap.
We stayed at the Hennan in Pangloa at Alona Beach. A massive 5 star Resort with 3 swimming pools (of which two were open till midnight), pool bars, a gym, 3 restaurants and different sorts of rooms. We had a normal but comfortable room on the quiet side of the resort. The only downside was the smell of another resort that stored their garbage nearby and the very limited supply of warm water. For some reason we had access to the vip a la carte breakfast restaurant which was great (the other restaurants were buffet form and very crowded). Check out the Buzz Cafe at Alona Beach and try their splendid ice cream from the Bohol Bee Farm… wow!
Bohol is an island for the adventurist. There are plenty of things to do but if you are more into exploring hidden and secluded beaches than I recommend going to Palawan and the area of El Nido in particular. I visited two beautiful resorts there. They are called Matinloc and Apulit. Another place with a rich history and plenty of stuff to do is Kanchanaburi in Thailand. Asia is great and I absolutely love spending time there! If you have any tips or recommendations please feel free to leave a comment.